[Advaita-l] brahman's jagat upAdAna kAraNatva

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Tue Feb 8 04:19:46 CST 2005

praNAms prabhujis
Hare Krishna

The below mail has actually been written for dualists in vAdAvaLi group who
ascribe material (upAdAna) cause (kAraNa) for creation something other than
brahman...Just I thought I should share the same with my advaita prabhuji-s
also...Here it is :

It's always been fascinating to see the deliberations on whether brahman is
the material cause of creation or not!! We advaitins ultimately say ( I
know other advaitins will differ from this view) that both kArya &
kAraNatva have been superimposed on nirvikAri brahman. Dualists will say
No, brahman cannot be the material cause of srushti, under his control
prakruti is taking care of it!!.  First of all we should see what shruti
says here as regards to creation...it gives different account of creation
as regards to this jagat as well as jIva-s...If shruti-s primary intention
is to convey the creation aspect of jagat per se then definitely it would
have given clear picture of it instead of speaking about it differently at
different places!!  But for those who believe in shruShti prakriya
(creation theory) in brahman, there is a method of teaching in shruti-s
which say brahman is both material (upAdAna) as well as efficient (nimitta)
cause for this universe.

As we know our shad darshana-s differing in this issue & giving their own
theory of creation.  sAnKhya & vaishEshika schools say that an insentient
principle the *pradhAna* or the *atom* is the material cause of this world.
Though they differ themselves in the process etc. they say that jada is the
material cause of this world.  yOga brings in Ishwara here & they endorse
IshavarAdhIna prakruti being the material cause of this world.  Anyway let
those theories be aside, because sAnkhya & vaishEshika both schools have
been refuted by both sUtrakAra & bhAshyakAra so it is not an ideal place to
discuss it.

Now being vaidik dharma followers, we take shruti, smruti & nyAya prasthAna
as antya pramANa & resolve any complications with regard to creation. Now
let us see what shruti is going to offer us with regard to creation & its
material cause.

Being a vaidik, first I'd like to see shruti-s where we can find brahman
being the material cause of this universe...because according to advaita &
shruti ultimately brahman is yEkamEva advitIya satya. So, to substantiate
this assertion of shruti-s we should understand shruti purports
contextually & arrive at the conclusion which should not differ from parama
siddhAnta of shruti-s that is yEkamEva advitIyatva of Atman.

Since prakruti is aswatantram or dependent it cannot have its own existence
apart from brahman (CN prabhuji very logically presented this view in his
mail).  Hence it should be noted that though at places where prakruti is
mentioned as the material cause in shruti-s ultimately it tries to drive
home the point that only the Brahman is the material cause. This has been
very evident in the sUtra by declaring that
Brahman is indeed the material cause ( cannot able to give references as I
am writing this mail from office). The question may arise how can shruti-s
teaching contradicting itself by declaring at one side Brahman as the
material cause and other places prakruti is the material cause. Strictly
speaking there is no contradiction. According to shruti-s there is no
second entity that can exist apart from brahman.  Since prakruti does not
exist independent of brahman ultimately it is brahman ONLY the material
cause of this universe for those who believe there is a world out there
apart from brahman or in brahman.

We can find lot of quotes where shruti categorically saying that brahman is
indeed material cause & why and how brahman is the material cause of the
universe. The vEdAnta sUtra janmAdyasya yatah has been amply and lucidly
dealt with this subject & shankara bhAshya on this sUtra is very
appropriate to study to ascertain why brahman is the material cause.

We can approach shruti vAkya with two different perspective in mind :

(a) brahman is the material cause of this world
(b) brahman is NOT the material cause but under his control prakruti is
doing this creation.

Let us see how some of the shruti quotes justify (a) & denies the (b).

Only if we stick to (a) it is justifiable to say that everything can be
known through the knowledge of brahman which is what is asserted in
passages like *knowing which, everything becomes known*  *having known
that, nothing else remains to be known' yajnAtvA nEha bhUyOnyAjnAtavyaM
avashishyAte..  says lord in gIta 'by one handful of mud all articles of
mud become known, so everything that is mud is only a play with words (and
forms), what is true is only earth' vAchAraMbhaNam vikAro nAmadhEyam
mruttikEtyEva satyaM (chAndOdya shruti)..No need to mention if we think
about (b) in these cases we will be short of the knowledge of (a)...

In the shruti statements like *May I be many, May I grow forth* etc. it is
evident that  (a) is the verdict of shrutis. *tadAtmAnaM svayamakuruta*.
(that Itself manifested Itself) . Here the use of the two words *AtmAnam*
and *svayam* both meaning *itself*  shows that there exists no other cause.
So (a) is quite conspicuous here no room for (b) anyway....the word svayaM
/ AtmAnaM stresses this point that only (a) is the ultimatum of shruti-s as
regards to shrushti prakriya.

While on the subject, I'd like to make it clear that there are two
different view points of advaita with regard to world.  The first one says
the modification as kArya of brahman is only apparent & avidyAkruta mAya,
while the second says the modification is real & ever existent in brahman
as brahman. Former version of advaita says through avasthAtraya prakriya
that the modified appearance of brahman as the universe is a projection
like a movie & restricted to one avastha either waking or dreaming so the
apparent modification of the brahman in the form of universe is time &
space bound hence avidyAkruta, while other version of advaita says that it
is an actual play on the stage & in brahman this world is ever lasting as
brahman itself.  I dont want to dig this further, anyway my stand is former
i.e. projection of the universe is space & time bound...nevertheless since
brahman is the secondless reality there is no other cause but brahman for
the temporal projection.

Now, let us come back to our present discussion, as said above, there is a
very famous statement in  chAdOgya shruti *brahman is One, One Only,
without Second*. This implies there is no supporting or controling separate
entity from it; therefore there cannot be (b) here apart from (a) It also
says there is nothing other than brahman; therefore there is no (b).
Incidentally, this statement 'ekam eva advitIyam brahma' has three
significant words: *yEkam* (One), *eva* (Only),  *advitIyam* (without a
second).  All these words more or less conveying the same meaning  &
stresses the point in (a).

In the sUtra bhAshya shankara makes it clear by saying kArNasyAtmabhUtA
shaktiH shaktEshchAtma bhUtaM kAryaM...meaning there is absolutely no
difference between kAraNa, its shakti & kArya..it is one & the same.

Atmana AkAsh saMbHutaH, AkAshAdvAyuH, vAyoragniH, agnE ApaH etc. clears
that from the Atman only panchn bhUta-s eminating not from (b) as above.
But if you see another shruti prashna it says first he created prANa from
this faith then comes the ether (sa prANamasrujata...kham...etc.) Here also
(a) emphasized though *order* of srushti is slightly different here. In
this context we can see taitirIya also sO kAmayatha, bahusyAm praja yEyEti
here brahman *wished* to become plenteous, & he *thinks* may I be born as
the manifold* etc. etc.  again (a) is evident here not (b).

Due to time constraints I shall stop here...but it is quite evident from
shruti assertion that brahman is the ONLY reality & He is both material &
efficient cause of this universe ...that is how it should be understood
those who strongly believe there is a creation from brahman....

If time permits...let us look into sUtra of bAdarAyaNa where he clearly
says brahman is the material cause without any ambiguity...till then.......

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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