[Advaita-l] RE: self-realization/salvation

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Jul 27 03:27:25 CDT 2006

On Mon, 24 Jul 2006, ramesh badisa wrote:

> Badisa: Since the liberated soul stays at BL (space) and then merges 
> later in nirgun Brahman at pralaya (time), it means that as per your 
> above reply, this soul has also limited gyan.

When using words like limit you must be clear about the context.  In a 
system where there are only 1,2,3,4, and 5, the "highest limit" refers to 
5.  However in a system where there is 1,2,3,4,5 and 6, the term "highest 
limit" refers to 6.

In the world of gunas, jnana, the "highest limit" of knowledge refers to 
identification with Ishwara.  Not so in the world of nirguna but if you 
bring that up, you are moving the goalposts.

> Here, my questions for you 
> are: 1. quote any reference to show that this soul has limited gyan at  BL.

The question is improperly phrased.  In so far as the atma considers 
itself to be at Brahmaloka, there is nothing limited about its jnana.

2. How do you justify that the state of liberated soul at BL with 
> limited gyan is called salvation?

I am not calling anything "salvation" but if you are talking about mukti, 
then as I said above, there is nothing limited about jnana in the saguna 
context and thus nothing limited about mukti as a result of that jnana. 
In the saguna context.

3. If it has limited gyan, then how do 
> you explain it’s merging in nirgun Brahman at the time of pralaya?

What is this pralaya?  If I have dirt on my face, I may be considered 
"ugly" and if I wash it and groom it I might be considered "beautiful." 
But did my ugly face "merge" into my beautiful face?  Or did the removal 
of the dirt let the true nature of my face appear?

To answer my question, pralaya is when maya stops and the apparent 
difference between saguna Brahman and Nirguna Brahman is erased.

> Badisa: This piece of paper makes a lot of difference in ordinary life 
> as well as in spiritualism. The person who has this paper will get the 
> job, but not the other person. For a minute, if we assume that getting 
> job is the final result, then in that case, it is obvious that both 
> these persons are not said to have the same final result.

_If_ we assume.  My point is we can assume something else entirely.

> Badisa: Here, you are implying that attainment of BL will not bring the 
> liberated soul to samsar. This is not correct. This sutra needs to be 
> understood very carefully. “No return” does not imply on account of 
> attainment of BL by the liberated soul. Why? Because, attainment of any 
> loka up to BL is subject to return to the world, as per Gita 8/16.

AbrahmabhuvanAllokaH punarAvartino'rjuna |
mAmupetya tu kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate || 8|16 ||

All the worlds including the abode of Brahma are subject to return Arjuna.
But only by reaching me Kaunteya does one not know rebirth. (8.16.)

On the face of it, this shloka does pose a bit of a conundrum as it 
appears to contradict the brahmasutras.  So lets look at the context.

mAm -- me.  Who does this refer to?  Krshna Bhagavan, but who is Krshna 
Bhagavan.  The previous shloka (8.15) also mentions mAmupetya and there 
Shankaracharya glosses mAm as Ishvara.  Ishvara is contrasted with Brahma. 
Who is Brahma then? 8.17 explains it is Prajapati whose days 
and nights are 1000 yugas long i.e. whose lakshana is time.  8.18 goes on 
to say this Brahma is the avyakta of Samkhya/Yoga.  So the brahmaloka of 
this part of the Gita is not the same as the brahmaloka of the Vedanta 
sutras.  Remember both Sankhya and Vedanta have their basis in the Vedas 
and therefore use similiar sounding terminology at times.  So you have to 
look at the context to understand how a term is being used. 8.19 goes on 
to explain that those who achieve the Samkhyan Brahmaloka can fall from it 
because they remain bound by time.  However there is a being that is 
avyakta and akshara according to 8.20 who is not bound by time.  And 8.21 
says exectly what the Vedanta sutras say:  those who reach the avyakta and 
akshara, never return.

> This 
> sutra is addressed to the liberated soul at BL, and such souls, having 
> experienced the self, will eventually merge in nirgun brahman at 
> pralaya. That is the reason, this sutra says no more births for this 
> soul. This sutra is not intended to convey the meaning that upon 
> attainment of BL, the liberated soul will not come back to samsar.

But you agree the sutra says no more births.  Isn't that the very 
definition of samsara?

> Self-experience is the key here, and on account of it, this soul will 
> never return. Why? Because such souls will eventually merge in nirgun 
> Brahman at pralaya, and that is the reason they won’t return to samsar. 
> This is what this sutra implies. Not the way you are interpreting it. If 
> mere attainment of BL will put a full stop to retun to samsar, then in 
> that case, there is no requirement for self-experience at BL

Self-experience is the cause of attainment of Brahmaloka.

  and there 
> is no reason for it to merge in nirgun Brahman at the time of pralaya.

The merge is automatic because in the paramarthic sense, there was never a 
difference.  So a reason for merging isn't needed.

> For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the liberated soul at BL 
> failed self-experience before pralaya. Now, Can you speculate what would 
> be its fate when creation is done again next time? You are also saying 
> that BL is not the same of svarga to return to samsar. This is also 
> incorrect. The qualified soul after following devyan path will reach BL, 
> where Lord Brahma asks some questions. Those who give the correct 
> answers are allowed to stay there, while all other unqualified ones will 
> stay temporarily there, enjoy and then return to the samsar. Lord Brahma 
> gives the final liberation teaching to the qualified soul, which are now 
> staying at BL. For more details, please check Kaoushitaki 
> Brahmanoupanishad. The bottom line here is that even attainment of BL is 
> subject to return to the samsar. Based on this, you check for yourself 
> about the correct intention of the last sutra.

What are the "correct answers"?  To me it obvious that all the upanishad 
is saying is that those who have avidya have a different destination than 
those who have jnana.  Why would jnanis need Prajapati to give them "the 
final liberation teaching."?

> Badisa: Then in that case, there should not have a sutra to say that the 
> liberated souls at BL have no powers of creation etc. Badrayan, being a 
> liberated soul, should not have framed this sutra if mukti is 
> transcendence of creation etc. But, the fact that he had framed this 
> sutra in keeping in mind about the liberated souls at BL implies 
> clearly, that the state of liberated souls at BL is not salvation.

Obviously this sutra is a rejoinder to those such as Samkhya and Mimamsa 
who had a different conception of mukti.

>  Badisa: Since we are talking about liberated soul and the powers at BL,
>  as per your above reply, it appears that even in the state of salvation
>  (as per you and other’s perspective), the liberated souls at BL would
>  remain the product of producer. Interesting! But, this is incorrect.

Why so?  Gunas are not imperishable.  What can be ended must have begun 
and there must have been a cause to begin it.  Only nirguna brahman is 
avyakta _and_ akshara.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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