[Advaita-l] Re: Ishvara in advaita vEdAnta

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Sat Nov 25 02:20:45 CST 2006

praNAm.h shrI Amuthan,

> AchArya does in fact use the magician-illusion analogy. for instance,
> in his dakShiNAmUrti stotra, he writes '...mAyAvIva vijRmbhayatyapi
> mahAyogIva yaH svechChayA' (2). the difficulty in understanding this
> arises only when we miss the fact that Ishvara can project the
> universe from his arUpa aspect itself. the forms and lokAs of Ishvara
> that exist are for bhaktAnugraha. they exist eternally.

I agree with all but the last of the statements in the above paragraph (as
we discussed earlier). Could you please provide me a scriptural quote for
the "They exist eternally" part? Thanks.

> On 11/24/06, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy_at_gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > -- Nothing in the vyAvahArika world could be nitya,
> what about 'time'? it surely has existence only in vyavahAra. it
> cannot be anitya since to assert that something is anitya presupposes
> the existence of time.

Another example of eternality is the vEda. I am not sure about time because
it's not an entity. It's a convention for the ordering of events. In any
case, let me focus on the question of an eternal Ishvara within the
vyAvahArika world.

On 11/24/06, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy_at_gmail.com> wrote:
> > -- First objection: Why does this entity Ishvara not want to merge with
> > nirguNa brahma? There could not be remnant karma for Ishvara like in the
> > case of a jIvanmukta.
> only if there is avidyA, the notion of difference from brahman exists.
> since brahman itself assumes the form of Ishvara using it's
> anirvachanIya mAyA shakti, the above question is not valid.

I am not sure what you mean. You are mixing up two analogies -- one, avidyA
as giving rise to the notion of jIva and Ishvara, and the other Ishvara
wielding the mAyA as a shakti. The usage of Ishvara as wielding mAyA
suggests that it refers to nirguNa brahma (the above magician analogy). And
if you want to use the first analogy, my "first objection" above still

On 11/24/06, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy_at_gmail.com> wrote:
> > -- Second objection: This Ishvaratva becomes a parallel goal along with
> > nirguNa brahma. For example, one can try to attain Ishvaratva or merger
> with
> > shrI mahAviShNu, rather than merger with nirguNa brahma. If one has the
> > capability to attain nirguNa brahma, what prevents one from attaining
> > Ishvaratva? What advantage is there in attaining nirguNa brahma, rather
> than
> > Ishvaratva? Even if we assume that one does not have the capability of
> > merging with Ishvara in the above sense, the first objection still
> stands.
> Ishvara sAyujya, sArUpya etc. are accepted as part of kramamukti.
> those who desire the respective lokAs reach the respective lokAs by
> appropriate efforts. the final goal however is kaivalya. it is final
> since that is when complete avidyochCheda happens.

The brahma sUtra 4.3.10 that I mentioned earlier refers to kramamukti. But
there it's mentioned (at least in svAmi Gambhiranandaji's translation) that
hiraNyagarbha who is the lord of that world Himself attains nirguNa brahma
along with the other liberated jIvas residing there at the time of praLaya.
So, there is no mention of an eternal Ishvara there.

praNAm.h shrI Krunal,

1. ishvaraH - verse 4 - one who has unlimited lordliness or power over ALL
> things - I think this would include time etc.
> 2. ishvaraH - verse 8 - the omnipotent being

Unfortunately,  both the above definitions fit the description of nirguNa
brahma or shrI mahAviShNu. Thus, the question still persists.

praNAm.h shrI Bhaskar,

> As far as my limited knowledge goes, shankara nowhere equates any
> particular name & form with the concept of Ishwara...So, IMHO, it could be
> either mahAviShNu or mahAdEva..coz. Ishitavya has been attributed to both
> these personalities in purANA-s (for example vishNu purANa & shiva
> mahApurANa).

What I was wondering was whether the word "Ishvara" refers to nirguNa brahma
(as referred to in the vyAvahArika world) or some entity within vyAvahAra,
be it shrI mahAviShNu or shrI sadAshiva or any of the various forms
glorified as supreme in the itihAsas and the purANas (I am not particular
about which deity is being regarded as supreme.)

In shruti (prashna) there is a maNtra which expressly makes the distinction
> between the higher (para) brahman and the lower brahman (apara/Ishwara).
> But shankara makes it clear that the yEkamEva advitIya brahman
> (parabrahman
> which is ultimately nirguNa, nirAkAra)  is regarded as lower
> brahman/saguNa
> brahman/Ishwara (saguNa, sAkAra)  for the sake of meditation in the sphere
> of avidyA for the convenience of sAdhaka-s who cannot elevate themselves
> to
> the level of the absolutely featureless pure brahman.

This part I mentioned earlier. But we are talking about the existence of an
eternal lOka and an eternal entity within vyAvahAra (independent of our
imagination), rather than forms superimposed for the sake of upAsana.

Shankara's  bhAshya
> on sUtra janmAdasya yaTha is a reference text in this regard.

Thanks for the pointer. I will refer to it again soon.



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