Posted by: adbhutam | September 20, 2014

ON THE ‘ETERNALITY’ OF VAIKUNTHA

In the blog comments available in the URL below, the pseudo vaishnavas concoct a multi-deity advaitic tradition:

http://narayanastra.blogspot.in/2012/04/sarvajnatmans-sankshepa-shariraka-lucid.html?showComment=1411093441998#c4323709618934694320

They say:

//Clarification… By the word “tradition”, I mean the original Vaishnava-advaitic tradition of Shankara and his ancient followers, clearly evident in their authentic works. Not the popular shaivAdvaitic / shAktAdvaitic one that Subbu claims to have been favored by Shankara.//

Response:

There is no such thing as any ‘original Vaishnava-advaitic’ tradition and nowhere can one see such queer names given in the Shankara- Gaudapada or any later literature.  With the sole ulterior motive of selling their vaishnava-wares they hatched a plan to rope-in the Advaita Acharyas whom their own vaishnava Acharyas have severely condemned to eternal hell.  If the Advaita tradition was Vaishnava, why would the vaishnavas even refute it and start their own ‘vedantic’ schools?

And these people go further to produce other names like shaiva advaita and shAkta advaita and who knows what other names they will come up with?  Let it be known to them that whatever deity they prefix to ‘advaita’, the essential Advaitic character of ‘brahma satyam jagan mithyA, jIvo brahmaiva nAparaH’ will not be absent in any of their combinations.  For, the very nature of Advaita is to transcend all deity-devotee duality.  Not realizing this, they try to create confusion among their gullible readers.

They also propagate their own theory that ‘vaikuntha’ and other lokas are admissible in Advaita as ‘eternal loka-s’.  Shankara has vehemently condemned such ideas of any loka-s existing eternally where liberated beings reside.

In the Mundakopanishad 3.2.6 bhashya Shankara says:

परामृताः परम् अमृतम् अमरणधर्मकं ब्रह्म आत्मभूतं येषां ते परामृता जीवन्त एव ब्रह्मभूताः, परामृताः सन्तः परिमुच्यन्ति परि समन्तात्प्रदीपनिर्वाणवद्भिन्नघटाकाशवच्च निवृत्तिमुपयान्ति परिमुच्यन्ति परि समन्तान्मुच्यन्ते सर्वे, न देशान्तरं गन्तव्यमपेक्षन्ते । ‘शकुनीनामिवाकाशे जले वारिचरस्य वा । पदं यथा न दृश्येत तथा ज्ञानवतां गतिः’ (मो. ध. १८१-९) ‘अनध्वगा अध्वसु पारयिष्णवः’ (?) इति श्रुतिस्मृतिभ्याम् ; देशपरिच्छिन्ना हि गतिः संसारविषयैव, परिच्छिन्नसाधनसाध्यत्वात् । ब्रह्म तु समस्तत्वान्न देशपरिच्छेदेन गन्तव्यम् । यदि हि देशपरिच्छिन्नं ब्रह्म स्यात्, मूर्तद्रव्यवदाद्यन्तवदन्याश्रितं सावयवमनित्यं कृतकं च स्यात् । न त्वेवंविधं ब्रह्म भवितुमर्हति । अतस्तत्प्राप्तिश्च नैव देशपरिच्छिन्ना भवितुं युक्ता ॥

The liberated do not travel to any other place/loka, for any such travel will imply that the jiva is still in samsara. Since Brahman is infinite, the jnani who has realized his identity with Brahman, also being the Infinite Brahman alone, does not go anywhere upon death.  For, Brahman is not a finite place to be reached/attained.  If Brahman were located in a place then Brahman, being no different from any formed object, will have to have a beginning and end, and be dependent on something else, be made of parts, and ephemeral, and a produced one.  Brahman can never be of this nature.  Thus, the ‘attainment’ of Brahman cannot be involving any locating in some other place.

Thus, there is no need for Shankara to deny any eternal loka be it vaikunTha or any other.  For, anything that is not brahman is bound to dissolution.  Madhusudana Saraswati in the Advaita siddhi has also shown that there is no such thing called ‘aprAkRta’ which is outside the realm of prakRti.  The Laghuchandrika clarifies that what is commonly called ‘aprAkRta’ is still within prakRti but that which is not produced in the pancha bhUta transformation process, but bypasses the process.

All non-advaitic moksha is of the nature of traveling to some other loka and remaining there.  Their Brahman will have to be of the above description involving finitude.

