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From: Krishna Kalale (krishna_at_nynexst.com)
Date: Fri Jun 24 1994 - 11:21:41 PDT
sudarshan, A LONG POSTING......BEWARE good explanation. please consider adding couple of other points. first of all vidya's contention that sareera sareeri bhava is not a upanishadic statement is total ignorance regarding upanishads. the brihad aranyaka upanishad- clearly says " yaha atmani tishtan atmanaam antharo yamayati yam atma na veda yasya atma sareeram" clearly in the direct words sareeram the upanishad declares the sareera sareeri bhava for the jeevatma and paramatma. Note this sareera sareeri bhava relation can answer both bheda relation since the attribute is different from substratum; the abheda relation ship is also explained since we call " this is devadatta" denoting his body. but we actually mean the devadatta (jeevatma). This type of analysis makes sareera sareeri bhava a relation ship which has the master key to analyze all the type of statements from the sruthis In an earlier post vidya claimed that there is no statement in the vedas which says vishnu is the highest - that is wrong - in Rig veda there is a statement " Agnir devanaam avamo vishnu ruthhamaha" meaning agni is the lowest among the gods and the vishnu is the highest. one more aspect of the sentence - sadeva somya idam agra aseeet eka meva advitiyam. For this which means " sat only existed oh, beautiful one, at the beginning one only without a second". For this statement, even shankara takes it as " maaya sabalitam bramha ekameva aseet" - meaning at the beginning bramhan combined with maya existed in the beginning without a second!!!!! Why does he need to do that? see the next sentence of the upanishad tat aikshata bahusyaam iti ..... meaning he(bramhan) willed to be many. How can the Nirguna bramhan, with no attributes, powers etc. will? Shankara assumes that between the first sentence and the second sentence some how the bramhan gets mixed up with maya and appears as " ishwara" a personal god who can will!!!. I am sure this is a torture of the vedas to bring out the advaitic meanings from it. Note the same bramhan "tat" which is same as "sat" wills to be many. so visistadvaitic meaning becomes very appropriate to vedas this is confirmed in other vedic statements such as " so kaamayata bahusyaam prajaayeyeti sa tapo tapyata" of taittirya upanishad. means "he willed to create many" Note one other point regarding satyam jnanam anantam bramha - bramhan is unconditionally existent, is knowledge, and is infinite. note the three items satyam, jnanam and anantam have to be adjectives of bramhan. if they are not let us take the the first one only bramhan is satyam - what does satyam means (existence) ie. bramhan exists. is existence the adjective of bramhan or bramhan identically equal to existence? if the latter, how can the same be also identically equal to a different concept called jnanam?. for this the advaitin answers - bramhan is different from being asatyam, different from being ajnanam and different from being antavat( finite thing) . So bramhan is indescribable according to advaitins and this statement can be only taken as a negative connotation. dont ever listen silently to an advaitin stating in english " bramhan is existence, knowledge and infinite... because he does not know the true advaitic position!!" This negative connotation also does no good for the attribute substratum relation ship. because the visistadvaitin can ask" do you say that bramhan is characterised by being different from asatyam, ajnaanam and antavat? then these negative descriptions becomes adjectives of a substratum which is bramhan!! ANy object one can think of has to have a characteristic and a object without characteristics is a non entity - this is the argument of the visistadvaitin - which happens to be very sensible!! NOw why is advaitin called " prachhana baudhha" or essentially a buddhist. if advaitin accepts the existence of bramhan with no attributes, it is as good as accepting nihilism with a twist. because how can any object exist without characteristics? even existence is an attribute of an object !! that is the reason an advaitin cannot confidently state that Bramhan exists. because he has to say bramhan is different from the non existents! this is the reason visitadvaitin takes strike at the advaitin stating that he is is a buddhist in disguise! do not make this prachhana bauddha isssue a historical issue. this is not warranted. finally, is bramhan is conscious or is he(or she) nirguna? as vidya claims vishnu to mean nirguna it does not work. if he wills to be many and wills to create, sustain and destroy this world he has to be conscious to will! so bramhan is concscious and not nirguna the way advaitin means. nirguna has to mean - without negative characteristics ` and the same sentence in svetasvetara says - nirgunam guna bhotkr cha meaning bramhan is attributeless and enjoyer of attributes. since the second aspect contradicts the first attribute (nirguna) in this sentence vedas do not mean nirguna to be attribute less but gunas to mean - three gunas only. incidentally, if one reads the bhagawadgita, - Sri Krishna says - gunaateethaha sa uchyate - in 14th chapter. in various chapters the term "guna" is used only to mean three gunas - ie. satva rajas tamo gunas. so ramanuja's view point on gunas is no error! but accurate description and answers serious allegation on vedas that they are inconsistent! note I need to check vishnu purana to find the exact thing vidya mentions in his article. may be someone should post vidyas articles on this bhakti or prapatti group. but in GIta there are lots of places where maya is said to be god's power -- for example " daivee hyeshaaa gunamayee mama mayaa duratyayaa. which means this divine maya (power) of mine (full of gunas--). note maya does not need to mean "illusion" as the advaitin takes it to be. in the sentence in rig veda " Indro mayaabihi pururoopa eeyate" which means indra takes different forms by his power - here maya is taken to be power even according to sayana - ie. an advaitic vedic commentator.