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Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 15 Apr 2006

     

REFUTING MISCONCEIVED ADVAITA - I

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[The following is a discourse given in response to questions asked by Nikhil as to why there is no uniformity in the preachings of different human incarnations as regards the ultimate goal. Even if they preach at different levels, can they not all agree on what the ultimate goal is? All science teachers, teaching at different levels, universally accept the highest concept in their science even though they may be teaching a lower concept to their students.]

Every human incarnation knows the whole truth and the whole concept because the same God enters every human body in the case of each human incarnation. The revelation of the complete or partial truth depends on the level of the human beings who receive that knowledge. For a scholar, revelation of the whole truth is sufficient and he does not bother about the level and the grasping capacity of the student. A conference is different from a class room. You can present your knowledge in a conference like a scholar because even greater scholars can be present there. But in a class room the students have only a certain level of knowledge and cannot grasp the whole concept. Therefore, a teacher teaches only conservation of matter [analogy from physics] in the lower class and teaches the higher concept in the upper class. The teacher in the lower class can say that the higher concept exists which can be known in the higher class. The students are satisfied because the examination is only up to that standard. Only one in several may have an anxiety for the higher concept and such rare students cannot be the state of the whole class. The whole class will not have such anxiety. Even if the higher concept is not known at that time, no self-damage is done because the higher concept is not asked in the examination. Therefore, the class is not discouraged because it is only the knowledge of the objective world and not about the self. By not knowing the higher concept, since the self is not harmed, anxiety will not arise generally. Even in the case of such a rare student, the anxiety is not about the self because the ignorance of the higher concept does not harm the self in any way, in view of the limitation of the standard in the examination.

If self-damage is involved, anxiety will result in tension, confusion and revolt. Suppose the higher concept is in that standard and the teacher did not teach it. Then anxiety will rise in all the students leading to revolution against the teacher and they will demand for a new teacher. In the case of spiritual knowledge, if only partial knowledge is revealed and if the preacher says that something more exists in order to reach the goal, all the students will be discouraged. Anxiety will start because the concept is related to self-upliftment. They will be discouraged since everyone wants to know the final concept in this human birth itself. Since, life is uncertain, they want to know everything then and there itself and reach the goal immediately. The span of the teaching class is one year. But the span of life is uncertain. Moreover, the concept belongs to the self and not to the objective world like matter and energy. Therefore, the teacher should not reveal the whole truth which is related to the self. If it is fully revealed, tension comes due to the realization of the length of the journey and due to the absence of the grasping power of the whole concept.

Suppose you are walking with Me to reach Varanasi. If I say that the goal is a hundred miles away, you will drop out from the journey. But suppose you are not a traveler to Varanasi and you are sitting in the house leisurely. Now if I say that Varanasi is a hundred miles away, you are not discouraged because the knowledge about the distance is only objective and is not related to yourself in any way since you are not intending to travel. But when you are a traveler, the distance will discourage you. Spiritual knowledge is meant for travelers and is subjective. It is not objective information, which will never create tension. Therefore, the Lord in human form behaves like teacher in a class and not as a scholar in a conference.

Even if you do not know the higher concept of objective knowledge, there is no significant loss to you. You may stop at the lower class itself get some lower job and still be able to live with happiness by earning some limited salary. But in the case of spiritual knowledge, the goal should be reached before the end of this human life. Human life is not assured again. Human life is uncertain and death may come at any time. Even tomorrow is not certain. You want to know all the spiritual knowledge today itself and reach the goal today itself. Such pressure exists in the subjective spiritual knowledge. Keeping this point in view, suppose the whole spiritual knowledge is revealed now itself, you may not be able to grasp the total concept at your level. Even if you grasp it you will develop tension due to the length of the journey. Sometimes this leads to dropping out from the spiritual effort totally. Therefore, the Lord always behaves like a teacher and not like a scholar.

The Lord is given to the world in human form and therefore, this given Lord is called as Datta. He is given to the world for the main purpose of preaching the spiritual knowledge and therefore, He is called as Guru Datta. The word Guru means the concept of preaching spiritual knowledge. A teacher sees the upliftment of the student from his step to the next step and for such upliftment only partial revelation is essential because every concept is subjective knowledge. It is not like physics, which is the objective knowledge. The whole knowledge can be revealed gradually step by step and this method avoids tension at every step. In objective knowledge a student is always in a detached mood. In subjective knowledge the student is always in the attached mood. Therefore, it is better not to reveal the whole subjective knowledge in one lot and create tension. It is better to reveal the subjective knowledge step by step. In the objective knowledge a theoretical approach is sufficient. Even experimentation in the objective knowledge will not create any tension. In objective knowledge, the theory is independent and total. But in subjective knowledge every theoretical concept is related to practice and is a point of tension due to the attachment to self-achievement and self-progress.

In every human incarnation, in fact, the total spiritual knowledge exists in a fully revealed state. But it appears as a partial knowledge because the knowledge related to one particular level is vehemently emphasized again and again. Compared to the part of the knowledge that the human incarnation stresses, which is relevant to that level of followers and at that time, the remaining part of the knowledge becomes almost invisible; but it does not mean it is absent. Some rare student, who is fit for the remaining knowledge can also grasp it and get the benefit.

For example, let us take the Gita. Arjuna was at the level of Karma (action) and not at the level of samnyasa (sacrifice). Even after hearing the Gita, when Abhimanyu died he wept so much that he wanted to withdraw from the war, even though he was taught that the war is the work of the Lord. Therefore, he cannot be fit for the standard of Samnyasa in which the action is done for the sake of the Lord only, and not for the sake of himself or his family. When the mother of Shankara died Shankara did not withdraw from the work of the Lord, which was the propagation of Knowledge. Therefore, from the point of Arjuna’s level, karma was emphasized throughout the Gita by which Arjuna had to fight and get back his justified kingdom. Thus, the war was only for Pravritti. To destroy injustice and establish justice was only with reference to the loss and benefit of Arjuna. The war was not with reference to the welfare of the world, which alone can be the work of the Lord.

