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Vedanta - Discussion Forum I (introductory))

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Vedanta - Discussion Forum I (introductory))
gangajal, could you please post the actual sanskrit text from the Panchadasi? That would help with the interpretation. (I have been without my usual collection of books for a while now, so unless I go to the library I can't look them up. )

I just have a suspicion that 'ichchha' is being translated as desire. 'Will power or 'ichchha-shakti' is very different from a base desire, although people often use the term 'ichchaa' as expressing a desire.

'ichchha-shakti umA kumArI '
will-power is the (playful) young goddess umA.
- from shaiva Agama

Also, thoughts are properly speaking in the domain of manomaya-kosha. I again suspect the 'chit' or consciousness is being translated as 'thought'. vichara and chit are quite different.

But since I don't have the actual text with me, I can't comment further.
  Reply
Another way to look at anandamaya-kosh and desire:

Desire for happiness is what motivates people to keep on acting. We keep on looking for happiness in materials, power etc (kama-artha-etc. ). Even after achieving them we remain dissatisfied, it is then that people get inclined towards 'moksha'. It is moksha that is the final goal of our desires, the final limit point for the locus of our efforts to obtain happiness.

In that sense anandamaya-kosha can be called the final resting place of our desires, where our desires finally come to an end.
  Reply
Unfortunately only the sanskrit text and the English translation is given. I will try to transliterate the Sanskrit but I am not sure if I will be entirely correct. Any way the text says:

Ashesapranibuddhinam basanastatra sansthita
tabhi krorikritam sarvam tena sarbagya eereta

The english translation given is:

In the bliss-sheath inhere all the desires and mental impressions of all living beings. Inasmuch as it knows them (impressions) all, it is omniscient.
  Reply
Hmmm...

Thanks gangajal.

I think the term that has been tranlated as 'desire' is 'vAsanA'. That is definitely not 'ichchha-shakti'. vAsanA is indeed like base-desire. vAsanAs are intimately intermingled with our karma and karma-phala.

I knew that kAraNa-sharIra is where the karmic-impressions of all the lifetimes of a jiva are supposed to be stored. And that it is kAraNa-sharIra that transmigrates from birth to birth. In that sense kAraNa-sharIra is the soul.

But the sharIras are organized as a triplet (IIRC):
sthUla, sUkShma and kAraNa.

While the koshas are fivefold:
anna, prANa, mana, vij~nAna, ananda

Why is kAraNa-sharIra identified with the anandamaya-kosha?

I guess sunder can clarify this for us.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Baadam, you are correct. I should not have linked nirvikalpa with Saayujyam. But none-the-less, irrespective of the terminology used, there still is a concept of Jeeva-Ishwara aikyam, where leaves it's ego/individual consciousness and merges with the Ishwara. I was answering your question, which is quoted below:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><i>Brahman reflected in a calm intellect is Sat (Ishwara) <b>then does a human being who has succeeded in calming his intellect or transformed his nature into suddha sattva become Ishwara?</b> 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?</i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

In this context, I was mentioning that the jeeva-ishwara merger is wholesome and is not conditional.
I strongly recommend listening to the two speeches on Jeeva Ishwara Aikyam, where Swami Paramarthananda beautifully explains the same topic we are discussing here so laborously.

Now, coming to Panchadasi:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Ashok ji has to my satisfaction answered your question on Anandha.

With regards to contamination, I quote the Gita 9:6.

<i>Yatha Akasha stitho nithyam vayu sarvatrago mahaan
Thatha sarvaani bhoothani matsthaani upadhaaraya.</i>

Or 13:33 :
<i>Yatha sarvagatham Saukshmyaad aakasham nopalipyate
sarvatravasthito dehe tathatma nopalipyate.</i>

Thus, contact does not automatically mean contamination. As the jeeva is a reflection on Avidya (which has rajas and thamas components to it) you can see doshas. Ishwara is the reflection on Shuddha Sattva, and hence is dosha-varjitha.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Before I explain, I shall also post the shlokas from panchadasi that follow your question.

