Posted by: adbhutam | June 1, 2018

Where is the overlap between Saguna and Nirguna Brahman?

Where is the overlap between Saguna and Nirguna Brahman?

In advaita, the concept of Saguna Brahman has been introduced to explain the creation of the world, the maintenance, etc. and through this, more importantly, to enable the aspirant to relate to Brahman. Since no relation is possible with Nirguna Tattva, the aspirant being no different from it, yet, in the process of realizing this identity there is the need for relating with the Saguna Brahman through bhakti, upasana, etc.

Saguna Brahman is nothing but Nirguna Brahman in association with Maya shakti. Then, what Nirguna Brahman does not have really is the Maya Shakti as its svarupa. Saguna Brahman is one which cannot exist without this Maya shakti. And all the attributes associated with the hypothetical ‘Ishwara’ like sarvajnatva, sarvashaktitva, karma phala daatrutva, etc. are not there in Nirguna Brahman. However there is something that is common to both saguna and nirguna brahman by default. And that is: the svarupa lakshnam of satyam, jnanam, anantam/anandam. This svarupa lakshanam of Brahman will not cease to be there in saguna brahman. This is because, the gunas have been added not after removing the satyam, jnanam, etc. but over them. Since the gunas are only additions, they do not belong to the svarupam. Hence, whichever form/name/attribute that is given to the saguna brahman, the triad of satyam, jnanam anantam does not cease. Hence, the saguna brahman in the form of Vishnu, for example, cannot be different from all other forms in creation. This is because, it is that saguna brahman has ‘become’ the entire creation through the abhinna nimitta upadana kaaranatvam. On the rule of karya karana ananyatvam, the creation is non-different from the creator. This is the essence of the Vishvarupa adhyaya of the Bh.Gita. Hence, when Veda Vyasa says: ‘brahmano api aadi kartre’ addressing saguna brahman (in the form of Krishna), it is not that Krishna is different from what he has created; he is non-different from what he has created. If this is not admitted, then that saguna brahman Krishna will suffer from vastu paricchedatvam, thereby giving up his anantatva lakshanam. This is the essence of Vedanta which is reflected completely correctly only in Advaita. Any form given to saguna Brahman, for example, the Shiva gita, the Rudradhyaya of the veda, feature a vishva rupa of Shiva. This Shiva is non-different from everything in creation, which is nothing but he himself. The rule of ‘sarva ananyatvam’ is applicable here by default. If this is not there, then that Shiva will be vastu paricchedavaan and paricchinna and cease to be saguna brahman.

Just as a sample one verse is given here from the BG 11 chapter along with the bhashyam:

