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Vedanta - Discussion Forum I (introductory))

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Vedanta - Discussion Forum I (introductory))
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->How does this even attempt to explain Tath Thvam Asi? This occurs in the Chandogya Upanishad NINE times. Yes, Aruni tells this to Svethakethu nine times. If you go thru each example, the "individual cellular-bodies making up a universal body" theory does not even come close to fitting the case. Take the pippala seed example or the saltwater example (ref Chandogya), and you will see there is no two. There is only ONE.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Instead of individual bodies making a cellular body. how about another analogy of a homegenous entity and smaller clones of the entity(mini mes).

A big (infinetly large) piece of gold in the universe(Brahman, assuming gold is a homegenous entity).

Stage 1: Several small minute pieces of gold are taken out (by maya) from the gold. there is no change in the infinetly large chunk (brahman) and the smaller chunks have the same attribute(gold). Only space(jagat) separate the bigger and smaller piece .

Stage 2: Once the smaller chunk transcend space(maya/jagat) and it merges with the bigger chunk, there is no difference b/w the smaller and bigger chunk.

Advaita talks about stage 2 being the reality, which is independent of where you are and that stage-1 is illusionary.

Vishistadvaita says that stage 2 is true only when u are in stage 2, and at stage-1, the difference is real. It then asks how can an advaitist talk about stage-2 when he is in stage-1 as the difference is obvious (which they state as reality) when u are in stage-1.

Regarding tat vam asi , does Vishidadvaita say that the vakhya is valid at stage-2 where there is no difference??

For me the 'if you define the truth to be one independent of standpoint(absolute), then advaita is correct.- Can I call it abosolute reality?.When you take truth to be dependend on standpoint(relative), then vishisadvaita may be right and can I call this relative realism?"

Have i summed up the problem in my language?

Sarvam Krishnarpanam
  Reply
Sridhar, that is a nice model, and I think it is good to bring up such models to clarify our ideas.

I am trying to understand vishistdvaita here, so sometimes my words may appear 'provocative', but I hope they are harmless.

I would put the following objections to the gold blob model:

The infifnite gold blob and the numerous gold blobs are still 'saguna'. The very fact that you can distinguish them from each other implies they are with attributes or 'saguna'. But an attribute is limiting. In this case the limiting attribute is the spatial extent. One small blob of gold also puts limits on the infinitely large blob. The spatial location where the small blob is, is forbidden for the large blob.

This is quite common. Whenever you have a multiplicity, you also have a distinguishing attribute, the attribute that shows the difference. This distinguishing attribute is also the limiting attribute, it puts limits on each individual.

Although you did mention 'infinite' blob, but this 'infinity' is still limited in spatial extent. It can't cover the space covered by smaller blobs.

In any such model where you have multiplicity existing simultaneously, you have to have limitations on all the individuals making that multiplicity. It doesn't matter how large the largest blob is. As long as there are other blobs, it is limited.

But Narayana and Brahman are not supposed to be limited. Even though it may be tempting to assume that the big-blob can model Narayana, it can't. Narayana is one who connects the whole multitude of the jivas, all the blobs big or small. He is ONE, who somehow is in the heart of all the multiple jivas. He doesn't stand completely apart from any jiva or blob. He is the soul of all the jivas. But he is not simply a collection of the jivas too. He is more than the collection of the jivas. He is an individual in his own right. So naryana can't be modeled as an infinitely large blob.

This is the reason I have been mentioning the philosophical difficulties associated with narayana who is simultaneously existing with the multitude of the jivas, AND who is also the ONE who is in their hearts.
  Reply
Vishistadvaita is a 100 % saguna model. There is no way to accomodate Kevala Advaita thinking in this model. Another way to say is that Vishistadvaita is a pure ice model while Kevala Advaita while acknowledging ice is heavily tilted towards water. There is no way the two models can be mixed.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->There is still a problem with the Kevala Advaita system. Is Maya Shakti real or unreal or anirvachaniya? We who come from the Shakta tradition will never accept that Mahamaya is anything other than Brahman. Sages and saints of the Shakta tradition are unanimous that MahaMaya is Brahman. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


You make a valid point Gangajal ji. I too am a Shakthi Upasaka too. It is with the Mother's permission that we are able to even engage in discussion if she is anirvachaniyam or not. Maya cannot be defined, and it's origins cannot be debated. It is simply anirvachaniyam. The reason for calling her so is not lack of knowledge, but lack of faculties to explain it.

I too subscribe to the school that Maya is the power of Brahman. Like fire, and it's power to burn cannot be separated, Maya and Brahman are inseperable. It is called a <b>sesha-aseshi bhavam</b>. This does not mean Maya IS Brahman. A beautiful example is given in the Brahmasutra when explaining Neti Neti (I shall post the link soon.) The sutra says "Ubhaya Vyapadeshat thu Ahi Kundala Vath." i.e. Shruthi sometimes says Brahman and Jagath are same, and at other times it states they are different. To reconcile this, Bhadarayana says, the relationship of Brahman and Jeeva is like a Snake (Ahi) and it's coil (kundalam). A coiled snake is not two separate things. The snake is a snake. Coiling is it's nature. So also, Brahman, and it's power (maya) are no different. If Brahman is the snake, Maya is the coil. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> There is no other way to state it.

