[Advaita-l] Accounting for Brahman appearing as the world

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Sep 7 07:49:06 EDT 2017

Accounting for Brahman appearing as the world

Advaita holds that the world is an appearance of Brahman. All the entities
in the world are Brahman alone ultimately, appearing through  upādhi-s.
These upādhi-s are none other than the various forms of Māyā.

In the Taittiriya Upanishad bhāṣya, Shankara while delineating on the
mantra portion 'बहु स्यां प्रजायेयेति’ 'I shall become many', explains as
to what really means Brahman's becoming many? It is not like a man becoming
many by begetting children. This will involve vikāra in the man and thus
Brahman will be subject to vikāra,etc. Since this is not the way Brahman
becomes many, the answer to the question is: Brahman, through the medium of
the nāma-rūpa combine, which is non-different from Brahman and remaining in
Brahman in unmanifest form, becomes manifest in creation, and thereby there
is the manifoldness in the world:

ताभ्यां च उपाधिभ्यां ज्ञातृज्ञेयज्ञानशब्दार्थादिसर्वसंव्यवहारभाग्ब्रह्म ।

Through these two upādhis of nāma and rūpa, Brahman comes to be looked upon
as knower, known, knowing/knowledge, word, meaning, etc. and all vyavahara
involving these.

Elucidating this, the commentary 'Vanamālā' by Sri Achyutakrishnananda
Tirtha, gives a fine account:

तत्रायं विभागः - बुद्ध्युपाधिकं ब्रह्म ज्ञातृव्यवहारभाक्,
बुद्धिवृत्त्युपाधिकं ब्रह्म ज्ञानमिति व्यवहारभाक्, विषयोपाधिकं ब्रह्म
ज्ञेयव्यवहारभाक्, नामोपाधिकं ब्रह्म शब्दव्यवहारभाक्, सामान्यतो जडोपाधिकं
ब्रह्म अर्थव्यवहारभागिति । आदिपदं कर्मादिसङ्ग्र्हार्थम् । एवं
सर्वव्यवहारभाग्ब्रह्मेत्यर्थः ।

Through the buddhi, intellect, as upādhi, Brahman is the knower (pramātṛ).
With the buddhivṛtti, mode of the intellect, as upādhi (pramāṇam), Brahman
is knowledge (knowing), with the object as upādhi, Brahman is the
known/knowable (prameyam), with name 'nāma' as upādhi, Brahman is all the
words in creation. With the overall inert, jaḍa, as upādhi, Brahman is the
meaning of all the words.  The 'etc.' of the bhāsya means 'karma, etc.'

In the above everything in the creation is accounted for.

Om Tat Sat

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