Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 24 Aug 2006


More Advaita Questions-V

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

Superimposition: You have introduced the concept of superimposition in that the person mistakes the body for the soul (Dehatmabhranti). By analysis, you have removed the illusion of misunderstanding the body for the soul. But you are captured by another most dangerous illusion that is mistaking the soul for God (Brahman), which can be called as ‘Atmabrahmabhranti’. Both these superimpositions are similar. An illusion or superimposition is born, based on one common property. When you see the rope in mild darkness [dim light or twilight], the physical appearance (the length, movement by air etc), which is the common property between the rope and a snake generates the illusion. Therefore, you should not conclude anything based on a single aspect. You have to consider other aspects as well to decide anything. When you switch on the torchlight, the difference is realized because the other properties like absence of life, lack of hissing on trying to scare it, etc are realized. Similarly, the single property of wishing [Brahman wishing to create this creation] cannot prove that Brahman is awareness. Such a conclusion only shows your illusion under ignorance as in the above case. The different properties like the creation of the universe, the original creativity etc. will differentiate Brahman from the soul. Even if you separate the Jeeva from the Atman by removing all the qualities (When the subtle body, which is a bundle of qualities is destroyed, the causal body, which is pure awareness in the Nirguna [unqualified; attributeless] state remains), still the soul of such a realized person does not prove the potentiality of creation. You cannot remove the potentiality of creation from the Brahman even in Its ultimate reality. You do not have such potentiality to remove the hidden potentiality of Brahman for fulfilling your ambition. It is most pitiable that you do not achieve anything by removing such potentiality from Brahman. If you remove such potentiality, Brahman cannot be the greatest and then you cannot call such Brahman as Brahman. You cannot call such Brahman as Brahman, because such Brahman loses the sense of the word ‘Brahman’. Do you want to become such incapable Brahman, which is only a namesake Brahman? Instead why don’t you simply say that finally you have become yourself?

Petitioner: There is only one superimposition and that is between the body and Atman. There is no second item like Brahman, which is different from Atman. Brahman is just another name of Atman. Therefore there is no question of illusion between Brahman and Atman. In the first superimposition, there are two items, which are body and soul (Atman). Similarly, there are two items in the simile too, which are the rope and serpent. But in the second superimposition brought by you, there is only one item that is the awareness, which can be called as Atman or Brahman.

Mediator: As far as the existence of Brahman is considered, there is no debate because the scripture speaks about it and the scripture is supported by the unimaginable actions of the human incarnation. The debate is only about whether the Brahman mentioned by scriptures is Atman or not.

Respondent: The unimaginable actions of the human incarnation prove the existence of the unimaginability, which is beyond all the imaginable items of creation. If you say that all the items of the creation are unreal, the awareness, which is in the creation, is also unreal. If you say that awareness is beyond creation, then the word awareness must not carry any sense. Therefore by the words Atman or Brahman, if you mean such an unimaginable item, which is beyond all the imaginable items of creation, we have no objection to say that Atman is Brahman. But if you have understood Atman, then it is an item within the limits of space and then cannot be the Creator. You cannot deny the existence of the unimaginable item because the concept of unimaginability is established by the human incarnation. The possessor of such unimaginability is Brahman or can also be called as Ishwara due to the hidden potentiality of unimaginable creativity in the Brahman. If you have understood any item, it is not Brahman according to Lord Yama in the Veda. After all the angels are far superior to human beings in the potentiality of knowledge. However if you call that unimaginable item by words like Brahman, Atman, we have no objection. But we advise you to call it by the word Parabrahman because this word does not indicate any positive information about the nature of that item. The word Atman means, that which pervades other things like space, energy, air etc. This pervading property reveals the spatial nature of the item and so it is better not to use the word Atman. Of course you can use the word Brahman because it means the greatest. The unimaginable item is always the greatest among all the imaginable items of the world. Still it is better not to use this word too because this word is used for several greatest items in their categories. Only to avoid confusion, we are opposing this word. The word Parabrahman is the best because it means, that which is beyond any greatest item in the world or even the greatest world. The soul is called as Atman because the awareness pervades all over the body. Atman can be Brahman in the sense that Atman is the greatest item due to its critical and subtle nature. If you use the word Brahman for inert energy, the soul can be called as Brahman in the sense that the soul is essentially the all-pervading inert cosmic energy.

