Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 24 Aug 2006


More Advaita Questions-I

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

In a spiritual discussion, the two persons discussing, should have co-operation with each other because both of them are jointly searching for the truth. Thus the person questioning and the person answering are building up the search and their common aim should only be to find the truth. Whoever finds the truth should not feel like a winner and the other person should not feel like a runner-up (loser). Both are equal and responsible for finding the truth. Both the runner-up and winner are rewarded with prizes equally. Unless Arjuna had asked questions at every step, Krishna could not have delivered the Gita. The final discovery of the truth should be the common goal for both because both are benefited by the truth. Unless this common goal is realized by both, the final realization of truth cannot result. The debate between Shankara and Mandana Mishra was of this nature. If both persons take it in terms of success and defeat, the debate will never end and the truth is never exposed.

Both Shankara and Mandana Mishra were strong scholars of the scriptures. When both were scholars of the scriptures, why was Shankara on the right path while Mandana Mishra was on the wrong path? Both had tremendous knowledge of the scriptures. Both had full knowledge. Both were convinced without any doubt about their own fields. Since knowledge is proportional to practice [extent of practice is an indicator of the extent of knowledge of a person] and since both had full knowledge, both had perfect practice in their own lines. Now when both had full knowledge and perfect practice, why was there a difference between them and what was the necessity of such a long debate between them? Neither of them had any trace of ignorance in their lives regarding the scriptures.

The difference was due to the right knowledge and the consequent right practice, which was the case of Shankara and which was totally opposite and different from the wrong knowledge and wrong practice of Mandana Mishra. The difference between them was not in the quantity of scriptural knowledge but the difference was of quality. Shankara had one ton of diamonds whereas Mandana Mishra had one ton of gravel stones. The reason for the difference in the quality is that Shankara got the right interpretation of the scriptures whereas Mandana Mishra got the twisted wrong interpretations of the scriptures. Therefore you should not be impressed merely by the quantity of scriptural knowledge. Ravana had the full knowledge of all the scriptures but all His scriptural knowledge was only misinterpreted and twisted knowledge. Therefore the point here is, knowing the basic concept, which is not known by Mandana Mishra. The point is to know the real interpretation of that which is known. If one concentrates on this point, the difference is appreciated and the right interpretation is selected by logic, based on the experience in the world. The difference is not in the quoted scriptures [since both parties quote the same scriptures] but the difference is in the correct interpretation of the quoted scriptures. In arriving at the correct interpretation, you must accept the logic and in fact it is better to accept science, which is experimentally proved logic in rejecting the non-God items. If the item proposed as God is subjected to such experimentally proved logic [modern science] instead of dry theoretical logic [ancient logic], whether the item is God or not God can be clearly understood. If the logic succeeds in proving it as a non-God item, certainly that item is not God. If the logic fails, it can be taken as God. For such a method of approach, the authority is the scripture, which says that God is above logic (Atarkyah, Naisha Tarkena—Veda).

I am not refuting the Advaita philosophy of Shankara with reference to atmosphere surrounding Him in His time. Without referring to this atmosphere, people have misunderstood Shankara. Thus the present Advaita philosophy is a twisted or misconceived concept of Shankara’s teaching, as a result of forgetting the atmosphere in His time. Neither was Shankara wrong nor are the present Advaita philosophers, who enter into debate with Me. Shankara was not wrong because of the atmosphere in His time. The present Advaita philosopher is also not wrong because he sincerely conceived the misconceived Advaita philosophy which was passed onto him by the middle brokers [some scholars between the time of Shankara and the present time]. Both God [Shankara] and the devotee [present Advaitin] are good but only the priest in between them is mischievous. Therefore the present Advaita philosophers should not identify themselves with the twisted Advaita that was passed on to them. When I oppose the twisted concepts, they should not take My criticism personally because they are not the culprits of such twisted versions.

Shankara, The Preacher

If you go to the time of Shankara, He was surrounded by Buddhists and Purva Mimamsakas who were complete atheists. Shankara’s aim was to uplift them. He wanted to convert the atheists into Hanuman, who has become God. The path between these two extremities is too long. It is a long road from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Yet Shankara took the challenge because He was a genius and God Himself. To reach the state of Hanuman, suppose there are hundred steps. If Shankara tells the atheist to climb the hundred steps so that he can become God like Hanuman, no atheist will climb the steps. Therefore the highest fruit that is to be given on the hundredth step is shown to the atheist in the first step itself. The atheists, attracted by the highest result will climb the steps one by one due to this attraction. Attracted by the biscuit, the dog will climb every step and finally the dog will climb the hundredth step where the biscuit can be given to it. Therefore Shankara planned a strategy for this purpose. You must understand Shankara as a preacher (Guru) here and not as a scholar. The scholar reveals the truth and goes away. He is not bothered about the upliftment of the student but the preacher concentrates practically on the development of the student. Therefore we call Shankara as Acharya (Guru) who is the embodiment of affection for humanity.

The only method to attract the atheist is to show the fruit of the final step on the first step itself. The first step is the acceptance of God. Shankara told the atheist that the atheist himself is God. This serves a double purpose in the very first stroke. Since the atheist exists, and since the atheist is God, God must exist. Therefore the atheist accepts the existence of God without any protest. Thus there is no other way to make the atheist believe in God. Now the atheist is trapped because his egoism and jealousy against the external God is satisfied. Every human being always has the ambition to achieve something great. Here is the school, which says that you are the greatest Brahman. In the Advaita philosophy, the word Brahman always stands for the Parabrahman or God and here I follow the same notation. It also says that you are already Brahman and the only thing to do is to remember the truth, which was forgotten by you. How nice and convenient is this! Every human being will get attracted to this philosophy; especially the atheist, who is suffering with egoism and jealousy and who must also have excess of ambition. Therefore the atheist is very easily trapped by Shankara. The atheist cannot go back because once you have become the king you will not want to lose it under any circumstances. Therefore the atheist who has become an Advaita philosopher can never go back to atheism.

