saguNa and nirguNa are the same

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Mon Nov 8 21:11:25 CST 1999

Anand Hudli <anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

> saguNa-nirguNayor-aikyaprakaraNam.h
>    (The Identity of saguNa and nirguNa brahman)
>    From: prabodhasudhAkara of Shankara
>   The following verses show the identity of Brahman with attributes
>   and the Brahman without attributes.

[ ... ]

The verses above directly contradict bhagavatpAda's interpretation of
sUtra 3.2.11. He takes up as pUrvapaxa the contention that saguNa and
nirguNa brahman are the same and refutes it conclusively in the
bhAshhya to sUtra-s 3.2.11-17. The last sUtra shows that smR^iti also
declares that saguNa and nirguNa brahman are not the same. In fact,
look at bhaAshhya to sUtra 3.2.14. It directly contradicts the

saguNa is a product of avidyA or ignorance. nirguNa is the "neti neti"
"characterization" of brahman. Both definitely cannot be the same.
This is presented with sha.nkaras usual clarity in the bhAshhya to the
above sUtra-s.

Not to mention sha.nkara's kena pada bhAshhya, in which he takes up
for pUrvapaxa, "vishhNurIshvara indrashcha prANo vA brahma bhavitum
arhati na tvAtma loka pratyaya virodhAt.h." I.e., vishhNu, Ishvara,
Indra or prANa could be brahman, but not Atman due to contradiction of
worldly logic. He conclusively disproves this contention.

I am willing to change my mind if any mistakes in my interpretation of
the bhAshhya-s to the above sUtra-s are pointed out. But, I think that
part of the sUtra bhAshhya is not that difficult to understand. I am
somewhat busy now and am unable to type out the bhAshhya and a
translation. May be I'll try to do that sometime later.

Anyway, I think this clearly shows that the prabodhasudhAkara is not a
genuine composition of bhagavatpAda. I have, for a long time, been
under the impression that this is not a work of sha.nkara. This only
intensifies that feeling. Either that, or the verses have to be
interpreted in a fashion different from declaring saguNa and nirguNa
brahman are the same. This can only be verified from someone like H.H
Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list