Correcting Advaitins

dattaswami2's picture

Average: 1.7 (3 votes)

Correcting Advaitins

Advaitins say that awareness (Brahman) under the super imposition due to complete ignorance becomes the soul (Jeeva) whereas the same awareness under realization becomes Ishwara. Krishna remained as Ishwara due to full realization whereas Rama remained as Jeeva due to ignorance and became Ishwara when reminded by Yama at the end. This means that it is the will of God to maintain the realization to preach others or to maintain complete ignorance to enjoy fully. But you cannot compare the case of Rama to every human being because Rama also behaved as the same human being under ignorance. A lion is under the illusion that it is a fox. A dog is also under the same illusion that it is a fox. The final effect of illusion is one and the same in both the cases. Similarly Rama is under the illusion of human body. A soul is also under the illusion of the human body. In both the cases the final effect of the illusion is one and the same which is the human body. In the case of Rama when the illusion is removed, Rama became Ishwara by going to the divine abode. But in the case of an ordinary human being when the illusion is removed, the soul became the soul only and not Ishwara.

The commonness in the process of illusion and in the final effect of illusion cannot bring commonness in the original objects also. Meanwhile, Rama might have been advised by sage Vasishta that He is the soul and not the human body. This is transformation of one super imposition to another super imposition. The lion might have been reminded that it is not fox but it is dog. The lion might have thought itself as dog also for some time. Neither the lion became fox nor the dog at any time. Similarly, the sage Vasishta might have advised some human being that he is the soul and not the human body. In his case the illusion is truly removed because the soul remained as soul after the removal of the illusion. Similarly, the dog became dog on being relieved from the illusion of a fox.

Omkaradatta's picture

Why don't you question...

Instead of correcting folks, why not question why your mind keeps dividing things up into "us" and "them" ?

I get the impression that the nonduality remains a mental game for you, purely within the mind. Attachment to concepts has nothing to do with anything real.

Omkaradatta | Thu, 01/22/2009 - 15:29
lilian's picture

We all commit this mistake

Unfortunately, we all commit this mistake, some are more methodological...

We never read something with full attention, we read it through the relative glasses of what we believe in, having the tacit conviction that truth cannot be paradoxical (and so I have to be constantly on guard and prove that the other approach is erroneous). This is one of the problems resulting from our desperate trial to force and squeeze the unfathomable into words and human logic.

BTW, disregarding the title, the above post itself is very interesting if given full attention.

lilian | Sat, 01/24/2009 - 01:30
dattaswami2's picture


The human being is like a tape recorder and the current in it is like the awareness (Soul). The recorded cassette in it is Jeeva. A recorded cassette without current and the current without recorded cassette is useless. The cassette may contain a good song or a bad song. You have to replace the bad song by a good song in the cassette. Similarly, you have to replace the worldly qualities by the divine qualities in your mind. You are trying to destroy the cassette and tape recorder to remove the bad song and you are not prepared to enjoy any song.

This is the state of the Advaita Philosopher. First, he is removing the song from the cassette by erasing it and maintains the current in the tape recorder, which does not generate any song. Similarly, he is erasing all the qualities from the mind and the awareness without any quality is like the current with a blank cassette. After erasing the bad song, you have to record a good song in the cassette. Similarly, after erasing the worldly qualities in the mind, you have to fill the mind with devotion to the God. Instead of doing this, you are keeping silent with the pure awareness (clean mind) after removing the worldly qualities from mind.

Your spiritual effort stopped in the middle stage only. First, you have to erase the worldly attachment from the mind. First, you have to clean your house by removing the waste, which produces bad odor. Such removal of waste is work (Karma) and this is the first step in the spiritual path (Arurukshoh Muneryogam Karma Karanamuchyate…Gita). Now the house is clean without any bad odor and in this state even the good scent is absent. This is the intermediate state of pure mind, which is devoid of both bad and good qualities, which is termed as perfect peace (Shama). This intermediate state is the pure awareness without any quality and is called as Nirguna Brahman or pure Atman. Here the word Brahman does not mean God. Any greatest item in a category can be called as Brahman. Veda, the greatest among the scriptures is called as Brahman in Gita. Awareness (Soul or Atman) is the greatest item in this world due to its special quality of knowledge and hence is called as Brahman. This possibility of calling any soul as Brahman was exploited by Shankara to attract the atheists towards spiritual path. Remember that Shankara was surrounded by lot of atheists in His time. Shankara called this intermediate state as Chitta Shudhi or purity of mind, which is a pre-requisite for the knowledge and attachment to God. The cleanliness of the house is a pre-requisite to sprinkle scent in the house. If the scent is sprinkled in a dirty house, there is no use of it, because the good odor of scent cannot be enjoyed by any one in the house in the presence of bad odor created by the dirt. Removal of every thing in the house refers to the removal of bad material only. When Shankara used the word Nirgunam, it means only removal of worldly qualities from the mind. If the ultimate aim of Shankara is only Nirguna Atman or Pure awareness without any quality, He should have stopped His message with the commentaries only. Shankara composed several prayers on God, which represent the good scents to be sprinkled in the house after complete cleaning. You must take the total personality of Shankara and should not confine to His partial activity of writing commentaries only. You cannot confine yourself only to His composition of commentaries and neglect His composition of prayers on God. The God referred in His prayers was with qualities (Saguna Brahman) and this proves that the God associated with world for entertainment is a better-advanced state than the primary attribute less God (Nirguna Brahman). The commentaries represent the process of cleaning the mind and attaining pure awareness by removing the worldly attachment. The prayers represent the next process of filling the clean mind with devotion. You cannot enjoy the devotion when the mind is contaminated with the worldly attachment, as you cannot enjoy the scent in the presence of bad odor produced by the dirt. Therefore, the reason for your enjoyment of devotion is only the cleanliness of the house as stated in Gita (Yogarudhasya tasyaiva shamah karanamuchyate…).

