[Advaita-l] For Shankara, Vishnu, etc. are only illusory forms of Brahman

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jul 10 06:08:50 EDT 2017

The 'itthambhāva tṛtīyā' that I have mentioned here is actually found in
the Bhāgavatam itself, in this very context:

०२१००४४१ इत्थम्भावेन कथितो भगवान्भगवत्तमः
०२१००४४३ नेत्थम्भावेन हि परं द्रष्टुमर्हन्ति सूरयः

Meaning as per Sridhara Swamin: (After saying 'brahmarūpeṇa,

viṣṇurūpeṇa and rudrarūpeṇa) he says:

इत्थंभावेन = स्रष्टृत्वादिरूपेण ’तस्माद्वा एतस्मादात्मन आकाशः
सम्भूतः’, ’सोऽकामयत

बहु स्यां प्रजायेय’ इत्यादिश्रुत्या कथितः । सूरयस्तु परं केवलं
एवंरूपेण द्रष्टुं नार्हन्ति ।

[The shruti teaches Brahman as endowed with the functions of

creation, etc. through the passages 'From Brahman ākāśa emerged',

'It desired, deliberated, let me become many and be born as

many'. However, Knowers of Brahman, Jnanis, cannot perceive

Brahman in this form.]

It is after this verse the Bhagavatam says that the teaching

of Brahman as creator, etc. is only with a view to negate it later.

Thus, the itthambhāve tṛtīyā, a form of the instrumental case,

 is found used in that very sense in the Srimadbhāgavatam: Brahman

as Brahmā,as Vishnu and as Rudra.

Om Tat Sat

On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 3:11 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>

