Advaitic philosophy and the concept of personl God

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Wed Aug 7 11:27:22 CDT 1996

On Tue, 6 Aug 1996, Sankar Jayanarayanan wrote:

> Anand wrote:
> > On Mon, 5 Aug 1996, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:
> >
> > >
> > >           Now my question is:  Did  the concept of Saguna Brahman make
> > >           the understanding of non-duality more difficult ? If all the
> > >  that
> > >           were mentioned above are all creations of mAya or ajnAna,
> Aren't Saguna Brahman and Nirguna Brahman non-different? Isn't the very
> of advaita the negation of any difference whatsoever?

My concept is: Saguna Brahman is Nirguna Brahman + the various upadhis
added on due to maya. Nirguna Brahman is the substratum, that changeless
formless entity. Saguna Brahman has a shape which the human mind gives to
the Nirguna Brahman and also gives the power of creation, destruction etc.
The essence of vedanta is negation of any attempt to ascribe property of
Nirguna Brahman. I did not see the concept of Saguna Brahman in Sri
Sankara's prakarana grandhas. Astavakra Gita talks of the creator, Eswara
[verse 9.2] but does not give a shape or form to it. That verse is similar
to concepts developed in Bhagavad Gita.

> Discussing about creation is supposedly due to avidya. Such talk mostly

Exactly my point too.  As long as our thought process is confined to
matters related to the illusory world and our explanation is in terms of
illusory concepts, we are still in ajnana.  But then human mind cannot
comprehend that shapeless, formless (Neti, Neti) entity, the Nirguna

> The concept of Saguna Brahman was probably introduced into advaita after
> Shankara.
I would like to have any reference in this direction.

> [..]
> >    It is generally admitted by all advaitins that very few people
> >    can directly approach the nirguNa brahman. For the vast majority
> >    of people, the saguNa brahman is the only way to get to the nirguNa
> >    brahman. The Vedanta paribhaashhaa agrees that meditation on the
> >    saguNa Brahman is also a cause of the realization of the nirguNa
> >    Brahman. Anandagiri in his gloss on Shankara's commentary on the
> >    Giitaa says that the knowledge of the saguNa Brahman is the
> >    gateway to the knowledge of the nirguNa Brahman.
> Is there really such a clear difference between Saguna Brahman and Nirguna
> Brahman in advaita?
> >   Anand
> >
> -Kartik
Gummuluru Murthy
Adau ante ca yan nAsti vartamAnepi tat tathA !
                                GaudapAda in Mandukya kArika
What did not exist at the beginning and what is not going to exist at the
 end is as good as non-existent even in the present.

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