[Advaita-l] RE: Dasa Avatars(In response to Shri B. Shankar)

kalyan chakravarthy kalyan_kc at hotmail.com
Wed May 21 23:57:01 CDT 2003


>Well, why does "Brahman knowing itself" a refutation of brahman being
>somehow deluded or ignorant of its own Self ?? Brahman knowing itself is
>clearly accepted prior to any self delusion, or after removal of any such
>delusion, since the delusion is "as it were".

What is this "prior to delusion"? I thought delusion is accepted as 

And delusion is anyway not from brahman. You accept the bheda sruti as a 
vyavahArik satya. If you say brahman is deluded, then you would be violating 
the bheda sruti, for if both brahman and jIva are deluded, then what is the 
difference at the vyavahArik level?

>No one ever says brahman is forever deluded.

You are reducing the status of brahman to a jIva here. You can increase the 
status of a jIva to brahman. But no vedAntic analysis is possible in the 
backward direction.

>I think such an interpretation can be confirmed with the AU
>1.1.1 saying "In the beginning this was but the absolute Self alone. There
>was nothing else whatsoever that winked. It thought, 'Let me create the

Theories of creation are not to be taken at face value. In Rig Veda, 
creation is left as an open question. In purusha sUkta, once again in the 
Rig Veda, a more detailed theory is given.

>Could it not be that the brhadaranyaka upanishad portion you quote be
>referring to just such a state, prior to or subsequent to any onset/removal
>or ignorance?

Definitely not "prior to" as delusion is beginningless. If you say 
"subsequent to delusion, then you are accepting that delusion is "gone for 
good" since brahman is advitIyam. In which case you have to reject the world 
that you perceive as the "horns of a hare".

>A play on itself? Also, as I understand it, "brahman knowing
>itself" is used here more to describe that there is nothing else to be
>known, hence Brahman has to know only itself. Also, the act of knowing, the
>subject - object relationship etc., none of these are there.

You can only deny the subject object relationship etc., in the paramArthik 
level. In that level, there is no delusion anyway. If you deny these 
relationships even at the vyavahArik level, then you would be denying your 
own statements.

Also since brahman is unchanging, then if It knows Itself at one point of 
time, then It must know Itself in the past, present and the future. Nor do 
you have an opportunity to say that "brahman is deluded is a vyavahArik 
satya", because the ideas of past, present and future are restricted to the 
vyavahArik level alone. Nor can you bring unreality of delusion as an 
argument, because delusion is acceptable as a vyavahArik satya.

>As for Ka 5.11 - when the upanishad notes that Brahman is not affected by
>the miseries of the world, it is because it is never a part of the world.
>Yet again, Brahman being  ignorant (or being the locus of ignorance) is not
>denied by this quote.
>(As the sun, which helps all eyes to see, is not affected by the blemishes
>of the eyes or of the external things revealed by it, so also the one 
>dwelling in all beings, is never contaminated by the misery of the world,
>being outside it.)

Note that you are contradicting yourself here. You said that the Atman is 
never affected by the miseries of the world, but you also leave a room for 
the possibility of brahman being deluded. You cannot deny the fact that 
delusion is a misery. Even if you say that a dream does not affect me 
physically, you wont deny that it would affect me mentally. I for instance 
would be horrified at the prospect of being chased by a monster in a dream.

> > If you still maintain that brahman is deluded, then Sri Krishna being
> > brahman, you have to accept that Sri Krishna is deluded.
> > [ --- ]
>If you decide to attach nama and roopa to brahman and call him Sri Krishna
>Bhagavan, then you also have to simultaneously conceive of infinite name's
>and forms, and not stop with just Sri Krishna Bhagavan. Of those infinite
>names and forms, you have to distinguish between which are considered
>deluded and which are not!! Also, that brahman deludes itself somehow does
>not mean that brahman does not in itself have the means to the liberation
>spoken of. What I mean is, perhaps there is some ignorance, or delusion. 
>that does not mean it cannot liberate itself.

You are contradicting the brahmasUtras here. Liberation is not for brahman. 
It is for jIva. jIva before its liberation is not called brahman. *abhAsa 
eva cha*

All names and forms of saguNa brahman are equal. *ekam sat viprah bahuda 
vadanti* nArAyaNa is never affected by delusion whether He is in His abode 
or whether He comes down to the earth as an avatar.

>Hence, even if the unitary brahman were deluded and assumed a
>form of duality, of Arjuna and Sri Krishna, Sri Krishna and Arjuna (or the
>name's and forms) together burnt themselves into unitary-ness by knowledge.

This requires one to assume that delusion began at a certain point in time. 
Does not do much good for its beginninglessness. Also since nirguNa brahman 
is nishkriya, it can never be deluded.

>The question of why is not simultaneous liberation acheived for every jiva
>is a moot one. The dream elements are dissolved away upon awakening of the
>dreamer. So also here. The jiva here is simultaneously the reader and the
>one who types. Upon awakening, there is no longer a difference. Hence I
>think your objection is invalid.

In what way does this answer the question posed? You must keep *ekameva 
advitIyam brahma* in mind while giving your answer.

Best Regards

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