[Advaita-l] upadhi

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Aug 6 05:29:13 CDT 2011

Sri: V Subrahmanian : While introducing verse 15.16 Shankara recalls what
was stated by the Lord in verses 15.12 onwards.  These verses happen to talk
of the glories (vibhUti-s) of the Lord such as  is being the Light even for
the luminous bodies sun, moon, etc.  This, Shankara says, is a specially
attributed nature of Brahman, vishishtopadhiH. That shows that according to
Shankara this nature of Brahman being the luminosity of the luminous
entities, etc. is not its svarUpalakshanam but only owing to a superimposed

RV: In the case of the sun, the luminosity is the reflection of the real
luminosity of Brahman. In his bhashya, Sankara clearly says that the *light
of consciousness* is abudant in the Sun because of predominance of
sattva.  He gives the example of reflection in a mirror versus reflection in
wood. Maya covers Brahman using tamas, distorts using rajas and reveals
using sattva. It is sopadhikara brahman but when the upadhi is of the nature
of visuddha sattva, it reveals some of the infinite glories of Isvara. We
have already seen that all the infinite attributes of Isvara are present in
Brahman as Brahman itself undifferentiated. Otherwise, it is not a
reflection but a creation. As you know, reflection and original have equal

RV: > ishanashila: or lord by nature (bg 15.18) this is with respect to
Narayana,the omniscient, nirupadhikara brahman. so omniscience is not due to
Sri: V Subrahmanian : Even in 15.17 that saguNatva vestige is not totally
severed.  ONLY in 15.18 it gets completely severed by the word uttamaH.
One, perhaps the, strong indication of this complete severance of saguNa
upAdhis is this:  the bhashya says: He who knows Me the PuruShottama as 'I
am He'....  'ahamasmi
iti puruShottamam'.

RV: Your argument that "sagunatva vestige" (what a term to use? hmmm) is not
discarded until 15.18 is not in line with what Sankara says. Sankara in
15.15 clearly states "Now then, the succeeding verses are begun with a view
to determining the real nature of that very Lord as the *Unconditioned and
Absolute*, by *distinguishing Him from the limiting adjuncts*, (viz) the
mutable and the immutable". Also 15.18 is about Purushottama or Supreme
Person, who is an object of devotion and poetry as evident from Sankara's
comments "as purusottamah, the supreme Person. Devoted persons know Me thus,
and poets also use this name 'Purusottama' in their poetry etc.;". That this
refers to the Lord Narayana is also very explicit in Madhusudana's
commentary. Now,it seems that according you to Isvara is not nirupadhikara
according to Sankara. But Isvara is sopadhikara as in Vaishnavara, Surya
etc. and Nirupadhikara as in Narayana. This is amply clear in 15.18, which
is about nirupadhikara brahman or Isvara.

RV : > bg 14.27 is also relvant

Sri: V Subrahmanian : Even here, Shankara gives the saguNa-para meaning
first and then gives the nirguNa-para vyAkhyAnam.  In the latter, He
considers the word 'brahman' as saguNa brahman and says that the Lord is the
abode/support of that saguNa Brahman.

RV: What is important here is to understand Sankara's opinion on
non-difference between Isvara and Maya (Shaktiman and Shakti) and Brahman
and Isvara. It is on this basis that Madhusuda says that "Lord Krishna is
nirupadhikara brahman". Please note that our conception of the Isvara
(Krishna, Rama etc.) is limited but Isvara (Krishna, Rama etc.) is not.

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