However, immediately the atheist will ask for the absence of the capability of designing, creating, maintaining and destroying the world. Shankara played another trick in the next step. He said that Ishwara [God in the mode of the Creator] possesses such capabilities. He separated Brahman from Ishwara. Brahman is the simple awareness that wished to create the world. The design, creation and destruction of world are assigned to Ishwara. In the state of Brahman, only the awareness, which alone can desire, exists and as in case of all living beings. Since the soul of even the most ignorant human being is this basic awareness alone, every human being is Brahman. Therefore even the ignorant atheist is Brahman. This is the absolute state (Paramartha Dasha). Now the atheist is the absolute God without any disturbance to His post.

Shankara further said that everything except this state is unreal due to relativity (Vyavaharika Dasha or relative reality). To prove this, Shankara showed an example of an unreal item [illusion] with respect to Vyavaharika Dasha and He called it as the Pratibhasika Dasha [as the Pratibhasika Dasha or illusion is unreal as compared with the world around us, the world, which is a relative reality, is unreal with respect to the absolute reality]. Thus Brahman is in the state of absolute reality. Ishwara and this world [duality] are in the state of the relative reality. The relative reality is an illusion with respect to Brahman. To prove this, He showed an illusion, which is unreal with respect to relative reality. [He gave the example of a rope, on which a person superimposes an imaginary snake due to dim light and feels scared]. Brahman is the ultimate reality, the rope is a relative reality and the illusion of the serpent is the ultimate unreality. The rope is unreal with reference to Brahman but is real with reference to the serpent. The rope is unreal before Brahman as the serpent is unreal before the rope. Therefore Ishwara and world became unreal with respect to Brahman. Such Brahman is the soul of the atheist. Therefore the soul of the atheist is the ultimate Brahman, which is the ultimate reality.

The atheists were satisfied with this and entered into the state of ultimate reality because their concept of atheism was not at all disturbed. After all, there is no God other than himself! Shankara ended the story here for sometime. Then the atheist who has become the disciple of Shankara, got bored in this state because he is not respected by anyone in this world. Even an illiterate person like a Kapalika is doing miracles and people are respecting him. The greatness of the atheist is limited to the atheist himself. Even his colleague does not respect him because he too is in the same state [of Brahman-hood]. So such a state cannot satisfy the egoism and ambition of the atheist. He becomes jealous of even the state of a low person like a Kapalika. Now, he is interested in becoming Ishwara. He asked Shankara as follows:

Atheist: When the Brahman is Ishwara with respect to this world, why not I become Ishwara with respect to this world? When Brahman is Myself, why not I be the Ishwara even in the relative state? The Absolute Brahman became Ishwara in the relative state. Then in this relative state (world), why not I become Ishwara?

Now this opened the real issue. When Brahman becomes the controller—Ishwara in the state of relative reality, how can the same Brahman become the controlled soul in the same state of relative reality? By this, the atheist has entered the second part of the real path of spirituality. Now Shankara replied like this:

Shankara: When the ignorance (Avaranam) is removed, you become Brahman. However, the effect of ignorance (Vikshepa) still remains. As long as your body exists, such effect is inevitable. When this body is dropped, you will remain in the ultimate reality as Brahman.

Atheist: I do not want that useless state of ultimate reality in which only I exist. I want to become Ishwara even if I stay in the relative reality.

Shankara: To get rid of this effect [Viskshepa] and become Brahman in the ultimate reality and also simultaneously become Ishwara in the relative reality, you have to worship Ishwara.

Atheist: When I am Brahman in the ultimate reality, I must be simultaneously Ishwara in the relative reality. At least when I enter the relative reality, I must be Ishwara. For example, a police officer has come home after finishing his duty. He plays with his children as a father. Even in that state he is the police officer simultaneously because in such a state, no other police officer works in that post. At least if he suddenly goes to his office, he acts as the police officer. Similarly when I am Brahman in the ultimate reality, I must also be Ishwara at least when I enter the relative reality. However, I become peon in the office [I am being controlled, and have no freedom in this world, whereas Ishwara controls the world]. Does this not mean that I am not Brahman in the ultimate reality also? If I am Brahman, I must simultaneously be Ishwara in the other plane [relative plane] or at least I must become Ishwara whenever I enter the other plane. In that case, the worship of Ishwara means that I am worshipping myself! [This is absurd.] So, it means that Ishwara is different from me.

Shankara: In the plane of relative reality, you are not Ishwara as we all exist and see the same in the plane of relative reality (world). Certainly you are the Jeeva [individual] and differ from Ishwara in the world. However, the reason for such difference is that the effect of ignorance is very strong. It is very easy to become Brahman in the plane of the ultimate reality because as soon as you know that you are Brahman, the ignorance is destroyed. Therefore due to the strong effect of ignorance, you are still unable to realize that you are Ishwara. Therefore you have to worship and meditate upon Ishwara to give you the realization of unity with Himself. In fact you have become Brahman by such meditation on Brahman. When the Ishwara shows grace on you, the effect is removed and you become Ishwara with the grace of Ishwara. (Ishwaranugrahadeva). Brahman is simultaneously Ishwara and the soul in this world.

