[Advaita-l] Brahman alone appears as jiva-jagat-Ishwara - some more references

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 14 15:24:10 CDT 2011

श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः

In the Uddhavagitaa, chapter 23, forming part of the 12th canto of the
SrImadbhAgavatam, there are some interesting verses relevant to the above

आत्मैव तदिदं विश्वं, सृज्यते सृजति प्रभुः ।

त्रायते त्राति विश्वात्मा, ह्नियते हरतीश्वरः ॥६॥

//The Lord God, the Atman, the Self of the universe, projects this universe
and is the projected.  It maintains it and is the maintained.  It dissolves
it and is the dissolved. //

Here, the teaching of Lord Krishna to Uddhava is: the world that we see /
experience is a projection/creation of the Atman, the Consciousness
Principle.  And the projected universe is none other than the Self, Atman.
Atman is the projector/creator (nimitta kAraNam) and also the
projected/created, the material, upAdaanam, with which the world is
created.  The conclusion arising from this phenomenon is also taught by the

तस्मान्नह्यात्मनोऽन्यस्मादन्यो भावो निरूपितः।

निरूपितेयं त्रिविधा, निर्मूला भातिरात्मनि

इदं गुणमयं विद्धि त्रिविधं मायया कृतम्॥७॥

Therefore nothing is proved to be other than the Atman, which is distinct
(from the universe).  The threefold appearance in the Atman that we see is
proved to be without foundation.  Know the threefold division consisting of
the Gunas to be but the effect of Maya.

The threefold appearance spoken of above constitutes of 1. AdhyAtmika 2.
Adhibhautika and 3 Adhidaivika.  These can be understood simply as 1. jIva
2.jagat and 3. Ishwara respectively.

Now a short analysis of the above two verses is taken up:

In the first verse quoted above, we see the teaching of the Mundakopanishat

‘यथोर्णनाभिः सृजते गृह्‌णते च’ – ‘YathornanãbhiH srujate gruhnate cha’
(Mundaka Upanishad: 1/1/7). Urnanãbhi means a spider. O disciple! Just like
a spider creates threads and makes a web, and when it desires it swallows it
back, in the same way creation is made from Aksharam.

The overall Bhashya for this mantra by Shankara is:

यथा एते दृष्टान्ताः विलक्षणं सलक्षणं च निमित्तान्तर-अनपेक्षाद्यथोक्तलक्षणात्
अक्षरात् सम्भवति समुत्पद्यत इह संसारमण्डले विश्वं समस्तं जगत् ।

//Just as it is in these cases, so from the Imperishable, of the foregoing
characteristics, that does not depend on any other auxiliary, originates
here in this phenomenal creation the entire Universe.//

Now, we find some interesting GaudapadakArika-s  along with the ShAnkara
BhAshyam that bring out the essence of the above BhAgavatam verses:

स्वप्नवृत्तावपि त्वन्तश्चेतसा कल्पितं त्वसत् ।

बहिश्चेतो गृहीतं सद्दृष्टं वैतथ्यमेतयोः ॥ 9 ॥

(9) — अपूर्वत्वाशंकां निराकृत्य स्वप्नदृष्टान्तस्य पुनः स्वप्नतुल्यतां
जाग्रद्भेदानां प्रपञ्चयन्नाह — स्वप्नवृत्तावपि स्वप्नस्थानेऽपि अन्तः चेतसा
मनोरथसंकल्पितमसत्; संकल्पानन्तरसमकालमेवादर्शनात्; तत्रैव स्वप्ने बहिः चेतसा
गृहीतं चक्षुरादिद्वारेणोपलब्धं घटादि सदित्येवमसत्यमिति निश्चितेऽपि
सदसद्विभागो दृष्टः। उभयोरप्यन्तर्बहिश्चेतःकल्पितयोर्वैतथ्यमेव दृष्टम्॥

//Even in the dream state anything experienced by the internal
consciousness, anything called up by our fancy, is unreal since it ceases to
be perceived the very moment after being imagined.  In that very dream
again, whatever is perceived, for instance a pot, which was (earlier)
perceived, by the external consciousness, thru the eye, etc. is real.  Thus,
though it is definitely known that dream experiences are false, still a
division of true and false is seen there.  Nevertheless, unreality is
perceived for both kinds of things, be they imagined by inner  or outer

जाग्रद्वृत्तावपि त्वन्तश्चेतसा कल्पितं त्वसत् ।

बहिश्चेतोगृहीतं सद्युक्तं वैतथ्यमेतयोः ॥ 10 ॥

(10) — सदसतोर्वैतथ्यं युक्तम्, अन्तर्बहिश्चेतःकल्पितत्वाविशेषादिति।

//It is reasonable to say that both the (so-called) true and false are
unreal, for they are equally imagined either by the internal or external
consciousness.  The remaining portion is as already explained in the
previous verse/bhashyam.//