Because the Jeeva has identified itself with the body, and with a world of dualities, it expects (or even craves) that the Brahman is bound by dualities too. Relative realism cannot be called realism at all.

PS: If for no other reason, I encourage conducting and participating in such debates to revive back the Sanathana Dharmic way of 'debating out' and 'learning from' other systems. I am thoroughly enjoying this particular thread, and if one can start such discussions in their respective communities (like we here plan on doing it once in a while on a Friday night or Sat'day night.) Getting teenagers involved should be encouraged, as they have a natural tendency to debate, and at the same time learn in the process.
  Reply
Thanks for the great posts guroos. Its turning out to be one of the best threads.. Would anybody be interested in doing an article ? Please give it a moment's thought and if not practical then please ignore my post. I will delete my post after a few hours. Regards..
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Jan 28 2005, 04:02 AM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Jan 28 2005, 04:02 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Thanks for the great posts guroos. Its turning out to be one of the best threads.. Would anybody be interested in doing an article ? Please give it a moment's thought and if not practical then please ignore my post. I will delete my post after a few hours. Regards.. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
What would be the length and scope rajesh ji ?
  Reply
There are several ways we can go about this. Just throwing out some ideas..

- Kevala Advaita in eyes of a Shakta..
- Analogies in understanding Advaita..
- Tat Tvam Asi and its interpretations..

Any one aspect that inspires the reader into studying a particular view. Or provide a high level view. Or explains how various systems come together to provide a holistic view. Or even what it means to have various systems.

Length is not an issue, I think. Anything that can be read in an hour should be cool.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Anything that can be read in an hour should be cool.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I meant the article, not the actual texts.. Sorry !!

I seriously didnt intend to disrupt the flow of discussions. If it is a distraction, please ignore and continue with discussion,
  Reply
The maya- brahman relationship:
Reposting my earlier post based on the email from my guru

********************************************************************
CHATHURSHLOKI BAGAVATHAM

COMMENTARY
Om! Rama Krishna Hari!

Poornamadah Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnameba Vashishyate

Om Shanthi! Om Shanthi! Om Shanthi!

What is shloka?

What is a shloka? ‘Sah’ means That. ‘Loka’ means world. Shloka means ‘That World’. There are seven lokas. They are i) Bhuh ii) Bhubah iii) Swah iv) Janah v) Mahah, vi) Tapah and vii) Satya. Satya Loka is the highest Loka – Loka of Ultimate Truth. A shloka deports one to a different Loka commensurate with its potency. Chathur Shloki Bhagavatam is so potent that it can directly hurtle one to the Satya Loka and that is “World Of Truth”. It is the master key to the world of Satya Loka. Each Shloka talks about a particular tattva of paramount spiritual essence.

1. Bramha Tattva - First Shloka is the master key to the essence of the Truth, Bramhan.

Aham eva asam evagre nanyath yatha sat asat param
Pashchat aham yatha etat cha yah avashishyetha sah asmi aham (1)

Aham – I, Eva – only, Asam – exist, Eva – certainly, Agre – in the beginning (before creation), Na Anyath – nothing else, Aham – I (am), Yatha – like, Etat – all these (creation), Sat – real, Asat – unreal, Cha – and, Param –Supreme, Paschat – afterwards (after dissolution), Yah – whatever, Avashishyetha – remains, Sah – That, Asmi – am, Aham – I.

“Certainly I only exist in the beginning, nothing else. <b>I am like all these creation comprising Sat, Asat, and Param. I am also That, whatever remains afterwards.</b>”

Before, after and during the Creation, I only existed. Just like the waves emerge and merge in the ocean, the entire universe emerges from Me and again dissolves into Me.

Sat, Asat and Param.

What is Param?
Param is the Truth – Niranjan (untainted), Nirmal (Pure), and Nirantar (undifferentiated). Param is Existance beyond existence and nonexistence. Param is Light beyond light and darkness. Param is Bliss beyond pain and pleasure. Param is Niranjan, Nirmal, Nirantar - The One and the Only one.

<b>What is Sat? It is appearance of Truth. All that appears as Truth is Sat.</b>- <i>i guess he refers to the saguna brahman or ishwara</i>

What is Asat? It is appearance of that which is not Truth. All that is unreal is Asat. All that is illusory is Asat. Now let us discuss an Example so that one can understand easily:

Imagine that it is a full Moon Day. It is night time. There is no wind and there is no sound. Total calmness prevails. There is a lake. There is no ripple in it. Then the Moon will get reflected with all its majesty in it. In its full glory as it is. But as soon as it is dawn, just before the sun rise there is gush of wind. The lake is now full of ripples. At that time, will the Moon get reflected in the lake water as it is? It won’t. It will be distorted. It will be fragmented. Now one can only see the pieces of illuminations, flashes of light here and there.

