Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 5 10:27:22 CST 1998

  Nanda Chandran wrote:

>The reason why Vedantins of other schools accuse Advaitam as being
>pracanna Bouddham or Buddhism in disguise, mainly stems from the school
>defining the empirical world as Maya. But since Vedanta is based on the
>Upanishads, the Bhagavat Gita and the Brahma Sutras what exactly is
>these scriptures stand on Maya?
>All the three texts never really use the world Maya or in any instance
>directly declare that the empirical world is unreal (am I right in
>this?). In the Chandogya, when Svetaketu brings the fruit to Uddhalaka,
>he first asks him to break the fruit in half. Further he asks him to
>split the seeds and then says whatever was in the seed, which your eyes
>can't see, is the Atman. If Brahman is the only reality (what are the
>other schools stand on this?), then both the fruit and the seeds inside
>are not, and so unreal in a sense.
>But what exactly does Shankara mean by Maya? As reasoning however
>cannot contradict direct experience - I'm not sure that Shankara means
>unreal in the normal sense. Infact Shankara says for the Vyavaharika,
>all the rules of the empirical world still apply. Since we consider the
>dream state as unreal compared to the waking state due to the longer
>duration of the latter, so is the waking state unreal when compared to
>the absolute reality of the Brahman, which is immortal. So can we state
>that whatever is transient in nature is Maya?
>The logic of the clay pot which is actually only clay with a name and
>form, hence unreal in a sense, is also used to expound the concept of
>Can we have some thoughts on this and other instances from the three
>texts to support the Advaitic view?

 I had written in response to these questions in the newsgroup
  soc.religion.vaishnava. So I will reproduce relevant parts of the
 article here. I have also added an additional reference from the
 Giitaa, and some references to Shankara's commentary on it.



The support for the advaitic concepts of Ishvara, jIva, and mAyA lies
in Shruti. Let us turn to the Shvetaashvatara upanishhad for help.
This particular upanishhad is especially liked by VaishhNavas, because
feel it is more "theistic" than the other major upanishhads, in that it
deals with Ishvara and jiiva quite frequently.
Interestingly enough, Shaivas claim the upanishhad upholds the supremacy
Shiva. Be it as it may, my purpose here is not to initiate a Shiva Vs.
debate; doing so will be silly of me. :-)

chhandAmsi yajnAH kratavo vratAni
bhUtam bhavyam yacca vedA vadanti |
asmAn mAyI sR^ijate vishvameta-
ttasminshchAnyo mAyayA sannirudhhah || (Sv. Up. 4.9)

The Vedas, sacrifices, kratus such as JyotishhToma, etc.,
vows, the past, future, and everything that the Vedas
speak of, are from It. The Ruler of mAYA creates (or projects)
this world, and It (Brahman) becomes bound in Its own mAyA, as
if It were a different entity.

Brahman, which is sacchidAnda svarUpa, becomes the Ruler of the
world by having mAyA as Its limiting adjunct. This Ruler of the
world is Ishvara. Brahman becomes bound, as it were, as
jIva, undergoing repeated transmigratory existence.

mAyAm tu prakR^itim vidyAn mAyinam tu maheshvaram,

mAyA is material nature (prakriti), and the controller
of mAyA is Maheshvara (God). (Sv. Up. 4.10)

ya eko jAlavAnIshata IshanIbhiH
sarvAn lokAnIshata IshanIbhiH |
ya evaika udbhave sambhave ca
ya etad viduramR^itAste bhavanti || (Sv. Up. 3.1)

The nondual One, the possessor of mAyA, rules by means of
His powers, rules all the worlds by His powers. He is verily
alone when in possession of His divine powers, and when
manifested. Those who know this become immortal.

Here Ishvara is said to be the possessor of jAla, literally
a net, but interpreted as mAyA.

The uniqueness of Ishvara is further affirmed in (Sv. 3.2)

eko hi rudro na dvitIyAya tasthu-
rya imAn lokAnIshata IshanIbhiH |

Rudra (Ishvara) is indeed the one who rules these worlds by His
divine powers. (Knowing this) they (the knowers of Brahman) did not
wait for (a second deity).

