[Advaita-l] Re: Ishvara in advaita vEdAnta

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Wed Nov 29 17:05:51 CST 2006

praNAm.h shrI Amuthan,
       Here's the relevant snippet from the book (Thanks to shrI Shyam for
the pointer. The words in italics are those of the questioner.):


*But Your Holiness said that it, was Surya devata who was worshipped?*

Yes.  It is correct so far as persons who are not able to conceive of a
higher power are concerned.  To those however who can conceive of that
power, He is the real *upasya.  *That power is called *Hiranyagarbha.  *He
enlivens and ensouls not only the Surya, but all devas.  He enlivens and
inhabits not only the solar orb but all things.  He is the cosmic
personality who is the soul of all things.

*I suppose just as we have the sense of I 'in our physical bodies,* *so does
that cosmic personality has the sense of "I" in the entire *cosmos.

He has.

*If so, the difference between Him and me lies not in the presence* *or the
absence of the sense of 'I' but only in the degree, the range or* *the
magnitude of that sense.  Mine is restricted, His is extended.*

It is so.* *

*if it is the sense of "I" that is responsible for the *concept *of a Jiva,
he must be as much a jiva as myself*

Quite so.  In fact He is called the First Born.* *

*Then, even if this higher power happens to *belong *to the* *category of
Jivas, just like myself, the same objection which I* *mentioned against the
worship of Surya devata holds good in his* *case also.*

What then would you like to worship?

*A transcendent power which is not a jiva.*

Have it then that it is such a transcendent power that is worshipped in the
*sandhya.  *We give Him the name of *lswara, *the Lord, or the antaryami,
the inner ruler.

*But I have heard it mentioned that the terms Lord' and Ruler'* *are only
relative terms which are used in regard to Him when we* *want to describe
Him in relation to the universe, which is 'lorded* *over 'or 'ruled' by Him.

Yes, it is so.

*It cannot be that we can have no conception of him apart from* *his
relationship of some sort to the universe.  His relationship to the* *universe
can at best be only an extraneous circumstance.  In His* *essence, He must
have an independent existence quite unrelated to* *anything else.*

You are right.  We call that unrelated essential existence *Brahman.*

> if Ishvara is defined as jagadkAraNa, how does hiraNyagarbha's merging
> into nirguNa brahman at the time of pralaya destroy Ishvara? doesn't
> the very fact that the universe is projected during the next sRShTi
> imply the existence of Ishvara during pralaya?

Did I ever say that Ishvara is destroyed during praLaya?  The Ishvara who
exists during praLaya (as well as at all other times)  FOR ME is the nirguNa
brahma. But FOR YOU, it's shrI mahAviShNu in vaikunTha which is itself part
of the vyAvahArika world.

And this is what I am contesting. I am saying during praLaya, there is no
entity or lOka which could remain unaffected, whereas you seem to say that
shrI mahAviShNu and/or vaikunTha remain unaffected by any praLaya.

i have already quoted
> the necessary shruti-s and smRti-s to show that there is no
> destruction for Ishvara during pralaya. please note that accepting the
> eternality of Ishvara doesn't contradict the brahma sUtra you have
> quoted. (btw, the anumAnAs i've used are not based on some
> abhUtakalpanA. i have provided the necessary references from both
> shruti and smRti to support them.)

Just to remove any confusion, I did not intend that your anumAna was some
fanciful imagination. All I meant was that shaN^kara refers to nirguNa
brahma in theistic terms very often, and this means that any reference to
saguNa brahma could be easily interpreted to point to nirguNa brahma, and
hence the confusion regarding the actual existence (in vyavahAra, of course)
of such a saguNa entity and His lOkas.



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