The atheist started worshipping Ishwara. Shankara warned that the worship should be service in practice and should not have any desire including the desire to become Ishwara. Hanuman is an example for this. Now the atheist forgot his goal and started serving Ishwara. Finally he became Ishwara like Hanuman. Actually becoming Brahman is Atma Yoga and after that, you have to serve the Lord without any desire. You should treat such service itself as the fruit. Shankara brought this ultimate state in the beginning itself and showed it as the biscuit for the dog to climb the steps. The biscuit in the first step is called as Brahman. The biscuit in next step is called as Ishwara. The responsibility of a preacher is to uplift the student even by using some tricks if necessary, and not to reveal the whole truth directly and spoil the student. Therefore a preacher is like a mother and not a mere scholar. The mother tells some lies so that the child eats the food. The mother tells the child that if the child eats the food, the moon will come into the hand of the child. The child believes it and eats the food. Then the child asks for the moon. The mother will bring a mirror and show the moon in the hand of the child. Now do you mean that the mother has cheated the child? Such lies of the mother are not sins. The child may misunderstand the mother due to ignorance but will realize the benefit of the truth in course of time.

Most human beings are the patients of a viral fever caused by the viruses, which are egoism, jealousy and ambition. The network of Shankara traps most of them. The person’s egoism is satisfied because the human being is said to be God. His jealousy is satisfied since every human being is God and therefore no human being is greater than he is. His ambition is satisfied because the highest God is achieved in just one minute. The laziness, which prevents the person from taking any effort, is also satisfied because the human being has become Brahman as soon as he is told that he is Brahman. [The person being lazy does not wish to take any effort. This path pleases him since he reaches the goal by merely knowing that he is Brahman; even without taking any effort!]

We are not upset with people following this path because if they follow this twisted path of Shankara, they are sure to reach Brahman even by the curved path. Whether the river flows straight or on a curved path, it is sure to reach the ocean. Thus the Advaita philosopher is far better than the atheist is because he has at least taken a step on the spiritual path. The beginner is always ignorant and the highest fruit must be shown to him in every step. The Gita says that ignorance is inevitable in the beginning. The tradition is built up with this psychology. It is said that if you simply utter the name of the River Ganga, then by that utterance itself all your sins are destroyed and you will reach the Shiva Loka [Abode of Lord Shiva]. Actually, there are several steps after this. You have to go to Varanasi, take a bath in the Ganga, worship Lord Vishwanath, become a devotee, and get divine knowledge about the Lord from the Sadguru etc. The above-said fruit can be achieved only in the final step. However, the fruit is shown in the first step itself to attract the person exploiting the person’s attitude of getting the highest fruit with no effort. It also serves as an encouragement for the person to climb the first step from the ground.

Shortening the Journey-Time

What I am trying to do is to change the curved path of the river into a straight path so that the time of the journey is reduced. Therefore I am revealing the twist. The first part is attaining the self, which is the pure awareness present in the human body (Atma Yoga) by realizing the super imposition (Adhyasa) of self on the body and by knowing the real nature of the self, which is pure awareness. By this, one is detached from the body and the worldly bonds. He becomes very strong in mind due to detachment from attractions which cause worries and tensions. Now he is eligible for the Paramatma Yoga, in which the Lord in human form is recognized and the devotee serves Him in His mission. In doing service, a strong mind with full determination and complete detachment from worldly bonds is required. Such a state can be obtained by Atma Yoga. In doing service to God, one should not aspire for any fruit because the service to God itself is the fruit. God does not require the service of anybody. The service is only for their upliftment. Therefore serving God is serving themselves. For such real devotion, which is proved by service, God is ready to give anything. Such a devotee can become God or even become the master of God. Hanuman got Atma Yoga from the Sun-god, who was his Guru. Then He recognized the Lord Rama [the human incarnation of God of his time] and joined His service without aspiring for any fruit. He became God because He was made the future Creator of this universe. The Veda says that He who creates also, maintains and destroys this universe. Therefore, becoming the Creator, also means becoming the Maintainer and the Destroyer. It means Hanuman became God. Radha became the master of God. However, neither Hanuman nor Radha aspired for any fruit and these fruits are given by God by Himself; due to His wish alone. In order to attract the atheist, He has brought the second part into first part as an instrument to achieve Atma Yoga. When the proper time comes, He will remove the second part from the first part and stretch it in its normal place. Devotion and service are brought as instruments to achieve the grace of Ishwara in order to attain Atma Yoga completely.

If you carefully analyze, you can reveal the twist and understand the truth. Several people will not like this because their egoism, jealousy and ambition are not pacified. However, a few people have conquered these obstructions through rituals or social service, in which the human form as a statue or the human being directly is served. If these obstructions are already absent, rituals or social service are not necessary. After attaining Atma Yoga (Yoga as called nowadays) directly from the Sun-god, Hanuman straightaway joined the service of the Lord because in Him these obstructions did not exist.

The word Brahman is very dangerous and most complicated. Therefore Vyasa started with the debate on the meaning of this word Brahman in the first Brahma Sutra. Any greatest item within the limited boundaries of its category can be called as Brahman based on its root meaning. The absolute Brahman created the primary energy, which is space in its finest form (Tat tejah…, Atmana Akasah…—Veda). No soul can cross this primary energy or space under any circumstances. Even science says that any intelligence, however sharp it may be, can never imagine anything beyond space. Advaita philosophy also says that Brahman is beyond space. Then how can you even imagine Brahman? When you cannot know or even imagine Brahman, how can you say that you are Brahman? The limits of your knowledge cannot cross space. In that case how can you claim that you are Brahman, which is beyond the dimensions of space? How can you say that you are something about which you do not know or cannot even imagine? If you say that you know Brahman, it means that Brahman is an imaginable or knowable item defined by the three dimensional space. Therefore there is a fundamental self-contradiction in your own claim that you are Brahman.