Krishna stressed that the war was to get back his kingdom. Thus, Arjuna was eligible for Pravritti and not for Nivritti. But still you will find jnana yoga and bhakti yoga also in the Gita. Finally, you also find karma yoga, which is doing service to the Lord. Karma is doing service to yourself and your family. Krishna stressed on karma and mentioned about karma yoga, which is the highest and which comes only after jnana yoga and bhakti yoga. Therefore, the whole spiritual knowledge is revealed in the Gita. But karma was stressed even though Krishna showed the final goal i.e., karma yoga passing through jnana yoga and bhakti yoga. Arjuna had withdrawn himself even from karma. He was prepared to do injustice to his family based on his unjust love towards Bhishma and Drona. But Bhishma and Drona were prepared to fight against Arjuna. Therefore, the love of Arjuna for Bhishma and Drona was blind even within the boundaries of karma. Hence Arjuna fell down even from the first standard, which is karma.

In such case the stress should be on the first standard. Arjuna did not mention Krishna while giving the list of relatives who can be harmed in the war. He was only worried about the death of Bhishma and Drona. He never bothered about the possibility of the death of the driver of his own chariot (Krishna) in the war. He did not treat Krishna to be equal even to Bhishma and Drona. Therefore, the Lord subsequently introduced the knowledge of God, human incarnation, devotion to the Lord and finally service to the Lord. These steps are jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and karma yoga respectively. Thus, with reference to Arjuna, though the first standard was stressed in the Gita, Krishna showed all the standards up to the postgraduate level. Due to the stress on the first standard, it appears as if Krishna taught only about the first standard throughout the Gita. Similarly, Shankara stressed on the attainment of the self, with reference to Buddhists and Purva Mimamsakas[1], who were atheists. But He mentioned about the Lord, human incarnation etc., also in His knowledge, which shall be revealed in detail in the answers of your following questions because they are completely concentrated on the preachings of Shankara.

There is some difference in the situation of Krishna and the situation of Shankara. Krishna preached only to one student, Arjuna, who was like a brilliant student. Arjuna was sage Nara associated with the Lord in several previous births. Arjuna fell even below first standard only for the sake of the world. Keeping Arjuna as an example, Krishna taught the syllabus from 1st standard to the postgraduate level. The Gita is universal because it covers all the levels from lower kindergarten to postgraduate. The fall of Arjuna below the level of kindergarten was only for the sake of others, so that the syllabus could be covered starting from the lowest level. The fall of Arjuna was not real and therefore he rose to the highest level as the Gita proceeded. Even the withdrawing from the service of God, due to the death of Abhimanyu, was apparent. This was only to show that even a scholar will slip, when it comes to practice. Arjuna did not believe in Krishna fully and was reborn as a hunter[2], which is a lower birth. This is again to show that your next birth will be based on your present samskaras only. Arjuna worshipped inert objects (Shiva Lingam) and therefore even in his next birth as the hunter, he again worshipped the same inert object. Thus, Arjuna showed the various types and states of a human being by taking those different roles. Otherwise Arjuna was a fully liberated soul. Thus, in the Gita you find the total concept built up in a sequence. Of course, stress was given on karma because Arjuna fell even below the level of karma. The first level is karma in which there is no introduction of God. You have to work for yourself and your family. Your family should be greater than the public. If one is trapped by a prostitute to steal his money by false love, he is below the level of karma. He should be taught that his wife is far better than the prostitute. This is the lowest level and the knowledge of Pravritti starts at this level.

Similar is the case of Arjuna. Bhishma and Drona stated that Duryodhana was unjust. But they still supported him and even came to war to kill Arjuna. Arjuna loved such people! This is like loving a prostitute. He wanted to leave the kingdom which should be enjoyed by his family. This is foolish and blind love. What he first needs is pure Pravritti without God. Krishna started preaching from this level onwards. He told Arjuna to kill such worst people and get the kingdom for the enjoyment of his brothers and sons which is justified. In this field there is no element of God or Nivritti. In this level Arjuna has to kill such worst enemies who are in the disguise of relationships. In order to remove tension and bonds with relationships pertaining to the body, Krishna taught Atma Yoga, which also does not have any touch with God. By attaining the self one loses tension and fights for justice. Thus, Pravritti is just the standard of LKG [lower kindergarten]. Passing LKG with first class does not mean getting a postgraduate degree. Attaining the self to stand in Pravritti is not the attainment of God at all. From this view the Lord introduced the Atman and also doing actions without attachment so that tension is avoided.

Today also when a spiritual preacher conducts a workshop for job-holders, he preaches the same to relieve stress. There is no element of divinity in this level. It is only about perfect health of body and mind. It is just medical science. Of course, this is the essential basis for the future steps. Without perfect physical and mental health one can not even understand God and there is no chance of loving and serving God. After this first level, comes the second level which is jnana yoga, which deals with the understanding of God theoretically as well as practically recognizing the human form of the Lord. Jnana yoga thus includes both theory and practicals. Then the development of love for God in the mind and also for the human incarnation, is the theoretical and practical stage respectively in the third level called bhakti yoga. The final fourth level is karma yoga, which is doing practical service to the human form of the Lord. In this fourth level, if the repulsion for the human incarnation is not removed, at least serving a statue in human form of the Lord is recommended as a training. In this fourth level the training is meaningless unless it is transformed into the service of the human form of Lord. What is the use of serving a statue in the temple, which is inert and does not feel for your service?

At this point Swami Dayananda [Arya Samaj] objected to idol worship and you should take Him positively in this point and He is also a human incarnation of the Lord. His concepts should be taken with reference to that time since He tried to avoid the exploitation that was common in Hinduism. He would not have objected the aspects of tradition if they were in the right direction. When someone opposes the wrong direction of an item, you misunderstand it as the opposition of that item itself. Even Christianity and Islam object to idol worship from this angle only. But you should leave the service of the statue, only to serve the human form of Lord and not to keep idle without the very concept of service.

