[Advaita-l] On the 'eternality' of 'VaikunTha'

V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Sat Sep 20 05:37:49 CDT 2014

In the blog comments available in the URL below, the pseudo vaishnavas
concoct a multi-deity advaitic tradition:


They say:

//Clarification... By the word "tradition", I mean the original
Vaishnava-advaitic tradition of Shankara and his ancient followers, clearly
evident in their authentic works. Not the popular shaivAdvaitic /
shAktAdvaitic one that Subbu claims to have been favored by Shankara.//


There is no such thing as any ‘original Vaishnava-advaitic’ tradition and
nowhere can one see such queer names given in the Shankara- Gaudapada or
any later literature.  With the sole ulterior motive of selling their
vaishnava-wares they hatched a plan to rope-in the Advaita Acharyas whom
their own vaishnava Acharyas have severely condemned to eternal hell.  If
the Advaita tradition was Vaishnava, why would the vaishnavas even refute
it and start their own ‘vedantic’ schools?

And these people go further to produce other names like shaiva advaita and
shAkta advaita and who knows what other names they will come up with?  Let
it be known to them that whatever deity they prefix to ‘advaita’, the
essential Advaitic character of ‘brahma satyam jagan mithyA, jIvo brahmaiva
nAparaH’ will not be absent in any of their combinations.  For, the very
nature of Advaita is to transcend all deity-devotee duality.  Not realizing
this, they try to create confusion among their gullible readers.

They also propagate their own theory that ‘vaikuntha’ and other lokas as
admissible in Advaita as ‘eternal loka-s’.  Shankara has vehemently
condemned such ideas of any loka-s existing eternally where liberated
beings reside.

In the Mundakopanishad 3.2.6 bhashya Shankara says:

परामृताः परम् अमृतम् अमरणधर्मकं ब्रह्म आत्मभूतं येषां ते परामृता जीवन्त एव
ब्रह्मभूताः, परामृताः सन्तः परिमुच्यन्ति परि
समन्तात्प्रदीपनिर्वाणवद्भिन्नघटाकाशवच्च निवृत्तिमुपयान्ति परिमुच्यन्ति परि
समन्तान्मुच्यन्ते सर्वे, न देशान्तरं गन्तव्यमपेक्षन्ते । ‘शकुनीनामिवाकाशे
जले वारिचरस्य वा । पदं यथा न दृश्येत तथा ज्ञानवतां गतिः’ (मो. ध. १८१-९) ‘
अनध्वगा अध्वसु पारयिष्णवः’ (?) इति श्रुतिस्मृतिभ्याम् ; देशपरिच्छिन्ना हि
गतिः संसारविषयैव, परिच्छिन्नसाधनसाध्यत्वात् । ब्रह्म तु समस्तत्वान्न
देशपरिच्छेदेन गन्तव्यम् । यदि हि देशपरिच्छिन्नं ब्रह्म स्यात्,
मूर्तद्रव्यवदाद्यन्तवदन्याश्रितं सावयवमनित्यं कृतकं च स्यात् । न त्वेवंविधं
ब्रह्म भवितुमर्हति । अतस्तत्प्राप्तिश्च नैव देशपरिच्छिन्ना भवितुं युक्ता ॥

The liberated do not travel to any other place/loka, for any such travel
will imply that the jiva is still in samsara. Since Brahman is infinite,
the jnani who has realized his identity with Brahman, also being the
Infinite Brahman alone, does not go anywhere upon death.  For, Brahman is
not a finite place to be reached/attained.  If Brahman were located in a
place then Brahman, being no different from any formed object, will have to
have a beginning and end, and be dependent on something else, be made of
parts, and ephemeral, and a produced one.  Brahman can never be of this
nature.  Thus, the ‘attainment’ of Brahman cannot be involving any locating
in some other place.