<i>163. Since Ishvara (the consciousness in the bliss-sheath) abides in and activates and controls all the functions of all other sheaths beginning with that of the intellect and elsewhere also in creation, it is called the inner controller.

164. The Shruti says that the Lord abides in the intellect and has the intellect as His body (instrument); but the intellect does not know Him; it is itself controlled by Him.</i>

The Anandamaya kosha is just that, it's a Kosham, or a sheath. It is the Karana-sharira or the causal body. All the iccha shakthi and other impressions HAVE to come from the karana sharira. The impressions in this stage are latent. They do not have the power to bind or liberate. From experience, can you really say that you experience desires in your deep-sleep? Mandukya Upanishad says that Praagya of Sushupti does not have any desires. Ishwara is poorna-kama, he has no desires Himself. Also, as Sri Vidhyaranya says, Ishwara is Antharyami, he controls from Within. To imagine a separate Ishwara sitting in a separate ananda-maya-kosha is not Advaita's stance. It says, it's the Jeeva that imagines these, and not the Ishwara.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-Ashok Kumar+Jan 29 2005, 03:17 AM-->QUOTE(Ashok Kumar @ Jan 29 2005, 03:17 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Why is kAraNa-sharIra identified with the anandamaya-kosha?

I guess sunder can clarify this for us. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
The Five sheaths.
I started a lengthy explanation, and on an impulse searched Swami Krishnanada's page.. and Lo behold.. I need not waste my words.

THE FIVE SHEATHS

<b>1, 2. The Guru said: This Annamaya sheath or good sheath is made up of the five elements. It has a beginning and an end. It is inert and full of parts. It is an effect of the five elements. It is full of impurities. Therefore you are not this physical body or the Annamaya sheath. You are the witness of this body. Understand, therefore, "I am not the body. I am Brahman." </b>

The physical body is the grossest form of thought. The food consumed by the parents is converted into Sukla (semen) in men and Sonita in women and by the combination of these the physical body is formed. After birth, the body grows by suckling the milk which is only a transformation of the food consumed by the mother. The body is further developed by taking food. It gets dissolved in earth which is another form of food. The body is itself a food for other creatures. Hence it is called the food sheath, the material body or the earthly encagement of the soul. The food sheath is an object of perception. The Atman is the cogniser and the body is the cognised. Hence the Self is different from the body. In dream and deep sleep there is no consciousness of the body.

The five elements constitute the physical body. These modifications of Maya are not the Truth, the body and its Dharmas, size, form, birth and death are not actual modifications of the Self. Varnashrama, name and class differ in different births. They are mere accidental attributes of the body. There is no physical body either before birth or after death. Hence it is non-eternal.

Existence, birth, growth, modification, decay and death are the six Vikaras of the physical body. Just as the ether in a pot is not affected in any way by the destruction of the pot, so also the Atman is not at all affected by the destruction of the body or the Annamaya Kosha. Atman is unattached. Ether is subtle, but the Atman is still subtler. Atman is formless, changeless, birthless, deathless, free from old age. It is neither born nor is killed. Hence one should meditate on this Atman or Brahman.

<b>3, 4. The Pranamaya Kosha or the vital sheath is a product of Rajoguna. It also has a beginning and an end. It is inert. It is an effect. Therefore you are not the Pranamaya Kosha. You are the witness of this sheath. Understand, therefore, "I am not the Pranamaya Kosha. I am Brahman." </b>

The Pranamaya Kosha consists of the five Pranas and five Karma-Indriyas or organs of action. Though the Prana is waking when one is sleeping, it does not invite a friend and entertain him; it cannot stop a thief who tries to remove the articles in a house. Therefore it is insentient. The Self is a mass of Intelligence. It is Chaitanya-Swarupa. It is entirely different from the Prana. The Self is the knower, seer and witness of this sheath.

Prana is only the active working of the mind. A pure-hearted man breathes rhythmically. The breath of an evil-minded person is disturbed. When the mind is controlled the Prana is automatically controlled. The Vedantic aspirant does not practise Pranayama, because his breath is automatically regulated and Kumbhaka naturally follows when the mental Kumbhaka or concentration and meditation are practised. The Pranas are the Rajasic manifestations of the dynamic mental force which with their ups and downs maintain the balance of individual existence even as the bicycle is kept in balance when its wheels are vigorously turning. When there is a break of this movement, the bicycle falls down and when the Prana is inhibited the individualising mind together with the ego breaks down and dies.

