Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 14 Nov 2008



Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[Crystal Clear Demarcation of three philosophies i.e., Advaita, Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita] Shankara preached Advaita Philosophy to four disciples directly and those four disciples must have understood His philosophy to the best because they heard Shankara directly. Those four disciples must have become God (Brahman) and should not have served anybody as slaves because God will not serve anybody since He is served by all. But, the four disciples served Shankara like slaves. When Shankara asked Padmapada (one of the four disciples) to bring the washed and dried saffron clothes from the other bank, Padmapada obeyed the order of Shankara more than a slave and walked across the river without fearing death by drowning ! The order from Shankara was treated as the order from God and Shankara was the contemporary human incarnation in the eyes of Padmapada. Padmapada should have replied Shankara on hearing the order in the following way, if he was like the present Advaita scholar, “O Shankara! Both of us are Brahman. You cannot order me. Why should you worry about the clothes, which are unreal since the world is just illusion?” Therefore, the present Advaita philosopher must have understood Shankara in a better way than Padmapada and hence, does not recognize any contemporary human incarnation to serve Him as a slave. Even a slave does not walk across the river in this context. Imagine the intensity of slavery in the case of Padmapada, who was taught Advaita Philosophy directly by Shankara. The present interpretation of Advaita Philosophy does not give any scope to devotion and service. The present misunderstood Advaita preaches that you should constantly memorize the concept that you are God. The result of this is only madness and not really becoming God. The Gita was told to Sun by the Lord in the beginning. Sun preached the same to Hanuman. Hanuman became a devotee and served Rama, the contemporary human incarnation. O Advaita Scholar! You have understood Advaita better than Sun, Shankara, Hanuman and Padmapada! Perhaps, Sun and Shankara taught the correct Advaita but the below average students like Hanuman and Padmapada could not understand well!

Interpretation of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’

The first great sentence is ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, which means that I am God. This statement is to be interpreted in different ways in different contexts. If you take the case of Krishna, who said that He is God in the Gita, you have to analyze Krishna carefully. Krishna was a liberated soul existing in the inner circle of God. God entered Krishna and Krishna became the human incarnation. God spoke the Gita through the throat of Krishna. This point is indicated by the sage Vyasa, who wrote everywhere in the Gita that ‘God spoke’ (Shri Bhagavaan Uvacha) and not ‘Krishna spoke’ (Krishna Uvacha). Krishna is the owner of His throat just like a person is owner of the mike. When the speaker delivers a speech, we should not say that the owner of the mike delivered the speech. After the war, when Arjuna insisted Krishna to repeat the Gita again, Krishna was unable to repeat it. Krishna delivered the Gita again, which is called as Anugita, which is very much sub-standard compared to the original Gita. These points prove that human incarnation is a two-in-one system. It is a single phase system with two components like an alloy. Gold is homogenously mixed with copper but we call it as gold only. Similarly, Krishna is mixed with God but we call Him Krishna only. When the property of ductility is exhibited by gold, it is due to copper only and not due to gold. Similarly, when the Gita is spoken, it is by God and not by Krishna. Therefore, when the throat of Krishna speaks that He is God, it means that the God in Krishna is stating that He is God.

This statement (Aham Brahmaasmi) should be interpreted in another way if an individual soul speaks so. Here, in this context, the word Brahman means the greatest of all the created items due to the special property of awareness. The word Brahman here means the greatest item in a category. To support this different meaning of Brahman, we quote the Gita, which says that the Veda, the greatest of all the scriptures, is Brahman (Brahmaakshara Samudbhavam…). You should not mistake that the special property of awareness itself is God. Awareness is only a special mechanism, which depends on the supply of inert energy by oxidizing the food with the help of digestive and respiratory systems and also the brain, which converts the inert energy into special work called awareness. If you say that this awareness is God, God becomes dependant on these systems. The absolute God is also aware of everything. But, the awareness possessed by God does not require the function of these systems. You cannot equate both these and say that the awareness is one and the same. Moreover, the awareness of God is also a property of God associated with Him and not God directly. God has several other properties like Creation, Maintenance and Destruction. These properties are not God because these are imaginable. The unimaginable God is only associated with these imaginable properties.