Petitioner: We call the soul (Atman) as jeeva in the relative reality and Brahman as Ishwara. In the ultimate reality since the world is unreal, the potentiality of creating the world is also unreal and so Ishwara as well as Jeeva become unreal. In the ultimate reality only Brahman or Atman remains as the ultimate reality.

Respondent: If Brahman and Atman are one and the same in the ultimate reality, Ishwara and Jeeva also must be one and the same in the relative reality. However you may say that the difference between Ishwara and Jeeva is also unreal because both exist in the relative reality. In that case, Ishwara, Jeeva and the difference between Ishwara and Jeeva are the three unrealities existing in the unreal world. Then, Brahman or Atman is the only reality at any time. Then who is experiencing this unreal world? An unreality like the horns on the head of a rabbit, can never be experienced. Shankara never said that this world is unreal. He said that the world is Mithya, which is neither real nor unreal (sadasat vilakshana). It means that it is non-existent if isolated from Brahman, but it is existent as long as it is based on the Brahman. When you see the rope as a serpent, the illusory serpent exists based on the existence of rope. If the rope is removed, the illusory serpent disappears and becomes non-existent. But during the existence, the serpent exists in the form of imagination, which is made of nervous energy. Energy is subtler than matter. Awareness is subtler than energy. The imagination or feeling is more subtler than awareness. Thus compared to the rope (matter), the illusory serpent is very very subtle and negligible, and can be treated as almost absent. It is neither completely existent nor completely absent. Therefore you cannot call it as completely unreal. Neither the cause (rope) nor the product (serpent) is non-existent and therefore even Shankara did not agree with Asat Karya Vada [Theory of Unreal Effect]. He too proposed the Sat Karya Vada [Theory of Real Effect], which means that the product is not completely non-existent but still it is neglected. This is vivarta [negligible reality]. Thus you cannot use the word ‘unreal’ to either Brahman or the world.

The Veda says that the world is created for the entertainment of Brahman. If the world is completely unreal, there cannot be entertainment because the object is absent. Relatively real means not completely unreal. The creation is work in essence because it is energy in the basic form. Energy is dynamic and is work alone. The process of construction is work. The product of this work is the building, which is matter bound in a certain design by binding energy. Matter is a form of energy. Binding energy is work and therefore the process of construction, the binding energy, and the matter in the building are work alone. Therefore there are only two items.

1) The worker or designer (constructor).

2) The construction (work).

Only the construction is visible and not the worker or designer. Similarly only the unimaginable Brahman and imaginable creation exist. The link between the two is unimaginable. The world may be very very negligible [as compared to Brahman] but it still exists as the object of entertainment for the Brahman. If you say that the world is unreal, the entertainment is unreal and it indicates that Brahman is incapable. Brahman is the ultimate reality and the world is a relative reality even in the Paramartha dasha. Brahman has not become the relative reality in which case Its existence becomes negligible and moreover the entertainment is not possible because the subject itself becomes the object. Therefore Brahman always remains in the ultimate reality and creates the world, while It Itself exists in the plane of ultimate reality always. Brahman with such potentiality expressed is called as Ishwara. When you are not imagining anything you are a man (Brahman). When you imagine something, you are called as a poet. During the stage of imagination the man is poet and poet is the man. Before imagination, only the man exists but the poet is hidden in the man in the form of the potentiality to compose or imagine the poetry. Thus during the existence of the world both the Paramartha dasha and Vyavahara dasha co-exist. You cannot say that the man is real and the poet is unreal. Both the states are mutually inclusive of each other. According to your theory, unless the creation disappears totally, Brahman is not released. If you say that one state is real and the other state is unreal, only one state can exist at one time.