You simply say that God is formless and does not require any service and so you concentrate your service only to yourself and your family. At this point some say that serving the public is the highest stage. But in what way is the public different from your family? Shankara condemned this (Loka sevaka mata nirasah). In fact, your family is also a part of the public. Serving the family is also public service. In fact, family is greater than the public. You should not leave your family for the sake of the public. Bhishma and Drona were worse than the public. Arjuna wanted to leave the welfare of his family for the sake of such Bhishma and Drona. At least the public is neutral. But Bhishma and Drona supported injustice and wanted to kill Arjuna. Of course, serving devotees in the public is better than serving your family, who are not devotees. Devotees are just next to the Lord. But if the family members are also devotees, then serving your family-devotees is better than serving an outside devotee. After all, devotees are only human beings (jeevas).

Thus, karma yoga is serving the Lord or serving His devotees. Their position is greater than the position of your family members. If the family members are also devotees, and if they compete with the outer devotees, your selection must be based on the degree of devotion. It means the Lord is higher than the devotee and the devotee is higher than the family member. The family member is higher than the general neutral public. Thus, the position of the worship of statues and the position of the so called ‘Yoga’ used so commonly by the moderns, which is improvement of physical and mental health, have their own places of importance in the complete syllabus of spiritual knowledge. Since the spiritual knowledge is subjective, it is better to close the doors of the class room of each level till that standard is completed. If it is objective knowledge, there is no danger even if all the standards are conducted in a single hall. If you teach about a heart-attack, nobody is worried, although every one hears the subject with attention. But if you say that a particular person is having some symptoms of heart problem, the tension may be so much that he may get the heart attack immediately. Therefore, hiding the truth and stressing on the relevant partial knowledge is essential in the subjective knowledge.

In the case of Shankara the students are many unlike the one Arjuna. Moreover those students were below average and were ordinary human beings without any previous association with Lord. Therefore, stressing on the relevant knowledge and hiding the complete truth is essential. The aim of the Lord is to uplift humanity in each generation from their level to the next immediate stage. The aim is not to expose the depth of knowledge by disclosing the whole truth and get fame. The Lord has come down for the welfare of humanity and not for winning the noble prize by disclosing the entire knowledge.

The students of Shankara were complete atheists, who were Buddhists and Purva Mimamsakas. The former believe in the absence of everything and do not believe even in the existence of the soul. The latter believe in the existence of the soul and not in the existence of the super soul or the Lord. Both were atheists. The target before Shankara was to bring the Buddhists to the level of the Purva Mimamsakas and make the latter believe in the Lord. First He attacked the Buddhists and argued that there should be a soul to even know that everything is absent. The existence of the soul (Pramata) was thus established. The leader of Buddhists (Dignaga) accepted Shankara and started the school of Prajnavada which means the acceptance of the knower. Buddhism disappeared and ran away crossing the boundaries of the country.

Now the second task was to establish the existence of God at least theoretically. At this stage if Shankara speaks about the human incarnation, even God will not be accepted. Now since Buddhism disappeared and Purva Mimamsakas only remained, all the students accepted the existence of the soul. The next step is only introduction of the Lord at least theoretically. Shankara thought about a way. He said that since you (soul) exist, God exists because you are God. Now the Purva Mimamsakas are trapped and had to agree to the existence of God. Mandana Mishra was captured in this way. Today nobody knows how many problems I faced while I was in the body of Shankara at that time and today you say that I have hidden the complete truth. If you place yourself in that time and in that circle of Purva Mimamsakas, you will understand all those practical difficulties.

Shankara played a trick to avoid any damage to the total concept. He said that any soul is Brahman. There are two methods of expressing the meaning of any word:

  1. Yoga: the word is used in its root sense
  2. Yoga Rudha: the word is used in the root sense and simultaneously fixed to a particular item only [specific usage].

The word Brahman in Yoga [just the root meaning] means that which is greatest in a category. This word is not Yoga Rudha. If you fix the word Brahman to God only, you should not use this word for any other item. But the word Brahman is also used to mean the Veda as we see in the Gita. Therefore, this word can be used for any item if the root meaning is satisfied.

The soul which is made of pure awareness is most delicate and is the greatest item in the creation. Therefore, the soul can be Brahman. Since it can be used for any item which satisfies the root meaning, it can be also used to mean God. Therefore, the students thought that soul is God and by realizing the soul, they can become God. Since they believe in the existence of the soul, they have to believe that God exists. They cannot cross more than this level at that time due to their ignorant egoism and jealousy to an item greater than themselves; namely God. If you reveal the trick played by Shankara, they will reject even the theoretical existence of God and go back to the original stage.

Something is better than nothing. The mother makes the child eat the food by telling that the moon will come down if the child eats the food. By this you cannot say that the mother is trickish and has cheated the child. The aim of the mother was the welfare of the child and the trick can be used due to the unavoidable ignorance of the child. The commentary of Shankara is thus a lesson for a class room containing below average students. Shankara cannot reveal the entire syllabus because they were below average unlike Arjuna who was above average. But a few students who became personal disciples of Shankara had become eligible to know the higher truth. Therefore, Shankara revealed the higher truth to such limited circle only. He swallowed molten lead[3] only for the sake of such limited circle and established the concept of God other than the soul and the concept of the human form of God.

One objection to the above statement is that the students were not able to perform the same miracle since they were not yet self-realized and that they too would be able to do the same after they had realized the self fully. However, this objection is not valid. The disciples of Shankara tried for self-achievement throughout their lives, staying very close to Shankara. If they cannot attain the self, then nobody can attain self. They had attained the self very well and had left their families and were detached even from their bodies. [Yet they were unable to perform the miracle].

Such a miracle is possible even for a demon because the demon believes in existence of God other than himself and does a lot of penance. Such miracle performed even by demon indicates only the power of Lord in an indirect way. Such power could not come to the Advaita scholars because basically they were wrong in not accepting God other than themselves. If you follow the correct path, you can become God and can even become the master of God. Hanuman and Radha never said that they were God and they have become God and master of God respectively. Thus, I am not obstructing your chance to reach the goal. I am saying that you can go even beyond the goal if you travel in the correct path. Hanuman never expressed Advaita in the entire Ramayana. No Advaita scholar can be greater than Hanuman. Hanuman knew all the Upanishads in a better way than any Advaita scholar. This single point is sufficient to say that the path of Advaita is wrong, where as Advaita and more than Advaita is also correct.