So also when one’s intellect is full of peace and serenity, one can experience the Truth reflected majestically in it with its entire splendor. Otherwise, there is a lot of distortion. There is a lot of fragmentation. What is reflected is multitude of names and forms. This is the JAGAT.

‘Sat’ is like reflection of the Moon as it is in the lake without any distortion. ‘Asat’ is like the distorted reflection of the Moon. ‘Param’ is the Moon itself in this example. Truth reflects in a pure and calm intellect as ‘Sat’, whereas in a disturbed intellect as ‘Asat’. Only way to experience Truth is to purify the intellect by calming the mind. As long as the movie is continuing, one does not experience the Light, though all the moving pictures on the screen are Light only. Once the movie stops, the screen is flooded with Light and only Light.

2. Maya Tattva – this is the key to the essence of Illusory power of the Lord.
We shall go deep into it. Maya is nothing but Lord’s Illusory power. Just as the turbulent current in the ocean produces waves in the ocean with the influence of sound and light, so also Maya produces various Names and Forms which is the Jagat.

Rte artham yath prateeyeta na prateeyeta cha atmani
Tat vidyat atmano maayam yatha abhaso yatha tamah (2)

Rte – without (lacking), Artham – real meaning (essence), Yat – whatever, Prateeyeta – appears, Na prateeyeta – does not appear, Cha – and, Atmani – of Truth, Tat – That, Vidyat – (you) know, Atmano – Truth’s, Maayam – Illusory power, Yatha – like, Abhaso – reflection, Yatha Tamah – out of Ignorance.

“Whatever appears lacking the real essence does not appear as the Truth. And (this) you know (for certain), that (unreal) appears (due to) My Illusory Power like reflection (of light rays) out of ignorance (appearing as an illusory image)”

When somebody asks you “What is Rose?” You may say “Rose is a flower.” On further enquiry you may say “Rose is a color.”, “Rose is a color among so many colors.”

But this is not correct. All these are your interpretations, your own views. They can be different for different people. Rose can be devotion for a devotee. It can be a token of Love for a Lover. It can be an object of art for an artist. It is named as Rose in English language, whereas it called as Gulab in Hindi language. It brings memories of joy in some minds, whereas it may bring memories of grief for some others. The word rose brings different interpretations and different feelings in different people. It varies from mind to mind. Now I will give you another example. Darkness means fear for a child. It is profit for a thief. It is romance for a young couple. Also it is time to rest and relax for tired laborers. For different people it has different contextual meanings.

Everything gets jumbled up due to effects of Lord’s Illusory power Maaya. There are three aspects of everything – ‘Artha’, ‘Sabda’ and ‘Gyana’. ‘Artha’ is the essence – true meaning. ‘Sabda’ is the sound identifying the thing, naming the thing, thus limiting it to just a sound. It is linguistic representation of that particular thing. ‘Gyana’ is psychological. It is interpretation of the thing as per earlier individual experience of the thing by that particular person.

In the earlier example, rose blooming in the garden is ‘Artha’, whereas the word ‘r o s e’ is ‘Sabda’ just the phonetics. The idea of rose in the mind and its associated stored experience is ‘Gyana’. Darkness in a room devoid of any light is ‘Artha’. The phonetics ‘d a r k n e s s’ is ‘Sabda’. The mental concept of darkness with its associated experience and feelings is ‘Gyana’

Maya is having two powers called as ‘Avarana Shakti’ - the veiling aspect, and ‘Vikshepa Shakti’ - the superimposition aspect. Veiling aspect hides the true thing. Superimposing aspect dresses the thing with a false notion. ‘Sabda’ veils ‘Artha’ and ‘Gyana’ superimposes a falsity into ‘Sabda’. It is like a serpent is experienced in stead of a rope. Or a ghost is experienced in stead of a post. Or nacre shines as Silver. ‘Artha’ is ‘Param’, ‘Sabda’ is ‘Sat’, and ‘Gyana’ is ‘Asat’. Mixing of these three ‘Artha’, ‘Sabda’, and ‘Gyana’ create the confusing illusion of Individual realities.

Since people have different interpretations according to their own understanding, they get attached to their own illusory knowledge. They start claiming whatever they say is correct. That is how fanaticism comes into existence. All the world’s miseries are due to political and religious fanaticism.

Saivites and Vishnavites fight with each other even though they both are spiritual seekers having the same aim of God-realization. Even in Islam there are different faiths as Sihas and Sunnis. It is just because there is clash of their respective faiths. This is nothing but their respective bundle of opinions and judgments out of confusion in understanding due to admixture of ‘Artha’, ‘Sabda’ and ‘Gyana’. Won’t it be better World to live, if people stop fighting over something which is itself out of misapprehension? Out of misunderstanding? Out of illusion? Won’t this clarity make World full of Love and Peace?

Maya is the dynamic aspect of Bramhan, like current in the Ocean. The cause Ocean, the instrument current, and the effect waves are one and the same Ocean. There is no difference. Similarly the Truth as potency, Maaya as its dynamic aspect, and the resulting Jagat are all one and the same – The One Truth.

