An Advaitin’s assessment of some Dvaita-remarks
The following remark is sourced from the site: www
//INTRODUCTION TO KANNADA EDITION of the Book ‘Gitaa-sAroddhAra’
Some commentaries on the Gita which have come down to us have tried to make out that Advaita-vada is the true message of the Gita. These look upon Sri Krishna, the supreme Lord, as still open to the illusion of duality. This may be gathered from the following verse of the Pancadasi of Sri Vidyaranya:
मायाख्याया: कामधेनो: वत्सौ जीवेश्वरावुभौ । (vi.236)
“The Jiva and Isvara are the calves of the divine cow of Maya.”
If Sri Krishna had really attained the experience of Advaitic unity, he should have realised the illusory nature of the universe and his own lordship over such a universe. In that case, it would be a gross deception on his part to claim to be the Lord of all beings (Bhutanam isvarah). In order to maintain the truthfulness of that claim, it will have to be admitted that from the Advaita point of view Sri Krishna is still subject to the illusion of duality. It is not clear how one who is not himself completely out of the illusion of duality can teach pure Advaita to others.
– SRI VIDYAMANYA TIRTHA SWAMIJI
of the Sri Palimar Mutt of Udipi and the
Bhandarakere Math of Barkur (S. K.)
Translated from the Kannada Introduction
by Dr. B. N. K. SHARMA//
An Advaitin’s Response to the above observation of the Pontiff:
In the Panchadashi, is the verse:
मायाख्याया: कामधेनो: वत्सौ जीवेश्वरावुभौ ।
यथेच्छं पिबतां द्वैतं तत्त्वं त्वद्वैतमेव हि ॥
mAyAkhyAyaH kAmadhenOH vatsau jIveshwaraavubhau |
yathEccham pibatAm dvaitam tattvam tu advaitameva hi || (VI.236)
[Jiva and Iswara, the two calves of the celestial cow called Maya, may enjoy the duality as they like. But the non-dual alone is the Reality.]
The observation of the Pontiff of the Sri Palimar Mutt has arisen out of misinformation about the status of Ishwara and jiva in the Panchadashi in particular and in Advaita in general. In the Panchadashi itself there are several verses that show the distinction between Ishwara and Jiva. While Ishwara is the Lord of Maya, jiva is the ‘victim’ of Maya. Hence, the two, Ishwara and jiva, are not both deluded by Maya.
We may consider the following two positions:
1. In Advaita, samsara (transmigrative life), jiva and Ishwara (soul and God), bandha and moksha, (bondage and liberation) etc. are all within the realm of Maya. Brahman alone transcends Maya and is the Sole Reality.
2. In Advaita jiva and Ishwara are both deluded by Maya.
Of the above two statements, while 1 depicts the correct position of Advaita, 2 represents a misunderstood position of Advaita. Evidently, the Pontiff has subscribed to the position 2. No Acharya of the Advaita sampradaya has said that Ishwara is deluded by Maya. In Advaita, samsara is mAyika in nature. Bondage and liberation are within MAyaa. The jiva in bondage as well as Ishwara, the bestower of the means for liberation, belong to the realm of mAya alone. This is because, according to Advaita, the Only Reality, Brahman, has neither samsara nor liberation. Brahman is untouched by Maya. It is only in order to ‘explain’ samsara and liberation that Maya is brought in temporarily. Once the purpose of Maya is over, it is also discarded. Hence it is said in the Panchadashi that both Jiva and Ishwara are akin to ‘ two calves of the celestial cow Maya.’ The play of Maya continues, for the jiva, until he realizes his Brahman nature. Thereupon there is neither jivahood for him nor is there an Ishwara. All the jiva-Ishwara vyavahara takes place within the plane of duality created by Maya. The Transcendental Truth, however, is Brahman, the Advaitam. This is what is meant by the verse quoted above.
In Advaita, NirguNa Brahman, in association with Maya, is called Ishwara, the SaguNa. Ishwara is ‘shuddha sattva pradhAna’ of the Maya’s three guNas. Jiva is ‘malina-sattva pradhana’ while in bondage. Thus Ishwara is capable of bestowing upon the jiva the Advaita Jnana which is possible when the jiva attains immense purity in mind. This distinction between Ishwara and Jiva makes Ishwara never a subject to the binding force of Maya. Ishwara is always Sarvajna in Advaita.
Maya can create bondage as well as release one from bondage. When it accomplishes the release of a person from bondage, Maya extinguishes itself. Ishwara is that releasing principle.
Bhagavan says in the Gita that He incarnates with the aid of His Maya. He is the Lord of Maya.
संभवामि आत्ममायया …(iv.6)
It is one thing to disagree with a proposition but quite another to disagree with another. We may consider the following two statements to bring out the force of this statement:
- I disagree with the Marxian ideology (for reasons….)
- I disagree with all those who hold that cow’s milk is a black paste.