For the minority, who were meritorious personal disciples, Shankara revealed the entire truth through the prayers that He composed, while His commentary was for the masses. The word Parabrahman was introduced by Shankara Himself. He stated that this is not a word because it means ‘God beyond Brahman’ [a word or term is that which defines the object that it stands for]. It does not say what God is. It says that God is beyond Brahman (soul). Since this word cannot reveal any positive nature of the object, it cannot be a word at all. You must know the object by hearing a word. Therefore, God is beyond words and can be indicated by silence alone (Maunamvyakhya Prakatita Parabrahma tattvam—Shankara). Keeping Himself in the place of a fully realized soul He stated that He is in the Lord but the Lord is not in Him like a wave in the ocean and the ocean is not in wave (Satyapi Bhedapagame—Shankara). In fact, God was in Him but He stated this keeping Himself in the place of a fully realized Advaita scholar.

You cannot blame Shankara for not making His commentary like the Gita; open to all levels. The Gita was only for Arjuna who was a merit student and could grasp the knowledge from LKG [kindergarten] to PG level [postgraduate]. The situation of Shankara was quite different. All the students were below LKG standard. He has to teach the LKG class alone all through His commentary, which explains only about self-achievement. All His commentary is only an elaboration of the second chapter of the Gita and is only the knowledge of the self and not the knowledge of the Super Self. Only one or two exceptional students were there and He preached the graduate level and PG level to that minority only, on a personal basis through small prayers and small miracles, like swallowing molten lead etc. As time passed, the students gradually progressed to the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Thus, after Shankara gradually Ramanuja and Madhva came. In fact the same Shankara, who preached jnana yoga of the self at the school level came as a college lecturer in the form of Ramanuja and preached the jnana yoga of the Super Self [God] and the bhakti yoga of Super Self and again the same Shankara came as the postgraduate professor in the form of Madhva and preached karma yoga which is the service to the Lord. Thus, if you sum up all the three commentaries of the three preachers, the total syllabus of the Gita results. Thus, the three commentaries are not simultaneous angles of the same subject. They are three stages in sequence which are gradually built up. Each commentary stresses on the corresponding step throughout the Gita while nominally recognizing the other two steps. Shankara stressed on the achievement of self throughout His commentary of the Gita while mentioning the other steps nominally. Ramanuja emphasized on the recognition of the Lord and the love for the Lord through out His commentary of the Gita while acknowledging the other steps. Madhva emphasized on karma yoga of the soul as a servant while accepting the other steps.

A school teacher gives stress on the school syllabus but refers to the college and the university. Similarly, the college lecturer refers to the knowledge of the school and the university but gives more stress only on the undergraduate level. Similarly, the university professor. If you understand the Gita as an above average student like Arjuna, read the Gita without any commentary. But if you are a below average student, read the Gita with the commentary of Shankara. With that, become an average student and read the Gita with the commentary of Ramunaja. Finally, you can read the Gita with the commentary of Madhva as an above average student. Since the knowledge of self is inferior to the knowledge of the Lord, the former is called as Sankhya Yoga and the latter alone was called as the real jnana yoga. Kapila the founder of Sankhya Yoga also stressed on the self and did not speak about God. Therefore, people misunderstood Him as an atheist. Similar is the case of Buddha. Similarly, Jiddu Krishna Murthy emphasized on this basic step, keeping silent about God and that does not mean that he was an atheist. Some blind followers of Ramanuja even criticized Shankara as an atheist. People called Shankara as a Buddhist in disguise. When you want to lift a person who has fallen in a pond of mud, he will also be covered by mud since you have to jump to his level into the pond.

On the topic of the self and Super Self, Shankara was a basic school teacher and Ramanuja and Madhva were the lecturer and the professor respectively. But when the topic of the creation comes, Shankara acted as the Lord from His own angle by stating that the creation is very negligible and almost nil [mithya; unreal]. In this topic Ramanuja and Madhva spoke like souls. The creation is negligible to God but the human being is negligible before the creation. A soul can explain well about the view of the soul. In fact, Ramanuja and Madhva were liberated souls and were devotees of the Lord (Sesha and Vayu). The same Lord spoke through those liberated souls also, but exposed their names only, because the angle of a soul should be explained by the mouth of a soul alone. In that way the same God gave the knowledge through the bodies of all the three Acharyas. The body of Shankara was created by the Lord Himself for His entry. The bodies of Ramanuja and Madhva were the bodies of liberated souls used by the same God. It makes no difference as regards the contents of your speech, whether you speak sitting in your house or sitting in your friend’s house. When God entered the bodies of Ramanuja and Madhva, they were also treated as human incarnations. Similarly, the place of Balarama (human incarnation Adishesha, the closest devotee of God) in the ten incarnations of Lord is to be realized. This shows that a devotee can also become the human incarnation.

Who is Sat-Chit-Ananda: God or Soul?

The soul in the essential form as energy also exists as ‘Sat’ [existent; reality]. Even from the angle of God the creation is only negligible and not completely unreal or nonexistent. The existence becomes negligible only in the sense of its power. If something is very weak, you can neglect its existence but it does not mean that it is completely absent. God is Sat and He is not negligible because He is most powerful. Therefore, you cannot differentiate between God and the soul from the point of existence [Sat]. The prominence of the power gives the degree of existence as explained in the seven-fold theory of Jainism. If the soul (creation) did not exist, there is no entertainment to God.

The soul is Chit [of the nature of awareness; sentient], which means pure awareness. No objection. The power of God is also Chit but again there is a difference in this aspect also. The Chit of God is independent of the existence of a nervous system. The Chit of the soul depends on the functioning of the nervous system and the existence of energy. Awareness is defined as that specific form of energy pertaining to a special part of brain that functions only in the waking state and dream state. In the state of deep sleep, another part of the brain may send electrical pulses so that the heart, lungs etc., may work but such form of energy is only the inert electrical power which is the same inert electricity by which the machines in a factory work continuously. Such electrical energy is in no way different than the heat energy that is present in the body even during deep sleep.