Maaya by its veiling and superimposition powers creates the illusory Jagat as so many names and forms. Jagat is like a mirage. The Sun rays in a desert, while passing through layers of air of different density create an illusion of a lake due to interference of refracted rays. But it is just a mirage. As you go near it, it recedes farther and appears again at some distance. Like that out of ignorance, the entire Jagat is created by interference of rays of Bramhan refracted in the impure individual Intellects. Maya is ‘sat’, but Jagat is ‘asat’, whereas ‘Param’ is ‘Artha’ - the TRUTH.

Artha Matra Nirbhasham, Swarupe Shunyamivam Samadhim.

When the Truth (‘artha’) shines, the self image (consisting ‘sabda’ and ‘gyana’) being void, that is Samadhi.

3. Jagat Tattva – this is the third key to essence of Jagat, the effect of Lord’s Illusory Power.

Yatha mahaanthi bhutani bhuteshu uccha avachesuh anu
Pravisthani apravisthani tatha thesu na theshu aham (3)

‘Yatha’ – like, ‘Mahanti’ – Primary, ‘Bhutani’ – elements, ‘Bhuteshu Uccha’ – huge material, ‘Avachesuh Anu’ – miniscule atom, ‘Pravisthani’ – enter (to give shape), ‘Apravisthani’ – do not enter (to maintain void), ‘Tatha’– like that, ‘Thesu’– in them, ‘Na Thesu’– in not them, ‘Aham’- I

“Just as the (five) primary elements (Pancha Mahabhutas) constitute small atoms to gigantic materials by entering it and (also constitute the void between the materials) by not entering it, like that I am in them (in the primary elements) and in not them (out side them also).”

<b>Brahman is the only essence which is really in existence. The Jagat is formed due to the playing of this Brahman essence at various levels. The vibration of this Bramhan essence at different frequencies and amplitudes forms first the five Tanmatras like Sabda (sound), Spharsa (touch), Rupa (form), Rasa (taste) and Gandha (smell). Again due to the various permutations and combinations of these five Tanmatras, five Mahaboothas (primary elements) like Akasa (Space), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water), and Prithvi (Earth) came into existence. These Pancha Mahabhutas exist everywhere whether it is in a small atom or a huge Mountain.</b> The five primary elements combine and coexist as follows by a process called quantification:

What is Space? Space consists of 50% Sabda and remaining Tanmatras 12.5% each

What is air? Air consists 50% of Touch, and the remaining Tanmatras 12.5% each.

What is Fire? Fire consists of 50% of Form and remaining Tanmatras 12.5% each.

What is water? Water consists of 50% of Taste and remaining Tanmatras 12.5 % each.

What is Earth? Earth consists of 50% smell and remaining Tanmatras 12.5 % each.

Param is the subtlest. Param can be anywhere. Inside everything and also outside. These Mahabhootas can exist in all materials and also in the gap between these materials. That is everywhere. Similarly the Lord is inside the primary elements and also outside them.

These primary elements are progressively gross. That means water can seep into earth, fire can seep into both water and earth, air can seep into the earlier three, whereas space can seep into all the four. But Lord being the subtlest can seep into all of them. Lord is the substratum for all these like a screen acting as background for painting. The screen is there behind the paint as well as behind where it is not painted. Or like the mirror is there behind the reflection of the face and also behind where there is no reflection of the face. Similarly Lord is there in everything and outside everything. Lord is all pervasive and all permeating.

Just like various scenes appear in the same screen and then the screen remains as screen only, Lord remains as screen and on Him everything appears. Like ocean, waves, foam etc., are the same water whereas appearance of waves and foams are apparent and transitory. So also everything is one and the same Brahman and everything that appears as names and forms are just apparent and transitory.

4. Jignasu Tattva – This is the essence of all sadhana required to attain the Lord.

What is meant by Jignasu? Jignasu is the one who is earnestly interested in the real knowledge or true knowledge about the Truth.

Etavat eva Jignasyam tattva jignasunath atmanah
Anvaya Vyathirekabhyam yat syat sarvatra sarvada (4)

‘Etavat’ – up to now, ‘Eva’ – certainly, ‘Jignasyam’ – is to be enquired (of Truth), ‘Tattva’ – essence, ‘Jignsunath’ – by the seekers (of Truth), ‘Atmanah’ – Truth, ‘Anvaya’ – positive induction (attraction), ‘Vyatireka’ – negative induction (repulsion), ‘Bhyam’ – both, ‘Yat Syat’ – whatever it maybe (under all circumstances), ‘Sarvatra’ – everywhere, ‘Sarvada’ – always.

“Certainly up to now the essence of Truth (as in the earlier three shlokas) is to be enquired by the seekers (of Truth) by adopting both attraction (to Bramhan by dwelling in it) and repulsion (from Jagat by forgetting it) always, everywhere and under all circumstances.”

What has been told in the earlier three shlokas, one has to dwell upon it all the time using the two techniques called Anvaya and Vyatireka. Anvaya means attraction like a magnet induces magnetism in magnetic material and attracts it. That is magnet magnetizes Iron and attracts it. Vyatireka means indifference like a magnet does not induce magnetism into non-magnetic material and thus ignores it. That is magnet does not magnetize wood and ignores it. Like that one need to constantly remember the Truth and dwell in the Truth. Be a magnet to the Truth. At the same time constantly ignore and forget the Jagat and all other unreal illusory things like the magnet rejects the wood. This needs to be done constantly and continuously in all places, in all circumstances and all the time.