The perfect peace of the mind after removing the dirty attachment to the world is responsible for the bliss that is enjoyed in the devotion. Shankara, in His commentaries referred to the primary state of God before creation, which is the perfect peace without any quality or thought. His commentary was aimed at the atheists (Buddhists and Purvamimamsakas) who were attached to the world denying God other than themselves. First, Shankara wanted to remove the attachment to the world from their minds due to which only they were not interested in God. If you want to change the ignorant fellow in one aspect, you must accept to his other ignorant aspects. This is the psychology of ordinary human beings. For any teacher, the psychology is very important which gives the tactful plan of removal of ignorance in a gradual way. You have to remove the layers of ignorance one by one only. When you are removing one layer, you must accept to all the other layers. Then only the ignorant student will come in to your grip.

For a preacher (Guru), the ultimate aim is not to establish the total truth in the beginning itself, by which there is no use in any way. His ultimate aim is to uplift the soul and for that, He follows the gradual process of removing the layers of ignorance one by one and in every stage He accepts to the other layers. Shankara, being the incarnation of God is the real Guru (Satguru) and His aim is only to uplift the souls, which are His issues. Therefore, Shankara accepted to one point i.e., the soul is God and there is no God other than the soul. Even here, Shankara being the top most genius used the word Brahman, which stands for God as well as the greatest item in any category. Shankara told that the soul is Brahman. Atheists took the word in the sense of God and were satisfied. They became friends to Shankara and liked Him. This brings the grip of the teacher on the students. Now Shankara proposed the primary state of God, which is devoid of all qualities. It is obvious that God is having no quality or thought before creation.

Therefore, to become God, one has to clean himself from all the qualities. Since, all the qualities in the atheists are worldly items only, all the qualities mean worldly qualities only in the context of atheists. Therefore, the word Nirgunam (devoid of any quality) means removal of worldly qualities only since in the context of atheists, all the qualities were of world only. After Shankara, this word Nirgunam is misunderstood for removal of all good and bad qualities because the context of atheists disappeared. Therefore, you can understand Shankara only if you can understand the context in which He existed.

At Thy Lotus Feet His Holiness Sri Dattaswami

Anil Antony
Universal Spirituality for World Peace

dattaswami2 | Sat, 01/24/2009 - 02:54
Omkaradatta's picture

Spiritual "clubs"...

> Similarly, you have to replace the worldly qualities
> by the divine qualities in your mind.

I don't see it that way at all. When the worldly qualities are gone, what remains are the divine qualities. They're merely covered up and hidden by the worldly attachments. Man is innately Divine.

Replacing one thing with another is pointless, and in fact self-defeating. There's no need to cultivate anything, just get rid of the dead weight (of the world, of suffering). To those whom this has happened, it's patently obvious. But the desire to have a "spiritual in-club" of special members who "know better" than the rest tends to obscure this fact.

My guru (Nisargadatta Maharaj): "Truth is simple and open to all. Why do you complicate? Truth is loving and lovable. It includes all, accepts all, purifies all. It is untruth that is difficult and a source of trouble. It always wants, expects, demands. Being false, it is empty, always in search of confirmation and reassurance. It is afraid of and avoids enquiry. It identifies itself with any support, however weak and momentary. Whatever it gets, it loses and asks for more. Therefore put no faith in the conscious. Nothing you can see, feel, or think is so."

Omkaradatta | Sat, 01/24/2009 - 09:50
Omkaradatta's picture

We all...

> Unfortunately, we all commit this mistake

We all eat, drink, breathe, sleep and use the restroom.... that's it ;-).

I don't see what it adds to the conversation to say that something is commonplace. So? Do we have to be that way?

"We never read something with full attention, we read it through the relative glasses of what we believe in, having the tacit conviction that truth cannot be paradoxical (and so I have to be constantly on guard and prove that the other approach is erroneous). This is one of the problems resulting from our desperate trial to force and squeeze the unfathomable into words and human logic."

Or rather, maybe it's just our desperate need to be liked/accepted by others, or to assert there *are* others by asserting differences.

Advaita (nonduality) says that all is one. If so, maybe we have to create 'other-ness' in our minds in order to create 'self-ness' or 'me' as well. "Us and them" is just a variation on "me and you".

Omkaradatta | Sat, 01/24/2009 - 05:11