Mediator: You have spoken about Brahman. But our topic is whether the soul is Brahman or not.

Respondent: Unless you understand very clearly about Brahman you cannot understand whether Brahman is Atman or not. The answer for this lies in your own hands. You have defined Brahman as the ultimate reality, which is imaginable to us under any circumstances and the only information about Brahman is that It exists. Such existence is experienced by us practically through the unimaginable talents of the human incarnation and through the scripture, which is also fulfilled by Him alone. We have called this item as Brahman or more precisely as Parabrahman. If you would like to call this item as Atman, we have no serious objection because it is just an alternative name. If we can take the word Atman in the sense of ‘essence’, we can call Brahman as Atman too because Brahman is the essence of the creation. The ultimate reality is always the essence of the negligible reality. Now if you say that you are such Brahman or Atman having the hidden potentiality of Ishwara, we have no objection to accept it provided you can show at least the vision of Ishwara in which you are creating, maintaining and dissolving the cosmos. Now you should not escape from this saying that the world is unreal, Ishwara is unreal, creation of the world is unreal and therefore the vision is unreal. You should also not try to escape saying that the two states cannot co-exist. It is not a sleep-dream. It is only day-dream in which the dreamer and the dream co-exist mutually. It is not like light and darkness, which cannot co-exist together. It is like the daydreamer and the daydream. Of course this simile is good for the concept within its limitations. In the superimposition of serpent over the rope, the serpent exists elsewhere in equal status with the rope [snakes exist in the world and are as real as the rope]. The serpent is also a form of matter and is as good as the rope. When Brahman created this relatively real world, it did not exist either totally or partially elsewhere before creation. The daydream also is made of the impressions of the items already existing in the world, which were not originally created by the soul. You have to take this simile just to understand the concept of relative reality. Thus the creation of the world by Brahman can be understood with the help of the relative reality and the unique capability of Brahman in having the original creativity (which means that the world is created without the help of any external impression).

Petitioner: The daydreamer can also create a special animal with eight legs, two tails, ten eyes etc. Such animal does not exist in the world. Therefore the soul has original creativity. A person can also see a non-existent ghost with peculiar features, when he sees a swaying tree in a forest at night. He has not seen such a ghost elsewhere in the world. This is an example of a superimposition where the superimposed object exists as imagination only during the time of illusion. When the illusion ends with the help of a torch light, there is no existence of the superimposed objects elsewhere, like the serpent. Since the soul is proved to have original creativity, there should be no objection to say that Brahman and the soul (myself) are one and the same. I can at least be treated as a spark of the Brahman since my imaginary world, made of nervous energy, is also not non-existent. Based on the difference in the intensities of the energies of this external world and my dream-world, I am a particle of Brahman in this relative reality. When space disappears in the final dissolution of the world the quantitative difference between Brahman and myself disappears and thus I become the ultimate reality.

Respondent: We have already stated that the parts of the special animal or ghost are available in the world separately and therefore it cannot be called the original creativity of the soul. The soul is only combining the parts in various possibilities to develop a new design. Such creativity is seen even in a robot, which develops new designs based on the probabilities and combinations of various bits of information, which is fed into the chip. Therefore neither the soul nor the robot can be Brahman. The soul can only be a part of the creation and not even a part of the creator. If the soul is a part of the creator, it should create at least an atom in the external world. You may say that the soul is a very negligible particle of creation, so that it can create only a thought in its nervous energy. Since the thought is also kinetic energy, you may say that the soul has created at least a trace of kinetic energy. Even that is not true because impressions from the external world existing in the soul are just projected as the imagination. Therefore you cannot compare the soul with Brahman in any way.

Petitioner: Ramanuja and Madhva have agreed that the soul and Brahman are awareness essentially. Even those two preachers, who are the founders of dualism, have agreed to the common awareness between Brahman and the soul. What we say is that the other differentiating qualities become unreal in the Paramartha Dasha and since the common awareness alone remains; Brahman and the soul are one and the same.

