[Advaita-l] Does Brahman Know?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Nov 27 19:37:13 CST 2010

On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 1:47 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ishwara* *knows nirguna brahman and its exstence as Himself, jIvA and
> jagat.
> He is also infinitely blissful. His devotees experience this bliss (as
> visuddha sattva does not obstruct). There are infinite attributes and
> experiences through karma, yoga and bhakti. Each one of these and the
> experience of jnana is also known to Ishwara (Lord Krishna says that there
> is nothing hire than jnana.

The question of 'attributes' of Ishwara/Brahman needs to be addressed.  Any
and all attributes of Brahman can, by default, be in relation to the world
alone.  Without the world, there can be no 'attribute/s' of
Brahman/Ishwara.  Creatorship, managership, karmaphaladAtRtvam,
sarva-sharaNyatvam, sarva-antaryAmitvam, etc., whatever attribute we name,
it is essentially in relation to the world / jiva-s  alone.  However, the
scripture that talks of these attributes also says in categorical terms that
the world is unreal; only a maayic appearance:

The Uddhavagita chapters of SrimadbhAgavatam have a number of verses that
are espescially 'mAyAvAdic' in nature.

//8.34. One should look upon this universe as a hallucination, being a
phantasm of the mind, now seen and the next moment destroyed – like dream,
and extremely shifting like *a circle of fire*.  It is the One Consciousness
that appears as multiple in form.  The threefold distinction due to the
transformation of guNas is mAyA.//

And without the world, there is no way one can talk of a jiva.  When the
world is negated, the jiva(tvam) also stands negated. What remains after
negating this is only One Consciousness.

Says the Uddhava gita 8.27 about the real nature of the jiva:

//Wakefulness, dream, and profoundsleep are attributes of the intellect,
being due to the guNa-s.  The Self is distinct from them, since It is
conclusively proved to be their witness.//

It is well known that there is no jiva-experience that is outside the triad
of states.  Without these states, there is no way one can talk about a
'jiva'.  And there is no way one can talk about the world apart from these
three states.  The negation of these states as maayic when the world itself
is negated as maayic (verse 34 above), leaves us with the Pure Consciousness
as the substratum of the world and the true nature of the jiva.

So, here we have both the assertions:  1. The appearing world is maayic,
unreal.  2. the substratum, One Consciousness, alone is the substance, the
Truth.  This substance can have no attributes whatsover once it is seen as
completely unrelated, unrelatable, to the ultimately non-existent world.
Thus the rule is:  If the world is admitted, then attributes of Brahman can
be admitted.  If the world is concluded to be non-existent, then attributes
of Brahman cannot be admitted.  What we ultimately arrive at is: Brahman,
the sole Reality, is free of attributes, nirguNam. And jiva is none other
than Brahman.  The Uddhavagita provides the basis for the Advaitic
declaration: Brahma satyam jagat mithyA, jIvo brahmaiva na paraH.



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