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

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Fri Sep 20 12:09:28 CDT 2013

On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> > RV: What is something else if not para maya or pure consciousness? Do you
> > accept that Ishwara's form is not material? It is not made of either
> gross
> > or subtle elements. This much Madhususadana says unambiguously, right?
> Not
> > long ago, scholars on this forum argued that the Lord's forms are
> material
> VS: Once more, patiently. An eternal form (albeit only till vyavahAra
> lasts) is not
> consistent with formlessness. A form is what is called taTastha-lakshaNa.
> The
> formlessness is svarUpa-lakshaNa.

RV: Thank you for your patience. I hope it pays off in us arriving at the
most truthful conclusion. Madhusudana says BhG 7, "I salute the son of
Nanda who is Supreme Bliss through and through, without devotion to whom
there can be no liberation and who is the object of worship of all yogis".
Pure consciousness cannot be tatastha lakshana of Brahman. If you think
that the Lord's form is not a form of consciousness, please tell me why. It
is visuddha sattva and reveals the bliss of brahman as there is no rajas to
distort or tamas to cover.

> VS: In any case, what people here (including me) are taking issue with is
> your very notion of "eternality till vyavahAra lasts."
> If you accept that vyavahAra has an end, then something that ends with it
> is
> not eternal, by definition. What is really eternal is what persists beyond
> time
> and across time, past, present and future.
RV:  Ishwara is an entity that persists across time, past, present and
future. As time is a construct of Maya, Ishwara and His Shakti Maya persist
beyond time as well. Therefore Ishwara is really eternal by your definition
also or in other words a changeless eternal (kUtastha nitya). On the
contrary, the world which is an effect of Maya appears and disappears. It
is changeful eternal (parinama nitya). If you say that the Ishwara is
parinama nitya, please offer reason. From vyavahara perspective, Maya is
considered to be different from Ishwara, a power under His control.
However, we also logically conclude that Maya, as His Shakti, is
non-different from Ishwara. More importantly, Sankara says in BhG 14.27, "
Indeed, that power of God through which Brahman sets out, comes forth, for
the purpose of favouring the devotees, etc., that power which is Brahman
Itself, am I. For, a power and the possesser of that power are
non-different."  The Lord's body is made of Maya and hence non-different
from Ishwara.

If and when vyavahara ceases to be, ignorance is destroyed not the Ishwara.
When the pot is destroyed, the space is not though the duality of the space
inside the out and outside is. That is why it is appropriate for Jaimini to
hold the view that you become Ishwara. If Ishwara is a completely different
entity to Brahman, then it would be inappropriate and only Audulomi's would
be appropriate.

VS: Please do not latch on to one passage and draw your own meaning,
ignoring all the rest. There is an internal consistency across the works of
a given author. In the context of interpreting the bhagavadgItA, mahat,
avyakta and ahaMkAra
come before the sUkshma and sthUla bhUta-s, e.g. chapter 7, verse 4-5. So,
these three are mAyArUpa and are part of the lower prakRti as well, but not
made of gross or subtle elements.

RV: The Lord's forms show the qualities of material elements such a green,
blue etc., which is why we can see them. If you say that they are made of
mahat, avyakta, ahamkara etc. we cannot see them. Your view is not
supported by Madhusudana as evident from BhG 3.42, "The Unmanifested, the
Undifferentiated, the seed of entire creation, called Maya, ..., is
superior compared to the Mahat, the intellect, Hiranyagarbha." Also,
Madhusudana is not only of the opinion that the Lord's form is aprakrta
maya rupam. He also supports another view that "He, who is Lord Vasudeva,
eternal, omnipresent, Existenc-Knowledge-Bliss through and through, full,
unconditioned, and the supreme Self, is Himsself that body and it is not
any thing else either material or made of Maya". Please read his commentary
to BhG 4.6. The spirit of his purport is clearly that the Lord's form is
pure consciousness as it is visuddha sattva and does not conceal or distort
(the bliss of) brahman.

VS: Elsewhere as well (chapter 13), we learn of two prakRti-s of bhagavAn,
and we have bhagavatpAda's interpretation, "prakRti-dvayavattvam eva hi
ISvarasya ISvaratvam." In another verse in the same chapter, we are also
told "sarvendriya guNAbhAsa" and "sarvendriya vivarjita", "asakta" and
"sarvabhRt", "nirguNa" and "guNabhoktA." Put all these together in thinking
of the Lord's form(s).

RV: The question is whether the Lord's form is Higher Prakrti (Para Maya or
Pure Consciousness) or Lower Prakrti (Apara Maya or Jada Tattva). It is
very clearly the former. Otherwise, It cannot be an object of worship
especially for atmaramas.

> >
> > It would also be good to know if you agree or disagree with my arguments
> on
> > sabda, words etc.
> >
> VS: No, let's leave that for a separate thread. One needs agreement on
> basics for a
> discussion to happen.
RV: Both are related. The underlying reality behind names and forms is
Brahman. It is called differently from the world of illusion.



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