[Advaita-l] Is Brahman saguNa or nirguNa or aguNa?

Venkatesh Murthy vmurthy36 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 28 05:01:36 CDT 2011


On Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 12:20 AM, V Subrahmanian
<v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:

> From the above we conclude that:
>   - Brahman/Atman is beyond all guNa-s.
>   - whatever meaning is given to guNa-s (sattva, etc. or attributes/
>   positive qualities - 'guNa' as the opposite of 'doSha') it is to be known
>   beyond doubt that they can be only products of prakRti.  There are no
>   'aprAkRta' sattva, etc. nor any guNa-s that can be beyond the domain of
>   prakRti. Brahman gets any guNas only due to prakRti sambandha.
>   - By negating prakRti-constituent sattva, etc. in Brahman/Atman, all the
>   other shades of meaning/senses of 'guNa' stand negated.
>   - Sri Appayya DikShita is said to have pointed out: if the opposite of
>   kalyANaguNa-s is what is intended by the term 'nirguNa' in the scripture,
>   then that is not the appropriate word to indicate that; it has to have been
>   'nirdoSha' which alone will be the word to indicate the absence of the
>   opposites of all 'guNas'.
>   - Even the word 'aguNa', which we have seen above to have been used in
>   the Shruti and smRti, both with reference to Brahman and Atman (individual
>   self), can be seen to have no special connotation other than 'nirguNa'.  We
>   have pointed out that the Madhva school has commented upon the prefixes 'a'
>   and 'niH', both without differentiating, in the 'rAhityaartha' alone.
>   - guNaraahitya is the meaning we get from both the words 'nirguNa' and
>   'aguNa'.
> Om Tat Sat

BG Chapter 12


'Arjuna inquired: Which is considered to be more perfect, those who
are properly engaged in Your devotional service, or those who worship
the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?

The Blessed Lord said: He whose mind is fixed on My personal form,
always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith,
is considered by Me to be most perfect.

But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond
the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, fixed
and immovable--the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth--by
controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone,
such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me.

For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal
feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make
progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are

Question- If Akshara Nirguna Brahman is so difficult to worship and
full of troubles it is easy to worship Saguna Brahman and get the same
Moksha. If there are two paths one difficult and one easy what is the
use of the difficult path?

It looks like Advaitis choose the difficult path of Nirguna Brahma.
Why struggle in that path? Seeing this also why Adi Sankara did not
propagate a Saguna Brahman Philosophy like Ramanuja and Madhva after
him? Why did he want us to follow the difficult path?

Question- If women and others can get the same benefit from easily
reading Puranas  why Brahmins have to study Vedas and Vedanta? They
can also read Puranas and be happy. Why additional burden?



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