Interpretation of ‘Tattvamasi’

The second great statement is ‘Tattvamasi’, which means that you are God. This also will have different meanings in different contexts. Rama was a human incarnation and thus, is an electric wire. The soul called as Rama was not aware of this truth until the divine sage came in the end and preached Him about this fact. The sage told that Rama is God and did not say that God is in Rama. The meaning of Tattvamasi also is to say that the individual soul is God. This point is not a problem because the electric wire is treated as electricity for all the practical purposes. You need not say that electricity is in the wire because you cannot touch the wire separately in the case of electric wire. If you say that water is in a cup, you can touch the cup separately and thus, cannot say the cup as water. But, in the case of electric wire, if you touch the wire at any place, the existence of electricity is experienced. Therefore, Rama was preached by the sage that He was God. If you take the case of every individual soul, as usual, the word Brahman means the greatest item in the creation. In the case of an ordinary soul, these two statements (Aham Brahmaasmi and Tattvamasi) can also be taken in the sense of quick aspirations. The verbs of present tense in these two statements can mean the immediate future as per Sanskrit Grammar.

Interpretation of ‘Ayamaatma Brahma’

The third great statement is ‘Ayamaatma Brahma’, which means that the individual soul is God. This is in one context only applying to the case of human incarnation like Rama, Krishna, Shankara, etc. Here, the meaning is that the imaginable individual soul along with its visible body is God since God has pervaded all over the soul and body, like the electricity in the metallic wire. You need not differentiate soul and body. The soul is awareness, which is a special work of inert energy. Work is a form of inert energy according to Science. Matter is also a form of inert energy. Hence, the body (matter) and soul (work) are different forms of the same inert energy. The inter-conversion between soul and body is possible according to the laws of Science. Since soul is an item of the creation, it cannot be beyond the laws of Science. Hence, God can pervade soul and body since these two are essentially one and the same. For this reason, the soul is treated as a part of creation (Para Prakriti) by the Gita. You cannot justify the tender finger of the tender body of Krishna, lifting the huge hill unless God pervaded the body of Krishna also. You cannot also justify the vision of an ardent devotee, which is pacified by seeing God (Kaschit dheerah… Veda). Only the body is seen and not the soul. If you limit God only to the soul, this Vedic statement becomes futile. If you take the case of an ordinary soul, the word Brahman in this statement again means, the greatest item of the creation as usual. If you are rigid about the ordinary soul (Atman) and God (Brahman) simultaneously in this statement and bring the verb Asti (is) into this statement, here also, we have no objection. The present tense can be taken in the immediate future and thus, this means that a deserving soul is going to become human incarnation shortly.

Interpretation of ‘Prajnanam Brahma’

The fourth great statement is ‘Prajnanam Brahma’. The word Prajnanam means special knowledge and does not mean mere stupid awareness, which exists even in an insect. We don’t call the insect or animal even by the word Jnani and not to speak of Prajnani. For a word, the strength of usage (Rudhi) is also to be considered along with the root meaning (yoga) as per the Sanskrit Grammar. This fourth statement objects to call mere awareness as God. Thus, the concept that every ordinary soul is God is refuted by this fourth statement. If you are still rigid that Prajnanam means only awareness, we will say that the word Brahman means the greatest item of the creation. If you are again rigid of the two words Prajnanam and Brahma to mean ordinary soul (awareness) and God respectively and bring the verb Asti as above, we will say that this verb of present tense means immediate future indicating the universal aspiration that every soul should become God through human incarnation. Since such choice exists, there is no problem. The word Prajnanam actually means special divine knowledge, which is to be given to the humanity by God through the human incarnation. In fact, this is the main aim of God descending down to this earth.

Advaita is real and quite possible for every soul. We only object the misinterpretation that Advaita already exists in the case of every soul and that Advaita is achieved just by remembering the truth because such truth is false. You should not aspire for Advaita, which is the chair of God like a politician. When a devotee serves God in human form without aspiring Advaita or any other fruit, Advaita is granted by God through human incarnation. When God enters the devoted servant for the sake of some divine purpose, the soul becomes God like the electrified wire becomes electricity. From the view of the devotees, the human incarnation is to be treated as absolute God. If the devotees differentiate God and human being (Dvaita) in the human incarnation, they are lost. Since they experience the existence of electricity at any place in the wire, the wire must be treated as electricity. If you remove the wire by isolation, the electricity is invisible. Similarly, if you separate the devoted soul from God in the human incarnation, God becomes unimaginable. You can never achieve the absolute unimaginable God and therefore, you are lost forever. At the same time, Dvaita of Madhva also exists in the human incarnation as per the view of the divine soul in the human incarnation. The divine devoted soul in the human incarnation must be always in Dvaita passing on all the credit to the God present in it, mixed homogenously. If the soul takes the angle of Advaita, God is lost forever. Parashurama lost God like this and was insulted. Rama never lost God because He was always in Dvaita remembering Himself as an individual soul only. When the sages praised Him as God, He replied that He is only aware of Himself as the son of Dasharatha (Aatmanam Manusham Manye…). Therefore, God stayed in Him from birth to death and hence, is called as complete human incarnation (Purnaavatara). Even Krishna never said that He is God, except in the context of the Gita, where also God (Sri Bhagavaan) only said like that. Since God expressed Himself directly, when the context required, Krishna is called the most complete human incarnation (Paripurnaavatara). The Dvaita of Madhva is from the angle of the soul existing in human incarnation. When the soul nearest to God in human incarnation is also in Dvaita, the ordinary souls with different bodies far from God need not be specially mentioned about their Dvaita. In the case of human incarnation, at least, the soul is viewed in Advaita by the devotees. In the case of ordinary human beings, the Dvaita should be in the view of the soul as well as other souls.