Ananda is continuous and intensive happiness and therefore it has a limited boundary, because when the misery appears Ananda runs away as we see in practical experience. Therefore, Ananda is only a limited item (Kosha). Ananda is actually the characteristic of Chit and is not independent. Even Chit does not exist independently without a nervous system and therefore Ananda has the same fate of Chit. The Ananda referred to in Vedic hymn “Shrotriyasya…” refers only to the soul. The power of the Lord (Cosmic energy) also has infinite bliss and is not a limited item. Similarly the awareness of that power is also infinite (Sarvajna) and does not require a nervous system. But the Ananda of a soul requires a nervous system because this Ananda is the property of Chit. Therefore, there is no objection to call the soul as Sat-Chit-Ananda.

But if you come to God, you cannot realize His nature positively in any way. You can only realize the existence of the unimaginable God through His unimaginable power exhibited through a human incarnation. You should not say that the power of God (Cosmic power) is independent and itself is God. Any power must have a source or substratum. Such source is God (Brahma Puchcham Pratishtha—Veda). The scientist feels that this power itself is independent and ultimate. The devotees of Shakti also believe this concept. The Advaita scholar is in no way better than these people because he believes that the awareness form of energy is the ultimate God. Sages have eliminated every item of creation as not God (Neti Neti) and this does not mean that God does not exist. A proof for the existence of God is given by the human incarnation exhibiting unimaginable power, knowledge and miracles. Such power is based on the human incarnation, which is practically seen. Therefore, the existence of the source of the power is thus proved. You cannot see the existence of such powers without the individual, who may be the human form of the Lord or may even be a demon.

You should not try to separate Atman and Chit. If Chit is awareness, what is Atman? Awareness and inertness are the only two types of items seen in creation. If Atman is not inert and is also not awareness (Chit), then Atman is unimaginable and that is what we call as God or Parabrahman. When the same object is realized, what is there in prescribing any name for it?

Which is the Causal Body: Ignorance or the Soul?

If you say that avidya (ignorance) is the causal body, it is to be carefully analyzed. Causal body means that which is the cause. Ignorance has two factors with which it is related:

  1. Whose ignorance?
  2. The ignorance of which knowledge?

Suppose I say that I am ignorant of physics. This ignorance belongs to Me and this ignorance is regarding the subject, physics only. Therefore, if you take Avidya as the ignorance of the soul and the ignorance is regarding the point that you are the pure awareness (soul). In that case such ignorance cannot be the cause of this universe. When you forget yourself, such ignorance creates a dream but not the universe or even an atom in the universe. Therefore, such ignorance relates only to the soul and is regarding the subject of the soul only. In such case Avidya is certainly the causal body of the dream. In such a case, the soul is certainly beyond the causal body or avidya because the soul is able to destroy the ignorance and attain itself in the case of a scholar.

I have no objection even if you say that the soul is the possessor (Sharirin) and not the possessed body (Shariram). The gross body disintegrates when the soul leaves it. The soul is able to make all the qualities subside and therefore the subtle body also cannot exist without the soul as waves cannot exist without water. If the soul does not exist, there is no point in the existence of its avidya. Therefore, soul is the ultimate possessor of all these three bodies. This angle was stressed by Shankara because His students could believe only upto the existence of the soul and not in the existence of the Super Soul or the Lord.

But when you go to the higher concept, you can understand that the soul can also be a body possessed by the Lord when He enters it. Even otherwise, a soul is maintained and controlled by the Lord alone. The Veda says that God is the controller of all souls (Atmeshwaram). If you analyze carefully, the gross body is diseased against the will of the soul. If a vital organ of the gross body is damaged, the soul cannot control it. The Veda says that the Super Soul controls even the sun. Under the severely hot sun, the soul runs away from the gross body, when death occurs due to sunstroke. The Brahma Sutra says that it is against experience and logic to say that the soul is the Lord (Anupapattestu Na Shaarirah). The table appears to be the support of an object placed on it but the table is supported by the floor. Therefore, the floor supports both the table and the object. Thus, the Lord is the only Possessor or Controller of all the bodies including the soul. Now from this angle, the soul is also a body and you can call it as the fourth body. The soul can be called as the causal body because originally the Mula Maya (Pure awareness), out of which the soul is made up, is the cause for this universe. If you neglect the dream, the avidya cannot be a causal body. But the universe cannot be neglected. Since the Mula Maya (Ocean of pure awareness) is the cause of this creation, a drop of it, which is the soul, can be considered as the cause of the universe qualitatively, though not quantitatively.

When this Mula Maya charged by God forgets itself, this universe, a dream at that macro-level, is created. The ignorance is only for the awareness (Mula Maya or Soul) and not for God. Thus avidya at that level is the cause for the creation. But avidya itself cannot create the universe. The universe is only a form of energy. Therefore, the soul integrated with avidya or the Mula Maya integrated with avidya can alone create the dream or the universe respectively. Thus, avidya is an integrated quality of Mula Maya in causing the creation or a dream. But Avidya alone cannot exist without Mula Maya or the soul. Mula Maya or the soul can exist without the avidya in the state of realization. Therefore, avidya can be treated as a quality that exists or that can be removed by realization and thus avidya comes under the item of subtle body only. Moha [delusion], one of the six qualities of a Jeeva, is nothing but ignorance (Avidya). Thus, you need not give a special place for avidya in the higher concept where a soul is not the final item. But when the soul is assumed as the final item while teaching a particular level of students, in order to count the three bodies, the place of a soul can be given to avidya because avidya is a secondary cause for the dream or universe. In that way it can be treated as causal body. By this way, Shankara showed the places of three bodies and kept the soul at the top position for the case of purva mimamsakas and declared the soul as God so that the believers of the soul may logically believe in the existence of God. Although such belief is not perfect, at least the concept of God is introduced for the further journey. You will understand the greatness of Shankara because He has to keep the most ignorant child in the school. It is very difficult to bring a child to the line of knowledge. It is easy to develop a college student and it is easier to develop a postgraduate student. Shankara laid the foundation for spiritual knowledge, which is the most important basis for the castle of spiritual knowledge.

