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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 19:54:45 CDT 2012

On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 1:29 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> My serious response inset.
> On Thursday, April 5, 2012, V Subrahmanian wrote:
> >
> >
> > If anyone says something other than NirguNa Brahman is 'real' in Advaita
> it
> > only means 'relatively real' and never absolutely real.  Thus, no Acharya
> > in the Advaita tradition would support or endorse your view if you are
> > saying/meaning that the reflection is absolutely real or as real as the
> > original.
> > It is an incorrect representation of the tradition. In pratibimba vada,
> the reflection is held to be absolutely real. That is the basis in this
> view to say that Isvara and Jiva are one.

The reflected consciousness the jiva is one with Brahman the original
consciousness only on the condition that the reflecting medium the mind is
negated/set aside.  And it is wrong to say that the jiva is one with
Ishwara.  The reflecting medium mAyA which makes Ishwara what He is, is
also negated, set aside.  ONLY on this condition where there is no longer
any room to talk about a 'reflection' on both counts, at the jiva level and
the Ishwara level, does the Advaitic Advaita gets established.

> In abhasa vada, some say, that
> the reflection is held to be unreal but I don't think so because even here
> the reflection is admitted as consciousness. This does not mean there are
> multiple realities but that one reality appears in multiple mediums without
> losing its reality.

The multiple mediums are negated as unreal upAdhis, born of ignorance. When
these are negated, as stated earlier, there is no room to talk about
multiplicity in reality.  It is only one.

> > यत एव चायमात्मा चैतन्यरूपो निर्विशेषो वाङ्मनसातीतः
> > परप्रतिषेधोपदेश्योऽत एव *चास्योपाधिनिमित्तपारमार्थिकीं
> > *विशेषवत्तामभिप्रेत्य जलसूर्यकादिवदित्युपमोपादीयते मोक्षशास्त्रेषु -
> >
> >
> > It s the viseshas that is said to be not paramartika not the reflected
> consciousness. By appearing in vyavahara, the pure consciousness does not
> become achit. It is reflection not distortion especially when it is on
> visuddha sattva, which is he case with Ishwara.

Note the word 'viSheshavattAm'.  It is not the same as vishesha. Of course
vishesha-s are themselves unreal.  And 'being endowed with visheshas' which
is what is meant by that word 'viSheshavattA' is also unreal, not
pAramArthik.  This is because in Advaita, Brahman is nirvishesha.  Both
jiva and Ishwara are sa-vishesha, in other words, endowed with visheshas.
So, this very condition of being endowed with vishesha-s is inadmissible in
Vedanta.  That is why they both are regarded as unreal.  The chaitanyam,
sans the visheshas, is neither jiva nor Ishwara.

> > As far as I know, in all schools of Advaita Ishwara is said to be the
> Antaryami or pratyagatma.
> In BG 8.3, Sankara identifies the supreme Brahman, the Self, with Ishwara.
> Sankara says, "Akshara means that which does not perish,the Supreme Self.
> This agrees with the Upanishadic text, 'Under the mighty rule of this
> Immutable! O Gargi (Br. 3.8.9).'" In 13.3, the Lord is identified with the
> Self by Sankara - too long to reproduce here.

The above meaning does not come from the bhashyam.  Shankara looks at the
word/adjective 'paramam' (as different from / opposed to the adjective
'aparam').  And Shankara's clinching words are these: परमं इति निरतिशये
ब्रह्मणि अक्षरः उपपन्नतरं विशेषणम् - Ishwara is not niratishaya brahman; He
is sAtishaya since the Turiya or PuruShottama is the one even above, beyond
Ishwara. And in the next sentence Shankara confirms this idea that the
Brahman spoken of in this verse is nirguNa nirvishesha: तस्यैव परस्य
ब्रह्मणः प्रतिदेहं प्रत्यगात्मभावः..It is 'this' para brahman that is
available as the pratyagAtman, the innermost self, in every body.  So,
Shankara does not agree with the idea that Ishwara is the pratyagAtman.  I
have pointed out the two usages of the term 'Ishwra'.  In this discussion
one has to keep in mind both the meanings and be careful not to mix them


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