[Advaita-l] Does Brahman know?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Nov 29 01:02:08 CST 2010

On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:15 AM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Yes in Turiya we can say Brahman knows nothing but itself. We can say
> also Brahman knows everything is Sarvajna because there is nothing
> other than itself. Both can be right.

The word 'sarvajna' occurs only in the sixth mantra of the Mandukya
Upanishad that describes the third pAda (suShupti).  It is only here the
concept of Ishwara, as the cause, antaryAmi, etc. is spoken of.  However, in
the next, seventh mantra, all this is negated and the Turiya is presented as
transcending the cause (Ishwara/sarvajna) and the effect (manifest world of
jagrat and svapna).  So, sarvajna is right only with reference to the three
pAda-s; it is not valid in the Turiya state.  Turiya is valid in all the
three states as It is the substratum on which the cause-effect
(unmanifest-manifest) world is superimposed.

Regarding Sri Srikanta's observation:

//If it is said that the attributes of Brahman are not real,then it violates
the Sruthi statement which declares:Satyam,Jnanam,Anantam Brahma.It is not
necessary for the "Jagat"to disappear for the Brahman to appear,these
attributes are Eternal.Further,the above statement doesnot refer to the
"Gunas"as Ramanuja says,but the very nature of the Brahman,like the SUN.//

it is pertinent to look into the Taittiriya Bhashyam for the words 'satyam,
jnanam, anantam brahma'. The Acharya first introduces them as 'visheShaNas'
(adjective) of Brahman and subsequently asks a question on the propriety of
viewing them as visheShaNas and replies that these are actually 'lakShaNa'
(definition) of Brahman.  He concludes the discussion  by specifying  the
difference between a 'visheShaNa' and a 'lakShaNa':

// An adjective (visheShaNa) distinguishes a noun from things of its own
class, whereas a definition (lakShaNa) marks it out from everything else. //

Thus, satyam jnanam anantam is BrahmalakShaNam and there is no way Brahman
can be without this (svarUpa) lakshaNam.


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