[Advaita-l] 'world' is not the mental creation of tiny soul !!

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Thu Mar 13 02:00:46 CDT 2014

Hare Krishna

After reading Sri Sada prabhuji-s write up on global and local mind, I am 
tempted to write this.  Please bear with the length of this mail.  Nothing 
new has been said here, just shared once again whatever is there already 
in shruti and shankara bhAshya. 

brahma satya jagan mithya jeevO brahmaiva nAparaH, is the famous slogan we 
often chant to convey the advaita's paramArtha siddhAnta.  While we have 
no disagreements within ourselves with regard to 'brahma satyatva'...The 
jagan mithyatva.  second statement always subject to deliberation within 
ourselves due to seemingly varied explanations with regard to mithyatva of 
jagat.   Some say, since jagat is mere mental creation (jeeva buddhi 
parikalpita or jeeva mAnasa pratyaya)  of individual jeeva it has been 
called 'mithyA' as it cannot be as satya as brahman.  I think this stand 
is what we needs to look in more detail.  If the whole jagat is mere 
mental creation of jeeva, what was the need for shruti and smruti 
references which exclusively and elaborately talks about brahman's 
efficient (nimitta) and material (upAdAna) cause??  why at all there is a 
need for any elaboration about kArya (effect) and kAraNa (cause) 
methodology??  What is the fate of 'srushti' shruti-s which tell us that 
brahman was only one without second  before thinking about creation or 
before thinking he should become 'many' ??  All these 'srushti' para 
shruti vAkya-s and brahman's jagadeka kAraNatvaM should be push aside if 
we cling to the theory that individual jeeva is the one who just imagines 
this jagat in his mental factory or if we say the same in advaitic 
terminology 'jagat is jeeva buddhi parikalpita'.  Let us first look what 
exactly shruti / shankara says with regard to srushti (creation) and this 
nAma rUpAtmaka jagat. 

>From the paramArtha stand point of view there is no creation, nor 
dissolution (na nirOdhO na chOtpattiH.....ityesha paramArtha GK-2-32) so, 
talking about creation, jeeva, bandha mOksha etc. from this point of view 
is not at all necessary since these are all not paramArtha.  But when we 
are still seeing duality with our limited BMI and thinking ourselves as 
parichhinna chaitanya, there definitely be karma,  karma phala, karma 
bhUmi, pashu, patni, suta, Alaya etc. And from this dualistic point of 
view we need to find an answer to this existing duality and the cause 
behind this duality.  And no need to mention to find an answer we should 
use pramANa which talks about it in detail i.e. shAstra-s and 
AcharyOpadesha.  So,  to know what is creation, the secret behind 
creation,  the force behind this creation  shAstra & AcharyOpdesha are the 
only means.  The shAstra while holding the parAmArtha drushti  (as per 
GK-2-32) for the benefit of those who take creation as real event by some 
supernatural person/force, does talk about Ishwara, srushti, karma, phala 
etc.  shAstra helps us to understand the method of creation as there is an 
enquiry about the nature of individual souls, their bondage, their 
transmigration, their release from bondage and the means of release  etc. 
from the curious minds of jeeva.  Since all these doubts presuppose 
creation, shAstra talks about creation, creator, creation force of his 
etc.  So, enquiry into it is very necessary from the not so absolute point 
of view but relative real point of view of jeeva-Ishwara-jagat bedha. 

When we consider creation is a real event, shAstra tells us for this 
creation brahman is the ekameva abhinna nimittOpadAna kAraNa.  He is both 
efficient and material cause of this jagat. Ishwara at the beginning of 
every kalpa thinks about the creation as per his previous kalpa creation.  
Rigveda saMhita says : dhAtA yathA pUrvamakalpayat. And before this 
srushti, there was only one chetana entity and that chetana entity thought 
of becoming many and creation so says taitereeya : sOkAmayata bahusyAm 
prajAyeyeti & Itareya first maNtra : AtmA vA idameka evAgra Aseet, na 
anyat kiMchana mishat, sa ekshata lOkAnnu srujA iti. etc.  All these 
shruti vAkya-s explains us that Ishwara/brahman is the nimmitta kAraNa for 
the srushti, there was nothing apart from HIM when he thought of creation 
and becoming many.  We may ask the question here, How ApatakAma Ishwara 
got the idea of creation, what he has to do with it ??  how does the 
pravrutti of srushti kArya generated in brahman??  Shankara answers this 
in sUtra bhAshya (3-2-41) : sarvavedAnteshu cha IshwarahetukA eva 
srushtayO vyapadishyante, tadeva cha Ishwarasya phala hetutvaM yat 
svarkarmAnurUpAH prajAH srujateeti.  The pravrutti of Ishwara is because 
of jeeva..to give karma phala to the jeeva-s Ishwara involves himself in 
srushti kArya.  (the doubts like how jeeva first generated and how they 
got the first karma phala etc. are mute here!!) So, in short, srushti is 
there for jeeva to get their karma phala and this karma phala distribution 
(karmAdhyaksha says shvetaashvatara) will be done by Ishwara as per 
jeeva's karma.  Ishwara/brahman is the nimitta kAraNa (efficient cause) 
and he first thought of his creation to set a stage to jeeva-s. 

