[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 1, Issue 22

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue May 27 13:44:16 CDT 2003

>Material attributes are those caused by prakriti,- like sattva, rajas and
>tamas. The guNas of saguNa brahman like imperishability, all-pervasiveness,
>etc. i.e. in short Its sakala kalyANa guNas are transcendental attributes.
>That brahman is free from material attributes is known from bhagavad gIta.

I am afraid you do not understand bhagavad gItA too. See chapter 7, verses 
4-5. There is a lower prakRti, which consists of earth, water, fire etc. and 
is therefore quite "material" (me bhinnA prakRtir ashTadhA). There is also 
another (anyA), higher prakRti, which is the jIva (jIvabhUtA). It is as this 
jIva, the higher prakRti, that brahman pervades all, vide chAndogya 
upanishad, but it is as the lower prakRti, that brahman IS the "all". Both 
the lower and the higher are described as prakRti-s of bhagavAn in the gItA. 
You cannot wish away the material attributes. See also chapter 13 - sarvataH 
pANipAdaM ... sarvendriyaguNAbhAsaM sarvendriyavivarjitaM asaktaM ...

>However, think about the following. The jIva, being brahman, is also a kind
>of sa-guNa brahman (the guNa-s differ), and according to your own thinking,
>the jIva is deluded.
>What is your intention here? saguNa brahman is deluded?

I said that jIva is sa-guNa brahman, in a sense, depending on the guNa-s 
that you associate it with. If you choose to misinterpret me as above, and 
also want to insist that saguNa brahman is only ISvara, never jIva, then it 
is your problem. Please re-read my earlier post, dispassionately, and do not 
twist what I said in order to raise a strawman argument.

>And as for your question *who relaizes his own self as brahman?* The answer
>cannot be brahman anyway because brahman is eternally undeluded, really or
>unreally.(Thanks for accepting that finally)

So the answer has to be jIva, right? If the jIva who realizes his own self 
as brahman is essentially different from brahman, then the jIva would be 
deluding itself only if it thinks its own self is brahman. No advaita in 
that case. Perfectly fine for you to believe that if you are not an 
advaitin. But if you are an advaitin, you have to eventually accept that in 
essence, the jIvA IS brahman. In the final analysis, it is brahman who 
realizes his own self as brahman. There is nothing that is not brahman, as 
you should know from the upanishad-s.

> >Neither does Sankara, nor does sureSvara. Yet, the last author has no
> >qualms in saying that if you want to look for the locus of avidyA, then
> >that locus is brahman.
>Dont contradict yourself so openly. We have already seen that if the locus
>of avidya is brahman, then it means that brahman is deluded.

Who are the "we"? "You" have already seen the above, erroneously. None of 
the others who has been discussing with you has seen this. And please, there 
is no reason to get so hot under the collar. All I can say is, if you claim 
to be an advaitin at heart, then you would do well to read Sankara and 
sureSvara well before jumping to conclusions about who is contradicting 

>Your reasoning points to one conclusion alone -  brahman is unreally
>deluded. Since you imply that brahman is *deluded* in some sense, I have
>said that even that is unacceptable.

unreally = not really. "brahman is unreally deluded" means "brahman is not 
really deluded". That the sentence construction is not acceptable to you 
doesn't make it any less true.

>Which is why I said, *what a jIvanmukta undergoes is not our guess*.

How do you identify a jIvanmukta?

> >In what manner would you distinguish between the waking state of a
> >jIvanmukta and that of another? What is it then, when a jIvanmukta eats,
> >sleeps and wakes up? Finally, how would you know that a given person is a
> >jIvanmukta and that another is not?
>The question does not arise. *What a jIvanmukta undergoes is not anybody's
>guess* You have an alternative?

You don't have to guess anything. People revered as jIvanmuktas have said 
that they sleep and dream and wake up and sit in samAdhi. You pick the 
person you want to accept as a jIvanmukta ...

Even without the above express testimony, even if you don't accept that 
so-and-so is one, a jIvanmukta is, by definition, a living being, and 
therefore one who goes through the waking, dreaming and sleeping states. 
According to YOUR definition, the jIva-brahman identity is true only in the 
turIya state, but NOT in these other states. Your logic dictates that If 
delusion were to be fully removed, the body of the mukta either has to die, 
barring which the person is not really liberated at all. As you want to 
completely divorce material attributes from brahman and as the body (even of 
a jIvanmukta) is clearly a material thing, the jIvanmukta remains deluded 
jIva, and can never be undeluded brahman, therefore he is not mukta at all. 
In other words, according to YOUR definitions, or shall we say, loose 
descriptions, a jIvanmukta is quite an impossibility, and the very term 
jIvan-mukti is an oxymoron. So, it is you that has no alternative.

If you still accept the possibility of jIvanmukti and/or existence of 
jIvanmukta-s, your only option then is to say that the jIvanmukta jumps in 
to and out of delusion, according to whether he or she is in the turIya 
state or not. If so, where, pray, does this delusion come from? And what 
causes the transition from turIya to not-turIya?  Even in this alternative, 
the knowledge "I am brahman" that the jIvanmukta has in the turIya state 
cannot be really true. It can only be a "feeling" devoid of truth value. 
Otherwise, what would cause brahman (the jIva in the turIya state) to 
suddenly become not-brahman and take up another state? So, YOUR way of 
thinking is incompatible with advaita, at its core.

Now, according to MY thinking of this issue, which is basically derived from 
Sankara and sureSvara, and yes, gauDapAda before them, the jIvanmukta is one 
who knows his own essential identity as brahman. He doesn't jump in to and 
out of delusion. Even though the body goes through various states, the 
jIvanmukta remains unaffected by them. It doesn't matter whether he or she 
is in the waking state or the dreaming state or the turIya state. The 
jIvanmukta knows that (s)he, the jIva, is essentially brahman, therefore 
mukta, and this is true all the time, whether in the waking state or the 
turIya state. guNA guNeshu vartante ...

>All in all, it is better to argue on the basis of truth.



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