[Advaita-l] Iswara swaruupam - 3

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 1 09:23:24 CDT 2012

                                                     Iswara Swaruupam -3

In Gita Ch. 7 slokas 4 and 5 two aspects of Iswara have been pointed out. One is aparaa prakRiti expressing in terms of tatvas or eight-fold fundamental entities which are primordial causes for the creation. They form together the ever changing material cause. above them is the para prakRiti which is their substantive supporting their very existence. The Ch. Up mantra says existence alone was there before creation and that itself became many. Hence pure existence without names and forms is Brahman since scripture says it is ekam eva advitiiyam, one without a second. Thus combining these two statements we  arrive that the creation consists of para prakRiti which is of the nature of pure existence expressing after creation existence with changing names and forms as aparaa prakRiti. Thus Iswara swaruupam is a combination of para and apara prakRiti. The manifestation of pluralistic apara prakRiti is facilitated by maaya at the total level and avidya at the
 individual level. Maya is the force that brings out this transformation-less transformation with the appearance of one into many. In physics any change is attributed to a force. The accomplished change itself is the proof of the force and there is no other proof is required. Similarly one (para prakRiti) appearing as many is the proof for the force, maaya and the locus for that force is also Iswara, since it inheres with Him. In the above sloka Krishna only mentions about material cause or upaadana kaaraNam. In the next slokas he emphasizes that there is nothing higher than Him – mattah parataram na anyat kincit asti- indicating that he is also the nimitta kaaraNam or intelligent cause. Thus Iswara is abhinna nimitta upaadana kaaraNam, undifferentiated material and intelligent cuase. This is indirectly pointed out in Sloka 5 with the statement jiivabhuutam indicating that the para prakRiti is not only sat swaruupam but chit swaruupam also. This is in
 parallel to Ch. Up statement – tat aikshataa| buhusyaam| prajaayeyeti| – it saw – desired to become many and became many, thus indicating that Iswara is jiiva ruupena chaitanya swaruupam, a conscious entity also and expressing as jiiva. 

Q. Is there separate Iswara different from para and aparaa prakRiti and of course separate from jiiva who is a tiny conscious entity in relation to the total creation?

Ans. The slokas are very clear – there is pure sat chit ananda swaruupam which manifests in terms of panca bhuutas etc. In Tai. Up. it says- aatmanam aakaashaH sambhuutaH, akaashaat vaayuH .. etc. Thus from the consciousness-existence alone the inert entities are appearing. If we can write the equation, we can come up with
  apara prakRiti + Brahman (sat-chit-ananda) = Iswara from the samashTi or total or macro level
 loval apara prakRiti + Brahman (sat-chit-ananda) = Jiiva from the vyaShTi or individual or micro level. 
If we discard (or negate) the apara prakRiti as it is only mithyaa and therefore cannot be counted, the identity of the two equations in terms of - tat tvam asi – that thou art -follows. The process of discarding mithyaa parts is called bhaga tyaga lakshaNa where only a part (apara part) is discarded while retaining the rest to arrive at identity equation or mahaavakya of Vedanta. This is done intellectually by developing the viveka – a discriminative faculty to discriminate that which is changeless from the changing world.
Q. Why do you say the apara prakRiti is mithyaa and not satya or real as the other darshanikas or philosophers propound? 
Ans: In Vedanta real is defined as that which does not undergo a change. In the creation we have apara prakRiti which is continuously changing in terms of names and forms and para prakRiti which is changeless. The unchanging para prakRiti alone satisfies the definition of real and that is Brahman. The apara prakRiti is not unreal either since it is experienced. Unreal or asat cannot be experienced; a typical example given is vandhyaa putraH or son of a barren woman. Since it is not real and not unreal (as it is experienced) we need to coin a new word to describe it as mithyaa. Mithyaa is defined therefore as sat asat vilakshaNam – neither real and unreal. Since it is mithyaa, we can discard it only intellectually and understand the underlying truth which is Brahman. It is like ring and the gold. We can discard the name and form of the ring and recognize the underlying gold which is changeless in the changing names and forms, since ring can become a
 bracelet or some other ornament while gold remain unchanging. Nagation of the ring to discover the underlying gold is only an intellectual process. While looking at the ring, I need to understand that it is just gold and nothing but gold expressing now in the form of a ring. Similarly I have to discover the para prakRiti by intellectual process by discarding the naama ruupa of the external objects as I perceive them and recognizing the underlying the existence part which is brahma swaruupam. 

