[Advaita-l] Moral Goodness of Brahman?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 12:45:25 CDT 2015

Very nice thoughts from Lance Nelson.  What immediately comes to mind is
the famous mantra of the Kathopanishad, pl. see reference in the book:

anyatra dharmāt anyatra adharmāt ...

This is an excellent definition of the Upanishadic Brahman coming from
Nachiketas as a question, which surpasses even the reply Yama gives.
Nachiketas seeks to know of that Brahman which is beyond dharma and
adharma, beyond cause and effect and beyond Time.  So, here we have Brahman
presented as the Truth that transcends all dualities, notions, such as good
and evil, cause-effect, etc.

The BG famous verse: sarva dharmān parityajya...of the 18th ch. too is of
the above nature.  Shankara says there: one must rise above both dharma and
adharma to seek the Ultimate Truth.  Adhering to dharma and eschewing
adharma is the path that prepares one to launch oneself into the Supreme by
transcending the notions of dharma and adharma.

We get the above purport in the Mandukya 7th mantra too.  It is a fine
presentation of the Vedantic Brahman that transcends all three states, the
three worlds, their contents, obviously dharma-adharma.

Others can give more references.

warm regards

On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 4:06 PM, saha niranjan via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Dear List,
> Namaskar and navaratri greetings!
> Could you please share your thoughts about the points below Professor
> Lance Nelson is wondering about?
> Sincerely yours,Niranjan Saha
> Hello Friends—I’m looking, with mixed success, for textual evidence
> regarding the moral goodness, or otherwise, of para Brahman in Advaita.I’m
> aware that many scholars have argued for the essential amorality, or
> transmorality, of the para/nirguna Brahman in Advaita.  It seems that most
> such declarations are based on general impressions of the literature, and
> not on actual citations from Sankara, the Upanisads, or other sources.  Are
> there any citations that point explicitly to the para Brahman being “beyond
> good and evil”?  I’d very much appreciate some references on this.I’m also
> aware that Sankara gives a fairly extensive theodicy, based on idea of
> karma, lila, the anaditva of creation, etc., in his comments on Brahmasutra
> 2.1.34-36 and related sutras.  This of course seems to assume, and attempt
> to defend, the idea of the moral goodness of Brahman as Isvara, in relation
> to creation.  But this does not, it seems to me, say much about the para
> Brahman.I’d appreciate any suggestions my learned colleagues could kindly
> provide.
> I was asking about evidence in the literature of Advaita (particularly
> Upanisads and Sankara, but perhaps elsewhere) for or against the idea that
> para/nirguna Brahman is, as it is commonly said, trans-moral, “beyond good
> and evil.”  I’m thinking about the moral goodness of Brahman.
> Thanks!  Lance
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