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Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 16 Feb 2006

     

BEYOND CONTEMPORARY ADVAITA

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

Lord Shankara has said “Chaitanyam maya upahitam Brahma, Maya avachhinnam Iswarah, Avidya upahitam Atma, Avidya avachhinnam Jivah”. This means “Pure awareness (Mula Maya) associated with Maya is called Brahman, integrated with Maya is called Ishwara, associated with Avidya is called Atman and integrated with Avidya is called Jiva.

This concept needs to be clarified for better understanding. Let us take an example. Assume that pure standstill water is Mula Maya. Vibrated pure water (water with waves) is Maya. Assume that the water has the property of awareness. When the standstill water is aware of itself, it is Brahman. If the vibrated water is aware of itself, it is Ishwara. This is the explanation given by scholars but it is not complete because according to this explanation, Brahman and Ishwara are big quantities (at the macro level) whereas Brahman in small quantity is Atman and Ishwara in small quantity is Jiva (at the micro level). Therefore scholars say that there is no qualitative difference between the Brahman and the Atman or between Ishwara and Jiva. Such an explanation misleads the human being into thinking of himself as Brahman or Ishwara.

[The real explanation of the statement should be given in the following way:]

All the above explanation is correct but is incomplete. You should say that Brahman is the standstill water in which the Parabrahman or God is pervading like dissolved sugar. In the case of the Atman and the Jiva, the sugar is totally absent. Thus, there is a qualitative and quantitative difference. Brahman is the ocean of standstill sweet water. Ishwara is the ocean of vibrated sweet water. Atman is a drop of sugarless (not sweet) standstill water. Jiva is a drop of the sugarless vibrated water. Thus, Brahman and Ishwara are divine since they are charged by God. Atman and Jiva are not divine since they are not charged by God.

Now let us take the case of Brahman. Brahman is the ocean of standstill sugar-water. In this case the awareness (property of water) may be about sugar (Parabrahman) or water (Mula Maya); these are the two states of awareness of Brahman. In the first state Brahman may be aware of the Parabrahman, which is the divinity of Brahman. In the second state, Brahman may only be aware of Itself (pure awareness), but in this state also it remains divine though it forgets its divinity (it forgets Parabrahman).

The same is the case with Ishwara but in Ishwara there will be three states of awareness. Ishwara is the vibrated ocean of sugar water. The awareness may be about sugar, pure water or the vibrated water. This means that the awareness may be about Parabrahman, Brahman or Ishwara. The divinity always exists in the awareness of Parabrahman. The divinity exists but is forgotten in the awareness of the Brahman or Ishwara. In Brahman or Ishwara the forgotten divinity is not real ignorance but is only apparent and temporary. It is just like a daydreamer enjoying his daydream with temporary and apparent ignorance of himself.

Now if you take the case of Atman, the awareness is limited only to itself, which is a drop of standstill pure awareness. There is no divinity in Atman and thus there is no case of the Atma forgetting the divinity. In the case of the Jiva, there will be two states of awareness. In one state the awareness is limited to the vibrated water and in another state the awareness is limited to the water present in the vibrations. In both states there is no divinity and there is no question of forgetting the divinity.

In the case of Brahman and Ishwara since there is no real ignorance, the awareness of Parabrahman exists in the state of Brahman or in the state of Ishwara. The state of Brahman existed before the creation and will exist after the dissolution of creation. Of course, before creation the pure awareness was in a standstill state. After dissolution of creation, the creation is condensed in to a state of a trace (Avyaktam). But this trace is negligible and therefore, even after dissolution the pure awareness is almost in the standstill state. Even in the state of Ishwara, the awareness of Brahman exists. This means that though the vibrations are present, the awareness of the standstill water still persists. This means that the vibrations exist but due to the awareness of the standstill pure awareness, Brahman is not really affected by the vibrations. The awareness of vibrations also simultaneously exists and this awareness creates entertainment.

Brahman watches the vibrations but is not vibrated. You are watching the cinema peacefully and yet you are watching scenes, which may not be peaceful. All this (being aware like a detached spectator) is possible even in the case of Atman and Jiva. A realized soul remains as Atman while simultaneously continuing in the state of Jiva. A realized soul and Brahman are equal in having the equal state of entertainment. But just because the both can have this state, the realized soul and Brahman are not equal. A king and a beggar are equally enjoying the cinema, but it does not mean that the king and beggar are equal.

The awareness of Parabrahman is always there in the state of Brahman or Ishwara and therefore the entertainment finally goes to the Parabrahman only.

The unimaginable Parabrahman is like the sugar. Mula Maya is the ocean of pure awareness, which is like the ocean of sugarless standstill water. This ocean developed vibrations and the vibrated ocean is Maya. From this ocean a pot of water is taken out which is the creation or prakriti. The Jiva is a drop of the vibrated water present in the pot. The pure water present in the drop is called the soul. In the case of the realized soul, the vibrations cease and the soul is in its original state. The Jiva is qualitatively similar to the ocean but differs quantitatively. But the sugar enters the ocean and now this ocean is called as the Ishwara. The water present in the ocean is called as the Brahman. This ocean before the entry of sugar is called as Mula Maya with reference to the pure water and Maya with reference to the vibrated water. This ocean without sugar is also called as Mahat Brahma in the Gita (Mama Yonih…). Once the sugar enters the ocean, it becomes divine. The ocean is Brahman with reference to the pure water and Ishwara with reference to the vibrated water. The vibration is the will.

Qualitatively and Quantitatively Different

Now, the Jiva is different from the ocean both qualitatively and quantitatively. Atman or Jiva can be compared with the Mula Maya or Maya in qualitative nature. But once the Mula Maya or Maya is transformed to Brahman or Ishwara by the entry of  Parabrahman, Atman or Jiva is different from Brahman or Ishwara both qualitatively and quantitatively. By this, Parabrahman, Mula Maya, Maya, Prakriti, Atman, Jiva, Brahman and Ishwara are explained. If these terms are clearly understood separately the ninth term, Avatara, (human incarnation) can be understood.

The human incarnation is a drop of vibrated sugar water from one angle, which is simultaneously the ocean of vibrated sugar water. Thus, this case is like Jiva or Atman from one angle and is like Brahman or Ishwara form the other angle simultaneously. The sugar enters a drop of water present in the pot and this is mentioned in the Veda (Tadevanu pravisat…) and in the Gita (Manusheem tanumasritam…). Thus, the human incarnation differs from any human being qualitatively and quantitatively, if viewed from the other angle. The Avatara appears as a human being with qualitative and quantitative similarity in the view of ordinary human beings. But in the view of realized devotees, the human incarnation differs qualitatively and quantitatively from any human being. Krishna proved this to Arjuna by giving the divine vision of His cosmic form (Vishwarupam). Since, sugar is beyond spatial dimensions, the drop of sugar water is exactly the infinite ocean of sugar water. This is true only in the case of the human incarnation. An ordinary human being is a drop of sugarless water, which is different from the ocean of sugar-water both qualitatively and quantitatively. The Advaita philosophers mistake every Jiva as a drop of sugar-water and thus equate it with the ocean of sugar water both qualitatively and quantitatively because sugar is beyond space.

 
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