How does each jIva become associated with its individual mAyA?

ekaikam jAlam bahudhA vikurvannasmin kshhetre samharatyeshha deva |

This God, making each individual net (mAyA) diverse on this field, the
collective mAyA, withdraws it. (Sv. 5.3)

Another explanation is that Brahman, due to mAyA's, is perceived as

indro mAyAbhiH pururUpa Iyate (Br. Up. 2.5.19)

Note the plural form, "mAyAbhiH." This text also occurs in the
Rg Veda.

The jIva, when it is with its own ajnAna or individual mAyA, becomes
associated with the three guNas.

sa vishvarUpastriguNastrivartmA
prANAdhipaH sancharati svakarmabhiH |

He (the jIva) has many forms, is associated with the three guNas, has
three paths. He is the lord of the vital force, and moves by his own
actions. (Sv. Up. 5.7)

upAsanA of Ishvara by the jiiva leads the former to moksha.

kshharam pradhaanamamR^itaakshharam haraH
ksharaatmaanaaviishate deva ekaH |
bhaavaat bhuuyashchaante vishvamAyAnivR^ittiH ||

While Nature is mutable, Hara (God) is immortal and
immutable. The one God rules the mutable and the soul.
By means of repeated meditation on Him, accompanied by
union with and reflection on Brahman (as aham brahmaasmi,
"I am Brahman"), there follows the cessation of mAyA as
the universe. (Sv. 1.10)

 We read in the Giitaa:

  IshvaraH sarvabhuutaanaaM hR^iddeshe .arjuna tishhThati |
  bhraamayan.h sarvabhuutaani yantraaruuDhaani maayayaa ||

 Ishvara (God) is in the heart of all beings, O Arjuna! (He)
 causes all beings to act (revolve) by Maayaa, as if they are
 mounted on a machine.

 Here Shankara interprets "maayayaa" as "chhadmanaa", meaning
 "by illusion, by trickery, etc."  (Giitaa Bhaashhya of Shankara)

  We also find in the Giitaa,

daivI hyeshhA guNamayI mama mAyA duratyayA |
mAmemva ye prapadyante mAyAmetAm taranti te ||

 Shankara interprets maayaaM here as "sarvabhuutamohiniiM"
 which means "that which deludes all beings."

The foregoing shows how Brahman in association with mAyA
becomes Ishvara. The same Brahman in association with
individual mAyA is the jiiva. The individual mAyA has the
three guNas. Is Ishvara also influenced by the three guNas?
Since He is in association with mAyA He has to operate by
means of some guNa, in performing His functions. This guNa
has to be sattva alone, for if He were to be affected by
rajas and tamas also, He would be no different than the
jiiva. Note that I am not saying that Ishvara is controlled
by sattva or influenced by sattva. He rules the world through
the sattva guNa. Thus one may say that the samashhTi mAyA
has a preponderance of sattva, uncontaminated by rajas and
tamas. Or in other words, rajas and tamas are completely
overpowered by sattva.

In this connection there is a beautiful verse in the
Bhaagavata (10.27.4). Indra, his pride humbled after the
Govardhana uddhAra incident, approaches Krishna and offers

indra uvAcha

vishudhhasattvam tava dhAma shaantam
tapomayam dhvastarajastamaskam |
mAyAmayo'yam guNasampravAho
na vidyate te'grahaNAnubandhaH || (10.27.4)

Two words are of interest here. Krishna's form or body is
vishuddhasattvam, pure sattva, and also dhvastarajastamaskam,
where rajas and tamas are completely destroyed or overpowered.


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>From  Thu Mar  5 23:40:10 1998
Message-Id: <THU.5.MAR.1998.234010.0500.>
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 23:40:10 -0500
Reply-To: chandran at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Home Personal Account
Subject: Freedom of Choice - or - Freedom *from* Choice?
Comments: To: Advaita List <Advaita-L at>
Comments: cc: "Chandran, Nanda (NBC)" <Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
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"Chandran, Nanda (NBC)" <Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM> writes:

> .......     So does the freewill concept apply to the Self?......