Space or Energy as Brahman

We are unable to understand how Ishwara is different from Brahman or vice-versa. You are speaking about the state of absolute reality (Paramarthika or Paramartha Dasha). Tell me whether this state is beyond the dimensions of space or within the dimensions of space? If it is beyond space, you cannot even imagine about this state. If it is within the dimensions of the space, then it is only within the world, which is not the absolute reality since it is only relatively real. Therefore, you are saying that you are Brahman, which is beyond space in the state of absolute reality, and this absolute reality is also beyond space. Is it not a double foolish statement? You are speaking about the state of absolute reality, which is beyond space while you and the limits of your imagination cannot cross the spatial dimensions i.e. the boundaries of the world. Neither you nor your imagination can enter into that state of absolute reality. Therefore, you are not authorized even to imagine that state and how funny it is if you say that you are in that state? If you say that you are in that state, that state imagined by you is only within the dimensions of space, which means that that state is in this world itself. We do not mean that Brahman, which is beyond space, does not exist at all and we do not mean that such a state of absolute reality does not exist at all. Brahman beyond space exists and such existence itself is the state of absolute reality. Except this information about the existence of Brahman and its state, no other information is available even to angels as spoken by Lord Yama to Nachiketa (Kathametat Vijayaniyam…, Astityeva…—Veda). The Gita confirms this point (Mamtu Veda Na…). There are several Vedic statements, which directly say that Brahman is beyond words, mind, intelligence, logic and imagination.

Therefore there are only two items. The first item, the Creator, is the unknowable, which is beyond the limits of even the imagination of any soul. The second item is creation, which is the created item and is defined by the dimensions of space (fine energy). This space is the ultimate reality of the creation. Therefore when you say that you have understood Brahman, such Brahman can be only the space or fine cosmic energy, which cannot be crossed by your imagination even on doing penance for millions of years. Now you can call this primary energy or space as Brahman because the Veda and the Gita have used this word to mean several greatest items in their corresponding categories. Out of all these greatest items, the cosmic energy is the most meaningful sense of this word, because it satisfies all the aspects of Brahman mentioned in the Veda. All the items of the world are generated, maintained and dissolved by this cosmic energy (Yatova—Veda). This entire world is essentially cosmic energy (Sarvam Khalu—Veda). Even the soul (pure awareness) is only this cosmic energy because in the absence of the supply of food, which generates energy, the awareness in the living being disappears, which is called as death. This means the energy is transformed into awareness (Annat Purushah—Veda).

Now the four Mahavakyas can be clearly understood even if you mean that the words Myself, Yourself, He or She and Prajnanam (if you take Prajnanam only in the sense of mere awareness) are this cosmic energy or Brahman. In this context itself, you can clearly understand that the transformation of awareness into energy or matter is impossible. If that were possible, the awareness would be able to transform itself into heat energy and a starving person would not die by losing body-heat. The awareness can only transform into a feeling or quality. In that case, how can you think that awareness is the Brahman, which is the source of creation? All Vedic statements oppose this way of thinking. You can say that awareness is the soul because the soul is made of awareness. It is not a special point because it is just like saying that a ring is made of gold. You can say that only awareness can wish to create the world [the desire or wish to create the world can exist only in an aware or conscious entity]. Except this one point, all other aspects oppose calling awareness as Brahman. Of course this very point stands as a disadvantage for the cosmic energy because it is inert. Therefore, for this single reason, we reject the cosmic energy to be called as the absolute Brahman. Moreover, the cosmic energy requires the dimensions of space for its definition because electromagnetic radiations (energy) propagate in space. Therefore the cosmic energy or space cannot be Brahman, which is beyond space. As you see, awareness also cannot be Brahman for many reasons. The final outcome of all this is that neither cosmic energy nor awareness could become Brahman because both these are defined by spatial dimensions existing in this relatively real world. If you say that you are the unknowable or unimaginable Brahman, it means that you do not know yourself! Only a person who is highly intoxicated with heavy drink does not know himself.

Where is Ishwara?

You say that Ishwara is in relative reality. This means that the Ishwara is definable by spatial dimensions. However, we see no such relative item that can satisfy the expected nature of Ishwara. The cosmic energy cannot wish to create. The awareness cannot create. If you can associate the divine will with cosmic energy, then a possibility is opened. However, here also the unimaginable potentiality to do this wonderful design [of creation] is expected. A simple combination of mere awareness and energy cannot do this work. The human being is such a combination (assuming that the matter of the gross body is energy as per science) and it cannot do this work. [Thus a human being is not Ishwara] Even an angel, which is the direct combination of energy (here energy means energetic form of body) and awareness cannot do this work. [So. even an angel is not Ishwara]. Therefore the unimaginable God must be embedded in this combination [of awareness and energy] to do this unimaginable work. Now what is Ishwara in this combination? Is it the external energy, which is the medium required for you to imagine Ishwara? If so, even the isolated energy should be Ishwara. But it is not so. Is the will (awareness) Ishwara? If so, the soul should be able to do the work of designing creation. But it is impossible for the soul. Then, is the unimaginable God, Ishwara? If so, Ishwara would also be unimaginable like God and would not be present in the relative reality. Therefore Ishwara must be God possessing such unimaginable potentiality embedded in the medium of energy and awareness.