नमः पुरस्तादथ पृष्ठतस्ते
नमोऽस्तु ते सर्वत एव सर्व ।
अनन्तवीर्यामितविक्रमस्त्वं
सर्वं समाप्नोषि ततोऽसि सर्वः ॥ ४० ॥
नमः पुरस्तात् पूर्वस्यां दिशि तुभ्यम् , अथ पृष्ठतः ते पृष्ठतः अपि च ते नमोऽस्तु, ते सर्वत एव सर्वासु दिक्षु सर्वत्र स्थिताय हे सर्व ।….सर्वं समस्तं जगत् समाप्तोषि सम्यक् एकेन आत्मना व्याप्नोषि यतः, ततः तस्मात् असि भवसि सर्वः त्वम् , त्वया विनाभूतं न किञ्चित् अस्ति इति अभिप्रायः ॥ ४० ॥
Brahmananda translation: Namah, salutation to You; purastat, in the East; atha, and; even prsthatah, behind. Salutation be sarvatah, on all sides; eva, indeed; te, to You who exist everywhere; sarva, O All! …. Samapnosi, You pervade, interpenetrate; sarvam, everything, the whole Universe, by Your single Self. Tatah, hence; asi, You are; sarvah, All, i.e., no entity exists without You.
The above advaitic meaning of absolute aikya of Brahman with the entire creation is refuted by the other schools. Says Vedanta Desika in the commentary to the same verse:
11.40 इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुरथो दिव्यः स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान्। एकं सद्विप्रा बहुधा वन्दन्त्यग्निं यमं मातरिश्वानमाहुः [ऋक्सं.2।3।22।6तै.ब्रा.3।7।9।3] तदेवाग्निस्तद्वायुस्तत्सूर्यस्तदु चन्द्रमाः। तदेव शुक्रममृतं तद्ब्रह्म तदापः स प्रजापतिः [तै.ना.1।7] इत्यादिश्रुत्युपबृंहणाभिप्रायेणत्वया ततं विश्वम् [11।38] इति निर्दिष्टं शरीरात्मभावं वायुर्यमोऽग्निः इत्यादिसामानाधिकरण्यहेतुत्वेनाह अतस्त्वमेवेति।
For the Ramanuja school, the ‘Brahman is All’ can be explained only by resorting to ‘sharira atma bhaava, samanadhikaranyam’. The shruti passages that he cites are cited by Shankara too in the BSB but Advaita does not feel compelled to resort to the sharira atma bhaava thereby denying the Veda, Veda Vyasa purport of absolute identity. For them Indra, Vayu, etc. have to be forever kept away from Vishnu as different entities. Continues Vedanta Desika:
सर्वं समाप्नोपि इत्यत्राकाशादिवद्व्याप्तिव्युदासाय अन्तः प्रविष्टः शास्ता जनानां सर्वात्मा [चित्यु.11।1] इत्यादिश्रुत्युक्तात्मत्वपर्यवसितनियमनार्थव्याप्तिर्विवक्षितेत्यभिप्रयन्नाह — सर्वमात्मतयेति। पुरुष एवेदं सर्वम् [ऋक्सं.8।4।17।2यजुस्सं.31।2]आत्मैवेदं सर्वं [छां.उ.7।25।2]नारायण एवेदं सर्वम् [ना.उ.2] इत्यादिश्रुतिस्थसर्वशब्दसामानाधिकरण्योपबृंहणायसर्वत एव सर्व इति पूर्वोक्तसर्वशब्दसामानाधिकरण्यं न बाधाद्यर्थम्| अपितु शरीरात्मभावनिबन्धनविशिष्टैक्यपरमित्युक्तमित्यभिप्रायेणाह — यतस्त्वमित्यादि। सकलवेदवेदान्ततदुपबृंहणेषु भगवद्वाचिशब्दानां सर्वचिदचिद्वस्तुवाचिसामान्यविशेषसकलशब्दसामानाधिकरण्यस्यापि शरीरात्मभाव एव निबन्धनमित्येतत्प्रघट्टफलितमित्यभिप्रायेणाहत्वमक्षरं सदसदित्यादि। From the reiteration of sharira atma bhaava, samanadhikaranyam’ several times, it is clear that the absolute identity of Advaita is unacceptable to Ramanuja system.He also specifically refutes the Shankara bhashya which is giving the meaning of ‘pervading like space’. All the shruti passages he gives here are taken for absolute identity in Advaita. His special mention of न बाधाद्यर्थम्| is to refute Shankara who takes ‘baadhaayaam saamaanaadhikaranyam’ to arrive at the absolute identity of saguna Brahman and creation.
Jayatirtha, annotating Madhva’s commentary too takes care to deny/refute the Advaitic interpretation:
सदसद्भावात्मकं विश्वं त्वमेवेति सत्तादिप्रदत्वादेवोच्यते। नत्वन्यथा | For Dvaita, the lending of satta, existence, sphurti, shine, to the world by Brahman alone is meant here but never the identity as in Advaita.
The above was shown to emphasize that the Saguna Brahman (Krishna) is non-different from the entire creation. This is unacceptable for non-advaitins. Hence, all the devatas, etc. are one with Saguna Brahman. If Brahman were different from the creation, it will be vastu paricchinna and therefore be jaDa. This proves that those who tried to co-opt Shankara into their version of ‘vaishnavism’ by trying to misrepresent Advaita, Shankara and all purvacharyas, as holding ‘Vishnu/Krishna alone as saguna brahman and not any other deity’ is completely wrong and misleading their gullible readers. The root cause of this fraud is one Sri Krishnaswamy Iyengar who wrote a Tamil book titled ‘Sankararum Vainavamum’ by totally misquoting and misrepresenting Advaita/Shankara by superimposing their brand of vaishnavism on Shankara/Advaita. Everyone can see now, from the above comparative study across the three schools, as to how Advaita has been misrepresented by those who wanted to malign Shankara by showing him as another bigot like themselves. In the same way they tried to show Sridhara Swamin also in poor light, like themselves:

https://narayanastra.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_80.html

