Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 10 Nov 2020


Chidaatmaa and Chidaabhaasa - Part-1 of 4

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[This is a long discourse, meant for readers interested in an elaborate logical analysis. It is related to an apparent limitation of Shri Datta Swami’s refutation of the currently-understood Advaita theory. In the section titled ‘The Advaitin’s Perspective’, Dr. Nikhil claims, on behalf of Advaitins that Swami, while refuting the currently-understood Advaita in His previous writings, has not taken into account the exact position of Advaitins on the relation between God and the soul. In the section ‘Introductory Points’, Swami begins with certain introductory points that are necessary to understand His detailed refutation. The section ‘Refutation of Misconceived Advaita’ consisting of 42 points is the actual detailed refutation of the currently-understood Advaita theory. In it, Swami addresses all the new objections raised by Dr. Nikhil. Finally, Swami concludes with 15 concluding points in the ‘Conclusions’ section, wherein it is evident that Swami’s refutation of the currently-understood Advaita and overall His philosophy prevail. ]

The Advaitin’s Perspective

[Nikhil said: Pādanamaskārams Swāmiji! You have refuted the presently-understood Advaita theory assuming that, as per Advaita, the awareness produced from food is treated to be Brahman (God). However, Advaitins say that they have never claimed that the awareness produced from the nervous system, due to the energy obtained from food is Brahman. They say that the nervous awareness is only a reflection of the Brahman. They say that the Brahman is the original awareness (pure consciousness), which is independent and absolute.

Swami Vidyāraṇya’s Pañcadaśī is an authoritative Advaita Vedanta text that explains this difference between the original independent awareness (Cit-Brahman) and the reflected awareness (cidābhāsa) in Chapter 7. This theory of reflection (Pratibimba Vāda) was developed by the Vivaraṇa school of philosophy and became popular after Śrī Śaṅkara. But Śrī Śaṅkara’s Brahma Sūtra bhāṣya (Ābhāsa eva ca. 2.3.50) also includes this concept. Similarly, the other popular theory of limitation or upādhi, which also was developed later by the Bhāmatī school, is also seen in Śrī Śaṅkara’s commentary. These theories of reflection (pratibimba) and limitation (upādhi), help us understand that the individual soul is not directly the highest Ātman or Brahman, but it is not different from it either, in a fundamental sense. It is seen to be different on account of the different upādhis (individual body-mind complexes). Alternatively, the awareness of the various jīvas can be considered to be reflections of the Ātman. Given below is a general outline of the Advaita philosophy, with a focus on Chapter 7 of the Pañcadaśī.

The nature of Brahman, as per Advaita, is Sat-Cit-Ānanda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). Sat means that Brahman is the absolute and eternal existence that remains unchanged in the three periods of time, namely past, present and future (trikāla abādhitaṃ satyam). Cit means that Brahman is of the nature of pure consciousness. Brahman is the independent awareness (svayaṃ prakāśaḥ; svataḥ siddhaḥ, svayaṃ bhāti), which does not depend on matter, energy or a nervous system. Declaring that Brahman is of the nature of pure consciousness is not in contradiction with the Vedic statements that say that Brahman is unknowable. Cit is the universal independent knower (subject). All things (objects) are known due to It (Anubhāti sarvam; Manaso mano yat—Veda). All objects and creation itself are derived from Cit, so no item within creation, including the mind or the intellect, can know Cit, which is the subject. Ānanda means that Brahman is unrestricted, eternal bliss. Ānanda is not different from Ananta, which means limitless, since wherever there is any limitation or bondage, there cannot be complete bliss.

In this context, the nature of Brahman or Ātman as independent pure consciousness (Cit) is of specific relevance (Cit-svarūpaḥ Ātmā). So, it can be called Cidātmā. It is also said to be the Kūṭastha since it is the highest and unchanging and Asaṅga since it is unassociated with all qualities. It is the source of the five elements starting with space and of the whole of creation (Ātmanaḥ ākāśaḥ saṃbhūtaḥ…). All of creation is only an unreal superimposition upon the Ātman (Brahman), which is the substratum. The world is not totally non-existent (asat). It is an unreal illusion that is based on the real substratum, which is Brahman. So, creation is not called non-existent (asat), but unreal (mithyā). Brahman, being the independent substratum, is said to shine independently (bhāti) and illuminate everything in creation, while everyone and everything in creation only reflects (anubhāti) Its light.

