[Advaita-l] 'Bheda' is vyaapya (pervaded) and 'abheda' is vyaapaka (pervader)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu May 31 03:52:23 EDT 2018

'Bheda' is vyaapya (pervaded) and 'abheda' is vyaapaka (pervader)

In Vedanta we have the Brahman's svarupa lakshanam being taught as 'Satyam,
Jnanam, Anantham'.  In these, the third one is indicative of the Infinite
nature of Brahman.  Three types of bheda are admitted: desha, kaala and
vastu, translating to space-wise, time-wise and object-wise
distinction/limitation.  While everything in creation is limited in time,
space and object, Brahman alone is free of these limitations. Shankara has
said while explaining the vastu paricchedatvam, rather the absence of it in
Brahman, that Brahman is sarva ananyam, it is non-different from everything
in creation. (Taittiriya Bhashya).

If there is any entity admitted as different from Brahman, that object will
limit Brahman as an object.  This is different from space-wise limitation.

When there are two objects, different from each other, we cognize them as
two different things.  In other words, the different objects become objects
of our cognition and therefore are pervaded by our buddhi.  This is called
'buddhivyaapyam.'   On the other hand, if the objects are realized to be
non-different, that is, one only, then we have abheda buddhi.  This abheda
buddhi pervades the bheda, bhinna vastus, and thereby is vyaapaka.  Surely,
the pervaded is of a lower status than the pervader.

Supposing someone holds Vishnu to be different from Shiva, then we have two
buddhis: Vishnu- buddhi and Shiva-buddhi, both being paricchinna buddhis.
As explained by Shankara in the Taittiriya Upanishad, a horse-buddhi and a
cow-buddhi limit each other mutually .  Vishnu-buddhi  and Shiva-buddhi
limit each other mutually. This is because the two are admitted to be
different. On the other hand, if one has the idea of non-difference between
Vishnu and Shiva, then there is abheda buddhi which is vyaapaka, the
pervader.  Naturally, the pervader is higher than the pervaded.
Ultimately, when there are no bhinna vastus, entities, like Vishnu, Shiva,
etc. the name 'vyaapakabuddhi' is also redundant.

In fact the Upanishad is very smartly avoiding any objection to
Brahmabuddhi.  In the Kenopanishat we have a mantra: 'praatibodha viditam
matam....'  where it teaches, it is Brahma buddhi that is running through
all individual perceptions like pot-perception, cloth-perception, etc. that
a person would get in the course of a day. Since it is Brahman that is
being wrongly perceived as pot, cloth, etc. the perception itself being in
the form 'pot is, cloth is..' the 'is-ness' in every perception is Brahman.
That way, no perception is bereft of Brahman-perception also being the
basis/part of it. What constitutes moksha jnanam is, however, the
perception of Brahman without the pot-cloth-etc. upadhis.

The Advaitin alone can achieve this since for him even the Vishnu-buddhi is
only an aupadhika buddhi, Brahman being the basis for even that. So,
naturally, Shiva-buddhi, also aupadhika, which also has Brahman as its
basis, evidently limits Vishnu-buddhi. And therefore alone neither Vishnu
buddhi nor Shiva buddhi can be moksha phalaka jnanam.  Everywhere in the
itihasa purana when Vishnu/Shiva buddhi is taught as moksha phalaka jnanam,
it is implicit that that Vishnu or Shiva is the Turiya entity that
transcends the Trimurtis.

Thus, in the scenario of bheda, the vyaapyatva of bheda (bhinna vastu) is
unavoidable; the vyaapaka being abheda.

Here is an article that has more details on the topic:



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