[Advaita-l] upadhi

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Aug 7 13:38:56 CDT 2011

On Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 5:15 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> 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*."

I had already quoted Shankara from 15.16 introduction that 15.12 onwards is
the mention of 'vibhUti-sankShepaH' of the Lord.  So, the 'Adityagatam
tejas, etc.' is the Lord's vibhUti not any different from the Lord saying in
the 10th chapter that He is the Divine Horse Ucchaishravas, the river Ganga,
the month MArgazhi, etc. One could also refer to verses 7.8 onwards for
another delineation of Brahman's vishishTopadhi-s.  Shankara, at the
conclusion of this list there says: //'The world does not know Me, the
supreme Lord, even though I am of this kind, and am eternal, pure,
intelligent and free by nature,  the Self of all beings, free from all
qualities, the cause of burning away the seed of the evil of
transmigration!'-in this way the Lord expresses regret.//

Clearly, just as the Gaudapada kArikA says, this description of the Lord's
vibhUti, as being available in everything in creation as the essence of that
particular object, is an 'upAya' on the part of the scripture to turn the
attention of the aspirant away from the peripherals to the central, seminal
thing in everything.  When the entire dvaita prapancha is negated by the
scripture, which is its ultimate message, the delving on the vibhuti-s which
are nothing but the dvaita prapancha, is evidently with the purpose of
positing these attributes on Brahman and later negating them.

I am not inclined to carry forward this aspect of the discussion since all
this is His vibhUti, undoubtedly an upAdhi of the saguNa Brahman/Ishwara.

A general note on what Sri Sada ji wrote:

The illuminer-illumined duality pertaining to Brahman the Illuminer and the
world of objects, thoughts, etc. being the illumined is still in the realm
of dvaita.  The ultimate position on this in Vedanta is analogous to the two

The sun shines (is luminous). सविता प्रकाशते
The sun illumines all the objects.  सविता प्रकाशयति
Of the two statements the first one is the vastu sthiti and the second one
is only a concession.  The sun does not care whether there are objects to be
illumined or not; its very nature is just being luminous.  By virtue of the
objects being in the range of the sun they get illumined.

Similarly Brahman is just Consciousness.  That It illumines everything in
the world is only an artificial admittance.  While the Advaita Brahman has
nothing at all to illumine, since we have the perception of the world owing
to adhyasa, the shastra, with a view to turn our attention from the world to
the Self, Brahman, brings about a relation between Brahman and the world in
the form of illuminer-illumined.  That this is in the realm of duality
cannot be denied.

The Vedanta Paribhasha scheme too is only an 'upapattiH', a reason-based
relating of Brahman, the Consciousness, with the activity of perception.
Thus, Brahman/Consciousness 'illumining' thoughts is akin to the above
analogy of the sun illumining objects.

> >
> > 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 attirbutes
> are present in Brahman as Brahman itself, then ascribing and negating all
> particular attributes will both be truthful.

Brahman is not the creator.  Yet the Upanishad presents Brahman as the
creator.  When it teaches 'tat tvam asi', the creator status stands negated
and the jiva's jivahood also stands negated.  This is the adhyAropa -
apavAda method which you have stated above and yet faulting the
understanding presented by me. 'all attributes are present in Brahman as
Brahman itself,' only means the seed, the basis for vivartavAda.  Why only
the attributes, even the whole world is 'present' in Brahman as Brahman.
The scripture negates the vishwam itself but still the Lord is shown as the
very vishwarUpa.  If the attributes are really present in brahman why and
how can the scripture negate them?

> > 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 not totally equivalent
> analogies to understand Brahman which is pure intelligence".

No, this is not the purport of Gaudapada's verse.

*मृल्लोहविस्फुलिङ्गाद्यैः सृष्टिर्या चोदिताऽन्यथा ।** उपायः सोऽवताराय
नास्ति भेदः कथञ्चन ॥*>* //The scriptural statements regarding the
 using the examples of *>* earth, iron and sparks, etc. **is merely by
way of generating the idea of oneness;
multiplicity does not **really exist in any manner.//

This post has material that is very relevant to the present topic:



> 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.

But why does Shankara also say that the knowledge the aspirant gets of
Brahman is of the form 'I am He'?  As I reasoned earlier, if such a
realization were to mean 'I am the sarvajna Ishwara', there can be no true
identity, for the jiva is not sarvajna.  The method of understanding the
mahavakya is well laid out in the advaita shastra and that is -
discarding/negating all the upadhis of both Ishwara and the jiva and only
the nirupAdhika akhanDa svarUpa is the subject matter of such an aikya

> > 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.

I am tempted to quote what Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Swamigal advised my
Acharya long ago.  He named a couple of Vidwans in Bangalore and asked him
to study the Vedanta under them saying: ' studying under them will bring you
the experience (aparoksha jnanam).' ( And the Acharya's words came true) So,
if the shastra is presented in the pure sampradayic manner, a ripe aspirant
can end up getting the realization.

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?

It is to be understood thus:  Within creation, Ishwara is not limited by
anything.  He is nitya in so far as creation is held to be anAdi ananta
pravAha nitya.  It is also not that mAyopAdhi 'limits' Ishwara in any
conventional sense.  mAyopAdhi only presents the shuddha Brahman as
something related to the creation/created world thereby making Ishwara
'relative'.  That is the reason why the Mandukya upanishad while embarking
upon teaching the Absolute,  even after describing Ishwara as 'sarveshwara,
sarvajna, sarvasya yoniH....etc' in the sixth mantra goes further in the
seventh mantra to negate all that was said in the earlier mantras both in
the vyaShTi and samaShTi upAdhis which includes Ishwara and presents the
Turiya as sarvopAdhivilakShaNa. The word prapanchopashamam negates the
entire creation/creator duality and the shAntam shivam advaitam alone is
taught as Atma 'vijneyaH'.  The upanishad does not ask us to realize the
Ishwara of the sixth mantra for moksha.  The kArya-kAraNa prapancha
vilakShaNa brahman alone is the mokSha-kAraNajnana vishaya.  The absolute is
free of any relativity.  Ishwara is definitely not the absolute; He is
relative to the created world and the jivas.

2011/8/7 D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ <dvnsarma at gmail.com>

> The tejas of Brahman is apraakrita and is not an object of the physical
> eye. It is felt only by the mind.

If such is the case, Krishna and Rama shareera which are said to be
'aprAkRtam' was seen by the physical eye of those who lived at that time of
their avatara.



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