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

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Sep 14 12:28:01 CDT 2013

So you recognize that formlessness is more fundamental for ISvara than a
form that lasts as long as vyavahAra lasts.

RV: Ishwara is formless according to our sastras. He is also a container of
all names and forms. However, Ishwara's form is not made of material
elements. It is also not a distinct entity from Him. The only condition in
which Ishwara's form sublates is when a devotee realises oneness with
Ishwara just as we do not see our own form.

> 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
How so? By what logical process do you establish that names, forms, words
and sentences in Sruti do not depend on a cognizer for their very
existence? If
not for the existence of brahman, the veda would not exist. The upanishat
that the veda was "breathed out" of brahman and in the smRti, we are told
"vedavid eva cAham." If not for that cognizer, the veda is not. And the
veda itself says as much. It also says, "tatra vedA avedAH."

RV: I am afraid you misunderstand my argument and counter it. Nothing can
exist without Brahman. However, there is a difference between shruti and
smrti statements. In the case of the latter, a rishi sees an event in the
objective world or imagines a construct that will illustrate a point. Then
he goes on to speak it. It is like you see it is raining and then say "It
is raining". The cognition of the event precedes the expression of that in
a statement. In the case of shruti, the there is no separate cognition of
an event before it is spoken of through the statements. Just as the power
of sight reveals an external event, the shruti vakyas reveal the truth on
its own.

> 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.

The concept is not an object of perception, merely a verbal construction
corresponds to no object in the universe. You have still not addressed why
is valid for you to jump from objects/entities to words/sounds.

RV: I addressed it in an earlier post. Let me re-phrase it if my stand was
unclear. In the world of names and forms that we live in, we are used to
cause - effect relationship. So, when we see a form of a pot in our mind,
we conclude that it should have a cause in terms of an object pot. We test
our hypothesis by turning away from the direction of the pot. As the pot
disappears from our vision, we conclude that a real object in that location
is the cause of our vision of pot. We dont have any other means of
knowledge of the real object pot but for the form in our vision and this
test. (I include other senses such as touch when I say vision). We have
vision of the pot in a dream also. It may also vanish when we conduct the
experiment of turning away causing us to conclude that a real object
exists. However, once we know it is a dream, we conclude that the vision of
the pot was caused by mind and not a physical object. What we know for
certain is names and forms whether it is a dream or waking state. The
existence of underlying physical object is only a plausibility
(sambhavana). To be clear, I have pratyaksha pramana to talk of names and
forms. I do not have anumana to talk of physical objects because I dont
know of a direct relationship between a physical object and its name or
form. You may say that I have sabda pramana that tells me of creation of
physical elements. Even in this case, there is no difference between sabda
(word / sound) and its artha (meaning / object). Hence, I am justified in
jumping from objects / entities that people understand in general to words
/ sounds that I know for certain exist.

> 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 reason is that your sentence construction is very ambiguous. A reader
not clearly know whether you meant to say,

"The fundamental sounds are immutable, but their combination is (not
RV: but is generally used to indicate the difference or opposite.

The reason for the third choice above is that you had just argued "any new
jAti is
a combination of already existing jAtis" and you had argued for the
existence of
infinite eternal (so long as vyavahAra lasts) jAtis. Then you jumped away
from jAti
to sound. Eternality has to mean immutability, necessarily so. So one
has to ask whether you really meant that a combination of eternal jAtis (or
in your latest argument) could somehow be non-eternal and mutable.

RV: If there is a word, it indicates a jAti. If the word is made of parts
then it is a combination of the jAtis indicated by the parts.

 I wasn't really apologizing! Saying "I'm sorry ..." is just a style of
speaking, to ease out the intensity of this written conversation in a
polite manner. :-) It is just one of those features of the English language
where the words say one thing and mean something else!

 RV: We should say what we mean :)

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