[Advaita-l] Eternal Loka

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Aug 17 01:16:04 CDT 2013

On Mon, 29 Jul 2013, Shrinivas Gadkari wrote:

> Namaste Shri Jaldhar,
> These are somewhat hand waving answers and will take lot
> more time and effort to formulate them in a much more
> rigorous manner using more precise technical terms. They
> nevertheless should capture the essence of what I wanted to convey.

I understand.

> Paradigm 1: nirguNa brahma reached the state of
> "nirguNa brahma" by perfecting and transcending every possible
> aspect vyavahAra.
> Paradigm 2: nirguNa brahma is completely disconnected from
> vyavahAra.
> The parama-purushArtha (PP) common to both paradigms is :"strive
> to get as close as possible to the highest state of nirguNa
> brahma".
> When one interprets the PP, in light of paradigm2, there is no
> clear directive about how one should go about activities in
> vyavahAra. This directive is got in via back door entry:
> - do your daily activities in a selfless manner to attain
>   chitta shuddhi. Then on a sufficiently shuddha mind, brahma
>   will reveal itself ...
> Here, perfecting activities in vyavahAra is not necessary. This
> paradigm does not oppose it, but it also does not actively support it.
> In other words we have given the spiritual licence to enable
> progressive degradation of vyavahAra (by making the perfection of
> activities in vyavahAra optional).

The reason is perfection in vyavahara is not possible.  No matter how much 
one seeks wealth there will always be more to possess outside of your 
grasp.  No matter how much one seeks pleasure there will always be more to 
lust after.  Even in dharma, the heavenly state which is its rewards will 
eventually dissipate returning you to samsaric misery not matter how much 
karma you perform.

Previously, the wise thinkers all over the world believed that the Earth 
was at the center and all the planets moved around it.  Their best models 
were fairly useful but in parts annoyingly unexplained.  More and more 
corrections were made but imperfections remained.  It is only when it was 
realized that the theory was broken and a better idea developed, that the 
planets including the Earth moved around the Sun, that progress resumed.

Advaita Vedanta calls for a paradigm shift away from the assumptions that 
underpin vyavahara.  This is true.  However it emphatically teaches that 
only a particular type of person is qualified for that shift.  It takes 
pains not to cause those are not ready to doubt their understanding and 
assumptions.  It is only in recent times that some irresponsible people 
have started spreading Advaitic teachings in an indiscriminate and 
irresponsible way.

> Now coming to interpretation of PP in the light of Paradigm 1. Here
> achieving perfection in the assigned karma and then transcending it
> given utmost importance. Note transcending a particular karma 
> means moving on the next set of karma for which the karma you have
> perfected is only a building block.
> Here, the answer to the question on how one should go about in
> activities in vyavahAra follows naturally.

But it does not prepare you for the time when there is no next set of 

> Even if you look at the charitra of Shri Adi Shankara, you will
> not miss that he has perfected and then risen above every activity
> in vyavahAra that he had to deal with.

Right but from the age of 8 he kept himself away from having to deal with
vyavahara as much as possible.

> One more point that will help clarifying issues here:
> One should not mix "duality" with "plurality". In fact
> "infinite plurality" can coexist with "absolute non-duality".
> And THIS is the advaita that appeals, atleast to me.

Plurality is not infinite.  Not understanding this places you outside the 
camp of Advaita Vedanta.

On Mon, 29 Jul 2013, Bhaskar YR wrote:

> It may give an impression that there are three categories of brahman i.e.
> firstly,  parabrahman (nirguNa, niravayava, nirvishesha, which does not
> have any relation to upAdAna and nimitta kAraNa of this jagat), secondly
> mAyOpAdhi brahman (not apara brahman but parabrahman only but we call this
> brahman as mAyOpAdhi brahma, which is both upAdAna & nimitta kAraNa of
> this jagat ) and thirdly apara brahma ( which is called hiraNya garbha
> etc. which is different from both parabrahman and mayOpAdhi brahman (or
> jagat kAraNa brahman)  as explained by Sri subbu prabhuji.  I think this
> is what confusing for him (and for me also :-))

I can understand why it could be confusing.  That is why it is important 
to be diligent in shravana, manana, and nididhyasana under the guidance of 
a shrotriya and brahmanishta teacher.

> PS :  On the guru pUrNima day I had sent my praNAms to your goodself & Sri
> vidyA prabhuji, seeking blessings...but unfortunately,  both of you, it
> seems,  ignored my mesg.

Unfortunately that is quite possible given my current time constraints. 
Perhaps we can take it as an illustration of the necessity of having a 
reliable guru. :-)

On Tue, 30 Jul 2013, Shrinivas Gadkari wrote:

> I would like to point out another way of looking at nirguNa
> brahma. To clarify my viewpoint let me be outright in mentioning
> that my primary devotion is to the veda-s, vedAnata. From the
> different teachers (including Shri Shanakaracharya), I do not
> mind picking that which makes sense, and leaving out something
> that does not appeal (to my current understanding). Also I mix
> and match what I have picked from different teachers, to create
> a consistent picture that tallies with my experience and also
> my interpretation of experience of others - including accounts
> from Puranas.

The key phrase here is "to my current understanding."  The reason we have 
a sampradaya is because each generation adds to the understanding of the 
subject.  It prevents unnecessarily reinventing wheels.

> So coming back to another way of looking at nirguNa brahma:
> The entire creation already exists in nirguNa brahma, and
> Adi mAyA, only projects what already exists in brahma.
> The need to project arises, because, the creation that exists
> in brahma is very very abstract, made of connections between
> "abstract thought processes". Adi mAyA through successive
> steps of AvaraNa-vikshepa projects, amplifies and colours this
> abstract creation. This is the phenomenon of vimarsha.

While all of srshti is in and from brahman, brahman is more than that.

On Tue, 13 Aug 2013, Sunil Bhattacharjya wrote:

> The Vedanta (Mudgala Upanishad)  does speak about the creation from a
> quarter of the Brahman. The creation from a quarter of Him is not
> eternal but He (Brahman) is.

This is the same as what is taught in chhandogyopanishad and in 
the purushasukta

pAdosya vishvAbhUtAni tripAdasyAmR^itandivi

(Also  note: brahman is neuter gender in sanskrit so a better 
translation is "it is" even though it looks a bit funny in English.)

So one cannot understand brahman merely by understanding srshti.  In fact 
one will get a misleading view by doing so.  This is why shastra tries to 
separate the concepts of brahman and srshti in the sadhakas understanding.

On Tue, 30 Jul 2013, Shrinivas Gadkari wrote:

> Bhaktas refer to Adi mAyA as Adi mAtA. Based on this view of
> creation and brahma, it becomes increasingly clear that the
> upAsanA of Adi mAtA is that precious upAsanA that will give one
> both the worlds - manifested vishva and increasing proximity
> to the cause of the world - nirguNa brahma.

Nothing wrong with this except it should be noted that the right 
sort of upasana to shiva or vishnu or any other vedic deity will produce 
the same results.

On Tue, 30 Jul 2013, Rajaram Venkataramani wrote:

> IMO, "It is not because it is devoid of all qualities, it is called 
> nirguna brahman. It is full of all qualities and hence it is called 
> nirgunabrahman
> because when something has all qualities it is actually devoid of it also
> because there is nothing to delimit it. We call white light colourless but
> when put through a prism, it shows all colours. For this reason, it can
> also be called full of colours by one who sees colours. Nirguna Brahman is
> like white light. Thorugh the prism of maya it is able to manifest all
> attributes"

Quite right.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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