Like the magnet that attracts the magnetic material and it ignores nonmagnetic material, you too should reject the unreal ‘Asat’ around you and abide in TRUTH all the time. This process is the real Sadhana. For example, whenever you see a tree, you see the TRUE ESSENCE, Brahman, ‘Artha’ in it. Reject the word ‘t r e e ‘ the phonetic sound associated with it (‘sabda’) and also the mental conceptions formed in the mind about it (‘gnana’). Like a Rajahansa separating milk from water, you need to sift out ‘Artha’ from ‘Sabda’, and ‘Gyana’. Only those who constantly practice these techniques and imbibe essence of this Chathur Shloki are entitled for further Para Knowledge.

Rama Krishna Hari!
Hari Om Tat Sat!!
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Sarvam Krishnarpanam
  Reply
Cross posting Sundarji's reply, which is apt here.
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> There are seven lokas. They are i) Bhuh ii) Bhubah iii) Swah iv) Janah v) Mahah, vi) Tapah and vii) Satya. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


While I was reading this portion, I was reminded of a lecture our local group attended by a Swamiji from Chinmaya Mission who was visiting Canada last month. In the due course of the lecture he mentioned about the 14 lokas (which are Satya Loka, Tapo loka, Janaloka, Maharloka, Suvarloka, Buvarloka, Bhuloka, Atala, Vithala, Suthala, Talaathala, Rasaathala, Mahaathala, and Paathala in descending order.) While explaining the seven lokas above he mentioned that Bhuloka was this earth, Bhuvarloka was above the Sun, Suvarloka was above the polestar etc. A friend of mine, asked if this was actually physical locations or just metaphors that really did not exist.. Later, when comparing notes after the lecture, some argued that it REALLY existed - as it was mentioned in the puranas, while others called it humbug. (I am sure this is one of the famous doubts that 'intellectuals' often get.) I took a shot at it, and explained my understanding of the LOKA models in layperson terms. Hope it makes sense.

Most of us are aware of the famous OSI Model which makes communication between hetrogenous machines possible.

OSI Model here: http://www.cs.indiana.edu/classes/a338/i...eaders.gif

The Model begins with the physical layer which rests on the physical link that's "visible and tangible" to everyone. Then comes more subtler layers which are neither "real", nor "mythical metaphors" but purely concepts that can be explained as layers to make it easier to understand. If someone says, the data-link layer is 2 inches above the physical layer, and that the transport layer is 4 inches above the datalink and so on it would be laughable. These are neither "above" nor "below" anything. Thus, I can only show you the physical cable that connects two computers but cannot pinpoint to the different layers around the layers even if I take a magnification lens and search till end of eternity.

Extending on this simile, when two "applications" need to talk, it cannot directly do so. An application will send it's 'thoughts' to the lower layer, till it hits the physical level. Once it reaches the physical level it is conveyed "up the chain" by the other 'computer' and when the message reaches the other application and acknowledgement is done, the process is said to be complete.

In our case, the TOP level application is the same. An idea arises in the PARA, and this is conveyed via Pratyag, Madyama and Vaikhari (audible sound, produced by VAKH - the organ of action.) This sound waves travel via a medium (Space), till it is picked up by the physical layer (eardrums), conveyed to the sense organ (shravana indriya), this is conveyed to the manas, then to buddhi, then to ahamkara and finally to the Consciousness. IF any one of the links is missing (i.e. my sound does not reach you, or you cannot interpret the sound I make, or your mind is 'elsewhere' or you are unconscious) then the communication is incomplete.

The whole exercise of Advaita is to alienate the seven layers, fourteen lokas, five bhuthas, three kaalas, three gunas, three shariras, five koshas, twenty four thattvas, and whatever else is not that ONE. Then and only then will you become THE ONE.


Back to your example:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->‘Param’ is the Moon itself in this example. Truth reflects in a pure and calm intellect as ‘Sat’, whereas in a disturbed intellect as ‘Asat’. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Here I have a clarification to make. According to Swami Vidyaranya's Panchadasi (Chapter 1), Maya is Shuddha-satva (Pure Sattva), and Avidya is impure sattva (i.e. Sattva mixed with Rajas and Thamas.) Now, the reflection of Brahman in Maya (Pure Sattva) is called EESHVARA, and the reflection of the very same Brahman in Avidya is called the JIVA. The difference is that, Eeshwara perfectly and completely controls Maya, while Jeeva is IN the control of Avidya. The former is the controller, while the latter is the controlled.

In the example of the moon, I am assuming it means the Brahman when reflected in a calm intellect is Sat (Eeshwara?) and in a turbulent mind is Asat (Jeeva?). Am I even close on my assumption.
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  Reply
Rajesh bhai, we could have had Veera Vaishnava who submitted an article.here to present a vishitadvaita point of view especially with advaitins and advaita- wannabe like me trying to present V-advaita.