Respondent: Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva are the three incarnations of the same Lord Datta. There is no fundamental difference and they know the ultimate truth very well that Brahman is unimaginable and cannot be touched by the soul even by logic. Did they not study the Veda, in which the angel Yama said that even angels cannot imagine Brahman, and have concluded that Brahman is unimaginable? The three preachers have told the truth in various styles according to the surrounding atmosphere. Their aim was to uplift the spiritual aspirants present then. Revelation of the truth was not their main aim because the logical maturity of the people was not as much as it is today, owing to the lack of development in science. Ramanuja and Madhva were able to establish the difference between Brahman and the soul even accepting awareness as the common factor between the soul and Brahman. When the result is possible even by following your concept, why should they oppose your concept and get the same result?

Moreover, if your concept is opposed, you may go back to become the original atheist that you were because even a trace of hope of becoming Brahman is lost after that one common item is lost. You may even go to the extent of saying that Brahman does not exist since It is unimaginable. You have not come to the high level of spiritual maturity required to experience the existence of Brahman through the human incarnation. Therefore [they] let the false impression of the experience of Brahman exist in every human being through awareness. But finally Madhva said that there is no similarity between Brahman and the soul. Shankara also knew the total reality. As I told already, He created this attraction for the sake of the atheists. Just by considering the will [of Brahman to create], you are concluding that Brahman is awareness through that property. But Brahman does not have just that one property that it can be concluded to be awareness alone. Brahman is the source of all other properties that we see in the world. So you have to conclude Brahman as a collection of all the items (world itself) through all the properties. Thus even the differentiating properties have to naturally lead one to conclude that Brahman is a group of the corresponding items; thereby Brahman becomes a part of the world.


Self-realization leads to liberation of the soul from worldly bonds. You must be relieved from worldly attachments if you are determined to join the service of the Lord. If you are joining a new institution, you must be relieved from the old institution. By self-realization, you are relieved from worldly bonds and you are expected to join the new institution i.e. the service of the Lord. Such relieving is not like retirement, in which you can stay at home in leisure, without doing any activity. Similarly by self-realization, when you are relieved from worldly bonds, it should not mean that you should continue in that state without any bond. You are relieved from the old bonds to strengthen the new divine bond with God. After leaving the old job, you are expected to do the new job with more vigor. After cutting the worldly love, you are expected to love God more vigorously. But the Advaita philosopher is continuing in the state of no love after cutting the worldly love. Instead of achieving a better goal, the case has become worse. Anesthesia is given to you to perform an operation so that you are relieved from the disease and so that you can live with greater happiness. Even after the operation, some anesthesia may be given to you, to relieve you from the pains. But the case of the Advaita philosopher is unfortunate because he has gone into a continuous coma after the operation. In that case it would have been better if the operation had not been done so that at least, he would live with the disease.

Here, self-realization (Yoga) is the anesthesia. The process of operation is liberation (Moksha) from worldly bonds. After this liberation, the liberated soul is expected to join the service of the Lord with more vigor; just as after the operation, the patient is expected to become more active in his life. But unfortunately after liberation, the Advaita philosopher continues in the same state of self-realization (coma). This unfortunate situation has developed because the patient wants anesthesia and the operation only for getting into a state of continuous coma. The goal is prefixed by the patient. Similarly, the Advaita philosopher has fixed the goal of self-realization and liberation as only the continuity of himself in the state of self-realization (self-attainment). His goal is Brahman, which is pure awareness without any quality or thought or feeling (Nirgunachit). Even if all the thoughts are removed as in the state of meditation, the thought of self-awareness exists. Therefore there is no awareness without thought (Guna). Awareness without any thought, which is complete Nirgunachit, is nothing but inert energy, which is the essential form of the awareness as obtained in deep sleep (Sushuptyekasiddhah—Shankara). Such state is nothing but the state of a tree or a stone, in which the mind (all the thoughts) is totally destroyed (Manolaya Yoga). The childish Advaitin calls this state as the state of Brahman in ultimate reality. He wants to remain as inert energy in the cosmos, which is the soul in the highest state (deep sleep) in his words!

