[Advaita-l] upadhi

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sun Aug 7 06:45:43 CDT 2011

Thanks for the clarification and correction but not convinced - notes inset.

On Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 2:52 AM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 3:59 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
> rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> > wrote:
  If Brahman were to be endowed with physical light in abundance or in
> whatever quantity, this teaching of the upanishad is to be held wrong.
RV: I did not say that Brahman has physical light like in an electric bulb.
I just quoted what Sankara says in 15.12 that the light in the sun, moon and
fire are the light of Vishnu or light of Consciousness reflected in them due
to the abundance of sattva.

> > In his bhashya, Sankara clearly says that the *light  of consciousness*
> is abudant in the Sun because of predominance of
> > sattva.
> This is only an alternative explanation for the verse.  The word 'athavA'
> confirms this.  Since the word 'tejas' has a figurative meaning of denoting
> Consciousness Shankara cashes in on this.

RV: Even in the first explanation Sankara says "*That light belong to Me who
am Visnu*". In the second explanation also he says that the *light of
consciousness* is nothing other than the light of Vishnu. "The light that is
Consciousness, which is in the sun, which is in the moon, and which is in
fire, know that light to be Mine. *That light belongs to Me who am Visnu*."

> It is true that only what 'exists' gets revealed in a refined upAdhi.  But
> it should be remembered that it is only the Shastra that first of all 'puts'
> those attributes in Brahman for the sake of upasana and when the aspirant
> practices those upasanas, the glories that are 'placed' in Brahman by the
> scripture get revealed.  So, it is not something that naturally exists in
> Brahman.  Brahman is no receptacle of anything.  So, undoubtedly it is a
> creation by the shAstra.  That which has been created alone gets reflected.

RV: If this is correct understanding, then sastras will be guilty of lying
because they are telling something that is not in Brahman as an attribute of
Brahman. On the other hand, if the understanding is that all attrbutes are
present in Brahman as Brahman itself, then ascribing and negating all
particular attributes will both be truthful.

> Thus reflection is only of what is a priori creation. Gaudapada says in the
> kArikA all the teachings of creation with the various examples of gold,
> iron, etc. are only an 'upAya', a trick really, adopted by the scripture to
> drive into the aspirant's head the true nature of Brahman.  And this trick
> extends to all the infinite glories attributed by the shAstra to Brahman.
RV: Necklace, Ring, Crown etc. are present in gold as gold itself. Variious
configurations of pot are present in clay as clay itself. Like that all
attrbiutes are present in Brahman as Brahman itself. All colour are present
are present in white light as white light itself. As far as I remember,
Gaudapada's point is that clay and gold are equivalent analogies to
understand Brahman which is pure intelligence.

> It is precisely what is within the immutable, mAyaa, that all the adjuncts
> like sarvajnatva, sarveshvaratva, ananta-vibhUtimatva, etc. exist.  And in
> order to realize Brahman, the true nature whereof has to be shown only by
> separating the two - the mutable and immutable from Brahman.  That alone
> will result in showing the nirupadhika brahman.  As related to the
> immutable, however, Brahman is sopaadhika.
RV: As I mentioned earlier, in 15.15 Sankara clearly says that the
subsequent verses talk about unconditioned Brahman devoid of limiting
adjuncts. "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". In 15.17 he talks about omniscient lord "(And
He) is the avyayah, imperishable; isvarah, God, the Omniscient One called
Narayana, who is the Lord by nature". If Isvara is limited and conditioned,
then he cannot be the subject of this verse. If Isvara is not limited though
He is Ruler etc., then His upadhi is special.

> Vedanta does not hold Brahman and Ishwara as non-different.  Only someone
> who has studied the shastra under a competent acharya will know how to
> appreciate this.  Reading the vedanta by oneself from books is not the
> proper way to understand vedanta.

RV: I agree but if the teacher is not omniscient, how can he be inerrant? He
can only teach what he grasped from his traditional teachers according to
his intelligence. That is why I am not hyper-enthusiastic about traditional
teachers though I know that it has to be learnt from a jivan mukta if it has
to be go beyond academic knowledge. BTW, different schools within Advaita
give slightly varying definitions of Isvara in relation to Brahman. If
Isvara is not Brahman, then He is not paramartika satyam and has to be
mithya. I would like to quote a traditional scholar who posted on this forum
in response to my question in Volume 77 Issue 9 "Some say, ‘Isvara’ is
“Neither True nor False” and few others consider ‘Isvara’ as “vyAvahArika
satyaM” – for all those who call ‘Isvara’ as ‘Mithya’ in the name of Advaita
Vedanta, are akin to brAhmaNa-s who  would accrue ‘pratyavAya doSa’ for not
doing ‘nitya smArta karma’ for ‘janmani janmAntare vA’. SuresvarAcArya would
call them ‘mahA patita’. This is due to their ‘prauDha buddhi’."

> No one says Ishwara is limited;

RV: If Isvara is not limited by any upadhi, then He has to be Brahman. If
Maya is the upadhi of Isvara, then He is limited. Is it not?

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