Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 07 Oct 2015



Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[Replies to Dr. Nikhil's Enquiries] Shankara stated that God has no attributes (Nirguna). Ramanuja said that God has all the good attributes (Saguna and Kalyanagunavishishta). Both these statements look contradicting each other. But, if you analyse carefully, both the statements are one and the same. The relationship or association of even a rigid quality with God is always external like the yellow thread of a married lady. The yellow thread is only externally associated and can be separable very easily. But, the yellow thread is never separated from the married lady. The association of two items is either external or internal, which may be separable or inseparable. The yellow thread and married lady stand for the external and inseparable association. The association is inseparable since the yellow thread is never separated from the married lady. Hence, this is external-inseparable-association (Bahya Samavaaya Sambandha). When you put sugar in water, it dissolves and goes into the water and becomes inseparable (not easily separable). This is internal-inseparable-association (Antara Samavaaya Sambandha). Therefore, the inseparable association (Samavaaya Sambandha) can be external as well as internal. The other type of association is separable association (Samyoga Sambandha) for which the association of a bird with the tree is an example. The bird is associated with the tree, but frequently separated. Now, the association of the awareness with a quality can be either external-inseparable-association or mere separable-association. The association of awareness and quality is never the internal-inseparable-association. The word Nirguna means that either God or awareness (individual soul) does not have internal-inseparable-association with the quality. Some qualities are dissociated frequently from the awareness or the individual soul, which come under separable association. Some qualities are very rigid, but, still come under the external inseparable association only but not under the internal-inseparable-association. This means that the individual soul will easily dissociate from some qualities and will separate from some rigid qualities on hectic efforts. But no quality is internal and inseparable if you go to the finest level of its state. Even though, the yellow thread is inseparable from the married lady, one can easily cut it using some force. But removal of dissolved sugar from water is almost impossible or possible by very tedious procedure like evaporation. The water vapour that escaped from the disc on evaporation can be condensed into water by very hectic task only. However, this type of association never exists between the individual soul and quality. The word Nirguna means that the quality never entered the individual soul and hence you can state that the soul does not possess the quality (Nirgunohyaatmaa – Veda). In the gold ornament, the shape of the ornament is also associated with the gold through external-inseparable-association only. The shape of the ornament did not enter the atoms of gold. For that matter, even the molecules of sugar did not enter the molecules of water on dissolution. Both the molecules of water and sugar exist side by side only. Therefore, on deep analysis, you can conclude that even in internal-inseparable-association, the entry is limited to certain extent only and not in the state of very intensive view. However, you can take the sugar solution as an example for internal inseparable relationship since the crystals of sugar are broken into molecules and mix with water molecules at a finer level. From the point of the crystalline state of sugar, we can say that the sugar has gone into the water. But, at the finest level of atoms, still the sugar has not gone into the water. With respect to the yellow thread of the married lady, we can say that sugar has gone into water since, the yellow thread did not enter the inside area of the neck. The difference comes only in relative sense. But in the absolute sense, what Shankara said is true since the quality is only associated with individual soul externally only and not internally at the finest level. Hence, the word Nirguna means that the quality may be associated with the individual soul in inseparable way, but it is never internal at the finest level. Hence, at the finest level, we should say that a quality is associated externally only. This means that the quality did not enter the individual soul at the highest level. The external association of the quality is agreed, but, due to lack of internal entry, the individual soul is said to exist separately from the area of the quality. Ramanuja also said that the individual soul is Saguna, which also means that the individual soul is associated with the quality and it does not mean that the quality entered the individual soul at the finest level. Here, the individual soul is used in the sense of the basic material or nervous energy (Gunebhyashcha param vetti – Gita) and not in the usual sense of a bundle of qualities.

When this is the fate of the quality in the case of individual soul, where both the quality and individual soul are imaginable items, we can never say that the imaginable quality can enter the unimaginable God. The association of a quality with God is possible like the case of individual soul. Even in the case of individual soul, a quality is always externally associated and hence gets dissociated after some time. This means that the individual soul is associated with a quality like happiness for some time and the same individual soul after some time gets rid of the quality of happiness and is associated with another quality like anger. The association and dissociation of various qualities from the individual soul proves that the quality is always associated externally and never enters the unimaginable domain or God. By this, you can get rid of the doubt that the imaginable item enters the unimaginable God. Boredom is also such quality associated externally, which gets dissociated when another quality called entertainment is associated. The association and dissociation of qualities may be difficult in the case of an individual soul because of common nature of energy that exists in both the soul and quality. But, in the case of unimaginable God, there is no such common nature and hence the association and dissociation of quality is very easy and highly superficial.

