[Advaita-l] ISvara

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Fri Jul 28 00:51:32 CDT 2006

Mahesh Ursekar wrote:

Wasn't Krishna as Saguna Brahman "born" at a given point in time? I put the
word born in quotes since He chose to "wield his power"  and take birth out
of Devaki's womb. But does this mean that Krishna, Shiva, etc. exist as
Iswara and chose to act in certain ways? Is Iswara then one or many? And it
is still confounding for me to understand how they came to "exist" in the
first place.

Lastly, I would like to revert back to my original point on omniscience. As
per what you said, Iswara is omniscience as per Vedanta. Buddha was
considered the same. So was Mahavira. So was the kaivalya mukta of Samkhya.
If so, how is it that they differred in their view of reality? It this claim

Brahman is pure consciousness and without any attributes or activity. When
this nirguNa brahman is associated with mAyA which is composed of the three
guNas,  it is known as saguNa brahman. This is the same as ISvara or
bhagavAn. Krishna himself says in GitA 4.6, "Though I am birthless, never
subject to any change, and the Lord of all beings, I appear as an embodied
being. ISvara is only one. He takes on many forms as in the various
incarnations. But he has no birth or death. He appears by the power of his
mAyA as he says in gita 4.6. ISvara is not deluded by mAyA which is his own
power and so even when he takes a body he is always aware that he is
brahman. In contrast, jIvas are deluded by mAya and so they identify
themselves with their body, mind and senses. The jIvas are born in
accordance with their karma, but ISvara incarnates of his own free will.
Gita 4.5 shows that while the knowledge of the jIva is limited, there is no
limit to Isvara's knowledge even when he has taken a human form as in the
Krishna incarnation. Sri Sankara says, in his introduction to his
gItabhAshya, "The Lord, ever endowed with knowledge, sovereignty, power,
strength, valour, and splendour, appears, by using his power of mAyA, as if
born, and as if having a body, in order to protect the world. Thus ISvara is
eternal and apears in various forms from time to time. When he incarnates we
call it a birth and celebrate that day as his birthday.

    Your second question is why Buddha and others differ in their view of
reality. Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva were all very erudite and mighty
intellects. Each of them has interpreted the upanishads and brahmasutras in
different ways. Their experiences and their point of view may differ. The
same thing applies to Buddha and others.


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