[Advaita-l] mithyaa / anirvachaniiya and asattva

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Mar 17 07:00:07 CDT 2013

On Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 5:03 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM, V Subrahmanian
> <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:
> > Why go as far as Ishwara when it is brahman alone that is experienced by
> everyone always:
> >
> > In the aparokShAnubhUti we have a fine verse:
> >
> > सर्वोऽपि व्यवहारस्तु ब्रह्मणा क्रियते जनैः ।
> > अज्ञान्न विजानन्ति मृदेव हि घटादिकम् ॥ ६५
> >
> RV: This is similar to BhG 4.24. The ladle is Brahman, the oblations is
> Brahman, the offering is poured by Brahman in the fire of Brahman. Brahman
> alone is to be reached by him who has concentration on Brahman as the
> objective. According to the commentary, it is a description of how an
> advanced karma yogi sees every thing as Brahman. Ordinary people do not and
> cannot see every thing as Brahman. Is there a difference between seeing
> everything as Brahman and everything as Ishwara? According to modern
> interpreters, may be there is but not according to Sankara. "The stars are
> Vishnu, the worlds are Vishnu, the forests are Vishnu, the mountains and
> regions are Vishnu, also the rivers and oceans; he is all that is and all
> that is not, O best of Brahmanas! BhG brings out the same idea in the
> verses from 10.21 : "Of Adityas, I am Vishnu" to the end 10.42 "Having
> pervaded the whole universe with a portion of Myself, I exist. The sruti MU
> 2.1.10 says: "The Purusha is all this, sacrifice, penance, Brahman, the
> Highest, the Immortal".

All the above are Brahmadarshanam. I would cite this passage from Shankara
BGB 13.18:

अस्मिन् सम्यग्दर्शने कः अधिक्रियते इति उच्यते -- मद्भक्तः मयि ईश्वरे
सर्वज्ञे परमगुरौ वासुदेवे समर्पितसर्वात्मभावः यत् पश्यति शृणोति स्पृशति वा
'सर्वमेव भगवान् वासुदेवः' इत्येवंग्रहाविष्टबुद्धिः मद्भक्तः। स एतत् यथोक्तं
सम्यग्दर्शनं विज्ञाय, मद्भावाय मम भावः मद्भावः परमात्मभावः तस्मै मद्भावाय
उपपद्यते मोक्षं गच्छति।
//Who is fit for this true knowledge? The answer is: madbhaktah, My
devotee, who attributes the fact of being the Self of all to Me who am God,
Vasudeva, the Omniscient, the supreme Teacher, (and) whose conviction has
been saturated with the idea that whatever he sees, hears or touches, all
that verily is Lord Vasudeva. Vijnaya, by understanding; etat, this, the
aforesaid true knowledge; he upa-padyate, becomes qualified; mad-bhavaya,
for My State (bhava) -the State of being the supreme Self; for that State
of Mine. He attains Liberation.//

> See the Vishnusahasranama bhashyam of Shankara for the word 'aprameyaH'
> occurring in the very beginning.

> RV: The commentary refers to Sakshi after describing the inability of
> sastras to describe Brahman.

It is not so. Actually the bhashyam, in the original reads, ends, thus:
....साक्षिरूपद्वाद्वा. which means: (after the lengthy reasoning to
establish the inability of shastras/pramanas to 'apprehend' Vishnu,
Brahman, Shankara gives another reason) OR since Vishnu/Brahman is of the
nature of a Witness, it is impossible to objectify.

By sAkShi what Shankara is meaning is: He/It is the subject, viShayI, which
can never become an object/viShaya.

> It is not a problem for me because according to me Brahman, Ishwara and
> Sakshi are categorisation of the absolute only albeit from the vyavahara
> point of view. It should be a problem for you because according to modern
> interpreters who see Ishwara and Sakshi as a-brahman.

Please note that, as I pointed out above, the term sAkShI is used as a
viShayI and it is only relative to the vishaya.  Hence there can't be any
absolute status for sAkShi.  Since Advaita holds that Brahman is not even
the cause of the creation, epithets such as sAkShI and ishwara will still
be within the relative realm alone.


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