Hence there should be no identification with the Pranamaya Kosha and the aspirant should assert the Self-existent Atman distinct from it.

<b>5, 6. The Manomaya Kosha or the mental sheath is a product of Sattwa Guna. It also has a beginning and an end. It is inert. It is an effect. Therefore you are not the Manomaya Kosha. You are the witness of this sheath. Understand, therefore, "I am not Manomaya Kosha. I am Brahman."

The Manomaya Kosha consists of the mind and the five Jnana Indriyas. It is a means of enjoying pleasure and pain. The mind causes egoism in the body and "mine"-ness in house, sons, wife, wealth, etc., and passes outside through the avenues or channels of these five Indriyas. It is the internal instrument for gaining the experiences and knowledge of this world. Mind is associated with the Vrittis or waves of lust, anger, etc., and is a terrible objectifying agent. Mind is a Vikari, it constantly changes itself. </b>

The Self is a witness of the Manomaya Kosha. The Self is Nirvikari. The mind is not the Self. The Self is the Atman or Brahman, unblemished, eternal and changeless, and one should meditate on it as such.

<b>7, 8. The Vijnanamaya Kosha or this Buddhi sheath is a product of Sattwa Guna. It has also a beginning and an end. It is inert. It is an effect. Therefore you are not the Vijnanamaya Kosha. You are witness of this sheath. Understand, therefore, "I am not the Vijnanamaya Kosha. I am Brahman." </b>

The Vijnanamaya Kosha consists of the intellect in conjunction with the five organs of knowledge or the Jnana-Indriyas. During sleep it gets involution or Laya along with Chidabhasa or the reflection of Pure Consciousness. During waking state it is the doer. It is an effect like a jar and is inanimate. It shines in borrowed feathers. It borrows its light temporarily from its source, just as the moon borrows its light from the sun. It is not the eternal Self.

The Pranamaya, Manomaya and the Vijnanamaya Koshas constitute the subtle body. The subtle body is composed of the five unquintuplicated elements. There is neither breathing nor talking, neither seeing nor hearing in the dead body. There is also no warmth. The self-cognitions such as "I speak; I hear; I am hungry; I am thirsty;" and the like appear distinctly in the subtle body. The subtle body operates in the waking and the dreaming states. Ghosts and apparitions are the manifestations of the subtle body only.

The ego is hidden in the intellect and the memory (Chitta) is hidden in the mind. The subtle body thus, contains nineteen principles or Tattwas. It is also called the "Puri-Ashtaka" or the eightfold city. The five organs of sense, the five organs of action, the five vital breaths, the five subtle primary elements, the fourfold Antahkarana, ignorance, desire and action are the eightfold city of the subtle body.

The physical body is only an instrument in the hands of the subtle body. When the subtle body is disciplined through Pranayama, abstraction and concentration, the physical body also becomes very healthy and strong. Whatever the subtle body is, that the physical body also becomes. The mind which is the ruler of the subtle body gets fattened by worldly affections, by avarice for wealth, by the acquirement of women and gold and by attachment to the external fleeting forms of beauties. The mind is thinned out by eradication of the Vasanas and egoism.

The subtle body is the distracted expression of the self through Avidya, the causal sheath. Therefore it is not the Truth. Truth is Brahman and all else is false. One should meditate that he is not the subtle body and that he is the self-effulgent Atman.

<b>9, 10. The Anandamaya Kosha or this bliss sheath is Avidya or ignorance, a modification of Prakriti. It is the effect of past deeds. It is endowed with changing attributes. It is Jada or insentient. Therefore you are not the Anandamaya Kosha. You are the witness of this sheath. Understand, therefore, "I am not the Anandamaya sheath. I am Brahman." </b>

The Anandamaya Kosha is made of Mula-Ajnana. It is the Karana Sarira or the causal body which is the substratum of all other sheaths which are external to it. Its three attributes or Dharmas are Priya, Moda and Pramoda, affection, delight and intense happiness. It is the indescribable beginningless Avidya, the nescience of the Atma, and is composed of Malina Sattwa. It is inanimate, beginningless, but has an end in Atma-Jnana.

