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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Apr 7 13:58:37 CDT 2012

On Sat, Apr 7, 2012 at 6:32 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> I did not display any "ingenuity" in "explaining away" the Kenopanishad
> bhashya. Sankara points to these vidhis and  Kadalangudi Natesa Sastrigal
> explains this in 1933 and kudos to him for looking ahead that this would be
> useful 70 - 80 years later. Due to such great personalities, who worked
> hard to protect the teachings of Sankara amidst financial difficulties, we
> have the parama artha and ananda available to us. Otherwise, we will all
> come to the conclusion that God is unreal according to Advaita
> reinterpreting Sankara or Madhusudana.

Dear Rajaram,

It is a great and pleasant coincidence that the verse from the
'svArAjyasiddhi' that I quoted in my last post (naiva mAyI na vishvam =
there is neither Ishwara nor the world) is taken from the book published in
1927 by Sri Kadalangudi Natesa SastrigaL, with a foreword by himself.  I
shall quote just a portion that is relevant from that foreword by Sri
Natesa SastrigaL:

तत्र आद्ये अध्यारोपप्रकरणे वियदादिलक्षणस्य अवस्थात्रयलक्षणस्य च प्रपञ्चस्य
शुद्धे अध्यारोपो वर्णितः । तत्प्रसङ्गेन तत्त्वंपदार्थभूतौ
जीवेश्वरावाश्रित्य .....प्रतिपादिताः ।

[There are three sections in this book 'svArAjyasiddhi'.  In the first
section called 'adhyAropaprakaraNa' it is explained how the entire world of
elements and elementals and the triad of states are superimposed in the
shuddha brahman.  In that context the subject matter of the mahavakya
namely the jiva (tvam) and the Ishwara (tat) are also elaborately

(my comment: here, the world of elements/elementals is signified by Ishwara
and the triad of states by the jiva.)

Sastrigal continues:

द्वितीये त्वपवादप्रकरणे अध्यारोपितस्य च प्रपञ्चस्य सप्रमाणं सयुक्तिकं
सविस्तरञ्चापवादं प्रतिपाद्य तादृशं शुद्धमेव परं ब्रह्म वेदान्ताः
तदन्तर्गतमहावाक्यानि च प्रतिपादयन्तीति प्रतिपादनाय चतुर्णां
महावाक्यानामर्थः सविस्तरपरीक्षणेन बहुधा निरूपितः ।

[ In the second section called 'apavAda prakaraNa' the negation of the
(earlier mentioned) entire prapancha is elaborately presented with the
support of pramANas and reasoning *and it is finally shown that such a
shuddha para brahman alone the Upanishads and the mahavakyas contained
therein establish*.  To this end this section discusses in detail the four

So, contrary to your conclusion Sri Kadalangudi SastrigaL has written with
his own hand here that 'the shuddha param brahman alone is the ultimate
reality according to the upanishads.'  One can compare this with what he
has said in the earlier quoted portion: jiva and Ishwara are the ones that
are 'superimposed' in shuddha brahman, as the world.  Now, in the negation,
this jiva and Ishwara are 'distilled' and shown to be none other than the
shuddha brahman. Nowhere does the svaaraajyasiddhi or sri SastrigaL give
room for the idea that you have concluded that sri SastrigaL is espousing.
It is clear now that Sri SastrigaL is holding an entirely different view of
Ishwara in Advaita from that of yours.

> If you don't differentiate between Hiranyagarbha and Narayana
> (Parameshwara), then you have to say why Sankara does though both are
> referred to by the term Ishwara. Their lordship, omniscience and
> omnipotence are not the same though both have it. Hiranyagarbha is not the
> Self of all while Parameshwara is. In BG 9.5, Sankara explains for "mama
> atma" that the Lord is non-different from the Self. Madhusudana, in his
> enviable style and clarity, gives the example of Rahu's head. I don't know
> on what basis the learned scholars conclude that Ishwara is anatma.

You are again failing to understand that in the above case of the BG the
pure consciousness (nirupAdhika chaitanyam) is what is being spoken of and
not the saguNa brahman.  The differentiation between Hiranyagarbha and
Parameshwara is not the question here.  In the Kenopanishat bhashya
Shankara says:  उपाधिभेदविशिष्टम् *अनात्मा ईश्वरादि* उपासते and compare
this with what Shankara says in BSB 2.1.14:

*तदेवमविद्यात्मकोपाधिपरिच्छेदापेक्षमेवेश्वरस्येश्वरत्वं सर्वज्ञत्वं
सर्वशक्तित्वं च न परमार्थतो विद्यायापास्तसर्वोपाधिस्वरूप
आत्मनीशित्रीशितव्यसर्वज्ञत्वादिव्यवहार उपपद्यते   ।*

//Thus, only in the realm of the ignorance-created upAdhis are Ishwara's
Lordship, Omniscience and Omnipotence, and not in the pAramArthika realm
which implies that the ignorance-created upAdhis have been
negated/dispelled by True knowledge. //

So, there is no doubt at all that Shankara is talking about the saguNa
brahman, Ishwara, the jagatkAraNam, in both the Kena and Sutra bhashyas.
It is the criterion of 'upAdhi-endowedness' that is the key in deciding
whether it is anAtma / abrahman or not.  If there is upAdhi then it is
anAtma.  If there is no upAdhi, only then it is shuddha brahman.  If one
understands this fundamental idea of Advaita Vedanta, much
argumentation/disputation could be avoided.  There cannot be a more
explicit presentation of Advaita than the foregoing on the particular
aspect. Incidentally the svaaraajyasiddhi method presented here in
Sastrigal's words is the method of the Mandukya upanishad.

If you are still not convinced you may continue to discuss with others.
From my side this is the last one on this thread.


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