Within this creation, there are living beings including human beings. They too have awareness, but it is a dependent awareness, requiring energy and a material nervous system. This awareness is not the original Cit (Brahman), which is the source-awareness. The awareness of living beings is said to be cidābhāsa or reflected awareness, which only has a (superimposed) existence in the Vyavahāra Sattā or the plane of transactional reality (creation). In the plane of the absolute reality (Paramārtha Sattā), which is the state before creation, cidābhāsa has no existence. So, it is unreal.

The individual is called the jīva or the puruṣa (Annāt puruṣaḥ) and is a composite of two items namely the Kūṭastha (Cidātmā), which is the substratum and the cidābhāsa, which is an illusion. Thus, the cidābhāsa is a mutual superimposition (Anyonya adhyāsa). The jīva cannot be the cidābhāsa alone, since the cidābhāsa is an illusion and an illusion requires the existence of a substratum. An example is that a person’s image (cidābhāsa) in a mirror cannot exist without the person (Cidātmā). Creation or an individual within creation can never exist, even for a second, without Brahman. This is a very important concept because it forms the basis of the identity between God and the individual. If the individual were only cidābhāsa, there would be no possibility of any identity between the individual and God. But, in that case, cidābhāsa would have had an independent existence. That would lead to two independent absolute existences, namely (1) creation of which the cidābhāsa is a part, and (2) Brahman. So, it is important to accept that the jīva or the individual is a composite of the real Brahman and the unreal cidābhāsa. That is why, in an absolute sense—when the unreal cidābhāsa is removed—the jīva is found to be non-different from Brahman (Jīvo brahmaiva nā'parāḥ). In the transactional plane (Vyavahāra Sattā), the differences between one jīva and another jīva, jīva and creation and jīva and Īśvara remain. The jīva, therefore, remains under the control of Īśvara’s Māyā (cosmic illusion) and can get liberated only by the wish of Īśvara (Īśvarānugrahādeva…—Avadhūta Gītā).

The ordinary person is an ignorant individual (ajñānī). He feels that he is the body-mind complex (dehātma buddhi). He feels he is the doer (kartā) of actions and the enjoyer (bhoktā) of results. He is a jīva, which means, his ‘I’ or self-identity consists of the mixture of Kūṭastha along with the cidābhāsa. The self-realized person or the jñānī has discrimination (viveka). He can discriminate between the Kūṭastha and the cidābhāsa. In mundane transactions in the world, he knowingly treats his self-identity to be the same jīva. But in his deeper understanding, he knows that, cida'bhāsa being unreal, his true identity is only the Kūṭastha. He realizes his true identity with the Brahman (Ahaṃ Brahmā'smi).

There are seven stages of ignorance and realization. They can also be understood to be the stages of bondage and liberation. The first three stages describe how souls have got into the present state of bondage (bandha), while the last four describe how one comes out of the bondage and attains liberation (mokṣa). These seven stages are listed below:

  1. Ajñāna: Cidā'bhāsa, due to its involvement with saṃsāra, forgets its self-identity as the Kūṭastha Cidātmā.
  2. Āvaraṇa: Cidā'bhāsa thinks that Cidātmā does not exist (asat-āvaraṇa) or that It cannot be experienced (abhāna-āvaraṇa).
  3. Vikṣepa: Cidā'bhāsa thinks that it is the kartā (doer) and bhoktā (enjoyer).
  4. Parokṣa jñāna: The Guru preaches, “You are the Kūṭastha”; “Tattvamasi”. It is only indirect knowledge. But it leads to the removal of the ‘asat-āvaraṇa, which is the feeling that there is no Brahman.
  5. Aparokṣa jñāna: Later, by reflecting and meditating on the Guru’s preaching, the cidābhāsa gets direct knowledge of the Kūṭastha. It leads to the removal of ‘abhāna-āvaraṇa or the feeling that the Brahman is not experienced.
  6. Śoka nivṛtti: The result of the above is that all miseries, which were due to the assumed doership (kartṛtva) and enjoyership (bhoktṛtva) vanish.
  7. Tṛpti: Complete satisfaction is attained and all desires to accomplish, acquire or enjoy cease. This unrestricted, everlasting satisfaction itself is ānanda. The one having such satisfaction is a jñānī.

With reference to the above outline of Advaita Vedanta, based on the 7th Chapter of the Pañcadaśī, I request You to kindly clarify Your refutation of Advaita, specifically on this issue of individual awareness being a reflection of Brahman. Your servant. Nikhil].

