Shri Datta Swami

Jnana Saraswati – Parabrahma Sutras


4. Is God existent or non-exsistent?

उभयत्र सदसत् समन्वयः।४।
ubhayatra sadasat samanvayaḥ|4|

In the Veda and the Gita, the words ‘sat’ and ‘asat’ are used in [mutually] contradicting senses, but they can be correlated to mean the same, by logical discussion.


In the Veda, God is said to be both ‘sat’ and ‘asat’ (Sadeva somya.., Asadvaa…). But in the Gita, God represented by Parabrahman is said to be neither ‘sat’ nor ‘asat’ (Na sat tan na asaduchyate). This appears to be a contradiction between the Veda and the Gita. Sat means existence. ‘Asat’ means non-existence. Let us take the Veda. When God is said to be ‘sat’, it means that God is ‘not asat’. It only means that one should not think that God does not exist. Similarly, when God is said to be Asat, it means that God is ‘not sat’. Again, it only means that one should not think that God’s existence is similar to the existence of worldly items. Hence, the Veda is effectively saying that God is neither ‘sat’ nor ‘asat’. Therefore, the resulting concept in each statement of the Veda combined, gives the concept of the Gita. Thus, the Veda and the Gita are correlated because the Gita is said to be the essence of all the Vedas.


Why is God said to be non-existent (Asat)? Does it mean that God does not exist?

God certainly exists. The point here is that in order to say that something exists, you must know some information about it. You imagine or think of that information and then say that the object exists. For example, we say that the pot exists, the cow exists, the tree exists etc. All these items, cow, tree etc. are imaginable items. We imagine them and we say that they exist. You first know about them and then say that they exist. But you do not know anything about God. Due to the absence of any prior information about God, we cannot say that He exists. Thus, it is said that He is non-existent; however, here non-existence only indicates the absence of prior knowledge about God. It does not mean that He is actually non-existent.

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