In the slokas that follow Krishna provides additional information in terms of relation-less relation between para and aparaa prakRiti. When we discuss about the cause for our creation, there are two types of causes. 1. aapekshika kaaraNam or intermediate cause and 2. atyantika kaaraNam  and ultimate cause. 

For example for my birth my parents are intermediate cause, but they are not the ultimate cause since they themselves are caused by their respective parents. They are only aapekshika kaaraNams. 

Similarly the panca bhuutas – the five gross elements - they are intermediate causes for the creation of the universe; but they are not the ultimate cause. 

Hence Krishna says as para prakRiti I am the ultimate cause and there is nothing else beyond Me (here me stands not for Devaki nanadana but pure sat chit ananda swaruupa brahman- mattaH parataram na anyat kinchit asti dhananjaya. In essence, I am the causeless cause or aatyantika kaaraNam.  We should note that these discussions are from the point of creation when one sees or experiences or from the point of vyavahaara or transactional reality. From the point of paaramaarthika or absolute reality there is no creation what so ever, and what is there is pure sat chit ananda swaruupa Brahman – hence Brahman is defined by Goudapaada as kaarya kaaraNa vilakshaNam brahma – that is beyond any cause-effect relationships. In principle no description is possible for paaramarthikam as the scriptures say – yato vaacho nivartante apraapya manasaa saha – the words return back along with the mind.

In the second line of the sloka 7 Krishna gives an example – mayi sarvam idam protam suutra maNigaNaa iva – I am the suutram or the running thread that support various components (beeds) of the chain. While this particular example is rather limited since the beeds can exit independent of the suutram, the word that used by Krishna – protam – rings the bell and takes us to the Bri. Up. mantras to - Gargi-Yagnavalkya discussions on akshara Brahman, as noted by Shankara. The upanishad gives tantu-pata dRiShTanta or thread-cloth example where the cloth is protam or pervaded by the thread. Cloth is nothing but the network of threads. When we look at the cloth, the thread may not be noticed; even though the very existence of the cloth (name and form) is due to thread that supports it. This is exactly the relation between para and apara prakRiti – I am the support for all the creation as the very essence of the creation and without my presence the
 creation cannot exist. Thus we have apara prakRiti existing as mere name and form while the support for its very existence comes from the pure existence itself as para Brahman. 

Bhagavan conveys this fact using several examples in the following slokas.  These examples, in principle, echoes the sloka, Ch. 4-24, brahmaarpaNam brahma haviH.. that all the apara prakRiti if one looks carefully with the discriminative intellect is nothing but para prakRiti which is sat chit ananda swaruupa. I am the rasam or taste in the water. Taste is actually an attribute or guNa for its locus, object or vishaya. Shabda sparasha ruupa rasa gandhaas, sound, touch, form, taste, smell are the qualities that the five senses can measure. But rasam here stands for inner essence of water since example is provided to see the inner essence of each of the panca bhuutas. Inner essence of each of the gross elements are nothing but their subtle elements – sukshma bhuutani. In the previous post we have discussed that grass elements or sthuual bhuutani are originated from subtle or suukshma bhuutaani. Hence in the examples here rasam, shabdam, gandham, etc
 stand for subtle elements of water, space, earth, etc. Even though, they are the cause or essence for the grosser elements they became qualities or guNa for the grosser. It is like calling golden ring where gold, which is the cause for the ring, has become an adjective or attributive for the ring. Hence Krishna says, in essence, I am the essence of every object in the world – both from the point of intermediate cause – avaantara kaaraNam- as well as the ultimate cause – aatyantika kaaraNam. Hence brahmaarpaNam sloka also follows. The ultimate essence of all this – idam sarvam - is sat or existence only – aitadaatmya idam sarvam tat satyam, says Ch. Up. 

Interestingly Krishna says referring to earth – punyogandhaH prithivyaam ca… I am the good smell of the earth. Shankara says punya as surabhiH or fragrant smell. Considering the above analysis the smell, which is guNa, is actually the subtle element of earth and the cause for the gross element earth. Question we can raise is – what about the bad smell that we smell. That is not from the pure earth but from the impurities due to mixing. When the water tastes bad, we know it is due to something else mixed in the water. In the final analysis the impurities come from karmas of the jiivas or actions of the jiivas that has the mixture of good and bad - punya and paapa. The cause for the karmas ultimately is anaadi avidya – beginningless ignorance. . 

These discussions again are based on the discourses by Swami Paramarthanandaji on Gita Bhashya – any misrepresentation is mine. 

Hari Om!

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list