Introductory Points

Swāmi replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! This is a deep topic that requires an elaborate analysis and discussion. In order to understand it correctly and completely, certain introductory points are necessary and they are given below:

  1. In the entire discussion, whenever the word ‘you’ is used, it refers only to the false Advaita philosophers and not to Dr. Nikhil, who has merely represented them through the above question.
  2. Śaṅkara had actually given the theory of monism (Advaita) for atheists. But unfortunately, theists adopted the theory for themselves too!
  3. The followers of the commentaries of the three divine preachers only understood how each of the commentaries was written and not why each of the commentaries was written in that way. A scientist has also made a similar remark. He said that science only explains how the earth rotates on its axis and not why the earth rotates on its axis! The reason why Śaṅkara gave the Advaita theory (monism) was that He was surrounded by atheists, whom He wanted to uplift. Through the theory of monism, He wanted to bring them to the correct path of theism and then, slowly convert them into devotees. In the initial stage, the preacher has to follow the opinion of an aggressive disciple in order to get friendly with him. Only later on can the preacher introduce the right concept to the disciple. If the right concept is introduced in the very beginning, the disciple will oppose it strongly.
  4. While explaining a concept, the actual concept should be introduced in the beginning and it should be followed by a thorough discussion to bring out the concept completely. Only then should a simile or analogy be given, either for a part of the concept or for the complete concept. The strength of the concept should not be decided merely based on the strength of the simile! For instance, in Advaita, the analogy of the rope misunderstood to be a snake in dim light is given to explain that the world is an illusory superimposition upon God. The illusory snake may disappear on the realisation of the rope. But the illusory world may not disappear at all, since the basic unimaginable God can never be seen, understood or even imagined! We must also remember that the illusion is in the mind of the person seeing the rope. The rope does not have any illusion. Similarly, God does not have any illusion!
  5. In this topic, I have also used concepts of science, along with the concepts of ancient logic (tarka śāstram). There is no basic difference between science and tarka śāstram. In both, only concepts related to items within the imaginable creation are analysed (Tarkyante padārthāḥ asmin iti tarkaḥ). In fact, science is more valid than ancient tarka because science has experimental proof, whereas, tarka only has theoretical discussions based on intellectual logic. As a result, there are some errors in the ancient tarka. For example, sound is said to be the characteristic of space (Śabdaguṇaka ākāśaḥ), in tarka. In reality, sound cannot travel in space (vacuum) alone. It appears as if it is traveling in space, but it requires a medium. It is propagated by the collisions of moving molecules of the medium like air. But these molecules of the medium and the collisions are unseen by the eyes. Due to this very reason, the big sounds of blasts occurring in outer space are not heard on earth. There is no air in outer space and so, sound from the location of the blast cannot reach earth. Air only exists for some distance around the earth. Science has also proved that awareness is generated from inert energy and is actually, just a specific form of work that is produced in a specific functioning system, which is the brain and the nervous system. This demolishes the idea that awareness is the unimaginable God.

Refutation of Misconceived Advaita

1. Advaita is true in the Incarnation

We have never said that the Advaita philosophy of Śaṅkara is wrong or that He was ignorant of the ultimate truth. We agree with the total Advaita philosophy as applied to the specific case of a Human Incarnation of God like Śaṅkara Himself. We strongly believe that Śaṅkara was an Incarnation of God Śiva. We also believe that Rāmānuja was an Incarnation of God Viṣṇu and Madhva was an Incarnation of God Brahmā. Since these three Gods are one God Datta, the three philosophies too are one and the same. They only differ due to the difference in the levels of receivers during the times, when each of them were preached by their respective preachers. In fact, the followers of Rāmānuja and Madhva say that the two preachers were only the incarnations of the servants of God called Ādi Śeṣa and Vāyu, respectively. But we say that both of them were God Himself. In that case, if the philosophy of Śaṅkara is true, does it mean that the other two philosophies are wrong?

If the philosophies of Rāmānuja and Madhva are not wrong, but are also true, then why do both differ from the philosophy of Śaṅkara? If all the three philosophies are correct, why is there such a difference between the three philosophies? Śaṅkara says that the soul is God. Rāmānuja says that the soul is a part of God. Madhva says that the soul is different from God. You are only worried about the difference between the philosophies of Datta Swāmi and Śaṅkara. But what do you say about the difference between the three divine philosophies, namely Advaita, Viśiṣṭa Advaita and Dvaita? The purpose of the philosophy of Datta Swāmi is to correlate the above three philosophies. It naturally differs from the philosophies followed by the followers of these three divine preachers. When the heart of the three divine philosophies is brought out, after eliminating the misinterpretations and misunderstandings of the followers, you will find unity among all the four philosophies.

