[Advaita-l] About the term in 'Ishwara' in Advaita - a brief note

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Apr 3 20:59:17 CDT 2012

On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 2:35 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> In every instance, you are precluding any debate by saying how Sankara
> should be interpreted without giving reasons. It is your interpretation of
> Sankara and as you conclude that Ishwara is unreal,

You are unable to see the reasons Shankara and the Upanishad give to
conclude Ishwara is anAtma and therefore not even brahman and hence unreal.
In Advaita that which is an object, 'idam' is jaDa, viShaya, anAtmA and
therefore unreal.  This is the very first message Shankara gives in the
adhyAsa bhashya opening sentence.  Go back to the Kenopanishad and Mandukya
bhashyas and study them with the help of a learned teacher of the

> There are advaitins who rightly conclude that Brahman = Ishwara = Self.
> Para Maya essentially = Ishwara. In my very brief study from Krishnamurthy
> Sastrigal, this is what I learnt as his view. Anyway, textual support for
> this equation is inedeed strong.

Sometime back you said Shri Devanathan was a longtime student of Dr.Mani
dravid sastrigaL and sought to show that he represented the eminent
scholar's views.  Subsequently I checked with Sastrigal and he
categorically said 'there is no room for the thinking in Advaita that the
saguNa brahman is pAramArthika' and that no Advaita Acharya has said this
in his works.  He also said that he had taught Shri Devanathan one
particular work, in relation to a research and that no formal Advaitic
teaching was given to him.  He said nothing more than that Shri Devanathan
has 'shraddha in Advaita'.  And now you are saying something similar about
Sri Krishnamurthy Sastrigal.  ParA prakRti is never essentially the saguNa
Brahman; it is indeed the nirguNa chaitanyam which is what the jiva is in
truth.  If one says, on the other hand ,that saguna brahman (Ishwara) is
essentially shuddha chaitanyam (nirguna brahman) that would not be
incorrect even as every object in the world is that ultimately.  But your
formulation has no basis in the Advaitic/upanishadic works and the eminent
scholars.  It is your own concoction that you try to put forth here.

> If I point out the logical fallacy of your conclusion, it will be an
> endless
> argument. I should ideally desist but am tempted to quickly point out.

Your arguments are completely fallacious, even as you hold: if the world is
unreal there is no reason why the ruler/creator should be!! This is the
very fundamental logical fallacy  which you are happily convinced about.

> Ishwara = Self and hence = Ruler

Ruler of what? Shankara has already said: the ruled is anRtam, mithya, in
this very bhashyam.  Your logical fallacy, again at its best!!

> How is the inaccessible Brahman known?

It is the very chaitanyam in everyone that can never be denied. That is why
the Upanishad/Gita points out 'It resides in the intellect of everyone'.
One is asked to recognize this chaitanyam without the admixture of the
anAtmA.  That is the sadhana.

> > It is the kevala chaitanyam, too, Shankara specifically says in this
> > bhashya itself: svakIyayA *chaitanyabalashaktyA, svarUpasadbhAvamAtreNa
> bibharti...*
> Is (does) Ishwara act in any sastra or Sankara's Advaitam? What is the
> point of saying that here Sankara talks about Kevala Chaitanyam?

It is to point out that saguNa brahman is not the one that is being spoken
of here.  I am not saying anything, I am only drawing your attention to
what Shankara's sentences mean.

> Its "prasada" as opposed to His? You can't ascribe mercy etc. to It.

Again, prasada is nothing but Its presence.  JnaAnaprasAda is a term of the

> > So, 'IshanashIlaH' can and  does mean in Advaita the one Pure
> Consciousness, that by mere presence makes things happen.
> You asked how there can be a king without a kingdom? I showed the 15 th
> chapter reference where Sankaa refers to nirupadhika Brahman as Ishwaranila
> - lord by nature. it is correct because rulership comes from being the
> Self. The Self (Ishwara) does not cease to be just because the world can
> and does.