The Pontiff’s disagreement with Advaita is akin to 2 above. To elucidate, no one in the Advaita sampradaya holds that Ishwara is deluded by Maya. He has disagreed with Advaita on a misunderstood ground that ‘in Advaita, Ishwara is still deluded by Maya’.
In the sequel are shown some verses, from the Panchadashi itself, where the distinction between jiva and Ishwara is clearly brought out:
मायाधीन: चिदाभास: श्रुतौ मायी महेश्वर: ।
अन्तर्यामी च सर्वज्नो जगद्योनि: स एव हि ॥ (vi.157)
( The jiva is ‘subject to MaayA’ and Ishwara is the Lord of MAyA. Ishwara is the Indweller, Omniscient and the Origin of the Universe.)
In verse 19 of the dvaitaviveka ch. 4 he says:
मायावृत्त्यात्मको हि ईशसंक्ल्प: साधनं जनौ ।
मनोवृत्त्यात्मको जीवसंकल्पो भॊगसाधनम् ॥ (iv.19)
(Ishwara’s will characterized by a MAyAvRtti is the means for creation of the universe. The jiva’s will of the nature of a mode of mind is the means for experiencing the fruits of karma.)
माहेश्वरी तु माया या तस्या निर्माणशक्तिवत् ।
विद्यते मोहशक्तिश्च तं जीवं मोहयत्यसौ ॥ (iv.12)
(Ishwara’s MayA has two powers: The world-creating power of Ishwara and the deluding power that deludes the jiva.)
मायोपाधिः जगद्योनि: सर्वज्नत्वादिलक्षण: (vii.72)
( Ishwara endowed with the MAyOpAdhi is the source of the universe and is characterized by omniscience, etc.)
All the above verses, from the Panchadashi, bring out the clear difference between Ishwara and jiva.
Also, this Rg Veda mantra says that the jiva and Ishvara both ‘reside’, operate, in the realm of MAyA:
चतुष्कपर्दा युवतिः सुपेशा घृतप्रतीका वयुनानि वस्ते ।
तस्यां सुपर्णा वृषणा निषेदतुः यत्र देवा दधिरे भागधेयम् ।
एकः सुपर्णः स समुद्रं आविवेश स इदं विश्वं भुवनं विचष्टे ॥। (10.114.3,4)
(See blog: The Four ‘Glories’ of MAyA at https://adbhutam.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/the-four-glories-of-maya/ for a detailed explanation of the above mantra)
To conclude, let us look at what Sri Shankaracharya says about Ishwara in the Sutra bhashyam:
स्यात्परमेश्वरस्यापि इच्छावशात् मायामयं रूपं साधकानुग्रहार्थम् । (1.1.vii.20)
(Ishwara, out of compassion, takes on, by His Maya, a form to grace the spiritual aspirant.)
Says the AvadhUta GitA:
ईश्वरानुग्रहादेव पुंसामद्वैतवासना ।
महाभयकृतत्राणात् द्वित्राणामेवोपजायते ॥ ( 1)
[It is only by the Lord’s grace, the savior from the worst of fears, that propensity pertaining to Advaita-sAkShAtkAra arises and that barely in respect of two or three (seekers).]
Says the Sarva-vedanta-siddhAnta-sAra-sangraha:
जन्मानेकशतै: सदादरयुजा भक्त्या समाराधितो
भक्तैर्वैदिकलक्षणेन विधिना सन्तुष्ट ईश: स्वयम् ।
साक्षात् श्रीगुरुरूपमेत्य कृपया द्रूग्गोचरस्सन् प्रभु:
तत्त्वं साधु विशोध्य तारयति तान् संसारदु:खार्णवात् ॥ (225)
[The Lord, being pleased with the constant and unflinching devotion and worship in the prescribed manner, extending over many lives on the part of the seeker, manifests Himself, in His infinite mercy in the human form of the Guru, thereby becoming accessible to the shishya for shushrUshA and vichara which culminate in his crossing over the perilous ocean of samsara.]
A possible question: Ishwara belonging to realm of Maya and Ishwara being deluded is one and the same isnt it? Only deluded (unliberated) folks are in the realm of Maya isnt it?
Not at all. Suposing there is a Commissioner of Prisons, an IAS officer. For logistical reasons his office is located inside a sprawling Central Prison premises. When he is in his office, a relative calls up his house and enquires where this officer is. His wife answers: He is in the prison.
Supposing there is a criminal in the prison serving a five-year term. HIs relative, not in contact with this criminal/prisoner’s family for a long time calls up his house and asks where this man is. His wife answers: He is in the prison.
Now, both the answers are facts. Yet they have a world of difference between them. Similar is the case with Ishwara and the bound jivas coexisting in the realm of Maya.
Thus, there is no question of Ishwara being under the illusion of duality according to Advaita.
It would be good if the website organizers of www.dvaita.org take note of this and inform the Pontiff in turn. It is also surprising that Dr.B.N.K.Sharma too failed to notice the mistaken view of the Pontiff while making the English translation.
Om Tat Sat