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

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Tue Sep 10 16:41:58 CDT 2013

> Then there are infinite jAtis, all of which are "eternal," as long as
> vyavahAra lasts?
> Then to say that Krishna's form is eternal in the same sense is a
> no-brainer. Still, I
> think  you have singularly overlooked the fact that when advaitins talk of
> eternality,
> they mean something beyond time itself and the entire discussion has been
> at cross
> purposes. It is because of eternality meaning timelessness, that we
> privilege nirguNatva,
> formlessness, and downplay tweaked concepts such as "eternal till
> vyavahAra lasts."
> In the advaita context, for whom does vyavahAra truly last?
> In any case, I fail to see how establishing the eternality of Krishna's
> form through a
> theory of an infinite number of eternal universals/jAti-s is particularly
> going to increase
> bhakti towards Krishna's form.

RV: As they are in Ishwara, all names and forms are eternal not "eternal"
because Ishwara, who is formless, is beyond space and time. However, names
and forms including those in smrti sastras depend on a cogniser. As the
cogniser is time limited by space and time, these names and forms are.  On
the other hand names and forms in shruti do not depend on a cogniser for
its existence. This is eternal in a special way of not being limited by
space and time. Krishna playing on Yamuna banks is in the shruti. It is
eternal in a special way of not being limited by space and time. We have to
differentiate between eternal and non-eternal. A jnana yogi will
concentrate on nirguna brahman. A bhakta will focus on the eternal form of
Krishna etc. As the Lord says in BhG, it is ifficult o focus on the
eternal formless but is easier to focus on the eternal form.

> You have now jumped from physical objects to words indicating those
> objects and
> the sounds that make up those words. But, there are words that denote no
> existing
> objects and there are certainly objects for which any given language has
> no words,
> which means that your jump to sound, words and sentences in a discussion
> of eternal
> jAti(s) is unwarranted.
> By your logic, any combination of sounds is eternal, whether it denotes a
> thing or not.
> And the word does not even have to indicate an existing object, e.g.
> SaSaSrnga (rabbit
> horns). It is definitely a word in Sanskrit (a combination of at least two
> words in most
> other languages), made out of sounds that pre-exist, yet it indicates no
> existing object,
> whether as a particular instance or as a jAti.
> Lest one starts off on genetic engineering potentially producing horns on
> a rabbit, let
> me suggest other such examples, e.g. "innocent criminal," "truthful lie,"
> or "non-
> violent murderer." In your sense, each of these is a jAti and it is
> eternal, because it comes
> from things that already exist and the corresponding words come from
> sounds that already
> exist. Yet, the things supposedly denoted by those words cannot exist, by
> definition. So,
> your idea of eternality is not even a guarantor of basic existence, let
> alone anything of
> value for a theory of bhakti.

RV: Why all these labour? You cannot speak of hare's horn or innocent
criminal unless you perceive the concept. The object here is the object.

When you see an object for which you don't know the name, you know it as
nameless and don't wrongly attribute names such as pot to it for which you
have object association. A child may not know the names of objects but that
does not make that object nameless. Creators languages are like children.

> > > Is such a modification real or only apparent? If the former, what
> happens
> > > to the
> > > eternality of the jAti once it gets modified to another one? If the
> > > latter, apparent to whom?
> > >
> >
> > RV: From the words, lap, top and computer you say laptop computer, is
> there
> > a real or apparent modification of lap etc.? If you create a new sound
> kit
> > kat from existing ki, t and ka, is it a real or apparent modification of
> ki
> > etc.? The fundamental sounds are immutable but their combination is. (As
> an
> > aside, a word or a sentence indicating an eternal truth will be
> immutable).
> Back to apaurusheyatva and Sabda-nityatva in pUrva mImAMsA in a different
> garb
> now, isn't it?
> And did you mean to say that the combination of fundamental sounds is
> mutable
> or immutable? I presume the former, because you see a need to impart
> special
> immutability to words/sentences indicating an eternal truth (never mind how
> one determines eternality or truth value).

RV: What is the need on your part to presume when I clearly said  "The
fundamental sounds are immutable but their combination is. (As an aside, a
word or a sentence indicating an eternal truth will be immutable)"?

> The truth value analysis is a topic by itself - never mind :)

But then, just one paragraph ago, you stated, "In that sense, it is eternal
> because it is from the same sound that existed before," which, logically
> speaking, implies that you should hold any and every combination of sounds
> to be eternal, "in that sense." In which case, every
> word and every sentence will have to immutable, whether or not it
> indicates any
> truth, eternal or temporal.

RV:  A sentence that depends on a cogniser is not eternal as the sentence
that does not depend on a cogniser though both may have same words and
fundamental sounds that are eternal. Where is the contradiction?

> I'm sorry I'm being merciless in picking apart the propositions you put
> forth, but I
> only mean to ensure that there is clarity and meaning in discussions on
> this list.
> That is the least we can ensure, to do justice to as sharp a thinker as
> Madhusudana
> Sarasvati.

RV: You, LalitalAlita and Subrahmanian are attacking me logically with a
view to educate and establish truth - no need to be sorry. I'm proud of

> Best regards,
> Vidyasankar
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