[Advaita-l] Iswara swaruupam - 3

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 2 09:12:43 CDT 2012

I have been keeping out of this discussion for want of time. Here is a brief note.

> If you say that Ishwara = Brahman + apara prakrti, it is tantamount to
> saying that Ishwara = Brahman + impure prakrti or Ishwara = Brahman + evil.
> Sankara clearly says (BG 7.5), that the apara prakrti is "impure" and the
> "source of evil" whereas the para prakrti is "pure" and "essentially
> myself". There is only one "divine power called Maya" (rf. BG 7.4), which
> is seen as Higher when spoken of as Jiva Bhutam and Lower when described as
> ahankara etc. As Sankara says in 7.6, "the omniscient Lord is the source of
> the Universe through these two prakrtis".
Read gItAbhAshya 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 together. It surprises me as to where
you get this concept of "only one" mAyA, which is seen as higher and lower
from two perspectives. Sankara bhagavatpAda could not be more clear and
explicit and the gItA itself could not more clear and explicit on this point. And
I don't understand either why you have to bring in the concept of evil here. 
In verse 7.4, the prakRti is said to be eight-fold - bhinnA prakRtir ashTadhA.
It is this prakRti of verse 7.4 that is then described as aparA and the higher,
parA prakRti that is jIvabhUta is called "itas tv anyA" - different (anyA) from
this (itaH) lower eight-fold differentiated prakRti. The higher prakRti is called
jIvabhUta in the gItA and in the bhAshya, this is explained as kshetrajna-
lakshaNA and as prANa-dhAraNa-nimitta-bhUtA, by which this universe is
sustained, yayA prakRtyA idaM dhAryate jagat, by virtue of having entered
the universe - antaH pravishTayA.
In 7.6, the bhAshya says, prakRti-dvaya-dvAreNa ahaM sarvajna ISvaraH 
jagataH kAraNam ity arthaH. Note also the usage of the grammatical dual
forms, prakRtI, kshetra-kshetrajna-lakshaNe, parA-apare* in bhAshya 7.6. 

The aparA prakRti of verse 7.4 is described in bhAshya 7.5 as anarthakarI
and as saMsArabandhanAtmikA. If this is what you want glossed as "evil",
note that the gItA leaves you no choice in accepting that the said "evil" is
part and parcel of the structure of the jagat. If not for the aparA prakRti,
there would be no jagat and if not for the jagat, there would be no question
of antaH praveSa and if not for this antaH praveSa, there is no question of
ISvara sustaining the jagat in the form of the jIva, as the kshetrajna. 

>If I say, "That boy Rama created
> the pot with skill and clay", it does does not mean he is a combination of
> skill and clay! It means that he is different from these though the skill
> is his real nature. If the pot is known to be unreal, then we can infer
> that it's source clay is also unreal and the act of creation but not Rama.

This shows you need to understand better what is meant in vedAnta when
brahman is said to be both nimitta and upAdAna kAraNa of jagat and when
brahman is further said to be beyond all kArya-kAraNa relationships. 
> If the boy called Rama is naturally intelligent but acts stupid in a game,
> we don't say that Rama has intelligence and idiocy in equal measure. We say
> that his real nature is to be intelligent. In the same sense, para prakrti
> is Ishwara's real nature and apara is superimposed on Him due to ignorance.
> This is what I understand by reading Sankara. To conclud that there is no
> Ishwara in reality, I just need to read God Delusion by Richard Dawkins or
> End of Faith by Sam Harris.

What exactly do you understand when others say "Ishwara in reality" and
what do you wish to convey when you say, "Ishwara in reality"? It is not 
clear to me that you are talking of the same things. In fact, I am certain
that you are talking of two different conceptions of ISvara altogether.

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