उभयोरपि वैतथ्यं भेदानां स्थानयोर्यदि ।

क एतान्बुध्यते भेदान्को वै तेषां विकल्पकः ॥ 11 ॥

(11) — चोदक आह — स्वप्नजाग्रत्स्थानयोर्भेदानां यदि वैतथ्यम्, कः
एतानन्तर्बहिश्चेतःकल्पितान्बुध्यते। को वै तेषां विकल्पकः; स्मृतिज्ञानयोः क
आलम्बनमित्यभिप्रायः; न चेन्निरात्मवाद इष्टः॥

An objector asks: If there be unreality of the objects in the two - waking
and dream - states, then who is it that cognizes these, which are imagined
inside and outside the mind? And who is their imaginer, creator? The idea
implied is this:  If you do not want to adopt a theory of the non-existence
of the Self (Buddhism), and want to posit something behind appearing
phenomena, then who is the support of memory and knowledge? The answer is:

कल्पयत्यात्मनात्मानमात्मा देवः स्वमायया ।

स वै बुध्यते भेदानिति वेदान्तनिश्चयः ॥ 12 ॥ (12)

स्वयं स्वमायया स्वमात्मानमात्मा देवः आत्मन्येव बक्ष्यमाणं भेदाकारं कल्पयति
रज्ज्वादाविव सर्पादीन्, स्वयमेव च तान्बुध्यते भेदान्, तद्वदेवेत्येवं
वेदान्तनिश्चयः। नान्योऽस्ति ज्ञानस्मृत्याश्रयः। न च निरास्पदे एव ज्ञानस्मृती

This is the kArikA verse that is closely relevant to the Bhaagavatam verses
we are considering:

Through Its own mAyA the self-effulgent Self Itself imagines, Its own Self,
in the Self Itself, to be possessed  of different forms (to be spoken of in
the later kArikA-s), just as snakes, etc. are imagined on ropes, etc.  And
in the very same way It Itself cognizes those objects.  Such is the definite
conclusion of the Vedanta.  There is nothing else (but the Self) as the
support of cognition and memory; nor are cognition and memory without
support as is held by the Nihilists.  This is the idea.

The word 'निर्मूला भातिः’ in the Bhagavatam verse only means that the
appearing phenomenon has no basis/foundation of its own other than the Self
in which it appears.  In other words, the appearing phenomenon, paratantra,
has no sattA/sphUrti of its own; it exists and shines only by the existence
and shine of the Atman, the Swatantra. That is the meaning of the
word: 'निर्मूला
भातिः’ of the BhAgavatam. It might again appear to be a similarity with
buddhism which can be very easily mistaken by a critic of Advaita to
implicate 'pracchannabauddham'.  Shankara makes it clear that such is not
the case in the kArikA bhashya. And the Bhagavatam also makes it clear thru
the words: तस्मान्नह्यात्मनोऽन्यस्मादन्यो भावो निरूपितः. It carefully
retains Atman and negates everything other than the Atman.  Since it is
Atman that is creating - both the known/knowable objects and the knower,
there is no possibility of absence of a sentient, existent, basis for the
phenomenon (of knower-known duality).  This is the fundamental difference
between Advaita/Vedanta and Buddhism.

The conclusion:

   - *

   The Bhagavatam teaches that both the nimitta kAraNam and the upAdAna
   kaaraNam are the Self/Atman/Brahman alone.
   - *The creator and the created happen/s to be One entity, the Atman.*
   - *As if to emphasize the above idea, the BhAgavatam verse goes on to
   explicitly mention that the sustainer-sustained duality and the
   dissolver-dissolved duality is also none other than this One entity, Atman.
   - *That confirms the (mAnDUkya)Vedantic/Advaitic teaching that Brahman
   alone appears as jiva/jagat/Ishwara triad.*
   - *This is explicitly brought out by the next verse of the BhAgavatam.
   From a 'different' Atman a 'different' phenomenon is impossible to be
   proved.  This statement specifically negates the pancha bheda-s: jiva-jiva
   bheda, jiva-Ishwara bheda, jiva-jaDa bheda, jaDa-jaDa bheda and jaDa-Ishwara
   bheda.  Everything, Ishwara, jiva/s, jaDa (jagat) is only an appearance
   created by Brahman/Atman.*
   - *The GaudapAda kArikA-s and the ShAnkara BhAshyam thereon too prove the
   above BhAgavata/Veda-VyAsa/Vedanta siddhAnta.*
   - *The original article titled 'Brahman alone appears as
   jiva-jagat-Ishwara' may be accessed here:


  ऒम् तत् सत्


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