Creation Compared to Daydreaming

The absolute unimaginable God is one before the creation existing in the ultimate absolute plane. This is the Suddha Advaita of Shankara. In this absolute plane, the Creation cannot exist as the dream of an awakened person. But, the dream can exist as an imagination even in the awakened state. The imagination is called as Mithya, which means that it exists in the relative plane and does not exist in absolute plane. If the awakened person does not imagine anything, it is absolute plane and the imagination cannot exist by itself independently without the will of the person. In the relative plane, the imagination exists not by itself but by the will of God only. You cannot say that the entire imaginary world of the person is identified by the person. If the person imagined a big city with several persons moving in it, he will not identify himself with the entire city and all the persons. If he identifies like that, he cannot enjoy the city. He identifies with a particular imaginary form and then moves in the city enjoying it. Similarly, God identifies Himself with a soul and its body called as human incarnation. If you see God alone in this human incarnation, only the same original God before creation exists. Even in the alloy, the atoms of Gold remain as the atoms of Gold only. The Gold atoms are only associated with copper atoms. Thus, the Suddha Advaita of Shankara is never damaged at any stage. The electricity in the wire is a flow of electrons and the wire is a chain of metallic atoms. The electrons remain as pure electrons in the electrified wire also. But, every atom of the wire is associated with the electrons so that if you touch any atom, the existence of electrons is experienced. Hence, we can treat every atom of the wire as an electron. Since, it does not make any difference as far as the practical aspect is concerned, the devotees of human incarnation have practically seen, touched, talked and lived with God directly. As far as this practical aspect is concerned, the angle of Advaita is perfectly correct and thus, God pacified the desire of devotees in true sense. The Dvaita is also truth simultaneously as far as theoretical composition is concerned because neither electrons have become atoms nor vice-versa. This theoretical point is for the sake of the divine soul closely associated with God in human incarnation so that the soul will not get affected with ego, hearing the praises of devotees. Achieving Advaita is very easy because God is very liberal. But, maintaining Advaita is a herculean task.

The Vishistaadvaita of Ramanuja stands between Advaita and Dvaita. He has kept His legs on the two boats and never fell down because the boats always sail in parallel lines maintaining the constant distance between them. He says that the soul and God are inseparable in the case of human incarnation. The Advaita results due to this inseparable aspect. The soul is like an adjective (Visheshana) and God is like the substratum (Visheshya) possessing that adjective. The object qualified by an inseparable adjective is called as Vishishta. The blue color is adjective and the lotus is the substratum. The blue lotus is Vishistha. The inseparable aspect is Advaita. Advaita need not mean a single object without the second. It also means a single phase in which two components are homogenously mixed. The pure water is Advaita because there is no second substance in it. But, the water in which sugar is dissolved is also in Advaita because you cannot isolate the sugar from water and such water looks like pure water only. The invisible sugar and visible water make the solution to appear as pure water only. The water molecules are not affected by the sugar molecules. The sugar molecules did not enter the water molecules or visa-versa. The water molecules are not converted into sugar molecules or visa-versa. Both the molecules are closely associated. Similarly, when God and soul are homogeneously mixed, God is unimaginable and soul is imaginable. Hence, the soul mixed with God also appears as soul only. The soul did not enter God or visa-versa and God is not converted into soul or visa-versa. God remains as God intact and so the Shuddha Advaita of Shankara is not at all affected.

