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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 20 17:31:55 CDT 2013

If you are saying that in reality ISvara is pure consciousness, i.e. nirguNa brahman, then
you have to acknowledge that it is formlessness that is spoken of as if it were a form, for
the purposes of speaking, i.e. upacAra. There is no point in saying that this corresponds
to a specific form, exclusive of other form,s nor in saying that this form is eternal as long
as vyavahAra lasts. If you agree that ISvara is really formless, then ALL names and forms
pertain to ISvara and at the same time, NO name or form is truly definitive of ISvara. And
this "form" that is formlessness lasts throughout, not only so long as vyavahAra lasts.

> 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

My citing of mahat, avyakta and ahaMkAra was to show that a-pancabhautika does not
always imply an entity that is independent of prakRti (the seed principle of materiality).
Depending upon context, the words avyakta, avyAkRta and such (usually translated as
Unmanifest or Undifferentiated) can point either to pure consciousness or to a stage of
prakRti prior to manifestation as material made out of subtle or gross components.

> 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.

Look, the advaitic approach is very clear. When describing in the above terms, "body"
and "form" are always understood as an "as if". There is always an "iva" involved, which
adds a lot of force and meaning that does not come across in translation.
I would suggest a careful reading of the commentary by SrI madhusUdana sarasvatI on
verse 4.6: 
kathaM tarhy adehe saccidAnandaghane dehatva-pratItiH? ata Aha, "... deha-dehi-
bhAva-SUnye ... dehI iva AbhAti mAyayA". 

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