[Advaita-l] Why should Brahman be without form or attributes?

ramesam vemuri ramesamvijaya at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 18 02:04:38 CDT 2012

I am sure there are more competent people to clarify. But here is my 2 c submission, if useful.

1.  Please appreciate that Brahman is NOT an entity -- better understand the word to be only  an indicative  "pointer" to some 'thing'.  ['Thing" here does not mean a solid/physical entity - what exactly It is, is not known, but the word 'thing' is used onlyas an expression.]

2.  Any form (defined by a set of attributes) sets the limits or boundaries to that object in its size, shape, weight, qualities etc. Such limits or boundaries indicate or imply that there is some "other" thing existing beyond those boundaries. 

Thus "more than 'one' thing are present and existing" is the automatic meaning obtained if we define a shape or form or any quality to a thing. Such an implication is directly contrary to the very meaning of the word a-dvaita (not two) meaning that there is no second thing beyond the only "One" thing that exists.

The ONE thing that the word Brahman points out to does not contain  things with defined sizes and shapes within It. Hence It is said to be Indivisible.

Because it has no finite boundaries, It is said to be  Infinite.

3.  Also, it is useful to appreciate that Infinite used to indicate Brahman does not mean
'not - finite' in the sense of huge dimensions. It means "undimensional" -- without length, width, height, weight, smell or even quantum physical terms like spin, polarity, charge  etc. etc. How can one describe such a 'thing'? So It is said to be indescribable.

4.  Nirguna as a "concept" is totally dispensable for Advaita because Advaita is beyond all 'concepts.'

5.  Any attribute that we can think of ascribing to a thing  depends on any of our sensory or mental perceptions (i.e. concepts developed on the basis of the five senses and mind). But what is indicated by Brahman is beyond the senses and mind. It cannot be 'effed.' So It is said to be Ineffable.
 It follows from the above that concepts like 'maya, avidya etc.' are in fact dispensable in Advaita - they are merely explanatory artifacts to satisfy a curious mind. Hence Brahman is said to be Indescribable.



 From: Suresh <mayavaadi at yahoo.com>
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org 
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2012 10:59 AM
Subject: [Advaita-l] Why should Brahman be without form or attributes?

Let's say Brahman has form and attributes. In what way would it affect advaita? Why can't advaita still be right even if we admit Brahman to be saguna only and not nirguna? Is this nirguna concept indispensable? 

I can understand concepts like maya, avidya etc. as indispensable - they explain the wrong identification of self with not self, duality in this world, and so on. But I don't see how advaita would collapse by rejecting nirguna brahman concept. 

Please remember ... this thread isn't about whether nirguna concept is right or wrong (so please don't post a thousand posts on that and digress) but whether advaita would still be right without it.

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