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Is Bramhan's form eternal?

From: Krishna Kalale (kkalale_at_qualcomm.com)
Date: Wed Feb 14 1996 - 14:29:19 PST

Shreemathe Srivan Satagopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatheendra Maha Desikaya Namaha:
Shreemathe Lakshmi Nrisimha Divya paaduka Sevaka Srivan Satagopa Sri
Narayana Yatheendra Maha Desikaya Namaha
Asmad Gurubyo Namha, Sri Lakshmi Nrisimha parabramhane Namaha.

I was wondering for a while regarding the issue raised by mani regarding the
rupa of bramhan.  Does bramhan have a rupa a form. and is that form real and
eternal?

visistadvaita's answer to this. -  Bramhan has eternal and non-eternal
forms.  eternal is the one in vaikuntam. it is due to nitya samkalpa - or
eternal wish of bramhan.  the non-eternal forms are avatara forms - ie. in
krishna avatara etc. those forms are taken for small durations.  The form
that appear to a yogi at the final states of yoga are not complete visions
but somewhat closer to visions - darshana samaanakara as per Sri Ramanuja.
Real vision of bramhan complete with all attributes is an impossibility when
a devotee is inside this body- as per visistadvaita.  why not?  the shruti
says Na chakshusha pashyati kashchana enam hridaa maneesha manasaabhi
klruptham - in Mahanarayanopanishad, it states, None see him through this
eyes, he is seen only through purified mind.  therefore he can be seen right
here in this world!, but not completely. since complete purification of mind
is not possible here . OUr dharma bhuta jnana - or simply our jnana becomes
flawless only in moksha.
what is the proof for his form?  - kapyaasam pundareekaksham iva akshini - a
statement from chandogya explains paramatman in the form of golden hue with
eyes like Lotus.  

Then how can you explain - the rigveda hymn used in jitanta stotram
(pancharathra) -

na the roopam na chaakaaro na ayudhani na cha aspadam
tathaapi purushaakaaro bhaktanaam tvam prakashase 

You have no shape or form (chaturbuja etc.), no weapons nor a location
but still you take the form of purusha - to please the devotees.

So does it mean that the form is just a created one not really associated
with bramhan, but he takes them to please devotees.  what exactly does the
first sentence mean - that you have no form??
Take the analogy of jeevatma and body.  our jeevatma has no form but it
lives in a body with form.  similarly paramatma is satyam jnanam anantam -
ie possesses existence, is of form of knowledge or jnana and is infinite but
has no form. Paramatma takes forms through different bodies to please the
devotees like in avataras etc.  But jeeva on the other hand gets forced to
take up bodies due to karma. But paramatma has taken an eternal form in the
vaikunta as per the upanishads. - this eternal form is the one with eyes
like lotus.   This eternality of form issue may have to be derived from many
statements, that the form in vaikunta is eternal.  Vaikunta is eternal
because of the statement - tad vishnoh paramam padagm sada pashyanti
surayaha. - this means the nitya soori's eternally see the vishnu pada.  in
the other taittirya upanishad - so ashnute sarvaan kamaan saha - gives
support to the eternality of attributes to God - ie. he attains bramhan with
all attributes (kamaan). in this set of attributes - svaroopa roopa guna
vibhava aishwarya sheeladyanavadika atishaya asamkhyeya kalyana guna gana -
as explained in Gadyatraya - God has form, beauty, infinite wealth, power,
and other auspiscous qualities.  

Another statement in sribhasya - the final one which states na cha
punaravarthate na cha punaraavarthate - ie. the person who has gone to
moksha does not come back - puts a question to advaita.  If jeeva is an
illusion and this illusion is dissolved in moksha why should one state that
he does not come back?  for he does not even exist why should he come
back?... For this Sri shankaracharya answers that this moksha here is the
attainment of saguna bramhan!! not nirguna bramhan!!.  So this confirms that
nirguna bramha concept has to be only inferred! in sutras and not directly
dealt with at all!  ( but according to visistadvaita the whole concept is
suspect!).

(NOTE that only upanishad sentences are used in these explanations to play
by the rules - if only upanishads are given authority- let us play the game
using those sentences alone.  we cant use other smriti vakyas for support.
But Sri Madhvacharya - takes all vedas, itihasas, puranas etc. for support
in the sutras



Krishna P. Kalale