While the bloggers have tried to create an impression among their gullible readers that Advaitins too admit of a loka like themselves, they provide various quotes from Madhusudana Saraswati, Sridhara Swamin, etc. to buttress their claim and draw support to their funny ideas.

http://narayanastra.blogspot.in/2012/04/sarvajnatmans-sankshepa-shariraka-lucid.html?showComment=1411093441998#c4323709618934694320

// Three advaitins have accepted the existence of saguNa-brahman, Vishnu, in Vaikuntha. Also, Madhusudana and Sridhara say that Vaikuntha is eternal.//

They have not known that no true Advaitin will contradict the ShAnkaran position stated above.  Madhusudana Sraswati, in the Advaita Siddhi, refuting the claims of the Dvaitin, concludes:

[Pariccheda 2, p.745 of the Edition published by MM Ananthakrishna Shastry]:

//etena bhagavallokaaderapi nityatvam apAstam.  Na cha ‘ato hi vaiShNavA lokAH nityAste cetanAtmakaaH. matprasAdAt parAm shAntim sthAnam prApsyasi shAshvatam’ ityAdyAgamavirodhaH, tasya avaAntarapralayasthatvaparatvAt. TasmAt nirguNam nirAkAram brahma iti siddham.  Iti advaita siddhau brahmaNo nirAkAratva siddhiH//

[Thus (in view of the foregoing arguments), the ‘eternality’ of divine/lordly/worlds too stands negated.  One aught not to raise an objection that the following scriptural passage is contradicted by the above conclusion:  ‘Therefore indeed the VaishNava loka-s are eternal and are sentient in nature.  By My grace you shall attain the state of great and eternal peace.’  The ‘eternality’ stated in this passage has its purport in the ‘avAntara pralaya’, intermediary dissolution.  Thus stands established that Brahman has no form in the work called ‘Advaita siddhi’.]

The ‘LaghuchandrikA’ gloss by GaudabrahmAnanda adds:

‘There is no pramANa for the existence of a VaikunTha loka which is not a product of the pancha bhutas.’ [abhautika-vaikunThaloke mAnAbhAvAt.’

Thus, whatever has been stated by Madhusudana in his commentary to the Bhagavadgita or any other commentator for any other work like the SrimadbhAgavatam on the topic of ‘eternal loka’, stands overruled by the above statement of the Advaita Siddhi.

In the Kathopanishad bhashya for 2.3.16 Shankara cites a Vishnu purana verse:

तया नाड्या ऊर्ध्वम् उपरि आयन् गच्छन् आदित्यद्वारेण अमृतत्वम् अमरणधर्मत्वमापेक्षिकम्  ‘आभूतसम्प्लवं स्थानममृतत्वं हि भाष्येत’ (वि.पु. २.८.९७) इति स्मृतेः । ब्रह्मणा वा सह कालान्तरेण मुख्यममृतत्वमेति भुक्त्वा भोगाननुपमान्ब्रह्मलोकगतान् । विष्वङ् नानागतयः अन्या नाड्यः उत्क्रमणे उत्क्रमणनिमित्तं भवन्ति संसारप्रतिपत्त्यर्था एव भवन्तीत्यर्थः ॥

which says: ‘Eternality’ means that state/position that will exist till the dissolution takes place.

Thus, the term ‘Eternal’ is not absolute existence but only relative existence.  The ‘eternality’ of all lokas is of this category alone.

There is no change, therefore, in the traditional Advaitic stand that the ‘brahmaloka to which upAsaka-s go after death and get the Advaitic realization there and thereafter become liberated upon the dissolution of that brahma loka’ stands firm.

OM

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Responses

  1. I have a doubt on this. In BG 8.16: Krishna says “All the worlds, up to the world of four-faced Brahma are subject to returning”. Vaikunta and Kailasha are described to be above Brahma Loka and Krishna also confirms verily in BG 8.20 that there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. Only till Brahma Loka everything is manifested and unmanifested as told by Krishna. So how would you say that Vaikunta and Kailasha are bound to destruction which are described to be above Brahma Loka. Please clear this doubt.

    Also Sridhara Swami in Bhagavatham 2.5.39 and Madhusudhan Saraswati in BG does talk about Vaikunta being eternal in their works.

    Thanks 🙂

  2. In the BG, at least in Shankara’s commentary, there is no mention of any loka other than Brahma loka. Also,Madhusudana himself, in the Advaita siddhi, has categorically denied eternality to lokas such as vaikuntha. His commentator Brahmananda says: there is no pramana for the existence of a non-material vaikuntha loka. Also, Shankara in the Mundaka bhashya clearly says that if there is any loka to which liberated souls have to depart for permanent stay there, such a loka, the Brahman there, have all be subject to perishing. Anything finite is created and ephemeral. So, according to Advaitins there is no absolutely eternal vaikuntha, etc. Also, Nilakantha, an advaitin, a commentator of the entire Mahabharata and others in Advaita have held that there is only one loka where upasakas go (before attaining absolute liberation) and that one loka will appear to the upasakas of brahma vishnu and shiva as brahma loka, vaikuntha and kailasa. This is the settled position of Advaitins.


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