Unreal Creation

Shankara spoke about the creation [as unreal; mithya] from the angle of God and the Buddhists were happy by misunderstanding that as their angle. Shankara said that the world is mithya, which means almost unreal from the angle of God. Buddhists were very happy because they say that everything is unreal from their own angle because there is no question of the angle of God to them. For such extreme people if you say that the world is real from the angle of the soul, it becomes very difficult to transform them. With great difficulty, they accepted the existence of the soul. In such a situation, something is better than nothing. Instead of everything being unreal, let at least the soul be real. This is the reason why Shankara kept silent about a clear analysis of the angle at that time. When the soul alone exists and there is no other item, naturally it must be the greatest and can be called as Brahman. But for Purva Mimamsakas the world exists and Shankara did not want to tell them that the world is actually unreal as the Buddhists believe because they will not accept it. They were fond of heaven in which luxuries can be enjoyed. If the world is unreal, the luxuries will also become unreal. Therefore, to satisfy both these extremists, Shankara said that the world is neither real nor unreal. It is actually real but being very weak before God, it is negligible and almost unreal from the angle of God. Thus, again He spoke from the angle of God and the students took it as the concept from their angle because none of the student accepted God. For the Purva Mimamsaka the world, which is an object of enjoyment and the soul, which is the enjoyer, are real. Therefore, their next step is only to accept God. But they will not accept God beyond the soul or the world under any circumstances. Therefore, Shankara said that the soul is Brahman and the statement was correct from the angle of the Yoga meaning of Brahman. But people have taken Brahman as a word of Yoga Rudha and fixed it to mean God already. Therefore, they misunderstood that the soul is God.

Do not say that Shankara cheated the students. No. Never. He made those atheists at least utter the word ‘God’ by their mouths; at least by saying that a soul is God. For such people, who are attracted by pleasures of senses, this concept pacified their egoism. In course of time some of them having accepted the existence of God, started thinking about the real nature of God. They started studying the scriptures and slowly realized that God exists beyond the souls. At this level, the Lord came as Ramanuja and helped them in transforming into believers and devotees of God. Slowly they started thinking about the path to please the God. The Lord came as Madhva and showed Hanuman as an example. If you look at Hanuman the final concept is realized. If you walk on the foot prints of Hanuman, you will reach Brahma Loka and become God Himself. The final essence is exhibited by Hanuman. He recognized the human incarnation of His time. He did the service of Lord in His work blindly without analyzing it as a personal work of Shri Rama or social work. According to the Ramayana He never chanted the name of Rama. He never sat in meditation on Rama. He never said that He is God, even after studying all the Vedas and shastras directly from the Sun-god. He attained super powers but never attached any importance to such powers. He did not believe in Ravana as God simply by his super powers. In fact, He himself had more super powers than Ravana. He maintained good physical health by practicing Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama. He maintained good mental health by Pratyahara by detaching Himself from all the bonds of the world. He developed a bond with the Lord in human form (Dharana) and maintained it (Dhyana) and was immersed in it (Samadhi). This bond was expressed in terms of service and not in terms of mere words and feelings as in the case of a poet or prostitute. Without service, the love expressed in words, mind and intelligence, is like offering water without meals. If water is associated with a plate of meals then the service is complete through Trikaranas (Mind, words and action).

Acceptance of Intermediate Steps

I never rejected the Yoga preached by Patanjali. I only rejected the funny concept of Kundalini and the Chakras in its apparent sense since they are not mentioned in any scripture. If you realize what they represent, it is good. The yoga gives perfect health of body and mind and is the basis for the whole spiritual path. Prayers and meditation with service, without aspiring for anything in return is accepted. I only criticized prayer and meditation without service and aspiring for the fruits of such theoretical approach. I always emphasized the knowledge of the scriptures and continuous logical analysis because the decisions become correct and firm by such buddhi yoga. It is the torch light that should be present in your hand in the ‘switched on’ condition till you reach the goal. But without service there is no need of switching on the torch always and simply wasting the energy of the battery. We should not waste energy without using it practically.

I have appreciated idol worship as a training of service to the human form of the Lord when egoism and jealousy are not completely conquered. I only criticized the life long training without ever joining the real job, in which the knowledge gained by the training is to be practically used. I have accepted all the concepts of tradition but plucked them out from the wrong places and reinstalled them in the correct path. Then only do they grow with vigor like paddy plants after transplantation and yield the final crop. This is only restructuring or revitalizing of the entire spiritual system. All these aspects were introduced by Me alone through the previous incarnations. I will not condemn My own introductions. I am only placing them in proper positions, which were disturbed by ignorant and mischievous people.

I even support the concept of calling the partial knowledge itself as the final word at every level, because that was essential in spiritual knowledge, which is subjective. In fact, I Myself said that previously and if I criticize that, I would only be criticizing Myself. One must again and again realize that whatever the knowledge is spoken now, it is directly from the Lord Dattatreya existing in Me. The word ‘I’ refers to Him and not to Me, the soul, who is the owner of these external gross and internal subtle bodies. If a speaker speaks something sitting in his friend’s house, you cannot say that the speech is given by his friend, who is the owner of the house. Unless this misunderstanding is clarified at every stage, all the spiritual knowledge becomes a waste like perfume poured in ash.

God told the Gita similarly through Krishna. Therefore, throughout the Gita you will find the words “God spoke …” (Shri Bhagavan Uvacha) and not “Krishna spoke …” (Krishna Uvacha). When Arjuna asked Krishna to repeat the Gita, Krishna said that it was not possible. When Arjuna forced Krishna, Krishna told him the Anu Gita, which is not at all famous because it was not from God.

