Regarding sarvaM khalvidaM brahma

Sankar Jayanarayanan kartik at ENG.AUBURN.EDU
Mon Aug 11 16:06:32 CDT 1997

Ramakrishnan wrote:

> Kartik wrote:
> > In the Vishnu Purana, Parasara says:
> >
> > "The stars are Vishnu; forests, mountains, regions, rivers, oceans are Vishnu:
> > He is all that is, all that is not."
> >
> > Parasara says that "Everything is Brahman." And includes *Everything* -- even
> > the perceived reality.
> I haven't read the vishhNu purANa. It's on the top on my of list of
> things to read. However, the interpretation you give directly
> contradicts shruti.

I shall try and explain why it does not.

> The MU says that turIya is
> avyavahAram agrAhyam achintyaM ...
> Note that turIya is avyavahAraM! For example if you say that the blue
> Lotus is brahman, then does it mean brahman is blue? Not so, for brahman
> is agrAhyaM. Is there a real transformation of brahman into the blue
> Lotus? Not so, for the bR^ihadAraNyaka upanishhad says that "Indra
> through _mAyA_ assumes diverse forms. Thus it is not the blue Lotus
> which is brahman, but rather the substratum (adhishhThAna) behind the
> illusion of the blue Lotus, which is brahman.

This interpretation, which has taken the words "avyavahAraM agrAhyaM achintyaM"
literally would leave Brahman mired in the duality of "vyavahAraM-avyavahAraM"
"chintyaM-achintyaM" etc.

And the mANDukya KArikA emphasizes the non-duality of Brahman by not even
allowing it the duality of "asti" and "na asti."

Which can only mean that such characterization as achintyam.h is *strictly*

Bluness, lotusness, etc are properties. All properties belong to the domain of
duality. When Brahman is meditated upon as not having properties at all, the
Sadhaka arrives at the truth "Everything is Brahman."

> Note that the same MU says:
> sarvaM hi etad brahma: all these are verily brahman
> Thus the way to understand the MU is that the world as you preceive it
> is _NOT_ brahman,

It would mean that there is something that is _not_ Brahman: the perceived

Which would only imply that Brahman exists as separate from the perceived
reality. And Brahman would cease to be "Everything."

Shankara says that Brahman is of the nature of perception itself. It is
therefore "One with all that is perceived."


> > "Before a man goes through zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are
> > rivers. When a man is studying zen, mountains are no longer mountains and
> > rivers no longer rivers. But when a man has realized zen, mountains are
> > once again mountains and rivers, once again rivers."
> I don't see the connection. As per advaita, the last sentence should be
> "after advaita siddhi, there are neither mountains nor rivers, but only
> brahman".

As I had quoted before, Parasara says:

"The stars are Vishnu; forests, mountains, regions, rivers, oceans are Vishnu:
 He is all that is, all that is not."

If the stars and mountains are perceived as such, there is no Vishnu, for
we see the *diversity* of stars and mountains, and Vishnu is partless.

If the stars and mountains are not perceived at all, it would make no sense to
speak of the diversity of stars, mountains, etc.

The only meaning is this:

*Everything* and *Everything else* is only Brahman.


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