[Advaita-l] Creation by Brahman - only a nimitta - Vishnu Purana - Sridhara Swamin

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Feb 3 13:39:04 EST 2018

On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 10:21 PM, Kalyan <kalyan_kg at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Namaste
> There is nothing in this world which affects something else just by its
> mere presence. (Before giving examples of sun and snow or master and
> servant, please think about them. They are not counter examples).
> There needs to be interaction between 2 entities A and B for one to cause
> an effect on the other.
> This is a well known issue in Western philosophy (the interaction problem)
> due to which Cartesian dualism runs into problems.
> So also, Brahman also by its mere presence cannot cause anything to
> happen. Moreover, Shankara argues in BSB that Brahman is also the
> instrumental cause (potter-pot). Hence it would be contrary to say that
> brahman affects everything passively. If this is true, a mechanism of
> interaction needs to be proposed and explained.

In Advaita the thesis is thus stated:

BSB 2.2.7  After showing the defect in the Sankhya theory (which provided
examples), the Vedantin states his own mechanism:

परमात्मनस्तुस्वरूपव्यपाश्रयमौदासीन्यम् , मायाव्यपाश्रयं च प्रवर्तकत्वम् —
इत्यस्त्यतिशयः ॥ ७ ॥

[AudAsInyam, Brahman is of the nature of inactivity inherently and the
driving urge for creation from the standpoint of maya. ]

A gloss, Ratnaprabha, clarifies:  अस्मन्मते कल्पिताकल्पितयोरविरोध इत्यतिशयः
  In Vedanta, the 'relation' or 'interaction' is between a real and an
unreal and hence there is no contradiction.

Thus, the question of interaction does not arise. When it is said
'sannidhimAtrena', there is nothing that Brahman expects or gets from Maya,
whereas the latter gets the sentiency from Brahman, because of proximity
and thereby creation is initiated. When it is said 'Brahman is the nimitta
kAranam', the sankalpa to create, etc. is the contribution of Maya.


> Regards
> Kalyan

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