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

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Mon Apr 9 12:36:29 CDT 2012

Namaskarams. But I have to say this.  What you said applies to you
also. "I mention
this as an aside, because the mere occurrence of a word need not mean what
people (no matter how scholarly they are) may think it means." anatma
ishwara refers to cosmic subtle body (Hiranyagarbha) not to parameshwara
who is maya sabalitha brahman. Kadalangudi is no fool to explain these
vidhis in a two page foot note. To write that off without even reading him
is close minded. Interpreting without reference to mimamsa as Sri
Subrahmanian does is wrong.

Please read Ishadhikaranam and BG 8.13 and 8.19 - 21 very very carefully with
an open mind. You will appreciate the clear difference between Parameshwara
(Atma) and Hiranyagarbha (Anatma).

My previous post summarises my position. It leaves no room for dualism and
your position that Ishwara is anatma and abrahman. It just leaves all the
room for Sankara.
On Monday, April 9, 2012, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> > We know that Br. Up. states that one who worships the deity thinking I am
> > one and He is another is like an animal to the deity. By this, it teaches
> > that one should worship the deity as non-different from the Self and not
> as
> No, this passage of the bRhadAraNyaka is not to be treated as an injunction
> regarding worship of any kind at all. There is no vidhi pertaining to
> knowledge
> of the content, "ahaM brahmAsmi". All that the upanishat is saying is that
> he
> who has this realization himself becomes the AtmA of all the deva-s,
> whereas
> he who does not know this is like a paSu for the various devatA-s.
> What is said here of Self-knowledge goes far beyong worshipping a deity as
> an external object or as non-different from the Self. It has to do with
> the very
> immediate realization, the aparoksha-anubhUti, "I am the Self of all
> this", like
> vAmadeva, who is named in the upanishat, just before the passage you have
> quoted. Note that Sankara bhagavatpAda says in the kena bhAshya, AtmAnam
> eva nirviSeshaM brahma viddhi, in the same passage that is being quoted
> here.
> > an external object. That will reduce the deity to "idam" or mere
> "jadam". I
> > think that it is the same principle that is taught here using niyama and
> > parisankhya vidhis as indicated by Sankara.
> There is no vidhi in the kenopanishad bhAshya passage in question. All that
> Sankara bhagavatpAda has done is that he has used the words niyama and
> parisaMkhyA, because they capture the priniciple behind the upanishat's
> teaching. "Know that to be brahman" (tad eva brahma tvaM viddhi) is the
> primary sentence. It is not a vidhi at all, because there can be NO vidhi
> for
> brahmAtmajnAna, simply because jnAna is not the result of any action, while
> a vidhi can only pertain to an action that needs to be carried out. Sankara
> has argued this point forcefully in many different places in his bhAshya-s.
> The part of the upanishat that says, "not what is worshipped here" (nedaM
> yad idam upAsate) has been interpreted as either a niyama, to restrictively
> indicate that brahman is different from an upAsya, or as a parisaMkhyA, to
> exclude wrong notions of what is brahman from what the upanishat intends
> - anya-brahma-buddhi says the bhAshya. The word vidhi is conspicuous by
> its absence in this passage. Wherever Sankara bhagavatpAda interprets an
> upanishat text as conveying a vidhi, he most explicitly tells us so, e.g.
> look
> in this list's archives between September and December 2006 for threads
> with the title "Yoga and Advaita Vedanta".
> I do not have Kadalangudi Sastrigal's book with me, but I would be
> extremely
> surprised if he says that Sankara talks of a vidhi for brahmajnAna here. I
> can
> almost guarantee that he doesn't say so. What has been done in the bhAshya
> is to use the terminology niyama and parisaMkhyA, in the sense of
> restriction/
> exclusion, but without implying any injunction here. I would think that the
> Sastrigal has explained what the words niyama and parisaMkhyA are meant
> to indicate, by referring to the corresponding vidhi-s, because there is a
> well
> known pUrva mImAMsA application of these two words.
> And in the same bhAshya passage, earlier on, we see that Sankara has taken
> pains to separate out what is meant by the term brahman here from upAsya
> deities - anya upAsyo vishNur ISvara indraH prANo vA brahma bhavitum
> arhati, na tv AtmA, loka-pratyaya-virodhAt .... tAm etAm ASankAM Sishya-
> lingena upalakshya tad vAkyAd vA Aha - mA evaM SankishThAH. Anticipating
> a notion that perhaps another object of worship, such as Vishnu or Isvara
> or
> Indra or Prana is to be known as brahman, the upanishat goes ahead and
> teaches the truth of the AtmA, nedaM yad idam upAsate - not that which is
> worshipped here.
> In summary, if you think brahman is out there as a Ruler or Controller of
> the
> universe, and that yourself as the jIva are somebody else, the ruled or the
> controlled, if you make the slightest distinction here, you do not truly
> know
> brahman. It is easy to say that Sankara teaches ISvara to be the same as
> brahman, the same as the Self (capital S). The most pertinent question to
> ask here is, what is your conception of your self (small s) in relation to
> that
> brahman/ISvara? And to truly understand what is being taught in advaita,
> you need to empty yourself of any prior concepts you may have about these
> questions. Unless you understand that it is the small-s-self that needs to
> give up its self-misconceptions and realize that it has always been, is and
> will always be the capital-S-Self, there is no progress in advaita. The
> habit
> of thinking and writing in English is a big handicap in this, which is why
> I
> emphasize the need to go back to the Sanskrit texts.
> Vidyasankar
> ps. Sengaku Mayeda, in his translation of the upadeSasAhasrI, also mistakes
> this kenabhAshya usage of the word parisaMkhyAna and thinks this refers in
> some way to what is taught as the parisaMkhyAna meditation in the third
> prose chapter of upadeSasAhasrI. Needless to say, what the bhAshya means
> by the word parisaMkhyAna here serves merely as a general "exclusion of all
> that is not intended by the upanishat here". I mention this as an aside,
> because
> the mere occurrence of a word need not mean what people (no matter how
> scholarly they are) may think it means.
> _______________________________________________

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