[Advaita-l] Shankara on non-Advaitic mokSha/Brahman

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Mar 9 11:45:26 CST 2013

On Sat, Mar 9, 2013 at 3:37 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 6:33 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
> >wrote:
> > So, there is no instrumentality at all on the part of the Turiya
> (called  IshAna here).
> RV: Why is Turiya specifically called Ishana here by Gaudapada? Ishwara
> has been dealt with in sixth mantra. Here his state as changeless ruler is
> highlighted. If there is any other reason, what is that?

The term 'Ishwara' takes different meanings in Sanskrit and Advaita.  For
instance in the first mantra of the Ishavasyopanishad, 'IshAvAsyam...' the
bhashyam takes the meaning of NirguNa Brahman which is none other than the

We have the term 'kShetrajna-Ishwara aikyam' used by Shankara in the 13th
ch. BG where it is well known that there cannot be any aikyam between the
jiva and Ishwara (mAyOpaadhika).  What Shankara means here by the word is
only nirguNa brahman.

'Ishwaroham aham bhogI' of the AsurI sampat in 16th ch.BG means only a
wealthy, powerful, land lord.  He claims he is all this and enjoys his
status in society.  He is not claiming to be bhagavaan.

It is IshanashIla and not Ishwaranila (which was corrected long back).
Again, it is only the fundamental Lordship which is not Bhagavan as a
saguNa brahman.

> >
> > Brahman (not Ishwara) is the cause only through the instrumentality of
> mAyA.
> >
> RV: There are many problems in your statement. If Brahman is the cause,
> then it has to be negated. Also, the question arises as to what type of
> cause is Brahman as it cannot be either material or intelligent cause?

Here Brahman is vivartopAdAna karaNam.  Just like a rope can appear as
snake, a garland, a creek, a stick and so on, Brahman appears as jiva/s,
Ishwara, world of objects, etc.

> The third problem is who wields the instrument of maya? If it is Ishwara,
> then He is the cause not Brahman. Brahman cannot be the wielder of the
> instrument because He is actionless. This problem is solved when you accept
> that Brahman and Ishwara are one.

It is only with a view to posit an Ishwara the concept of mAyA is
admitted.  With mAyA it is possible for Brahman to be posited as Ishwara,
the wielder of mAyA.  This Ishwara can be called the abhinna nimittopAdAna
kAraNam while nirguNa brahman still remains the vivartopAdAna kAraNam.
This answers your next doubt.

> > Here, the 'cause' is Ishwara for the world.  He is called 'abhinna
> > nimittopAdAna kAraNam'. So, really Ishwara is not beyond cause/effect
> duality.  The sixth mantra of this very upanishad specifies the Ishwara as
> the cause.
> RV:  If you say Ishwara is different from Brahman and is the cause of the
> universe, then you have to either say that there are two causes for the
> universe viz. Brahman and Ishwara or that your previous statement  "Brahman
> (not Ishwara) is the cause only through the instrumentality of mAyA" is
> wrong. Is it not?
> >  When there is no kingdom/subjects there is no way one can be called
> the  King.
> >
> RV: Shankara calls Narayana, who is nirupadhika, Ishwaranila
> (IshanashIlaH.  you did not correct yourself despite having been shown long
> ago that your term is wrong)  in BG 15 Ch.

nirupAdhika Brahman can be the fundamental adhishThAnam on which jiva,
ishwara, etc. appear.  That way nirupAdhika Brahman is IshanashIlaH.
nArAyaNa etymologically can mean the abode of all people...with different
upAdhis - both low and high.

> >
> > In the pot called mAyA are both jiva and Ishwara representing the
> > pot-space.  When the mAyA pot is  destroyed the jiva-Ishwara defined pot
> space is seen as no different from  the Great space that is Brahman (and
> not Ishwara).  The Panchadashi verse:
> > mAyAkhyAyAH kAmadhenoH... is the most fitting one here.
> >
> RV: The above is true only in dualistic devotion where the pot-space and
> external-space are seen as two entities not in the non-dualistic devotion
> where it is seen as one space, the third stage of devotion.

Advaita happily uses the pot/external space analogy to convey the idea of
apparent division where no division is there in fact.  There is a fine
application of this analogy in the Gaudapada kArikA: 3rd ch..4,5,6,7..

> > RV: What is negated as absolute are particular attributes of Ishwara
> conceived in relation to the world. Where is Ishwara Himself negated? Even
> a sanyasi is not asked to give up narayana smrti. Even atmaramas do not
> give up vishnu.

'Ishwara' itself is a technical word that is used in relation to the
world.  If there is no relation to the world then there is no Ishwara.
Keep in mind the various meanings of this term that I have shown above. The
abode of creation, sustenance, dissolution, the antaryami...this Ishwara is
what is negated as not being the absolute turiya.

'nArAyaNa' has different meanings and depending on the particular
sannyasi's temperament/evolvement the smRti too varies.

AtmarAmas being devoted to VishNu is a case of 'pUjArtham kalpitam
dvaitam...' which we have discussed earlier.

Again, getting down to a serious study of the mAnDUkya is the best course
instead of asking the same questions in different words.


> >
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