Now there is no occasion when God does not have this potentiality, whether the universe is created or not. Even if you call this potentiality as an associated characteristic (tatastha lakshnam), it should be treated as the inherent characteristic (swarupa lakshnam) for two reasons: The first reason is that this potentiality cannot be separated from Brahman. The second reason is that this potentiality does not exist in any other item. If the bell-belt in the neck of the cow is not separated from the cow at any time and if the bell-belt is not present in the neck of any other cow, then the bell-belt can be treated as the permanent identity mark of that cow. The first Brahma Sutra says that Brahman is the matter of discussion here [subject matter of the Brahma Sutras]. The second Sutra says the Brahman is that, which creates, maintains and dissolves this world. Therefore even if creation is not made, Brahman has the potentiality. The police officer, who comes home from the office and is spending time with his children as a father, can give the order to fire, on an emergent phone call. He need not go to the office and then give the order. If the police officer is in deep sleep, such potentiality may not be expressed. If that is the case with Brahman, your absolute reality means the ignorance of deep sleep! [Brahman can be considered as Ishwara in deep sleep, in which the creation is unmaifest.]

You cannot separate Brahman and Ishwara under any circumstances because neither you nor your imagination can cross the boundaries of this relative reality. Only from the point of the external medium (energy and awareness) can you treat Ishwara as a relative item. Thus you cannot touch the real and internal concept of Ishwara by any extent of imagination. Whenever you start talking, all your words indicate are only the items of this relatively real world. With the help of such words, how can you talk about the absolute Brahman or its state? The Veda says that except the realization of the existence of such Brahman, nothing can be said about it through words. The existence of this unimaginable Brahman or God (better to call It Parabrahman, since the word Brahman is a very general term), is proved through the unimaginability that is indicated through the knowable items and events. Here, the unimaginability is not imagined but only the existence of unimaginability is realized. The unimaginable design of this world is not possible for any soul to create. This single point is sufficient to say that the absolute Brahman cannot be any soul. Especially the creativity is unique with God or Absolute Brahman. The soul can imagine new concepts but parts of such new concepts already exist in this creation. Suppose you have imagined an animal with eight legs and two tails. The animal, legs, tail are the parts, which already exist in this world. However, in the case of God before the creation of this world, no part existed. Therefore the imagination of this design of the world, which is the original creativity, is impossible for any soul. The only one hope that you had to say that awareness is God, is also lost.

The implementation of such an impossible design is again completely out of the scope of awareness. It comes only in the scope of the cosmic energy. The dissolution of the world by the cosmic energy is also possible. Therefore the materialization of the world and destruction of the matter come only under the scope of energy, and are completely impossible for awareness to achieve. Awareness cannot create even an atom and cannot destroy even an atom. Of course, by this we do not say that the cosmic energy is the absolute Brahman. The reason is that cosmic energy cannot design this world. Cosmic energy being the creation is a created item. Some other item [Parabrahman], which is beyond cosmic energy created it, since it cannot create itself. Therefore you are unable to attain the absolute Brahman even in your imagination because every imaginable item shows some defects and fails to become the Absolute Brahman. By this process of elimination of the items of creation, based on logical analysis, the Vedic sages have arrived at the conclusion that the Absolute Brahman cannot be known (Neti Neti…). Its existence is obtained only from the scriptures, from the inference of the existence of a Cause who created this wonderful world and from the experience given by the human incarnation, through His unimaginable knowledge and unimaginable miracles.

The followers of Shankara, who are the Advaita philosophers are highly intellectual and are very much talented in creating twists because Shankara Himself was a genius in creating such twists. However, the difference between Shankara and His followers is that Shankara created the twists to uplift the atheists to the highest state of the spiritual goal. Thus the flashes of His intelligence are used in the proper direction for the spiritual welfare of people but the twists of His followers are used to destroy themselves and their spiritual progress. You should not try to follow the Lord in every aspect. One day Shankara took wine. His followers also took the wine because they were feeling that they were also Brahman, just like Shankara. Next day, He swallowed molten lead but the disciples could not do so. Then Shankara told them “Shivah Kevaloham,” which means that only He is Shiva. The disciples fell at His feet, praising Him as the Lord. We have constantly used the word ‘unknowable’ in the sense that it cannot be known even by imagination. The word Ajneya (unknowable) is well-known in usage, only in this sense. A word is fixed in a particular sense (Rudhi) and it should not be used in the other sense. Thus the word ‘unknowable’ is exactly the same as unimaginable. Fearing the sidetracks [alternative interpretations] of the word ‘unknowable’, I have always used the word unimaginable also along with it to stress the particular sense. The Advaita philosopher here made a wonderful twist and tilted the whole theory in diagonally opposite direction. My friend has resolved another meaning based on the derivable meaning from the root of the word, called as Yoga in Sanskrit grammar. The other meaning derived is that the word Ajneya means which is not ‘Jneya’. Now He has brought the sense of the word ‘Jneya’ from the triputi [triad of knower-knowledge-known object], in which Jneya means the object. Now he says that the subject (Jnata or knower) is not the object [Jneya]. Hence the subject is Ajneya. Since the self [Atman] is not the object and is only the subject, the self becomes Ajneya (because the subject is not the object). Therefore he maintains that the self is unknowable and therefore it is in the state of absolute reality [which is said to be unknowable]. I thought of referring the point from Shankara who deals only with two items, which are knowledge (Jnanam) and the object (Jneya), since the subject [Atman] also happens to be the object of some other subject. Of course, even then, My friend will say that the knowledge is not the object and therefore the knowledge, which is the soul, is also Ajneya. Such an intellectual twist, which is against the tradition of grammar (Yoga Rudha), cannot be accepted even in theory. In practice such twists are only destroying the soul by increasing egoism.