We are only refuting the two extreme philosophical positions namely, the position that every soul is God (Brahman or Parabrahman) and the position that no soul is God. Both these extremities are like a flood and a drought. We strongly refute the idea that every soul is already God. We also strongly refute the idea that any soul can become God by its own effort (sādhanā). Any soul can become God only when God wishes to become a Human Incarnation for the purpose of bringing welfare to the world. The soul cannot ascend to become God, whereas, God can descend to become a human being called the Human Incarnation. We strongly refute the idea that any soul can become God by constantly remembering that it is God (Ahaṃ Brahmā'smi). The reason is that, if the soul becomes God in this way, the soul becoming God is possible by the soul’s own effort. We say that the soul should never have such an idea of becoming God and that it should never put forth even a trace of effort in that direction. The soul should become pure by following what God likes (justice and meritorious deeds) and avoiding what God dislikes (injustice and sinful deeds). Through spiritual knowledge and devotion to God, the soul should become deserving to serve God. God will select a servant or even more than one servant at a time for His entry to carry out the divine work of preaching true spiritual knowledge. Whenever people on earth make misinterpretations in the spiritual knowledge, they begin to follow the wrong path. To rectify the situation, God merges with such a selected servant (or servants) to become a Human Incarnation. The other servants of God also follow the Human Incarnation. They too propagate spiritual knowledge along the lines established by the Human Incarnation.

2. Different philosophies for the gradual upliftment of souls

If you try to understand the commentaries of the three divine preachers, following the interpretations of the followers alone, you will find that differences existed among the three philosophies, long before the birth of this Datta Swāmi. At present, you are finding some differences between the philosophies of Śaṅkara and Datta Swāmi. But to solve this difference between the two of us, you must first try to solve the difference between the philosophies of the three divine preachers. You should have made this attempt, even before the present attempt of trying to find a solution for resolving the difference between Śaṅkara and Datta Swāmi! You should understand one basic important point that these three divine preachers were all Sadgurus, who were trying to bring the misled people of their times to the correct path. They were not so worried about conveying to their followers the exact truths given in the scriptures. They were more worried about the upliftment of their followers. If you understand this, you will not have any problem in correlating any divine preacher with any other divine preacher.

A scholar is always worried about bringing out the exact truth of the statement of the scripture. He does not bother about the fate of the strongly misled public existing in that time. A powerful bull is running on the wrong path. You want to stop the bull immediately, but it is not possible for anybody. A clever fellow runs along with the bull, catches the bull and continues running with the bull for some time, along the same wrong path. This has a positive psychological effect. The bull feels that since the person is not opposing it, but running along with it, the person is a friend and not an enemy. Thus, the bull remains in a normal friendly mood and does not get into a violent mood against an opposer. After running along with the bull for some time, the bull is convinced that the person is its friend. Then the clever person can easily stop the bull with minimal effort (Dhāvat-vṛṣabha-nigrahaṇa-nyāya). He can not only stop the bull, but also bring it to the right path, without any trouble.

This is what happened in the time of Śaṅkara. He was fully surrounded by atheists (Buddhists and Pūrva Mīmāṃsakas), who were very rigid in their belief that no God, who is an external controller, exists. There was no other way for Śaṅkara than to follow the atheist for some time to turn him into a theist and then to further turn him into a devotee. He followed the atheist by saying that there is no external God and that the atheist himself is God. When the atheist himself is God and when it is evident that the atheist exists, naturally, it must be accepted that God exists. With this logic, the atheist became a theist. The atheist questioned Śaṅkara, why he was unable to create even a small stone, while God created this entire world. This difference in the creative ability of the soul and God is stated in the Brahma Sūtras. Then Śaṅkara replied that the theoretical knowledge of monism between God and the soul has only led to the removal of the theoretical ignorance (ajñāna āvaraṇa). The practical ignorance (ajñāna vikṣepa) still exists and as a result, the practical knowledge about monism is not obtained.

He gave the example of a person who suddenly wakes up at night after seeing a terrifying dream of a tiger chasing him. The dream was ignorance. But even after the theoretical ignorance has ended, i.e. after the person has woken up, the person continues to shiver with fear for some time. In other words, the practical ignorance lasts for some time, even after the theoretical ignorance has been removed. Śaṅkara said that in order to remove the practical ignorance, the mind should be purified of sins and God should be worshipped. This will help in achieving practical monism.