The ignorance of the real nature of the Self constitutes this causal body or seed-body. It contains the potentialities or the seeds for the subtle and gross bodies. It projects the appearance of the whole universe through the subtle sheath. It is the food of ignorance for the hungry ego. The mind has come out of this ignorance and gets involved in it during deep sleep. In the sleeping state there is a vigorous functioning of this ignorance in which everything is lost as in pitch darkness. The Karana Sarira screens the Satchidananda Brahman.

He who knows the ignorance or the negation of the existence of the Atman and the denial of its appearance is the true Self, the Atman. He who knows the effects of ignorance, such as "I am a man, I am the doer and enjoyer, I am happy, I am miserable," is the witness and the Atman. Hence in reality the Self is the seer, knower and the witness of the causal body or the ignorance. The Self is the Knowledge and the Light itself.

As the light that enlightens the jar is different from it, so is the Self different from the bodies witnessed by it. Therefore the Self is Consciousness itself and not the bodies.

The aspirant should endeavour to rise above the five Koshas to realise the identity with Pure Consciousness. Just as one draws out the thin stalk from the Munja grass by stripping off its upper layers one by one, so also one should take out the innermost essence of the Atman from all objects of perception, i.e. the five Koshas, by the "neti, neti" doctrine of negating unreality. Just as butter is removed from milk by churning the mixture of curd, so also the butter of the Atman should be taken from the mixture of the five Koshas by the churning of constant meditation on the Immortal Brahman which fictitiously appears as the sheaths, the world, etc. When the identification with the sheaths ceases, the self realises the Infinite Being and gets liberated beyond death.
  Reply
I think I am beginning to understand the whole thing. Just as Jiva is the reflection of consciousness on the subtle body, Ishwara is also the reflection of Consciousness on His subtle body. The subtle body of Ishwara is, however, suddha sattva unlike the subtle body of Jivas. This fearsome terminology is saying that Ishwara's mind is so clean that it is not affected by the desires of Jivas latent in the bliss sheaths of Jivas. Only Ishwara's body is affected. The fact that Ishwara undergoes change due to the vasanas of Jivas is given in VI.172.
  Reply
Thanks sunder & gangajal.

I think when we get into too much detail about koshas etc, we move away from the philosophically stronger aspects of vedanta to somewhat weaker aspects. When discussing the koshas etc we get into low level nitty gritty of the actual construction of a human being. Many more assumptions need to be introduced such as there are exactly five koshas not six, etc. In such a case one starts feeling as if he/she is stating an article of faith rather than arguing about a philosophical system. Construction of human being is also an active area of study of many branches of science. So the disputes are likely to be numerous as well as substantial.

I would rather keep the philosophy of advaita away from such nitty gritty. Entering into such detail opens up the system to many more avenues of attack. The disadvantage is that questions raised based on such cases can be used to level unfair criticism on the whole edifice of advaita.

Advaita is primarily a theory of 'being' and 'consciouness'. Converting it into a science of human being's construction takes us away from the main force and scope of advaita.

Actually one can separate out many distinct and rather disjoint sections that are usually bundled together:

1. The elementary categories (brahman, maya, appearances, conscious self, subration etc.), unity of self and brahman, the proces of subration and different heirarchies of percieved realities, nirguna brahman as the final reality that can't be subrated, etc.

2. theory of karma and reincarnation: Note this theory is completely independent of the theoretical structure of (1).

3. Koshas, bodies, panchikaranam, etc. : The way koshas are organized or how many they are etc, do not affect the philosophical structure or impot of (1).

I think it is a good idea to keep in mind as well as remind , that vedanta consists of many of these sections that are philosophically speaking rather independent from each other. And that Adi Shankara's greatest contribution is in (1).
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I have some questions ( hopefully not too provocative <!--emo&Wink--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='wink.gif' /><!--endemo--> )

All the jivas are supposed to have these five koshas (or 3 bodies) that belong completely to them. So all the way to anandamaya-kosha, the 'light' or knowledge has progressively increased, but 'separation' hasn't ended. But in one fell step, from anandamaya-kosha to Ishvara, the multiplicity of all the jivas suddenly gets connected to one single Ishvara.