My friend is distinguishing between Atman and Jeeva. He is differentiating the Jeeva from Ishwara, who are in the relative reality. I cannot control Myself from laughing at such a statement. My friend is always jumping and trying to catch the sky. When the soul (Atman) or Jeeva cannot cross the spatial dimensions of this relative reality (world), how can He cross Ishwara? Of course He can clearly distinguish between Atman and Jeeva since both are only in the relative reality. The pure awareness, which is like standstill water is like Atman. The waves in the water, which are the qualities tied up as a bundle is called as Jeeva. In a realized soul, after attaining Atma Yoga, the awareness can be without vibrations and can be called as Atman without Jeeva, But when the Jeeva is taken, the Atman is invariably involved in it. If you take the ring, the gold is automatically taken. If you further analyze deeply, the waves are kinetic energy. The awareness is essentially energy, which is also dynamic. Thus basically both [Jeeva and Ishwara] are only work-forms of energy and there is no difference between Atman and Jeeva. Thus you cannot isolate Atman from Jeeva and Brahman from Ishwara. You may isolate Atman from the Jeeva in the case of the realized soul because both are relative items. However, Brahman being the absolute item, even an attempt to isolate Brahman from Ishwara becomes meaningless. You can isolate two imaginable items but you cannot isolate the unimaginable item from the imaginable item.

Brahman is the unmodified cosmic energy [primordial energy] charged by the absolute Brahman or Parabrahman or God. Before charging this cosmic energy, a very little part of this cosmic energy is modified into the cosmos. Thus Brahman does not charge the universe. The cosmos is maintained by His will. Therefore the changes in the universe do not touch Brahman. Brahman is the spectator (subject) and the cosmos is the scene (object). Since Brahman neither is in the cosmos nor is It the direct basis of the cosmos, the status of Brahman as a separate [detached] spectator is not disturbed (Sakshi Cheta Kevalo Nirgunashcha—Veda). The world is made of qualities and Brahman, the Spectator, is beyond qualities (The word Nirguna in the Veda denotes this). The will [present in living beings] in the cosmos is just a property of awareness, which is controlled by the presence of a nervous system and brain. Therefore the souls in the cosmos are objective and not subjective. Also the knowledge of the soul due to this limitation becomes only limited. The knowledge or awareness is a work form of energy and its source is God. God is the source of all items of the world and there is no specialty of the will or knowledge having absolute Brahman as the source. The will does not identify God as awareness. If you do that, all the other properties, which are in the world being generated from God only will make God as their corresponding items. In the Brahma Sutra it is told that the Veda says that God eats the entire world in the end. The fire is called as Sarvabhakshakah, which means that He eats everything. Then God should be fire (Atta Charachara Grahanat—Brahma Sutra).

Suppose a man by name Pandey is an officer. Another man by name Mishra is a peon in his office. Both Pandey and Mishra are men. Therefore, you my say that Pandey and Mishra are one and the same man (the word man here is taken in the sense of ‘race’ or ‘Jati’ according to the ancient Indian logic). Now you say that Mishra is Pandey. Slowly you will say that Mishra is the officer and Pandey is the peon. This entire logical sequence becomes meaningless. First of all, the entity called as ‘race’ does not exist practically apart from the individuals. There are only two items here who are Pandey and Mishra. There is no third item called as ‘man’. This itself opposes your effort in the fist step itself. Similarly Brahman is Ishwara, who is the controller of the universe. Atman or Jeeva is the controlled item in the creation. Apart from Atman (or Jeeva) and Ishwara, where is the Brahman just as there is no ‘man’ as the third item apart from Pandey and Mishra? The non-existing ‘man’ is as good as the non-imaginable Brahman even though Brahman exists. For all practical purposes, God cannot be touched directly. You cannot even use a word to indicate God with the positive sense of a word, because the nature of God is completely unimaginable. Suppose Pandey left the office, came home and is spending time with his family. Similarly, Mishra also left the office and is spending time with his family. Now you take the similarity in both and say that both are one and the same and indicate both by one word ‘man’. Similarly, you have brought Ishwara into this absolute reality and also the soul into this absolute reality and call both of them by the single word ‘Brahman’. The essence of all your philosophy is just this. If you carefully analyze, this logic becomes meaningless. Even if Pandey returned to his home, if some issue of emergency is referred to him, he will act as an officer and will respond to it from his house itself. Pandey retains the potentiality of the officer in him even without being in the office. However, Mishra cannot do the same. Then how can you claim that Mishra is Pandey? You cannot separate Pandey from the officer because when Pandey is in the house, no other person is acting as the officer in his office. Pandey as an officer in the office can also answer some issue conveyed by his wife from home. Therefore Pandey and the officer are inseparable. Similarly Mishra and the peon are inseparable (in this simile only the time of their tenure in their post should be considered since Brahman never retires from the post of Ishwara). Therefore assuming that both the states of absolute reality and the relative reality are imaginable and attainable states by the soul, still the oneness of Pandey and Mishra could not be achieved. How can you imagine the unity when the absolute reality is beyond space and unimaginable?