I am deeply pained at this pitiable condition of such human beings who are misled like this. The soul of an Advaitin continuing in this state of thoughtless inert energy cannot disappear from the cosmos, because the primary cosmic energy will never disappear as per the will of God. It is retained for storing the entire movie of the world as a reel at the end of this world-show. Let this unfortunate Advaitin become a tree or a stone so that at least he will be useful in serving a devotee. A devotee maybe fed with the fruits of such tree or the devotee can sit on such a stone for praying to the God. Therefore instead of remaining as a part of the cosmic inert energy or becoming the entire cosmic energy by merging in it, such rebirth as a tree or stone is only due to the grace of God on him. Realization should lead to the liberation of the soul from worldly bonds and not from the bond with God. If all bonds are removed, he will be neither here nor there. It is better if he remains in the worldly bonds, at least having some disturbed entertainment in the world. At least this is better if he is unable to get divine bliss in the divine love of God. It is better to have ‘Goli Soda’ [local inferior soft-drink] if the ‘Goldspot’ drink [a name-brand soft-drink] is not available. It is better to have worldly bonds if the bond with God is not available. In fact, after tasting Goldspot, Goli Soda is spontaneously rejected. Thus the rejection of Goli Soda has the one sole aim, which is the drinking Goldspot.

The Advaitin has set up a goal, which is totally unreal. There is no Brahman, which is simply awareness without being Ishwara or at least without having the potentiality of Ishwara. He has taken the worst state and named it by an unreal word. In fact, Brahman always exists as Ishwara since the ultimate and relative realities are mutually inclusive of each other like the dreamer and his daydream. If these two states are real and unreal, both cannot co-exist. A rabbit and its horn cannot co-exist [a rabbit’s horns are non-existent]. When the two states are the absolute reality and relative reality respectively, they can co-exist like gold and its ring. The gold in the ring is the ultimate reality and the ring existing in the gold is the relative reality. Thus the word ‘golden ring’ indicates the co-existence of both the states. The ring is not unreal because it exists based on the gold.

The lazy Advaitin is aiming for this worst state of mere awareness without the potentiality of Ishwara without doing any effort. There need not be any effort to fall from the hill. The effort is only needed to climb the hill. The soul, which aims for the post of Ishwara, becomes Indra who is the Lord of the three worlds. The word Indra itself means Ishwara or the Lord (Idi Aishwarye). His aim is only power and luxuries. He is often insulted by demons and the real Ishwara (Narayana) has to protect him often. This shows that the soul cannot manage itself in that post. But if you take Hanuman, He has both the aspects of the Lord and the soul. From one angle He is Lord Shiva. He is also a Jeeva (soul) from the angle that He is the son of a soul called as Vayu. The angle of God in Him shows that only He can maintain the post of Ishwara and therefore He was made the future Creator. But from the point of the soul, it shows the possibility of the soul to even become God. But this fruit was attained by Hanuman through selfless sacrifice and service without aspiring for any fruit in return unlike Indra who did a hundred sacrifices only for the fruit. The Advaitin is not even Indra who appeared for the examination and failed. The Advaitin is the laziest student who sits at home without even going to the school and claims to already possess that degree, which is of no use to get a job.

Thus there is every possibility for the soul to become Brahman or Ishwara. In such state, the soul is charged by Parabrahman or God, which is the incarnation of God, maintaining the individual soul as a medium. Thus we do not deny the possibility of the soul becoming Brahman in the real sense. But what we say is that the soul is not already Brahman because Brahman is always Ishwara simultaneously. The world may be real (since it is not completely unreal) or may be unreal (since it is a negligible quantity). The world may be in its existence or may be in the state before its creation or may be in the state after the dissolution. But Brahman can never be isolated from the potentiality of Ishwara. For fear of the impossibility of becoming Ishwara, you have made both Ishwara and the world unreal. But we are giving you the assurance that you can become Ishwara through your spiritual effort in the path of Hanuman.