Being an admin, you might know his whereabouts.

Thanks
Sridhar
  Reply
So it seems that the primary difference between Shakta/Tantra and Kevala Advaita is about the nature of Maya. Since Kevala Advaita thinks Maya is anirvachaniya it regards Jiva, Jagat and Saguna Brahman as unreal. Shakta/Tantra models regard Maya as Brahman and hence Saguna Brahman, Jiva and Jagat are all real. I give below an essay on the Divine Mother by a Ramakrishna Order monk Swami Chetanananda which may be of some relevance for this discussion.

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By Swami Chetanananda

Originally published in the 1996 Kali Mandir Puja Program

A non-Christian who is unfamiliar with Jesus becomes horrified when he sees
Christians worshipping a portrait of an image of a person hanging on a cross,
bleeding, in pain and agony. Similarly, a Christian who is unfamiliar with the
Hindu Goddess Kali thinks Her image as dreadful and obnoxious. Ignorance is
the mother of all evil. It creates misunderstanding, hatred, intolerance, and
many other problems of life. So it is not wise to judge another's tradition.
It is better to study and try to understand it with sincerity and respect.

According to Hindu tradition, Brahman is the ultimate reality. It is
existence-consciousness-bliss absolute, and name and form belong to maya. As
fire and its burning power are inseparable, so too are Brahman and its maya
power. Brahman is the unchanging reality, whereas maya is the changing reality
; like an ocean and its waves. When Brahman manifests with its maya, it
becomes God, Shakti, Kali, or the Divine Mother. The Absolute becomes relative
through space, time, and causation. It is God, or the Divine Mother, who
creates, preserves, and dissolves this universe and all beings. In fact, human
beings evolve from God, live in God, and dissolve in God; because of ignorance
they are unaware of it. God is neither he nor she, but pure Spirit. The
concept of gender begins at the physical level. In Judaism, Christianity, and
Islam, God is conceived of as the male principle, and in Hinduism God is
conceived of as both male and female.

In some religions, good and evil are two different entities, but not in
Hinduism. Good and evil are the same energy manifesting in different ways:
fire can burn a child and it also can cook food for us; again, the mind thinks
good thoughts and bad thoughts. The Hindus have reconciled this riddle of good
and evil through the symbol of Kali. She is the embodiment of Energy and
manifest in both benign and terrible ways. She dispenses the result of human
karma. She is not responsible for the happiness or misery of human beings.
These conditions are the outcome of their karma. When a person's desire is
good, his resolution is good, his action is good, and his accomplishment is
good; and vice versa. Kali is not cruel or partial; She loves all beings
because all are Her children.

The Symbolism of Kali

Name: Kali is so called because She devours Kala (time) and then resumes Her
own dark formlessness. She is the embodiment of three gunas (qualities of
nature): She creates with Her sattva guna (quality of goodness and purity),
preserves with rajas (passion and activity), and destroys with tamas
(ignorance and inertia).

Complexion: Her complexion is deep blue, like the sky. As the sky is limitless
, so is She. From a distance one sees the ocean water as blue, but it is
colorless and transparent when examined closely.

Crescent above the forehead: She is the giver of liberation.

Earrings: Images of two little babies hang from Her ears; this means that She
favors childlike devotees.

Smiling face: She is ever-blissful.

Tongue: Kali's white teeth symbolize sattva or serenity; Her red tongue,
rajas, or activity; and Her drunkenness: tamas or inertia. The meaning: tamas
can be conquered by rajas, and rajas by sattva.

Full breast: She is the nourisher of all beings.

Terrible form: She is the mother of the universe as well as the destroyer.
When a mother spanks her child, it does not mean that she is cruel; she
disciplines her child for its own good.

Necklace: It consist of fifty skulls that represent the fifty letters of the
Sanskrit alphabet, the origin of sound. She is Shabda Brahman (Sound-Brahman),
or Logos-the source of creation.

Two right arms: The upper right arm grants fearlessness, and the lower right
arm offers boons. She protects Her children from danger, and She fulfills
their desires.

Two left arms: She holds a sword with the upper left arm and a severed head
with the lower. She can cut human bondage with the sword of knowledge, and She
imparts wisdom to the head, the receptacle of supreme wisdom.

Naked form: She is called digambari, "clad in space." She is infinite, so no
finite dress can cover Her.

Waist: Kali's waist is encircled with a girdle of severed human arms that
represent action. All human actions and their results go to the Divine Mother.
At the end of a cycle all souls merge with Kali; during creation they again
evolve with their respective karmas.

Shiva is under Her feet: Shiva and Shakti are always together. He is the
changeless aspect of the Supreme, and She the apparently changing aspect of
the same. Shiva is pure cosmic consciousness, and Kali is cosmic energy. No
creation is possible without their union. Siva cannot manifest without the
power of Kali, and Kali cannot function without the consciousness of Shiva.

Dakshina Kali and Vama Kali: If Her right foot is forward, She is Dakshina Kali
(benign form); and if Her left foot is forward, Vama Kali (terrible form).