Remarks on Concepts of Advaita

Before giving detailed answers to specific questions, the following remarks on your concepts are projected so that you will come down to a neutral stage to grasp our theory after realizing the defects in your own arguments. Our theory cannot enter if you are biased with your own theory without doubting your own points. When you understand the remarks on your points, you will come to a middle neutral state, which is congenial to receiving the truth without any prejudice.

  1. You say that the serpent visualized in the rope is Pratibhasika [illusion or imagination]. The rope is Vyavaharika [relative reality or the world we see around us]. The Brahman is Paramarthika [absolute reality]. The rope is real and the serpent is unreal. Similarly, you can realize that the rope is unreal if it is resolved into threads. The thread can be unreal if it is resolved as cotton material. If the cotton material is resolved you can find atoms. The atom can be resolved into subatomic particles. These particles can be resolved into energy but you cannot resolve the energy. Space is the finest form of energy. You cannot resolve space because you cannot go beyond the space. Therefore how can you get God as Paramarthika in such chain of relative items? You have to stop with space or energy. You cannot achieve God by such analysis of the chain of relative items. The final item, energy, can be your Paramarthika. How can you give examples, which consist of two items that are defined by space and time as a simile to God and the world when one of the two items that is God is beyond space? The link between two relative items (Adhyasa or superimposition) cannot be the link between the absolute and relative items. You cannot say that the blue colour is superimposed on the unperceivable space (refer to the beginning of the commentary on Brahma Sutras by Shankara). Here space is the final relative item in the world and how can it be the absolute item? Moreover space is perceivable because when nothing exists, we say that vacuum (space) exists in a room. However, why has Shankara taken this concept as His theory? The answer for this is that at the time of Shankara, the development of logic was limited only to a particular level, in which it is thought that space is vacuum or nothing (Gaganam Shunyam). Based on that level, Shankara had built up this twist for the sake of the atheist to convert him into a theist. Today logic (science) is very much developed and is more accurate due to experimental verification. Today it is proved that space bends as per the special theory of relativity and thus space is not ‘nothing’ but a form of energy. Now based on this concept, the twist is revealed because today the atmosphere consists of several theists and there is no need of any twist. The same God, who is revealing this knowledge through this human body, revealed knowledge to Shankara at that time. God does not get educated more and more in course of time because He knows the total knowledge of the future also at any time. His knowledge is beyond time. However, the knowledge of the souls has the dimension of time and therefore it is becoming sharper and sharper. The sharpness of this knowledge is not due to any change in God but due to the change in the souls. The same God is revealing deeper and deeper knowledge according to the greater and greater sharpness of the knowledge of the receiver.
  2. Energy is absolute (Paramarthika), matter (rope) is relative (Vyavaharika) and the serpent (unreal) is illusionary (Pratibhasika). In the chain of such relatively true items, you can only have two concluded items, which are absolute and relative. Thus the rope is absolute and the serpent is relative. The energy is absolute and the rope (matter) is relative. Therefore there is no need of the third item as illusionary in this chain. The first item of this chain can be absolute, which is God and the last item (unreal serpent) can be called as illusionary. However, during the illusion, the unreal serpent is experienced as real and hence it can come under the relative category. The first item in this chain (God) is not obtained by the logical analysis of this chain and therefore it cannot be an item, which is defined by the dimensions of space. The existence of the first item is known from scripture, from inference and finally from the experience given by the human incarnation. Since only the existence is experienced, God remains unimaginable (Astityeva—Veda). Therefore there is no contradiction in realizing the existence of God as the first absolute item. However, the objection is only about the knowledge of the nature of God because the Veda and the Gita say that God cannot be touched even by logic, which is the cream of knowledge.
  3. How can you fix the word Brahman in God only based on Brahma Sutras, when the Veda and the Gita, which have come from the mouth of God have used this word to mean various greatest items in relative fields? The Brahma Sutras were written by sage Vyasa and cannot be superior to the Veda and the Gita because Vyasa Himself praised Krishna as God in His own writings. The Veda has called food, life, mind, intelligence, bliss, knowledge, space etc. as Brahman. The Gita used the word to mean the Veda, which is the greatest scripture. Even the Brahma Sutras talk about the enquiry of Brahman, which does not mean the knowledge of Brahman (Brahmajijnasa). Vyasa is in line with Vedas because the Veda also says that scholars try to know (enquire) Brahman (Brahmana Vividishanti). The word Vividisha means only enquiry and does not mean the knowledge of Brahman. Every word should be used after realizing the meaning. A word gives the meaning only of a known object and not of an unknowable object. Therefore, you cannot use any word for God. The word Parabrahman means ‘that which is beyond Brahman’. It does not convey the meaning in anyway. It only gives the existence of something, which is not Brahman. Therefore Brahman is an unknown item. In Brahma Sutras also, the word Parabrahman is indicated by the word Param (Paramabhidhanat). The devotee reaches Brahman (cosmic energy) and the Brahman ends in God. The cosmic energy by itself cannot do anything since it is inert. It can do anything only by the will of God. If you identify God as awareness due to will [His will to create], you have to identify God as every item in this world because every item, every property of the item and every action are only from the God, who is the chief source. Thus you can take the meaning of the fifth Brahma Sutra like this: Due to the will of God, the inert energy (Brahman) cannot be taken as God, because in the Veda, will is attributed to God. However if you are very particular of using the word Brahman alone as God, then you have to take the inert energy (which is upadhi) charged by God, as Brahman. In that case due to the presence of God, the energy could create the universe. In such case, since God is identified with the inert energy, you can take the will of God as the will of the medium (Upadhi) too. However, a problem here is that Brahman is used to mean various items and the confusion comes with that word. Parabrahman is the best word, which cannot be treated as word [positive defining word] since it does not mean any item directly. Shankara and Krishna have mentioned this word very clearly and even the Brahma Sutras have used this word in short form i.e. Param.