The meaning of unimaginable God is only that the content material of God and the mechanisms of God in doing miraculous actions are unimaginable. This does not mean that the external association of qualities is also unimaginable. The external association of qualities does not give any information about the unimaginable content material of God and the unimaginable mechanisms in the actions of God. When we say that God is pleased, the knowledge of the pleasure cannot give the knowledge of God. When a copper rod is associated with the golden rod, the knowledge of copper rod does not give the knowledge of golden rod. Therefore, though God is unimaginable by His content material and in the mechanisms of actions (miracles), we should not say that there is no information about God regarding His association with the external qualities. I must know the ways by which God is pleased so that I can follow such ways. I must know the ways by which the God is displeased and becomes furious so that I can avoid such ways. In these statements, the knowledge of pleasure and anger does not give the knowledge of the content and mechanisms of works of God. Hence, in scripture, whenever God says that He is pleased (Sachamamapriyah– Gita) or whenever God says that He is furious (Tanaham dvishatah... Gita), such statements should not be neglected taking the logic that the pleasure and anger cannot fit in God and that such feelings are only super-impositions on God made by human beings only. Such thinking leads to inactive state of human being because you are not bothered about pleasure and anger of God, which are related to your good and bad actions in this world. If the pleasure and anger of God are believed not to be the fitting characteristics of God due to the inability of imaginable domain getting fixed in the unimaginable domain, God is not cared at all, which leads into freedom in doing all types of sins since God will not punish due to the inability of the existence of anger in Him and this also leads into freedom to avoid good works since the pleasure of God by a good work is not possible in Him to exist.

Energy is Substratum & Quality is Property

In the imaginable domain, the word 'inseparable' does not exist in absolute sense. In a mixture, the properties are average properties and hence the components are separable. In a compound like Sodium Chloride, the molecule is fundamental unit of the new properties, which also can be separated into atoms of elements by procedures with intensive effort. On separation, the atoms as the fundamental particles of a set of properties re-appear. The fundamental unit of the properties is the atom and in such case also the properties are related to the number and arrangement of fundamental particles like electrons. The substratum (Dravya) remains undisturbed, where as the property (Guna) changes, which depends on the existence of the substratum only. The sbustratum never becomes the quality. God, the basis of this entire creation is treated as the substratum. This entire world is treated as His property (Guna) only, which depends on the existence of the substratum only. The word Saguna meaning the substratum associated with the quality as proposed by Ramanuja also means that the substratum is only associated with the quality and not penetrated by it. The qualities can be treated as the properties of awareness or nervous energy. A quality is considered to be a signal or a pulse or a mode of a quantum of nervous energy. Here, the energy is substratum and the quality is the property. The association and dissociation of the qualities with the fundamental substratum (nervous energy) itself proves that the quality is not inherent of the substratum. A person is happy for some time and furious in some other time. The happiness appears associated when its contradicting quality, the anger, disappears. The intermediate neutral state of the person in the state of dissociation of all types of qualities also supports the external association of the quality with the substratum. Therefore, even in the imaginable domain, the substratum is not penetrated by the quality to become inherent. The words like inseparable and inherent are only used in the relative sense with reference to more easily separable qualities. All this analysis is only to show the separable association of the quality with the substratum even in the imaginable domain. In the case of unimaginable domain, the substratum is beyond association and dissociation. The substratum is untouched by the quality even in the association due to the fundamental difference between unimaginable and imaginable domains. Since the penetration of the quality into the substratum does not exist even in the imaginable domain, which cannot be even spoken in the case of unimaginable domain, the possibility of interference of the nature by another nature does not appear at all. It means that the unimaginable domain never becomes imaginable domain by the penetration of an imaginable quality since penetration does not exist even in the imaginable domain between quality and substratum. Hence, all the information about God given by the scripture can be treated as the external separable association of a quality with its substratum only. Even the entire creation is unable to penetrate into God and not to speak of a quality existing in the world. God said in the scripture that He does not exist in these qualities (Nachaham teshvavasthitah..., Natvaham teshu... Gita), even though these qualities are based on Him, the substratum (Temayi... Gita). The illusory serpent is based on the true rope and is associated with its substratum, the rope. But, the illusory serpent does not exist inside the rope at all and hence the rope is never disturbed and this concept is spoken even in the imaginable individual soul (Gunairyona Vichalyate... Gita). In such case, this aspect cannot be even thought of in the case of unimaginable God.