May the Divine Mother Kali endow us with love and wisdom, discrimination and
dispassion, bliss and liberation.
  Reply
Sridhar ji,
How did people know about the 14 lokas? Are these lokas products of human fancy or the knowledge about them gained from Yogic experience? It seems to me that these lokas are somehow connected to the Chakra system in the subtle human body.


You state that "In the example of the moon, I am assuming it means the Brahman when reflected in a calm intellect is Sat (Eeshwara?) and in a turbulent mind is Asat (Jeeva?). Am I even close on my assumption."
If Brahman reflected in a calm intellect is Sat (Ishwara) then does a human being who has succeeded in calming his intellect or transformed his nature into suddha sattva become Ishwara? The question I am asking is what does this model say about the difference between Ishwara and a Jiva who has transformed his nature into suddha sattva?
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->How did people know about the 14 lokas? Are these lokas products of human fancy or the knowledge about them gained from Yogic experience?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
This was seen by the rshis. It is also mentioned in the Shruthi The vedas too mention other worlds.) The Vyahruthi of the Gayatri mentions Bhu, Bhuvah, and Suvah. Now, you ask an interesting question on how could rishis have known about the lokas if they did not exist. How indeed can one know of dreams if they are not true? When I say, 'I dreamt of a flying jackal', you do not think I am crazy, you empathise and ask, 'Ah, is that so?' knowing fully well that it was a dream and not a delusion.

Back to the 14 Lokas. Once a devotee asked Sri Ramana Maharshi if Kailasha, Vaikunta, Satyaloka and all really existed or were they just imaginations and dreams. Sri Ramana Maharshi said, "They are not dreams. They do exist. Those who have seen them say there is a Vaikunta where Vishnu resides. There is Kailasa, and Amaravathi. There are also some lokas where an Old rishi is asked questions by his Bhakthas, and he answers them. These lokas also exist." "Kailasa and Vaikunta are <b>as real as</b> this world." This is the position of Advaita.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Brahman reflected in a calm intellect is Sat (Ishwara) then does a human being who has succeeded in calming his intellect or transformed his nature into suddha sattva become Ishwara? The question I am asking is what does this model say about the difference between Ishwara and a Jiva who has transformed his nature into suddha sattva? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Yes it does. This state is called Jeeva-Ishwara Aikyam. This can be heard from the comfort of your own home. Here is the link from yogamalika. http://www.yogamalika.org/audeindex.html (Lecture #14)

If Jeeva and Ishwara were different in nature, like oil and water, then Aikyam is never possible. If by Aikyam one means just getting closer, and not merging, then the term Nirvikalpa samadhi becomes meaningless.
  Reply
Gangajalji,
The second post is actually Sundarji's remarks to my post. The original posts are in page3, and 4 of this thread.

Regarding your quesition of 14 lokas, i guess Sundarji has answered it. But its common in tamil to say eru ezhu pathinalu logam. (2 X 7 = 14).

My guru always say about 21 chakras ( 14 + 7) , where the first 14 correspond to each loka domain, and the 7 are above it.

7 Chakras (regular chakras) plus
Maspatha (below navel),
Ayutha( navel),.
Hrithomitha (below heart, on the point where the lowest of the left and right chest bones meet- he says this is central chakra and signifies Narayana in sayana kolam )
Sushma (heart, the location of the purusha)
Amitha(throat),
Ethi (same place as agna),
Dhiyomath (same place as dhuriya).

The next seven,
a)Ing( above mooladhara)
b)Wung(navel).
c)aing (middle of spine on the back side
d)haim (meeting point of neck and spine)
e)kleem (heart)
f)om (same place as agna)
g)souw(same place as dhuriya)

I may not be right about location and spelling of the last seven. I can write them in tamil[QUOTE]
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-sridhar k+Jan 27 2005, 07:11 PM-->QUOTE(sridhar k @ Jan 27 2005, 07:11 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Rajesh bhai, we could have had Veera Vaishnava who submitted an article.here to present a vishitadvaita point of view especially with advaitins and advaita- wannabe like me trying to present V-advaita.

Being an admin, you might know his whereabouts.

Thanks
Sridhar <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Sridhar,

Have passed the message to Veera Vaishnava.
  Reply
Sridhar ji,
I also think like your Guru that the 14 Lokas are connected to the 14 chakras in the subtle body.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-Sunder+Jan 28 2005, 06:05 AM-->QUOTE(Sunder @ Jan 28 2005, 06:05 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->
Yes it does. This state is called Jeeva-Ishwara Aikyam. This can be heard from the comfort of your own home. Here is the link from yogamalika. http://www.yogamalika.org/audeindex.html (Lecture #14)
If Jeeva and Ishwara were different in nature, like oil and water, then Aikyam is never possible. If by Aikyam one means just getting closer, and not merging, then the term Nirvikalpa samadhi becomes meaningless. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Sundar ji,
I did not understand your remarks about Jiva and Ishwar Aikyam. I thought that in Nirvikalpa Samadhi Jiva goes beyond the domain of Maya. In that stage there is neither Jiva nor Ishwar but only Brahman. So a Jiva just becomes Brahman. How can this state be called Jiva-Ishwar Aikyam when there is no Jiva nor Ishwar in that state? If any Jiva who attains Nirvikalpa Samadhi becomes Ishwara then there will be many Ishwara with powers of preservation, creation and destruction. It is true that followers of Sri Vallabhacarya do believe that there are many Ishwars for many Jivas but they are the only Vedantins to hold this view.