  4. The rope is a form of matter and the illusionary serpent (imagination) is a form of awareness. Therefore both the forms are based on the two relative items called as matter and awareness respectively. If the basis is lost in both cases, the form cannot maintain its reality. Both matter and awareness are modifications of inert energy [basis]. Therefore there is no difference between the illusionary reality (Pratibhasika) and the relative reality (Vyavaharika). Both the states exist equally. Of course the illusionary state serves as an example to preach about the relative state.
  5. The four Mahavakyas can be interpreted very easily if you take the meaning of the word Brahman as the infinite cosmic energy. Since every item in this world like matter, awareness etc. are only modifications of the cosmic energy, to say that every person (Myself, Yourself and that person) is that Brahman becomes very convenient. Here the convenience is that you need not limit the word Brahman to only the inner soul. If the meaning of the word Brahman is awareness, then you have to limit the word Brahman to the inner soul only. However, if you take the inert energy as the meaning of the word Brahman. Both the external gross body and internal soul are modifications of inert energy alone and hence both can be Brahman. Whenever we use the word Myself, Yourself and He or She, the word means the total personality, which is both internal and external. You can also co-relate the Vedic statement that Brahman creates, maintains and destroys the world. You can take the word Brahman to mean the inert energy as the material cause. In the same context, a separate reference to the cosmic energy is also given in the Gita under the name Brahman (Mahat Brahma). You can easily apply the Vedic statement that says that this entire world is Brahman (Sarvam Khalu…), since all the items of this world are the direct modifications of inert energy. When the question of design of creation comes, the Parabrahman, which is the source of the will, can be referred. Brahman can also be taken as the source of inert energy charged by Parabrahman. Through medium, He is the material cause (Upadanam) and the will can be from Himself (Nimittam).
  6. The will of God can also be superimposed on the medium [cosmic energy] and thus you can say that God is both the material and designer. If you isolate the medium separately, theories of both Ramanuja and Madhva are also co-related.
  7. You say that the human incarnation is just the [manifestation of the] cosmic will, which is the collection of the awareness of all living beings (samashti chit) [According to this idea, when all people who are suffering in the world, desire for a savior to uplift them and bring justice, to the world, their colletive desire is supposed to spontaneously manifest as a human incarnation.] If that is so, you should not find any new item in the human incarnation as compared to other souls or even if you find a new property it should be present in all the souls. If you unite 10 ml of milk from each of ten vessels into a single vessel, the 100 ml milk should be exactly the same as the milk in the each vessel. If the human incarnation has special knowledge and miracles, the same should be found in all the souls. At the end of the Kali Yuga all the souls are spoiled and no soul wants punishment. [At the end of the dark age of materialism, all the souls have become selfish and evil. How then can they desire for a savior to uplift them?] In such a case how can the Kalki incarnation come to punish them if the incarnation is only the collective awareness of the souls?
  8. The Drishti-srishti vada [the theory that the world exists only so long as it is perceived] can apply to God. Drishti is a process of the work-form of energy in seeing the object. The object is also a work form of energy. Thus seeing (karma) and object (karyam) are the items of the world. However, God sees without eyes (Pashyatyachakshuh—Veda). This means that God is unimaginable and cannot be any soul. As per the Veda, God created the world for entertainment. Since both the action and object are homogenously energy, and since the Veda says that God generated energy, the world exists based on the requirement of God. The soul cannot see the same external world without eyes. Why does this difference exist, when the object is the same and if God and soul are not different [according to your theory]? In the case of the soul the Srishti-drishti vada is true [creation has taken place already and the soul merely sees this already-created creation]. The soul sees the external world, which is created by God. Even if the soul does not see, the external world exists. When one person is sleeping the other person is seeing the external world. According to your Eka jeeva vada both the souls are one and the same and both are Brahman. [Eka Jeeva Vada or One Soul Theory says that there is only one single existence called Atman or Brahman. Not multiple souls, but one single soul called Atman exists and all the apparently different souls are mere reflections of the same Atman]. In such case how this is possible? In a city, suppose all people are sleeping. The people of another city cannot see this city. According to your theory, the city should disappear there. When you speak about the soul in the world, you should follow scientific logic. Of course in the case of the unimaginable God, due to His omnipotence, there is no objection to Drishti-srishti vada. But if you apply the same theory to human beings, even children will laugh at such poetical statements.
  9. Realization is the stage of determination in the knowledge. Liberation is its practical consequence. Realization should be based on the right knowledge so that the liberation is really attained as the immediate consequence of the right knowledge. Suppose you are bound by a rope. Suppose you find a knife very near to you, which can be taken by you in the mouth and the rope can be cut. Such right knowledge gives you liberation. The determination to use the knife leads to implementation and the fruit is liberation. Suppose the knife has no sharpness. In such a case the determination and implementation cannot give the result. Suppose the knife is just made of a piece of wood, then also no liberation is possible. Thus if the right knowledge is not intensive or if the knowledge is twisted and wrong, no liberation is possible. Therefore the most important thing for liberation is not only realization but it should be the right intensive knowledge given by the Sadguru.

(To be continued...)