It is 'IshanashIla' and not Ishwaranila.  The 'Lord' status is only
figurative.  In advaita since the entire creation is unreal, there is no
real creator or lord.  The mere presence of the chaitanyam is enough to do
this.  It is only to help those who cannot understand this that the shastra
talks about Ishwara, etc.  Shankara gives the example of a King who by his
mere presence is able to cause the servants do their allotted work.
Another example in Advaita for this is the magnet which by its mere
presence is able to cause movement in the iron filings.  Since the
aspirants at the lower level cannot understand a system that has no
creator/creation duality, the shastra superimposes this duality and the
required terms.  Once the aspirant is matured enough these are simply
dropped as irrelevant.

> If there is no sankalpa, then the cause of the world should be pradhana
> according to you.

No. The Vedantin's argument against the Sankhya's pradhana is only on the
basis of saguNa brahman.  Since the sankhya is a 'realist', one who holds
the world to be real, Vedanta is talking to him at that level.  The purport
of Vedanta, however, is elsewhere: in ajAti, no-creation-creator.  Hence
even 'sankalpa' is only an adhyAropa of the shastra on Brahman which is
essentially chaitanyam.  The sankhya can never fault the Vedantin.  If he
says: there is no kriya shakti in the nirguna chaitanyam, the vedantin
says: by the association with maya this shakti can be admitted in brahman.

> > The word 'sarvajna' used by Shankara in the BGB 15.17 too poses no
> difficulty for this word is commented upon by Shankara Himself in the
> Gaudapada kArikA [3.36 ] as 'sarvam tat jnasvarUpam cha'  that is, 'It is
> everything (in its essential nature) and Consciousness too at the same
> time'.
> In its essential nature has to be supplied to the Karika?

Not necessary.  Shankara says that even without supplying.  The word
'svarUpam' of Shankara is what means 'essential nature'.

> How do you enjoy with your definition Nirguna Brahman very distinct fom
> Saguna Brahman?

It is different from the 'real' enjoyment of Ishwara's bhoga-s along with
Ishwara by the mukta jivas as admitted in Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita.  In
Advaita since there is no bhoga-s for Ishwara in the paramarthika and no
creation at all and kevala nirguna brahman being the only reality, the
mukta is just one with brahman, as brahman, the Ananda svarUpa; it does not
need objects, bhogya padarthas, to enjoy.  That is why Shankara comments
there: 'as his jnAnasvarUpa he enjoys everything'.  One has to see the
bhashya there which I am not paraphrasing here as being out of context to
understand what is meant by 'enjoying' in Advaita.  If you are interested
you may look into the commentary.  But most likely there will be no true
understanding coming forth as that concept is a little tough.

>   For Shankara has strongly argued in the antaryAmi case that it is the
> chaitanyam alone that is non-different from the jiva's true nature that is
> called the antaryAmi, for Shankara reasons, there cannot be two chaitanyams
> in a jiva.
> In the two birds verse, you will say both are achit?

No.  Shankara has very nicely explained that it is one Chit alone, owing to
the jiva's upAdhi, appears as different.  It is owing to the jiva's ajnana
it considers itself as different from Brahman.  The next two mantras there
teach that owing to the jiva's gradual realization of the truth, there
occurs a final advaitic identification with the only chaitanyam there.  And
the Upanishad accepts this ignorance-based situation and alludes to it by
talking about two birds:  this is called 'anuvAda' in shastraic terms.

   To your position, does Brahman destroy Naraka? It will become an

> actor or the act of realization will become the actor.

Again, you are not aware of the advaitic idea of 'destruction'.  It is the
mere realization of one's true nature that is figuratively spoken of as
destruction of ajnana/naraka/samsara. There is no real destruction since
there is no real samsara.

> What is your bhashya for I was Manu, I was Surya, I am Gopala etc.? There
> is no destruction here.

I do not know about Gopala.  It does not appear in the shruti that Shankara
has quoted.  About manu and surya the Advaitic view is that Vamadeva
expresses his realization of his sarvAtmatva: that he is everything in
creation. In other words, Brahman is the adhishthanam of all
superimpositions at all times.  The Jnani realizes that he is in truth this
Brahman the ever existent which is (figuratively) the adhishthanam for the
never existent creation.

So all your pointing out to my logical fallacies are shown to be your own

> >
> > subrahmanian.v

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