Since I am on this subject of Jiva and Ishwara, let me confess that I have never completely understood Panchadasi's treatment of this subject. May be you can clarify my confusion. Let me show you my confusion.

Panchadasi III.37 says:

Brahman who is existence, consciousness and infinity is the Reality. Its being Ishwara and Jiva are mere superimpositions by the two illusory adjuncts, Maya and Avidya respectively.

The above shloka is clear. The confusion starts with the following two shlokas:

It is said by the Sruti that Jiva and Ishwara are creations of Maya, being reflections of Atman in it. Ishwara is like the reflection of the sky in the cloud; Jiva is like the reflection of the sky in water.
(P VI.155)

The Sruti, in the passage beginning with 'the consciousness in the deep sleep' and ending in 'He is the Lord of all' describes the sheath of bliss as the Ishwara. (P VI.158)

These two shlokas are saying that Ishwara is the total reflection of Consciousness on Maya while Jiva is an individualised reflection. Each bliss sheath of Jiva contributes to the formation of Ishwara. It is at this point that I do not understand. The bliss sheath is the seat of human desire. If Ishwara is the sum total of bliss sheaths of Jivas then isn't the Ishwara contaminated by the base desires of Jivas? How can you then claim that Ishwara is not affected by Avidya?

I have never understood this point.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The bliss sheath is the seat of human desire. If Ishwara is the sum total of bliss sheaths of Jivas then isn't the Ishwara contaminated by the base desires of Jivas?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Bliss sheath (Anandamaya kosha) has nothing to do with desire. It is the Ananda part in sat+chit+Ananda. The bliss of the ONE.

Desire presupposes lack, want and incompleteness. It is antithesis of bliss. What you mean by bliss is the other term 'joy' (sukha). sukha-duhkha come in dual pairs. Ananda is not sukha. Ananda (bliss) is net positive. It is not defined through a negation of the nirananda.

All suffering is because of some fear, some pain, some want caused by the existence of the 'other'. When unity is achieved, then there is no 'other'. Cause of all the suffering goes away when one attains unity. That state is called the Anandamaya.

Objection can be raised that ananda is just like sukha. In the state of unity, if the duhkha vanishes, so does sukha. There is nothing to be happy or sad about. So where is this ananda then?

The presence of ananda can be inferred by the direction of increasing happiness and decreasing pain when one progressively moves towards the unity of the brahman or Self. The limit of this process can't suddenly make happiness and pain equal and negate both of them simultaneously. What is left at the end is Ananda.

The three attributes of sat, chit and ananda are net positive attributes. They don't need to be defined through a negation. They are like real photons that define light. Not like darkness which can't be defined through any 'dark' photons, but must be defined by a negation of light.
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<!--QuoteBegin-Ashok Kumar+Jan 29 2005, 02:17 AM-->QUOTE(Ashok Kumar @ Jan 29 2005, 02:17 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Bliss sheath (Anandamaya kosha) has nothing to do with desire.  It is the Ananda part in sat+chit+Ananda.  The bliss of the ONE. 

Desire presupposes lack, want and incompleteness.  It is antithesis of bliss.  What you mean by bliss is the other term 'joy' (sukha).  sukha-duhkha come in dual pairs.  Ananda is not sukha.  Ananda (bliss) is net positive.  It is not defined through a negation of the nirananda.

All suffering is because of some fear, some pain, some want caused by the existence of the 'other'.  When unity is achieved, then there is no 'other'.  Cause of all the suffering goes away when one attains unity.  That state is called the Anandamaya.

Objection can be raised that ananda is just like sukha.  In the state of unity, if the duhkha vanishes, so does sukha.  There is nothing to be happy or sad about.  So where is this ananda then?

The presence of ananda can be inferred by the direction of increasing happiness and decreasing pain when one progressively moves towards the unity of the brahman or Self.  The limit of this process can't suddenly make happiness and pain equal and negate both of them simultaneously.  What is left at the end is Ananda.

The three attributes of sat, chit and ananda are net positive attributes.  They don't need to be defined through a negation.  They are like real photons that define light.  Not like darkness which can't be defined through any 'dark' photons, but must be defined by a negation of light. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Panchadasi VI.161 says:

In the bliss-sheath inhere all the desires and mental impressions of all living beings. Inasmuch as it knows them all, it is called ominiscient.

The Anandamaya Kosh is the seat of human desire according to Panchadashi. It is because it is the seat of human desire that it is also called karana sarira or causal body. It is the Anandamaya kosha that causes thoughts to rise and ultimately to change the thought to action. If Ishwara is the sum total of the Anandamaya koshas of Jivas then Ishwar gets tainted by base desire.
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