Thus, there is no need for Shankara to deny any eternal loka be it
vaikunTha or any other.  For, anything that is not brahman is bound to
dissolution.  Madhusudana Saraswati in the Advaita siddhi has also shown
that there is no such thing called ‘aprAkRta’ which is outside the realm of
prakRti.  The Laghuchandrika clarifies that what is commonly called
‘aprAkRta’ is still within prakRti but that which is not produced in the
pancha bhUta transformation process, but bypasses the process.

All non-advaitic moksha is of the nature of traveling to some other loka
and remaining there.  Their Brahman will have to be of the above
description involving finitude.

While the bloggers have tried to create an impression among their gullible
readers that Advaitins too admit of a loka like themselves, they provide
various quotes from Madhusudana Saraswati, Sridhara Swamin, etc. to
buttress their claim and draw support to their funny ideas.


// Three advaitins have accepted the existence of saguNa-brahman, Vishnu,
in Vaikuntha. Also, Madhusudana and Sridhara say that Vaikuntha is

They have not known that no true Advaitin will contradict the ShAnkaran
position stated above.  Madhusudana Sraswati, in the Advaita Siddhi,
refuting the claims of the Dvaitin, concludes:

[Pariccheda 2, p.745 of the Edition published by MM Ananthakrishna Shastry]:

//etena bhagavallokaaderapi nityatvam apAstram.  Ma cha ‘ato hi vaiShNavA
lokAH nityAste cetanAtmakaaH. matprasAdAt parAm shAntim sthAnam prApsyasi
shAshvatam’ ityAdyAgamavirodhaH, tasya avaAntarapralayasthatvaparatvAt.
TasmAt nirguNam nirAk
Aram brahma iti siddham.  Iti advaita siddhau brahmaNo nirAkAratva siddhiH//

[Thus (in view of the foregoing arguments), the ‘eternality’ of
divine/lordly/worlds too stands negated.  One aught not to raise an
objection that the following scriptural passage is contradicted by the
above conclusion:  ‘Therefore indeed the VaishNava loka-s are eternal and
are sentient in nature.  By My grace you shall attain the state of great
and eternal peace.’  The ‘eternality’ stated in this passage has its
purport in the ‘avAntara pralaya’, intermediary dissolution.  Thus stands
established that Brahman has no form in the work called ‘Advaita siddhi’.]

The ‘LaghuchandrikA’ gloss by GaudabrahmAnanda adds:

‘There is no pramANa for the existence of a VaikunTha loka which is not a
product of the pancha bhutas.’ [abhautika-vaikunThaloke mAnAbhAvAt.’

Thus, whatever has been stated by Madhusudana in his commentary to the
Bhagavadgita or any other commentator for any other work like the
SrimadbhAgavatam, on the topic of ‘eternal loka’, stands overruled by the
above statement of the Advaita Siddhi.

In the Kathopanishad bhashya for 2.3.16 Shankara cites a Vishnu purana

तया नाड्या ऊर्ध्वम् उपरि आयन् गच्छन् आदित्यद्वारेण अमृतत्वम्
अमरणधर्मत्वमापेक्षिकम्  'आभूतसम्प्लवं स्थानममृतत्वं हि भाष्येत' (वि.पु.
२.८.९७) इति स्मृतेः । ब्रह्मणा वा सह कालान्तरेण मुख्यममृतत्वमेति भुक्त्वा
भोगाननुपमान्ब्रह्मलोकगतान् । विष्वङ् नानागतयः अन्या नाड्यः उत्क्रमणे
उत्क्रमणनिमित्तं भवन्ति संसारप्रतिपत्त्यर्था एव भवन्तीत्यर्थः ॥

which says: ‘Eternality’ means that state/position that will exist till the
dissolution takes place.

Thus, the term ‘Eternal’ is not absolute existence but only relative
existence.  The ‘eternality’ of all lokas is of this category alone.

There is no change, therefore, in the traditional Advaitic stand that the
‘brahmaloka to which upAsaka-s go after death and get the Advaitic
realization there and thereafter become liberated upon the dissolution of
that brahma loka stands firm.


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