[Advaita-l] Chidabhasa and ishwara.

Srikanta Narayanaswami srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 2 08:51:36 CDT 2011

A few questions on cidAbhAsa  at the samashthi level...

A few respected acharyas I know have said that cidAbhAsa is only for jivAs
and not for Saguna Brahman...to elaborate..
1. cidAbhaAsa pertains only to the jIva and is a word used to explain and
account for conscious thinking, deliberation etc. engaged in by jivAtman
2. The first-born BrahmA/Hiranyagarbha who was an exalted jIva in the
previous kalpa, and has been born with the prArabdha of being the Creator
(srishthi-karta) also can be said to have cidAbhAsa as when we say "so
kAmayata" (He desired), "ekoham bahu syAm prajAyeyeti" (I am One, may I
become many)
3. But for Ishwara (i.e., understood in the sense of Saguna Brahman), who
was never a jIva in this kalpa or in any kalpa, and who is the very
source/manifester of even Hiranyagarbha (as the SvetAsvatara puts it through
shlokas like - "yo devAnAm prathamam purastAt viSvadiyo rudro
maharshih.hiranyagarbham paSyata jAyamAnam sa no devah SubhayA smrtyA
samyunaktu...etc")  to talk of cidAbhAsa is not right.
4. No doubt mAyA bears the pratibimba of Ishwara. But this is different from
the case of the jIva and different even from the case of the first-born
BrahmA having cidAbhAsa. The fact that mAyA is under the overlordship off
Saguna Brahman should not be taken to mean that the idea of cidAbhAsa
pertains to even Saguna Brahman.

Can anyone please throw more light on this ? Implicit in the above four
points is the idea that the first-born (prathamaja) although is endowed with
sarva-shaktimatvam, sarvajnatvam etc, was an ex-jIva (an AdhikArika puruSa),
so to speak. Whereas Saguna Brahman is in a sense "superior" even to the

1)With reference to the above,the word Chidabhasa comes only at the level of for enquiry into the question,"who is the Chidabasa"The word "chidabhasa'means reflection of the Brahman in the mind and antahkarana,which is the ego.At this level,it is natural that a jiva desires due to ajnana,"ekoham bahusyam prajayayet"(iam one,may become many),this is at the "vyasti level".This is his upadhi.
2)The word 'Hiranyagarbha"is taken at the samasti level with the jiva included in it like a subset in a set.At this level a jiva knows only about his prarabdha and not on the Hiranygarbha.It is not possible to imagine Hiranyagarbha as like a jiva with a prarabdha with sristi kriya etc.Infact,the Hiranyagarbha has no prarabhdha,since he is the creator.
3) For Ishwara (saguna Brahman)who has a Upadhi through Maya,there cannot be a "Chidabhasa"because,it is the reflection of the "Ishwara"on Jiva through the mind and other adjuncts(upadhi).Ishwara is Brahman with a upadhi.
$)That is why,Vedanta avoids all these confusions.It is not called"First born",but,"Prajapathi".This is an all encompassing word,than calling first born.The vedanta simply states,"Prajapathirete imani bhutani jayante,yena jatani jivanti,yena samvishanti"tat brahma tad vijijnasasva."
The Vedanta takes one from the "Vyasti level"to the "samasti level"instead of taking the seeker to a b lind alley.

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