[Advaita-l] Have you seen God?

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Sat Feb 29 13:03:02 EST 2020

Namaste Anand ji,

On Fri, Feb 28, 2020 at 9:36 PM Anand N via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Vedanta teachers also shy away from the question, have you seen God or are
> you a Jnani/Jivanmukta or are you enlightened?
> Usually such questions are met with tangential answers such as how does
> that benefit you or even if i am how will you tell etc.
> My questions:
> 1. Isn't it natural that when one meets or studies under a teacher, one
> asks him if he's seen God?
It really depends on the student and what is the expectation in seeing God.
There is a different expectation in a student approaching the teacher in
the Upanishads. More in point 3.

> 2. Is the traditional view that such a direct question to the Guru is
> inappropriate?
It may not be inappropriate from the perspective of the Guru, but
traditionally, the shiShya has shraddhA towards the Guru who is assumed to
be shrotriya and brahmaniShTha, having learnt in the lineage. The issue is
only these days when the knowledge is thought to be available from books
and then there is the question of shrotriyatA itself, let alone
brahmaniShThA. In any case, the latter cannot be known, whether for a
student now or earlier, so it was driven by shraddhA.

> 3. Are there such exchanges in the Vedanta literature which i possibly
> haven't yet come across so far? Could you please quote such references if
> they are available.

A student in the Upanishad has most likely even done upAsana and has a good
level of adhikAritva, the uttama being one who is a kRtopAsti, meaning one
who has done upAsanA to culmination, which would include devatA-darshana,
so this exact question to the Guru becomes irrelevant to the shiShya! What
may be relevant though is whether the guru is brahmaniShTha/ realised. If
that is a doubt, then the Guru is merely a teacher being shrotriya, which
is not an issue at all, since brahmaniShTha cannot be known. For him to be
a Guru, the shraddhA is to such a level that definitions of Guru given by
the shAstra hold, wherein Guru is seen as Ishvara Himself! Where then can
the question of Him seeing God or having niShThA arise! This is why, IMHO,
we don't see such Qs in the Upanishad proper. At least not in first eight
of the dashopaniShad and not in the last two, AFAIK (if Chandogya or Brihad
has it, I am yet to come across as my study is not complete).

The only related story in this context I have heard is about a saint whose
student asked as to His being liberated and the Guru decided not to answer.
Why so? The Guru thought the following: if I say no, it would be a lie. If
I say yes, it would be a lie as well, as liberated has the meaning of being
liberated from bondage, meaning there was bondage earlier. That too is
untrue! So it may surely seem that they shy away from the Q.

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* येनेदं सर्वं विजानाति, तं केन विजानीयात्। Through what should one know
That owing to which all this is known! [Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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