>From what material  he created this jagat??  the next question obviously 
arises in us.  For this shAstra says he himself is the material cause of 
this universe.  In mundaka there is question by shaunaka to Angirasa : 
kasminnu bhagavO vijnAte sarvamidaM vijnAtaM bhavati??  For this angiras 
answers : yathA pruthivyAm OshadhayaH saMbhavanti,.....tathAksharAt 
saMbhavateeha vishvaM..spider example also given in the same shruti to 
explain how brahman uses his own material to create jagat.  In taitereeya 
it is said without any ambiguity : yatO vA imAni bhUtAni  jAyante,  yena 
jAtAni jeevanti, .....tadvijijnAsasva, tad brahmeti., satyamabhavat, 
yadidaM kiMcha, And in mundaka it is further more clear that brahman 
himself is the upAdAna kAraNa for this jagat : brahmaivedaM vishvaM 
brahmaivedaM purastAt.. From all these it can be understood brahman is the 
ONLY upAdAna & nimitta kAraNa that shruti and Acharya giving us and 
nothing else in the context of 'event of creation'. 

Now, for  the question whether it is parabrahman (nirvishesha) or 
mAyAvishesha, sOpAdhika brahman depicted as creator??   shankara himself 
answers in the sUtra bhAshya (1-1-2) :  The origination etc. of the 
universe with these characterstics cannot be possibly conceived to be 
effected by any cause other than the Ishwara possessing these qualities. 
And in sUtra (1-2-21) bhAshya shankara further clarifies : This source of 
all beings the possessor of qualities like invisibility etc. is the 
HIGHEST LORD (parameshwara) ONLY nothing else.  How is this conclusion 
arrived at ??  Because his attributes have been cited.  The clause : He 
who is all knowing (sarvajna) and all perceiving (sarva druk) evidently 
refers to the exclusive attribute of the highest lord.  Some may argue 
here, since brahman is nirguNa, nirvishesha, niravayava, nirvikAri and he 
is one without second how can he be with attributes??  in what sense it is 
sarvajna, sarvashakta?? is it not contradiction in terms to say that there 
isno act of knowing on the part of brahman and yet it is sarvajna, it 
exercises no power (since nothing else is there to show its power) and yet 
it is sarvashakta??  how can brahman know at all before creation since it 
has no upAdhi then and hence brahman must have something extra (which is 
not his svarUpa) to become sarvajna and sarvashakta and that something 
extra is called mAya / avyAkruta / avyakta etc. which gives force to 
brahman and if this external force is not there, then brahman is buddhi 
heena (an idiot), shakti heena (impotent).  For these mundane doubts on 
the highest (para) brahman shankara answers vividly in Itareya's very 
first maNtra (1-1-1).  And if we look at svetAsvatara maNtra (6-8) if 
would be further clear, it says : he has no body and no senses.  There is 
none equal to or greater than HIM.  His supreme power is heard to be 
variously described, and belonging to HIS VERY NATURE is His knowledge, 
strength and act (jnAna, shakti & kriya).  No need to mention here 
consciousness is here described as brahman's very nature and so also is 

In this regard, two startling evidences from shankara's sUtra bhAshya 
quite relevant to understand how the sarvashaktitva, sarjnatva etc. are 
inherent in parabrahman which he exercises / exhibits at the time creation 
and it does not depend on any external force to become sarvajna and sarva 

(a) ekshatyadhikaraNa - sUtra - EkshatenArshabdaM (1-1-5) :- (pleas check 
for the origianl Sanskrit bhAshya) 

It is self contradiction to maintain the one who possesses eternal 
consciousness capable or throwing light on everything, is not omniscient. 
If his knowledge were impermanent, he could know things sometimes and 
could not know at other times, and consequently it would follow that he 
may not be omniscient.  This defect is inconceivable in case His 
consciousness is eternal. 

the point to be noted from the above is that consciousness being his very 
nature, it is inconceivable that he does not know certain things on 
certain occasions.  So, as the consciousness is his very nature so is his 
omniscience and omnipotence are his very nature. 

(b) ArabhaNAdhikaraNa - sUtra - yukteH shabdAntarAccha ( 2-1-18) --( as a 
note : 2-1-14 also importat here to know how effect is not different from 
cause) :-

The power which may be supposed to inhere in the cause in order to ensure 
a particular effect (and no other), cannot ensure the production of the 
particular effect, if it is other than the cause, or non-existent .  For 
in that case, it would be quite like any other thing which is non-existent 
or other than the cause (and there could be no valid reason why that cause 
alone should produce the particular effect).  Hence we have to conclude 

In short as per shankara siddhAnta para brahman apara brahman and Ishwara 
is that the same brahman only and this same brahman is called highest 
brahman (para brahman) when it is jneya and Ishwara or the omniscient and 
omnipotent when it is thought of as the cause and ruler of the phinomenal 
world which contains individual souls. 

And now finally to the big question : can this complex, sublime and 
systematic order of world be created by tiny soul called jeeva??   If we 
see the above in detail, this question does not arise at all.  But our 
compassionate shankara, for those who still say that this jagat is mere 
mental creation of individual jeeva clarifies as follows : 

In sUtra bhAshya - 2-4-20 :  here shankara says this multifarious 
phenomenal world (girinadeesamudrAdi nAmarUpa vyAkaraNa) cannot be created 
by 'aneeshvara jeeva' it is possible by only omniscient & omnipotent 
Ishwara.  Sutra bhAshya 1-1-2 also relevant here which I have quoted 

And in sUtra bhAshya 4-4-17 :  here shankara clarifies jagat utpatyAdhi 
vyavahAra is not possible even to siddha purusha who have aNimAdi ashta 

With all these we should realize that Ishwara srushti for which Ishwara is 
the ONLY kAraNa and not the tiny jeeva who is just there to experience his 
karma phala and get mOksha from this Ishwara. 

If we say this klishta, gaMbheera srushti is mere mental creation of 
conditioned jeeva, then it is as good as advocating vijnAna vAda of 
bauddha-s and for this theory we have to discard more than half of the 
shruti & shankara bhAshya which exclusively talks about Ishwara hetuka 

Sri sadgurucharaNAravindArpaNamastu.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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