But aren't there supposed to be many kinds of beings, like devas, asuras, etc. in this vast universe. Are all of them supposed to be constructed according to the same sheath plan? Does the point of merger for them also lie just beyond the anandamaya-kosha?

Do all beings possess all the koshas? Does an ant have an anandamaya kosha? Does an amoeba?

If lets say, an amoeba doesn't possess some higher kosha such as anandamaya, vijnanamaya and manomaya. Then where does merger take place for an amoeba? At some level just beyond pranamaya? Do amoebas have an amoeba-Ishvara at the level of manomaya where they merge?

Do human beings with the five koshas eventually merge into a Ishvara specifically meant for humans? (nArAyana = whose abode is in humans or nara).

Would other type of beings with different kosha structures merge into their own kind of Ishvara?

I am a bit uncomfortable with the single point merger implied for all the beings in the whole of the universe. A progressive merger into higher and higher Ishvaras sounds more appealing.

<b>If merger can at all happen, then why can't it happen at many levels? Why does it have to happen at one highest level? Remember that Ishvara is not nirguna brahman. He is saguna. So if a merger can happen at a saguna level, why can't it happen at other lower saguna levels? </b>

I am thinking again of the upside down ashvattha tree model where the root is the brahman, and branches other beings. There is no single point from where all the branches simultaneously branch out. But branching is rather gradual, like a tree.

For example shaivism defines a whole series of shivas leading upto the paramashiva.
  Reply
Thanks, Virenji.
  Reply
Here is from Srimad Bhagavatam skandam 2, You may like to see the original shloka.

Link Srimad Bhagavatam- canto 2

SB 2.5.18: The Supreme Lord is pure spiritual form, transcendental to all material qualities, yet for the sake of the creation of the material world and its maintenance and annihilation, He accepts through His external energy the material modes of nature called goodness, passion and ignorance.

SB 2.5.19: These three modes of material nature, being further manifested as matter, knowledge and activities, put the eternally transcendental living entity under conditions of cause and effect and make him responsible for such activities.

SB 2.5.20: O Brāhmaṇa Nārada, the Superseer, the transcendent Lord, is beyond the perception of the material senses of the living entities because of the above-mentioned three modes of nature. But He is the controller of everyone, including me.

SB 2.5.21: The Lord, who is the controller of all energies, thus creates, by His own potency, eternal time, the fate of all living entities, and their particular nature, for which they were created, and He again merges them independently.

SB 2.5.22: After the incarnation of the first puruṣa [Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu], the mahat-tattva, or the principles of material creation, take place, and then time is manifested, and in course of time the three qualities appear. Nature means the three qualitative appearances. They transform into activities.

SB 2.5.23: Material activities are caused by the mahat-tattva's being agitated. At first there is transformation of the modes of goodness and passion, and later — due to the mode of ignorance — matter, its knowledge, and different activities of material knowledge come into play.

SB 2.5.24: The self-centered materialistic ego, thus being transformed into three features, becomes known as the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance in three divisions, namely the powers that evolve matter, knowledge of material creations, and the intelligence that guides such materialistic activities. Nārada, you are quite competent to understand this.

SB 2.5.25: From the darkness of false ego, the first of the five elements, namely the sky, is generated. Its subtle form is the quality of sound, exactly as the seer is in relationship with the seen.

SB 2.5.26-29: Because the sky is transformed, the air is generated with the quality of touch, and by previous succession the air is also full of sound and the basic principles of duration of life: sense perception, mental power and bodily strength. When the air is transformed in course of time and nature's course, fire is generated, taking shape with the sense of touch and sound. Since fire is also transformed, there is a manifestation of water, full of juice and taste. As previously, it also has form and touch and is also full of sound. And water, being transformed from all variegatedness on earth, appears odorous and, as previously, becomes qualitatively full of juice, touch, sound and form respectively.