Difference between Krishna and Arjuna

The concept of human incarnation and the concept of a human being can be compared. When God enters a human being, it is the human incarnation. The word Parabrahman is Yoga Rudha and is fixed in God alone. The subtle body in a human being is called Jeeva in which the qualities are integrated with the pure awareness. In deep sleep, since the pure awareness is in its original form of inert energy, Jeeva exists in his eternal form. Therefore, you need not make any essential difference regarding Jeeva in deep sleep and other states. Similarly, the soul which is pure awareness exists in its essential eternal form of inert energy in deep sleep. Similarly, in the case of Jeeva too you need not make any difference in the soul between deep sleep and other states. In fact, the soul is in the Jeeva as water exists in waves.

Krishna is the human incarnation and Arjuna is the human being. The common item in both is the human body which consists of the gross, subtle (Jeeva) and causal (Atman or soul) bodies. God is the extra item in Krishna. If God exits from Krishna, Krishna is just equal to Arjuna. If the electric current leaves the electric wire, the wire is just an ordinary wire. In Krishna, the soul can be called as Brahman and the Jeeva can be called as Ishwara. The gross bodies of Arjuna and Krishna have the same name except that the gross body of Krishna can be treated as a divine body since God pervaded all the three bodies of Krishna. You can experience God from the gross body of Krishna. There is homogeneity in all the three bodies. The gross body is made of matter and inert energy (fire and space). Matter is the solid earth, liquid water and gas-air. Thus, the gross body is made of five elements. The subtle body consists of qualities which are work forms of energy. The soul is made of pure energy. The pure energy is also active and work form. Thus awareness, which itself is a special work form of energy can be treated as energy or even a special work form of energy. Thus there is no basic difference between energy (Shakti) and quality (Guna).

Similarly, there is no essential difference between matter and energy. These three bodies are made of the same single essential item which can be called as energy, which is indicated by the word tejas in the Veda (Tat Tejo’srujata) and the entire creation is only this one homogeneous item. The subdivisions of this Tejas are the five elements, qualities, inert energy, awareness etc. The subdivisions are made only for the sake of convenience and therefore we use separate terms like Atman, Jeeva etc. The soul in Krishna is charged by God and is Brahman. The soul in Arjuna, which is without God, is Atman. Similarly, the subtle body charged by God in Krishna is Ishwara. The subtle body in Arjuna, which is without God, is Jeeva. You can compare Brahman and Atman. The energy beyond the qualities is the common item, in both Krishna and Arjuna. Thus, the common item is not internal but only external. Similarly, when you compare Ishwara and Jeeva the external item (qualities) is common and not the internal item. When you say that the awareness (chaitanyam or chit) is the common item between Brahman, Ishwara, Atman and Jeeva, we have not gone to the deepest internal level. You are taking the common item i.e., present in the external cover of these four entities.

Finding the Common Factor

Suppose there are four metallic wires which are made of gold, silver, aluminum and iron. Suppose electric current is flowing only in the gold and silver wires. The common item in all the four metallic wires is not the current. Here let us take the gold as Brahman, silver as Ishwara, aluminum as Atman and iron as Jeeva. Electric current is the Parabrahman or God. God is only present in the soul and Jeeva of Krishna. God is not there in the soul and Jeeva of Arjuna. Now you say that if all the four wires are taken away [removing the external differences or limiting constraints], the current remains as the common item. But that is not correct.

Forget the current for sometime and assume that the current is taken away from golden and silver wires. For this, you can take Parashurama as an example instead of Krishna. God left Parashurama after the massacre of kings. Now there is no difference between Arjuna and Parashurama. Once God left Parashurama, you cannot call his soul and Jeeva as Brahman and Ishwara respectively although it was true earlier. But still you can use these two words for the soul and Jeeva in any human being if you take these two words in Yoga but not in Yoga Rudha. In this way you can call any soul as Brahman (because the soul is the greatest item) and you can call any Jeeva as Ishwara (because any Jeeva can control mater in limited situations and the controller is called as Ishwara in that particular situation).

Now in this context the difference between the four items disappears and the four items are reduced to only two items i.e., Brahman or soul and Ishwara or Jeeva. Now Brahman is Atman and Ishwara is Jeeva. But remember that the current is taken away and the current is not the common item between these two entities. Now if you go back to compare Krishna with Arjuna, Brahman of Krishna is the electric golden wire which is different from Atman which is the non-electric aluminum wire of Arjuna. Similarly, Ishwara of Krishna is the electric silver wire and the Jeeva of Arjuna is the non-electric iron wire. Now current cannot be the common item between Brahman and Atman or Ishwara and Jeeva. Current can be the common item only between Brahman and Ishwara. Therefore, you cannot find the common item in the deepest level of analysis between Brahman and Atman or between Ishwara and Jeeva. If Shankara were to reveal this, His students would not be satisfied because that day Arjuna [the soul; students of Shankara] wanted to claim himself as Krishna [God] by finding some common item. If the common item is identified, he can reject the differentiating item and limit himself to the common item and also limit Krishna to that common item and finally say that he is Krishna. Unless his ego is satisfied he will not sit before Shankara to hear anything more. Retaining him is the important point in that situation. Therefore, Shankara kept silent about the current.

Instead Shankara goes only to a relatively deeper level and finds out a common item. The common item is the energy in all the four wires. The four wires are different metals and the difference is only in the state of matter. Since energy is condensed to become matter, we can say that energy is the common item between the four wires. We may go one step further and say since electric current is a form of energy, the current is the common item. Therefore, energy or current (chaitanyam or God) is the common item. Therefore, Shankara said that in Arjuna, Atman is God (Brahman) and the Jeeva is God (Ishwara). The difference between Brahman and Ishwara is again just ephemeral because water without waves is Brahman and the same water present in the waves as the same component is Ishwara. Thus, if the common chaitanyam or energy is called as God, the ego of the student is pacified and he sits for some more time to hear the preaching. Tricks are necessary and are not wrong if the final aim is good.

The common item which is extracted by such analysis is only an item of creation and not the creator. If we analyze this in the deepest level we should assume that current is not a form of energy. God, who is equated to current in this example, is actually unimaginable and all the other items are imaginable. Therefore, the simile is limited only to the aspect of comparison and should not be extended to all the aspects. When someone’s face is compared to the moon in the aspect of pleasantness, there is no comparison in other aspects like eclipse etc. Similarly, God is compared to electric current in only one aspect, that it is an item that is completely separate from the wires. The concept that current is a form of energy should not be taken here. In that case, there will be no example in the entire creation to describe the Creator because God (Creator) is unimaginable and all the items of creation are imaginable.