> For Shankara, Vishnu, etc. are only illusory forms of Brahman
> For Shankara, Brahman is the Jagatkāraṇam, and not any finite deity which
> is subject to vastupariccheda doṣa.  In other words, if he jagatkāraṇam is
> held to be the deity Vishṇu, he will be different from Shiva and Brahma and
> everything else in creation.  This will limit Vishnu on the basis of
> object: this is vastuparicchedam.
> In the VSN bhashya Shankara has said, with regard to the trimurtis:
>    1. रजोगुणं *समाश्रित्य* विरिञ्चिरूपेण…
>    2. तमोगुणम् *आस्थाय *स रुद्रात्मना..
>    3. सत्त्वगुणम् *अधिष्ठाय* भूतानि
> Now notice the three lyabanta avyayas Shankara has used that I have
> underlined: All the three words mean the same: 1. By resorting to, 2. By
> standing in it, literally, or ‘firmly taking up’ and 3. By keeping it as
> the basis. And in all the three cases, the lyabanta applies, relates, to
> Viṣṇu, as Brahman, only, ekakartṛkatvam. The characteristic of lyabanta or
> ktvānta avyaya is this 'ekakartṛtaktam'. There are two acts, in sequence,
> performed by the same person:It denotes that A, upon doing xxxx, does yyyy.
> Aassume a guṇa and perform an act.  Viṣṇu, by resorting to the three gunas
> is engaging in the three acts. None can break the above grammar rule and
> show any other anvaya to those sentences. And he does this not by using
> Rudra and Brahma as instruments, but *as themselves*. This tṛtīyā
> vibhakti is called ‘itthambhāve’. One example where Shankara uses this form
> of the instrumental case is the Taittiriya bhāṣya for the upanishadic
> words: ‘brahmaṇā vipaściteti’. The context and meaning there is: The
> Atmajnāni, in Advaita, is Brahman itself. The Upanishad says: सोऽश्नुते
> सर्वान् कामान् सह, ब्रह्मणा विपश्चितेति. While this sentence can mean: that
> jnani will enjoy all bhogas *along with* Brahman (brahmaṇā saha) (as
> Dvaitins interpret it), in advaita there are no two entities in mokṣa. So,
> Shankara uses that instrumental case in which Brahman is used in the
> sentence as: *As Brahman*, that is, being non-different from Brahman, he
> enjoys all bhogas. For the how and what ‘enjoyment’ here means, one can
> look into the bhashya. The point that is made here, in this VSN context is:
> Vishnu *as Rudra* and *as Brahmā* engages in the respective acts. As for
> himself, there is no need to mention as it is popular that Vishnu is one
> among the trimurtis, and hence Shankara does not use the tṛtīyā. The
> pronoun ‘sa’ used by the bhāṣhyam only in respect of Rudra, is to be
> applied in the other two cases too. It is for any intelligent reader,to
> supply it along with the tṛtīyā ṭhere and understand the bhāṣyam. Thus, the
> one Brahman, *as the trimurtis*, engages in those acts, with the
> necessary guṇas. Shankara nowhere says here ‘as the inner self’. Rudrātmanā
> does not mean ‘as the inner self of Rudra’ but ‘*as Rudra*’ as I have
> explained above ('itthambhāve tṛtīyā).
> This is beautifully explained by Sridhara swamin in the Bhagavata
> commentary 2.10.40,42,43:
> *sa vācya-vācakatayā bhagavān brahma-rūpa-dhṛknāma-rūpa-kriyā dhatte
> sakarmākarmakaḥ paraḥ*
> *That Lord, taking upon the form of Brahmā.....*
> sa evedaṁ jagad-dhātā
> bhagavān dharma-rūpa-dhṛk
> puṣṇāti sthāpayan viśvaṁ
> tiryaṅ-nara-surādibhiḥ
> He, the Personality of Godhead, as the maintainer of all in the universe,
> appears in different incarnations after establishing the creation, and thus
> He reclaims all kinds of conditioned souls amongst the humans, the
> nonhumans and the demigods.
> *tataḥ kālāgni-rudrātmā yat sṛṣṭam idam ātmanaḥsanniyacchati tat kāle
> ghanānīkam ivānilaḥ*Thereafter, at the end of the millennium, the Lord
> Himself in the form of Rudra, the destroyer, will annihilate the complete
> creation as the wind displaces the clouds.
> The commentary of Sridhara Swamin for the above two verses:
> *ब्रह्मरूपेण* स्रष्टृत्वमुक्त्वा *विष्णुरूपेण* पालकत्वमाह ।.....
> *रुद्ररूपेण* संहर्तृत्वमाह ..। [After having stated the creatorship *as
> Brahmā, *the sustainership* as vishnu *is being stated*.*]
> This is very clear. What Shankara has said in the VSN Bhashya is exactly
> this. In fact  in the Praśnopanishad 2.9 bhashya too Shankara employs this
> itthambhāve tṛtīya only:
> किंच, इन्द्रः परमेश्वरः त्वं हे प्राण, *तेजसा वीर्येण* रुद्रोऽसि संहरन्
> जगत् । स्थितौ च परि समन्तात् रक्षिता पालयिता ; परिरक्षिता त्वमेव जगतः *सौम्येन
> रूपेण*. The construct of the mantra itself is such, in the case of rudra
> it says tejasā. ‘You, O Prāna, are Rudra, destroying the worlds.’ Shankara
> follows exactly the construct and applies it to the rakṣaṇa act too even
> though the mantra just said: परिरक्षिता without even specifying ‘as
> whom/what’. ‘You alone are the protector/preserver of the world as the
> benign-form (ed Viṣṇu): soumyena *rūpeṇa*.’ The reference is to Vishnu is
> unmistakable. It is not meant or said by the mantra that Prāṇa is a
> different entity and Rudra and the unnamed Viṣṇu are different entities.
> Thus, Shankara explicitly uses the suffix 'rūpeṇa' with respect to Vishnu
> as well, as he has done in the case of Rudra. Moreover, Anandagiri
> clarifies there: विष्ण्वादिरूपेण [in the forms such as Vishnu].  Thus, for
> the Upanishad and Shankara, Vishnu is just one of the many forms in the
> cosmos that Brahman takes for the purposes of creation, etc.
> It is at this juncture that the Bhagavatam itself says that there is no
> true doership for Brahman; it is only stated as an adhyāropa in the śāstra
> only with the view to negate it: pratiṣedhārtham. Such being the case, why
> would Brahman really do anything by itself or cause anything to be done by
> the agency of anyone else? If it considers really anything/anyone as
> 'other', then it ceases to be Brahman, for that very consideration limits
> it: vastupariccheda.
> This is a further confirmation of the Nr.Ut.Tā.Upanishad which teaches
> that the trimurtis are only illusory creations of Brahman through the
> agency of māyā. Shankara has very clearly elucidated this.
> Om Tat Sat

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