Brahman has no attributes and Jiva represents the notion - I am born and
I am going to die.  All Notions come with a fixed time framework and
they come and go. The notion of Freedom of Choice represents Brahman
with an attribute.  Brahman with any attribute necessarily imposes
limitations. Freedom from Choice is also another notion and consequently
imposes limitations.  Sruti states that Brahman is eternal and
changeless and necessarily free from - Freedom of Choice and Freedom
from Choice!

Jiva with full of notions can realize the Brahman if and only if Jiva
destroys all the notions. Jivamukti represents the stateless mind with
the disappearance of all preconceived notions about life. In Bhagavad
Gita, Bhagawan Sri Krishna suggests three powerful Sadhanas - Karma
Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga to the Jivas to reach the stateless
mind.  We are like  uncut diamond and Sadhana is necessary to realize
the SELF. It is possible for us to live our life with the Upanishadic
philosophy of life - Life is a bridge, enjoys while crossing without
building a castle.  Insects, Birds, Animals, Trees, Plants, etc. live
their life without building castles. Why not we?
Ram Chandran
9374 Peter Roy Ct.
Burke, VA 22015

>From  Fri Mar  6 09:13:04 1998
Message-Id: <FRI.6.MAR.1998.091304.0500.>
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 09:13:04 -0500
Reply-To: chandran at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Personal
Subject: Maya
Comments: To: Advaita List <Advaita-L at>
Comments: cc: "Chandran, Nanda (NBC)" <Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM>
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Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
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-"Chandran, Nanda (NBC)" <Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM> writes:

> ...But since Vedanta is based on the Upanishads, the Bhagavat Gita and
> the Brahma Sutras what exactly is these scriptures stand on Maya?...

Greetings Nanda:

The messages in scriptures are subtle but declare Maya  in no-uncertain
terms. Maya, Jiva and Ego are synonymous.  When I believe that I am
Jiva, my heart is filled with Maya and Ego.  When the Maya vacates my
heart, Brahman occupies my heart and I will have no more Maya or Ego.
Maya the tenant doesn't pay any rent and ^ÑI' have to use the force of
Sadhana to free my heart from Maya.

Gita suggests three potential Sadhanas to vacate Maya from the heart.
If we adopt Karma Yoga, we can conduct our actions without expecting the
fruits of those actions.  This Sadhana stops desires which provide the
essential services to Maya, the tenant.  The tenant has no option but to
vacate our heart and allows the Lord to occupy permanently.

If we adopt Bhakti Yoga, we compartmentalize our heart and free the
space to the Lord and divert all our services to the Lord.   The story
of a camel and the tent is appropriate for comparison.  When the camel
gets a little space, it manages to fill the tent sooner and vacates all
the other occupants.  The very presence of the Lord drives Maya out
forcefully from our heart.

The Jnana Yoga is the evolutionary process of the adoption of either
Karma Yoga or Bhakti Yoga.  These three Sadhanas are  synonymous and
inseparable and mathematically equivalent propositions. Developing an
abstract algebra to each of this Sadhana within a mathematical
topological space is possible.  Then these three Sadhanas will become
topologically equivalent.

The scriptures give utmost importance to Sadhana to eradicate Maya.  The
question on the evolution of Maya will always be a never-ending debate.
The seers and sages have recognized this pitfall and have avoided
falling into the endless do-loop trap.  They have understood the essence
of such debates and have concluded - Life is continuous without
beginning or end. Life is an experience of living without expectation of
gain or loss.  Nature is one unit and it can't ever be separated and as
such Maya (Ego) don't exist. We are part and parcel of the Nature, we
coexist and we don't have any separate identity.  Maya is the appearance
of this separate identity and will appear as real when we entertain it
in our hearts!-


Ram Chandran
9374 Peter Roy Ct.
Burke, VA 22015
Ph: 703-912-5790

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