saguNa and nirguNa are the same

Ravisankar S. Mayavaram msr at COMCO.COM
Mon Nov 15 12:30:12 CST 1999


Thanks for your thoughts.

I am re-sending a message posted long ago. The shankara bhaaShya
on the name ekAkSharI touches this issue of saguNa and nirguNa, I
am sure our Acharya must have discussed this matter in the viShNu
sahasranaama bhaaShya as well.  Since I have not read it, I
request some one to throw light on that.

I will post my thoughts+questions on this topic as a separate


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 22:06:54 -0500
From: Ravi Mayavaram <msr at>
Reply-To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at>
Subject: 22. ekAkSharI

22. ekAkSharI

eka means important, akShara means mAyA; since mAyA is indestructible
till there is realization by AtmajnAna, mAyA is akShara. Since mAyA is
the limitation of IShvara, it is important. It means mAyA which is
expressed by the word kUtasthA. IShvara who is HER reflection in mAyA,
is endowed with attributes such as omniscience etc., only through HER.
Hence SHE is ekAkSharI.

Or ekAkShara means praNava, since praNava is the basis of all things
and is the symbol of para, and apara brahman. para brahman - the
ultimate beyond the sense experience, apara brahman - i.e., saguNa
brahman that senses can comprehend, one can attain both, by the
worship of praNava; praNava is both HER sign and its significance, as
SHE is shabdha brahman; Hence SHE is ekAkSharI. Or eka means the
infinite consciousness; akShara means the immortal parameshvara - it
means HE occupies half HER body and becomes ardhanArIshvara; or
ekAkShara means single letters like the mAyAbIja hrIM. They are HER
images in upAsana. SHE in those letters, according to atha parA yayA
tadakShara madhigamyate - paravidyA is that by which nirguNa brahman
is known. apara vidyA or r^ig veda etc., by which saguNa brahman is
known (muNDakopaniShad 1-6).

Or when the Awareness is reflected in the unbroken mental state called
samAdhi, SHE is involved in the process as an object - that awareness
is called akShara.  Hence SHE is called ekAkSharI.

In trishatI stotra, whenever and wherever cha is used  vide fourth
shloka - although brahman is nirguNa i.e., attributeless, it must be
taken that HE is saguNa, i.e., with - attribute -also.

sachchinmayaH - shivaH - sAkShAt - tasyAnandamayI shivA - shiva is
sachchinmaya; i.e., the first two components of sachchidAnanda and
shivA is HIS ananda (shruti).

"strI - rUpAm - chintaye devIm pum rUpAm mAdhaveshvarIm adhava
nishkalAm dhyAyet sachchidAnanda vigraham - one can meditate on HER
whose form is sachchidAnanda as a male or female or as without parts.

"tvam strI - tavm pumAn"  you are woman - you are man
(svetAshvatAropaniShad 4-3). According nIlakaNTha, the commentator of
devI bhAgavata, this is a sentence from yamala tantras and pum rUpA
means virAT purusha or cosmic person.

According to the above, HER forms are many depending on HER
limitations. It is because of this fact that in that part of
chAndogyopaniShad beginning with seyam devataikShata and ending with
tat satyam sa Atma, the same Atma is meant by words of feminine
gender, such as devatA, and word tat satyam which is neuter gender and
the word sa AtmA which is masculine gender. They all mean only one
thing, i.e. the essential significance of the words tat and tvam, and
so no distinction is made by the commentators about HER various

Hence every attribute can be described to express the significant
meaning of tatvam. There appears to be no other reason why shrI
hayagrIva has used so many chakAras in this  trishatI, in the context
of the diversity of HER attributes.

AUM ekAkSharyai namaH

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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