[Advaita-l] 'Ishwaro'ham' and 'IshwarabhAvaH'

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 3 10:53:58 CDT 2013

> >
> RV: We have to differentiate between the vigrahas that we make and install
> deities in from the form realised during bhagavad sAkshatkArA. If ISKCON
> devotees think that Prabhupada's form is eternal like Krishna's, they are
> equally at fault like advaitins who put their guru's form at the same level
> as that of the Vedic deities. I asked my gaudiya vaishnava teacher if

First, prove your contention that advaitins put their guru's form at the same
level as that of (or above) the Vedic deities. In the course of proving it, establish
what you mean by form and prove that advaitins mean the same thing as well.


> Prabhupada's form is spiritual and eternal like Krishna's. He laughed and
> said, "No. He had diabates" It is considered spiritualised like iron rod in
> fire, like items used in worship. It is non-eternal.

This is classic adhyAsa of deha and deha-dharma on the AtmA, and if you see
it as a valid argument, then you are really talking at cross purposes with the rest
of us here.


With all due respect to your gauDiya vaishNava teacher, when he said, "no, he
had diabetes," he falsely attributed the ill-health of the body of Prabhupada to
the "form" that you were enquiring about. If you accepted that the fault of the
material body of Prabhupada somehow translated to the spiritual/eternal form
of the jIva that is Prabhupada, then you also falsely did the same attribution
and conflation of deha on the not-deha. An uncritical acceptance of this adhyAsa
as a matter of course plagues all bhedAbheda thinking, no matter how acintya
it may be.


Even dvaitins would find fault with the tone and conclusions of the conversation
you report. If you were to ask a true dvaitin, he would say that the individual jIva
that had the name Prabhupada in one birth is a spiritual, eternal form, distinct
from the material that was the body of Prabhupada, distinct from all other jIvas,
who are each their own spiritual, eternal forms,  and also distinct from vishNu's
eternal, spiritual form. The dvaita position at least has the advantage of being
rigorously self-consistent, even though as advaitins, we deny its ultimate truth
value in the vedAnta SAstra. 

If you were to ask an advaitin, he would say that a jIva with the name Prabhupada
in one birth, considered as a separate spiritual entity is not eternal, because the
jIva-tva itself is a temporary, albeit long-lived, phenomenon. Yet, Prabhupada was,
is and will always be the AtmA, the same as brahman, spiritual, eternal, formless.
The same answer would hold true for you, me, your gauDiya vaishNava teacher,
my advaita teacher, Krishna, Rama, Kamsa and Ravana as well. If this answer is very
complicated and does not resonate with you, so be it, but that does not take away
from its truth. You should at least be able to see that your views about advaitins
exalting the "form of their guru" over the vedic deities are without foundation.


So long as you are preoccupied with form and its eternality, you are never going to
understand/appreciate formlessness. So, all your elaborate discussions about the
eternality of the form of Krishna end up being the same conversation over and over
again, without going anywhere.


> RV: I dont claim jnana marga is for me but how can you say advaitam is not
> for me? Madhusudana says that a devotee of Raghava will attain advaita
> siddhi even without a guru, without need for sravana, manana, nidhidhyasana
> etc. If I am devotee, then advaita siddhi will be accessible to me as much
> as it is to a jnana yoga, more easily so.

More power to you, if you truly have that depth of devotion. But please do not be 
under any illusion that it is easier. The kind of devotion that Madhusudana is talking
about is as demanding a path as the jnAnamArga. Although, I don't know where he
says even SravaNa and manana are unnecessary for such a devotee. If he does say so,
I'd like to see what else ether he says about the role of the guru, SravaNa etc in the
previous births of such a person.


It is easy to cite "ananyAS cintayanto mAM ye janAH" and claim that bhaktimArga is
an easy path as compared to jnAnamArga. The important question truly is, how many
self-professed bhakta-s really have that deep level of single-pointedness, that kind of
ananya-tva that is described in the gItA verse. It is easy to talk about, but very hard to
accomplish in practice. It is at least as difficult as the path of jnAna and saMnyAsa. 


As for advaita and advaita-siddhi, if you keep clinging to the bheda between bhakta
and bhagavAn, then by definition, it will never be advaita-siddhi. Also, trying to prove
that this way of thinking is true advaita vedAnta, as per Madhusudana Saraswati and
Sridhara Swamin, is quite pointless. That is just my opinion, but I think you will find
that this opinion is close enough to the truth. 





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