Inseparable Association in Incarnation

When water is mixed with kerosene, both form two distinct layers and are separable easily. This is separable association. When God is associated with this world, the association is separable since the two distinct items exist. The box is on the table. Though the table is substratum, this association is distinct and separable. In the case of human incarnation, God and soul are associated and are inseparable. God, the substratum, is visheshya and the inseparable soul is visheshana. The God in human incarnation is vishishta. In the inseparable association, if the visheshana is invisible and also inseparable as in the case of the scented flower, it looks as one and even if you recognize the invisible scent as a separate item, it is still one item only since the scent is inseparable. The basic concept of Ramanuja is that the substratum and adjective are inseparable and hence, must be treated as one only. The word vishishta means that God and soul are like substratum and adjective in the human incarnation and are inseparable and therefore, both are one only as indicated by the word Advaita. This is the basic concept of Vishishta Advaita. After the final dissolution also, the creation exists in very subtle and invisible state (Avyaktam) in which both inert world and souls co-exist and God is associated with such subtle and invisible Avyaktam. Such God is called as ‘Sukshmachidachitvishishta’. The God associated with the same materialized world in the present time is called as ‘Sthulachidachitvishishta’. Both these states are one and the same because the inner God is one and the same and the outer associated world is also one and the same since matter is another form of energy. In the first state, the world exists as the subtle form of energy. In the second state, the same world exists in the form of materialized matter. The second state of God is compared to an ordinary soul associated with materialized body and this interpretation is given for the statement ‘Tat tyamasi’. This interpretation is applied in a better way to say that the human incarnation like Krishna is one and the same as that of energetic form of God like Narayana. The God in both is one and the same. The materialized body of Krishna is matter and the energetic body of Narayana is subtle energy. Thus, both the bodies are also one and the same since matter is a form of energy. This is a better concept useful for the spiritual effort by which you can treat the contemporary human incarnation (like Krishna) as God associated with energetic body (Narayana).

The Advaita of Shankara is to say that water remains as water molecules only even in the sugar solution. The Dvaita of Madhva is to say that both water molecules and sugar molecules are separate components. The Vishishta Advaita of Ramanuja is a bridge between these two, which says that both Dvaita and Advaita are simultaneously correct. The sugar solution is single phase because the water and sugar are not separable and hence, Advaita is correct. The water and sugar are two different components and hence, Dvaita is correct simultaneously. From the point of single phase, Advaita is maintained and from the point of two components, Dvaita is maintained. The sugar solution is a two component system existing in single phase as per the concept of phase equilibrium in Science.

The Arthavada-Aspect of Advaita

Shankara introduced the concept of Advaita in the beginning itself, which is the final fruit. If you feel that you are already God and the entire creation is only your imagination, you can easily come out of the tensions and get perfect peace. You will get perfect health of body and mind by this and you will be suitable to worship the Lord in human form. If you feel that you are already God, you will try to restore the noble qualities of God to prove that you are God. You will come out of petty selfishness and feel that all the souls of the creation are your children and develop universal love and affection, which helps in the peace of world and to maintain social justice. Therefore, every human incarnation uses this concept to achieve a good result. A good result can be achieved by a false concept. The mother says to the child that if it eats the food, the moon will come down to its hand. Here, the mother is not sinful in telling this lie. This is called as Arthavada, which means a lie stated to achieve a good purpose. But, this lie should not be misused. Demons have misused this and disturbed the society by doing crimes thinking that they are the unquestionable God. Ego is the side effect of this false assumption of Advaita. The advantage is associated with the disadvantage also. If you use antibiotic, it kills the virus and this is advantage. But, the same medicine kills the living tissues also leading to terrible weakness and hence, the B-complex (multi vitamin pills)  must be simultaneously used.

While preaching Advaita (Antibiotic) on one side, Shankara preached the worship of Lord as Dvaita through several prayers (B-complex). This false assumption is a lie in the beginning but it becomes a reality in the end if the course is followed as prescribed by the physician, Shankara. You must not only use the antibiotic suggested by the physician but also use the B-complex suggested by the same physician. By the false assumption of Advaita, you can come out of tensions, maintain good health and serve the Lord in His mission. You will be blessed by the Lord to become human incarnation and Advaita becomes real. To become human incarnation, another birth is not necessary. You can become human incarnation in this birth itself during your service to God. Hanuman became God during the service to the Lord itself. Hanuman is blessed to become God while remaining as Hanuman and this means that you will get the fruit of Advaita in this birth itself provided you serve the contemporary human incarnation like Hanuman. The body of Hanuman is not changed to become God and this clearly means that you need not change your present body to become God. Therefore, the facility given by Advaita philosophers that you will become God in this birth itself is possible in this path also. But, the Advaita in human incarnation is Vishishta Advaita since the soul becomes God due to inseparable mixing. This maintains the simultaneous Dvaita also. All these three concepts are simultaneously true. From the point of devotee serving the human incarnation, Advaita is true because the devotee must treat the human incarnation as God and should not find the concept of soul in it. From the point of the soul of human incarnation, Dvaita is true because the soul should know itself and should not get ego. From the point of both the soul of human incarnation and devotees (overall angle), Vishishta Advaita is true because it is Dvaita treated as Advaita due to single phase of two components.