SB 2.5.30: From the mode of goodness the mind is generated and becomes manifest, as also the ten demigods controlling the bodily movements. Such demigods are known as the controller of directions, the controller of air, the sun-god, the father of Dakṣa Prajāpati, the Aśvinī-kumāras, the fire-god, the King of heaven, the worshipable deity in heaven, the chief of the Ādityas, and Brahmājī, the Prajāpati. All come into existence.

SB 2.5.31: By further transformation of the mode of passion, the sense organs like the ear, skin, nose, eyes, tongue, mouth, hands, genitals, legs, and the outlet for evacuating, together with intelligence and living energy, are all generated.

SB 2.5.32: O Nārada, best of the transcendentalists, the forms of the body cannot take place as long as these created parts, namely the elements, senses, mind and modes of nature, are not assembled.

SB 2.5.33: Thus when all these became assembled by force of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this universe certainly came into being by accepting both the primary and secondary causes of creation.

SB 2.5.34: Thus all the universes remained thousands of eons within the water [the Causal Ocean], and the Lord of living beings, entering in each of them, caused them to be fully animated.


Gangajalji,
Here is Srimad Bhagavatam talking about the 14 lokas

SB 2.5.38: The lower planetary systems, up to the limit of the earthly stratum, are said to be situated in His legs. The middle planetary systems, beginning from Bhuvarloka, are situated in His navel. And the still higher planetary systems, occupied by the demigods and highly cultured sages and saints, are situated in the chest of the Supreme Lord.

SB 2.5.39: From the forefront of the chest up to the neck of the universal form of the Lord are situated the planetary systems named Janaloka and Tapoloka, whereas Satyaloka, the topmost planetary system, is situated on the head of the form. The spiritual planets, however, are eternal.

SB 2.5.40-41: My dear son Nārada, know from me that there are seven lower planetary systems out of the total fourteen. The first planetary system, known as Atala, is situated on the waist; the second, Vitala, is situated on the thighs; the third, Sutala, on the knees; the fourth, Talātala, on the shanks; the fifth, Mahātala, on the ankles; the sixth, Rasātala, on the upper portion of the feet; and the seventh, Pātāla, on the soles of the feet. Thus the virāṭ form of the Lord is full of all planetary systems.

SB 2.5.42: Others may divide the whole planetary system into three divisions, namely the lower planetary systems on the legs [up to the earth], the middle planetary systems on the navel, and the upper planetary systems [Svarloka] from the chest to the head of the Supreme Personality.

Sarvam Krisharpanam
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With Bhagavan's prodding, i have started reading the Paramachary's discourse on Soundrya lahiri. The following is very relevant to our earlier discussion. For those who did not have the time to read the entire digest

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Throughout his bhAshyas and all his minor works, our Acharya is
never tired of repeating: All worldly activities are MAyA; one should
aspire to realise and become the changeless and actionless nirguNa
Brahman. Thus the immutable ShivaM is the object of all his writing and
advice. What produces movement out of that Brahman was called MAyA
by him and he spared no pains to paint that MAyA in uncomplimentary
colors and warn us strongly against getting into her clutches.
But the very same Acharya, now, in the first shloka of
Soundaryalahari, exclaims with great admiration of Shakti (that very
same MAyA): Oh, Goddess, without you even Shiva cannot move!

How can the same person talk in two contradictory ways like this?
Which is true? If one of them is not true, can the Acharya tarnish his
name by speaking an untruth?

If you look at these things only by logic, you will not get anywhere.
The definition of Truth does not come by logic. WHATEVER WILL DO
GOOD TO WHOMSOEVER IT IS INTENDED, THAT SHOULD BE STATED
LOVINGLY; THAT IS TRUTH (SATYAM). For those who can tread the path
of jnAna, he recommended retirement from the world.


For those who have yet to evolve to that stage of spiritual maturity, he recommended the path of Bhakti and Karma; this will make them reach the kArya-
Brahman through worldly actions of work and worship. When one does
not have an evolved attitude to a certain path, it is counterproductive to
advise him go that path.