The atheist, who had recently converted to theism, now became a devotee and began to worship God. With this, the journey of Śaṅkara stopped. Next came Rāmānuja, who did not agree with the idea that the soul is already God. But He gave some intermediate relief by saying that the soul is an inseparable tiny part of God. The disciples, who were established in devotion to God by then, were able to accept Rāmānuja’s philosophy because their ego had reduced considerably. During the time of Śaṅkara, their ego was at 100%, while during the time of Rāmānuja, their ego had reduced to about 50%. Then Madhva appeared on the scene and He revealed the final picture by saying that the soul is separate from God and is a servant of God. This could be accepted by the disciples because due to their constant worship of God, their ego had reduced significantly to about 10%. Finally, with the preaching of Madhva, it further reduced to 0%. Thus, the same God Datta appeared as the three divine preachers in various times and turned the atheist into a strong devotee.

3. Soul: Illusory or Real?

You say that the individual soul or jīva is a false reflection of God whose nature is Cit. But Rāmānuja says that the jīva is a part of the original God. How to correlate these two basic concepts? We also agree that this world is a relative reality, which is illusory in nature. Otherwise, if the world is assumed to be another absolute reality like God, the miraculous actions of God like the creation, control and destruction of the world cannot be explained. However, we clarify that the illusion is not just an unreal illusion for God. Even though it is illusory in the sense that God created it miraculously and that He controls it completely with His unimaginable power, it also simultaneously appears as clear (real) as an absolutely real reality, in order to provide full entertainment to God. This apparent reality of creation, in spite of its basic unreality with respect to God, is possible due to God’s unimaginable power called māyā.

Advaitins claim that the soul is essentially God (Brahman) who has forgotten His true nature. Even if it is accepted that God might have forgotten Himself for some time to get full entertainment from creation, will He not be able to come out of the illusion, at least for 5 minutes? If this soul is God, it should be able to come out of the illusion for at least 1 minute. It should be able to prove that it is God by creating at least a small stone in the world of practical reality, even if it cannot create the entire world. The Advaita philosopher escapes from answering this argument saying that the miracle is unreal since the entire world, which is other than God, is unreal and that the miracle is also a part of the world! He says that he (God) alone is real and that everything else is unreal and hence, the proof too is unreal! In spite of constantly muttering to himself that he is God, throughout his life, he is unable to do this simple miracle, which can be done even by a demon!

Hence, the conclusion is that this world is an illusion only from the point of view of God. Form the point of view of the soul, it is perfectly real. In fact, it is as real as the soul itself. This entire world is a powerless illusion only for God and the soul itself is a part of that illusion. This should be correctly understood in the context of the example of the snake-rope illusion. The soul, which is the observer of the illusory snake (world) which is superimposed on the rope (God), is part of the illusory snake. It is not the real rope or even a part of the real rope.

If the observer (soul) were part of the rope, it would not really be under any illusion since the illusion is ineffective in the case of the omniscient God (rope). If the soul is a part of the illusory snake, there is no illusion either for the snake or the soul. This is because the illusory snake is not illusory with respect to itself. Similarly, the soul, being part of the illusory world also has an equal reality as the illusory world. The illusion only exists for the human observer of the illusory snake, who is separate from both the snake and the rope. God is the observer who allows that illusion to appear to Him for the sake of full entertainment. He is not affected by the illusion. The world-illusion is unreal only for God and not for the soul. Hence, who is affected by this illusion? Only the Advaita philosopher is affected by the illusion that he is God, due to his misunderstanding about the background of Śaṅkara’s theory!

4. Creation and soul are illusory for God

We fully agree that this world is an illusion from the point of view God, who is the seer (draṣṭā). But He not affected by the illusion at all! In that case, every part of the world is an illusion, including the soul. Any part of the world can disappear on seeing God. Then, why do you confine yourself only to the soul saying that the soul, which is the so-called cidābhāsa alone disappears upon realization and that God alone remains, thereafter? You may say that the soul alone can see or perceive while other inert things cannot see and hence, only the realization and disappearance of the soul is mentioned. Let us agree with your point. In that case, how did you say that the soul alone can know itself, whereas, other things cannot know the soul? Based on this assumption, you inferred that the soul is unimaginable since the soul alone can grasp itself and that no other inert things can grasp the soul. What a fantastic fun is this! Can we say that a subject called mathematics is unimaginable because it is not grasped by inert things, which are other than human beings! If you say that ‘other things’ means other persons, it becomes absurd. This is because any person can grasp the soul with the help of a spiritual preacher. This is the climax of foolish ignorance!