Why become just Ishwara? You can even become the Ishwara (Master) of Ishwara. The Lord has become the servant of Radha and thus Radha is the Ishwara of Ishwara. Therefore you can become Ishwara (simultaneously Brahman) and you can even become the master of Ishwara. But the path is full of real love, which is sacrifice and service. Without any effort, you can become yourself because you are already yourself. This is what Shankara said. You have not understood Him properly. By this He meant that one cannot become anything different from himself without any effort. He converted the atheist into an Advaitin by this attraction. He said that the atheist was already God so that the atheist had to accept the existence of God. Shankara was very clever because when He called the atheist as God, He gave a new definition for God, which exactly suits the existing state of the atheist. By this He indicated that the atheist is in his original state by such attraction. According to the new definition of Shankara, God (Brahman) is just awareness, which is found even in an animal. By this, He indirectly meant that the atheist in the present state, is an animal. Even in the present state, the atheist does not accept any God other than Himself. He experiences himelf like an animal. The animal has no God other than itself. Therefore Shankara cannot be blamed for the unfortunate situation of the Advaitin in view of his atheistic background. There is no other way than this for Shankara to attract the atheist to climb at least the first step.

You can understand the reality of Advaita from just two points. The angel Yama, who is the son of the Sun-god did not say that He is Brahman. He even said that the angels are still searching for Brahman and have finally concluded that Brahman is unimaginable. No human being is greater than Yama, whose messengers will drag out the soul of an Advaitin in the end even though the soul is claiming that it is Brahman! Hanuman is the greatest soul in this world in knowledge, devotion and in having superpowers. He never said that He is Brahman. In the Gita, the Lord said that He preached the Gita to the Sun-god in the beginning of creation. If Advaita were the essence of the Gita, the Sun-god must have told His own son (Yama) and His disciple (Hanuman) abou it. When Lord Krishna (human incarnation) approached Yama, Yama folded His hands and got down from His throne. Hanuman served the human incarnation throughout His life. Even angels want to be born on the earth as human beings because only in the human birth, can any soul do sadhana. In the upper world, no further karma can be done. People who worship only the energetic forms like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva reach the corresponding worlds and remain near such energetic forms of God. Their sadhana is incomplete because they have not accepted the human form of God due to their egoism and jealousy.

Above these three worlds lies Datta Loka, in which Lord Datta (Ishwara) exists. Datta means God given to the devotee in the most convenient medium to Him. Since Hanuman existing in human form, recognized and served the human form, He reached Datta Loka and got the highest fruit from Lord Datta. He is made God there. Above this, exists Goloka where the Lord in the form of Krishna resides with Radha, acting as Her servent. Radha worshipped the human form of God. Thus the complete absence of egoism and jealousy towards human form and the complete sacrifice and service to the Lord in human form without aspiring for any fruit in return have brought these highest results.

I did My best to save the Advaitin. Krishna told at the end of the Gita that one should analyze His knowledge and only then accept (Vimrusyaitadaseshena). The Lord also said that people will act only according to the levels of their mentalities or Samskaras (Prakritim yanti) and any amount of analysis cannot control them (Nigrahah kim karishyati). The cloud rains the same water drops everywhere without any partiality. The drop fallen in the sea becomes salty, the drop fallen in the Ganga becomes holy sweet water, the drop fallen in the mud pond becomes mud and the drop fallen in the pearl shell becomes a pearl. You can neither blame the cloud, which has impartially rained the same water drops nor can you blame the sea, Ganga, mud pond, or pearl-shell because they have behaved according to their nature. The secret in the third incidental dimension is that all this happens without any damage to logic or justice for the pastime or divine play of the Lord, which cannot be blamed from any angle.