Quote:

//Sridhara Swamin captures the purport of the Veda thus:

माधवोमाधवावीशौ सर्वसिद्धिविधायिनौ। वन्दे परस्परात्मानौ परस्परनुतिप्रियौ॥

I bow to Mādhava and Umādhava (Shiva) who are both ‘Isha-s’ Supreme Lords. They are capable of bestowing all accomplishments (to their devotees). They are both the selves of each other and both love to engage in the stuti of each other.//

Twisting Shridhara’s words as usual. “Ishas” simply means great lords. They are both lords, no doubt about it. Shiva himself says in Harivamsha — “Isoham sarva dehinAm”. One is Saguna Brahman and another is Visva-Guru. Hence, both worshippable for advaitins.

They are “parasparAtmanou” in the sense that Hari is the self of Shiva. This is mentioned by Shankara in his VSB for “bhUta-krt, bhUta-brt” as “rudrAtmaNa” there. Shiva is the self of Hari as per “jnAni tu Atmaiva me matham”. That they praise each other is also nothing out of the ordinary. //

Unquote

It is clear that they could not tolerate an Advaitin, Sridhara Swamin, saying what an Advaitin would do. They wanted him to deny Shiva’s Selfhood of Vishnu. So they devised the funny plan of ‘”jnAni tu Atmaiva me matham”, sadly ignorant of the fact that the Jnani is none other than Brahman in all periods of time. Says Shankara there BGB 7.18: ज्ञानी तु आत्मैव न अन्यो मत्तः इति मे मम मतं निश्चयः । [The Jnani is verily the Atman, not ‘a different entity from Me’ – thus is My firm conclusion.] In fact this point is one of the many that brings the differences across the three schools. For non-advaitins, the jnani is forever a jiva and never Brahman. But for Advaitins, the Jnani is forever Brahman. So, Bhagavan’s assertion in repudiation of these blogger’s trickery and exposes them for all to see. Nor do advaitins hold Shiva to be a mere jnani-jiva. It is or could be the perception of non-advaitins.

Also, what the above blogger says //Hari is the self of Shiva. This is mentioned by Shankara in his VSB for “bhUta-krt, bhUta-brt” as “rudrAtmaNa” there.// is wrong. That is not the meaning of ‘rudraatmanaa’ – what it means is ‘as rudra’.  The blogger is trying to superimpose his own ideas on the Advaita bhashya. Even Sridhara Swamin in the Srimadbhagavatam has clearly said: brahma rupena, vishnu rupena and rudra rupena..to say that one Brahman alone takes the three forms to perform the cosmic function. The blogger’s fraudulent twist to the Sridhara Swamin’s verse and Shankara’s bhashya cannot be camouflaged.

The purpose of saguna brahma upasana is to help the aspirant to look for the satyam, jnanam anantam lakshanam thereby negating the attributes like sarvajnatvam, etc. This is possible only when that saguna brahman, whichever form that is chosen by the upasaka, is sarva ananya. If he holds his ishta devata is different from other devatas, then he is not on the right track of the upasana. He is doing upasana on a paricchinna vastu. He will not end up realizing nirguna brahman. This is the essential message of the Bh.Gita 11 Chapter. All the devatas, rishis, manushyas, animals, etc. in creation and all objects like oceans, mountains, forests, surya chandra, etc. is non-different from Ishwara. Only then the saguna Ishta devata can be purna. Otherwise, if the Krishna of the 11 th chapter is different from Brahma, Shiva, the adityas, rudras, etc. then he is apurna, paricchinna. Thus, the fundamental satyam, jnanam, anantam lakshanam is inalienable from the saguna brahman. And if anantatva is to be valid, then by default, the saguna brahman has to be non-different from all other entities, both sentient and insentient. This is incomprehensible and blasphemy for non-advaitins. For advaitins, this is the truth that has to be comprehended properly for successful Advaita siddhi.

Om Tat Sat

 

 


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