This defect of creation brings a serious complication in the spiritual knowledge. Another serious complication is that whether the word is used in Yoga or Yoga Rudha. For example, a business firm can have any name, but some firms have registered their names and such names cannot be used by other firms. When the name gives the sense of businesses of the firm, it is Yoga. When the name giving the sense of the businesses is registered, it is Yoga Rudha. Suppose the name does not give the sense of the businesses but still it is registered for that firm only, it is simply Rudha [not Yoga]. The fourth type of word is Yougika Rudha, which is a special registration of the word in the Veda only. In this spiritual knowledge we are concerned only with Yoga and Yoga Rudha. The word Parabrahman is Yoga Rudha and cannot be used for any other item because except for God, no other item is unimaginable. But the word Brahman is disputable. Sometimes it is in Yoga and sometimes it is in Yoga Rudha. This means that sometimes the registration is valid and some times the registration is not valid. When the registration is valid, Brahman stands for the Mula Maya (ocean of energy) charged by God or the soul (drop of ocean of energy) charged by God. If the registration is not valid the word Brahman can be used for any item which is the greatest in its category like the soul, the Veda etc. The soul is the greatest among all the items of the creation in a particular angle i.e., the aspect of knowledge. The Veda is greatest among all the scriptures because pollution is absent, since it was protected by recitation.

Avidya is Immaterial

Avidya (ignorance) cannot be the material of anything. Ignorance is the absence of everything or absence of something. In the case of a layman all the knowledge is absent and thus it is full ignorance. A person who knows Sanskrit may not have the knowledge of English and in this case only the ignorance of English exists, which is partial ignorance. A person who is ignorant of all languages has full ignorance. Both these people cannot speak English. In the case of the Sanskrit scholar, he can speak Sanskrit but not English. In the second case he cannot speak anything. Therefore, the speech is made of the knowledge of some language and not is made of the ignorance of any language. When you are imagining your imaginary world is made of your mental power. If you also forget yourself and sit alone, your imaginary world is absent. The cinema is made of power. If you sit with total ignorance, neither the imagination nor the cinema is created. This world is made of matter and energy. Thus, matter and energy are the material cause of this universe. The electricity associated with the film is the material cause of the cinema and thus energy and matter are involved here also. The mind is also energy and thus energy is the material cause of your imagination. Since matter is energy, you can say that energy is the material cause of the creation of this universe or your imagination. Ignorance is the absence of everything and cannot be the material cause of anything. Matter, energy or mind are positive entities and can be the cause of the creation. Ignorance is a negative entity and cannot be the cause of anything. In such a case how can you say that the causal body is made of avidya (ignorance)? When avidya is a negative item, the causal body is a negative item, which means the causal body is absent.

Ignorance can be the cause of entertainment. When you forget yourself, you can fully enjoy the cinema or your imaginary world. Thus, ignorance exists and can be the cause of entertainment. From this point of view, Shankara gave a third place to ignorance as a causal body. But remember that ignorance cannot be the material cause. The soul (Atman) is awareness or work or energy and thus the soul alone is the material cause of the imagination. Thus the soul is the main or primary causal body (Maha Karana Shariram). The Mula Maya is the same awareness and is the main cause of this universe. At the level of this human body the soul is the main cause and at the level of the universe the Mula Maya is the main cause. God or Parabrahman is beyond the soul or Mula Maya at both these levels. We can simply say that God is beyond awareness. Awareness is different from ignorance because awareness is a positive item and ignorance is a negative item. Therefore, the soul is beyond avidya (ignorance) as per Shankara. There is a difference between Maya and avidya. Maya is a positive item, which is awareness or energy and is the material cause of this universe. The letter ‘a’ in avidya means the negative aspect and this letter is not there in the word Maya. Maya means a wonderful positive entity. The soul is a drop of the infinite Maya.

When the drop is positive, the ocean must be positive. When God or Parabrahman enters the Mula Maya, God is called as Brahman. But Mula Maya itself is Brahman, which is the greatest item in the universe. Thus, the word Brahman denotes the Mula Maya with or without God. Here comes the confusion. In the Brahma Sutras, the first Brahma Sutra refers to the word Brahman, which means the Mula Maya pervaded by God. In the Gita the same word Brahman denotes the Mula Maya without God (Mama Yonih Mahat Brahma…). The word Parabrahman is separately used in the Gita (Anadimat Param Brahma…). In the Brahma Sutras there is no reference to this word Parabrahman. Sage Vyasa is the author of both these scriptures. In the Brahma Sutras the ultimate is indicated as the Saguna Brahman, which means God pervading the awareness. Therefore, the last Sutra also ends with reference to this Saguna Brahman. The imagination of a human being cannot cross the Saguna Brahman. Brahma Sutras are meant for human beings.

Entertainment and Involvement

In the Gita, the Lord preached the knowledge not only with reference to Arjuna but also with reference to Himself [from the point of view of God]. When He spoke with reference to Himself, He introduced the word God or Parabrahman (Nirguna Brahman) also. All the Acharyas have also preached only with reference to the limits of human intelligence. Therefore, they stopped at the final point of the creation which is awareness (energy). They have shown awareness in which God exists, as Brahman. Such Brahman is the cause of this universe and is called as Ishwara. There is no difference between Brahman and Ishwara except one small negligible point. In the state of Brahman, the awareness contains the creation in condensed state (Avyaktam). The cinema is in the film. The producer is simply associated with the film and is not seeing the cinema because the film is not expressed or exhibited. The same producer seeing the cinema projected on the screen is Ishwara. Brahman or Ishwara do not have any trace of ignorance in the real sense. The ignorance is only imposed or apparent. God only gets apparent entertainment through Brahman or Ishwara. In the state of Brahman the entertainment is only that He has the whole cinema in His store. In the state of Ishwara He sees the cinema and gets some entertainment.

(To be Continued...)

 
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