All the Vedic statements say that no human being can understand God and this is the definition of the unimaginable nature of God. Can anybody say that God is unimaginable because no inert thing can understand God? Then, it would mean that awareness (non-inert human beings) can understand God. But the Veda and the Gītā negate the idea that God can be understood by any non-inert human being also. This is because the inability of inert things to understand anything is already well-known to everybody. If you say that only Cit or Cidātmā, which means God, knows itself and no other being with awareness can understand God, well, you are correct! You are in line with our philosophy in explaining the meaning of the word ‘unimaginable’. If you take the meaning of Cidātmā as unimaginable God and if you take the meaning of cidābhāsa as the soul, where is the quarrel between both of us? We say that the illusory soul is a part of this entire illusory world, which is only cidābhāsa.

5. God is not awareness (cit)

We are only advising you to not call God or Brahman as Cit or Cidātmā. You may call the soul brahmābhāsa and not cidābhāsa because the soul is an illusory product of Brahman or God and not an illusory product of Cit. If you make this small correction, we do not have any objection to the rest of the story of the rope and illusory serpent. The reason for suggesting this change in terminology is that when you utter the word cit, what immediately comes to the mind is the awareness generated by converting inert energy in the brain and nervous system. No other type of awareness, such as an unimaginable awareness, comes to the mind on hearing the word cit. God should simply be called the Unimaginable. This term is justified by the fact that it is impossible to know the inherent nature (svarūpa lakṣaṇam) of God. There is no need to call God as Unimaginable Awareness. The unimaginable God does innumerable activities and thinking is just one of them. God also burns this creation in the end (Attā carācara-grahaṇātBrahma Sūtram). Burning is also another activity done by God like thinking. Simply because God thinks, He cannot be thought to be Cit. Simply because He burns the world, God cannot be thought to be fire or inert energy. The omnipotent God can do all activities and thinking is just one of all those activities. Based on the thinking-work done by God, do not conclude God to be Cit, just as you do not conclude God to be fire based on the burning-work done by Him.

God cannot even be concluded to be Cit based on the 5th Brahma Sūtram (Īkṣateḥ nā'śabdam). The meaning of this sūtram is as follows:

Īkṣateḥ na = Brahman is not inert because Brahman wished (thought) to create.

Aśabdam = The Veda has not said that inert substance is the cause of creation.

This Brahma Sūtram only denies the idea that God is inert. It does not directly say that God is the non-inert awareness. In fact, this sūtram can be interpreted in a better way as follows:

Īkṣateḥ na = Since God wished (thought) to create, do not conclude that God is awareness.


Aśabdam = The reason is that God cannot be expressed by any word. Every word conveys its meaning, which can only apply to a relatively-real item within the world.

The conclusion is that God is unimaginable and beyond awareness as well as inert energy and matter.

6. God is real, whereas, creation and souls are unreal

We agree that world including the soul is the illusory serpent and God is the real rope from the viewpoint of God, even though God is not affected by the illusion. God seems to be affected by the illusion only for some time for getting real entertainment from the world. He does so by making the world as perfectly clear (real) as an actual reality. But at any time, God can come out of the illusion. Even during the illusion, God is basically aware of the illusion. For the illusory soul, the illusory world is not an illusion at all. Hence, neither God nor the soul is affected by the illusion. When you compare God (whom you refer to as Cidātmā) with the soul (whom you refer to as cidābhāsa), you must clarify whether you are considering the non-mediated unimaginable God or the mediated unimaginable God. The mediated unimaginable God means either an Energetic or Human Incarnation of God. You cannot take the non-mediated unimaginable God since it is already established clearly that the unimaginable God cannot be understood to be awareness. So, there is no question of the soul being a reflection of the unimaginable God. The word reflection (ābhāsa) should be understood as follows: X is said to be the reflection of Y when X is not Y, even though it looks like Y and is experienced as Y, externally (Āsamantāt bhāsate cānubhūyate ca sadvat iti ābhāsaḥ). With no amount of effort can you compare the unimaginable God, who is the Absolute Reality, with the imaginable soul, which is a relative reality. You can take a Human Incarnation of God like Kṛṣṇa and compare it with an ordinary human being. In both, there is similarity as well as difference, just as in the case of the electrified wire and the unelectrified wire. A human being is the mere medium, whereas, Kṛṣṇa is the same medium (wire) with the unimaginable God (electricity) merged into it.

End of Part-1. To be continuued...

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