So it is not a question of being logical; it is a question of seeing the psycho-logical (!) perspective. The ancients called it ‘adhikAri-bheda’, that is, difference in prerequisite qualifications. Secondly, it is not just that he understood the psychology of
different types of seekers of spirituality and preached accordingly. It is
more. <b>Both the advices he gave, though seemingly opposite, are ‘true’,
each at a particular stage of evolution. In the phenomenal world, creation
and the universe and the activator of all of them, namely, Ishwara, are all
‘real’ certainly</b> <i>(relative realism?)</i>.

But when we enquire into the root cause of all this, we find that the more basic Reality is the Existent Self-in-itself that is actionless but through a miraculous magic wand of MAyA brings about all this moving world. Thus, when an Acharya or the scripture compares two paths or two objects of worship and speaks of one as the better or greater of the two, it does not always mean that the other thing, that had a lower estimate, is worthless. That which our Acharya talked about as the thing
to be discarded, namely, perception of duality, in all his works – that
very same thing he now praises to the sky, saying that this is what you
have to hold steadfastly in the bhakti path. In one case it is duality, in
the other case it is ‘sva-svarUpa-anu-sandhAnaM’ (remaining steadfast in
one’s own Self).
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As Sundar ji said, where is the icon for sashtanga namaskaram?
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]SELF AS KNOWER IN VISISHTADVAITA

SELF AS KNOWER IN VISISHTADVAITA
By P.Govindarajan

Sri Adi Shankara hails Srimad Bhagawad Gita as the quintessence of the Vedas. One of the invocatory songs on the Gita describes it as the essence of the Upanishads. In the colophon to the Gita, the Song Celestial, which serves as the Gospel of Mankind, it is described as the Brahma Vidya, Upanishad and Yoga Sashtra. The Brahma Sutras of Sage Badarayana furnishes in aphoristic form the philosophy of the Upanishads bringing out their cogency and consistency. The foundational texts of Vedanta called the Prasthana Traya or Scriptural Trinity are the Upanishads, Gita and the Brahma Sutras. The Brahma Sutras quotes two important passages in the Katha and the Mundaka Upanishads, which refer to two selves in the heart of the human body. Likewise, the Gita also refers to two knowers in the field or khsetra of human body. It will be useful to understand the purport and inner significance of the two selves and the two knowers referred to in the Prasthana Traya, the scriptural trinity of the Vedanta.

In the very first verse of the third Valli of the first chapter, the Katha Upanishad speaks of two selves that have entered the cave of the human heart. This verse reads as under:

``(There are two selves) enjoying the fruit of their Karma (actions) in this body, having entered the cave, the chief seat of the Supreme. They are shadow and light-so say the knowers of Brahman as also those who worship the five fires and have sacrificed thrice to Nachiketas.``

Commenting on this verse, Sri Adi Shankara says that the two selves are disparate as shadow and light because one of them enjoys the fruit of actions and transmigrates while the other does not. In his comments on the very next verse, he adds that the purport is that one should know both the lower and higher Brahman, which are respectively the refuge and goal of sacrificers and knowers. For it is these that have been referred to in the Mantra. Of the two selves the one that transmigrates is limited by adjuncts and is fit to follow either the path of knowledge or that of Karma according as it seeks liberation or worldly prosperity. Sage Badarayana, in Aphorism 11 of Pada ii of Chapter I of his Brahma Sutras refers to this verse of the Katha Upanishad and says that the two selves referred to are the individual self (Jivatma) and Brahman (Paramatma). Though it is only the individual self that enjoys the fruits of its actions, both the selves are spoken of here but the enjoyment of fruits of actions cannot apply to the Supreme Brahman.

The first section of the Third Mundaka of Mundaka Upanishad refers to two birds bound to one another in close friendship, perching on the self- same tree. The two birds are the Jivatma (individual soul) and the Paramatma (Supreme Brahman). This verse is referred in Aphorism 7 of the third Pada of chapter I of the Brahma Sutras of Sage Badarayana. Here Brahman is described as the witness and the individual soul as experiencing the fruits of good and bad actions. This description distinguishes the two selves as basically different in nature.

Keeping in view the above two verses from the two different Upanishads, thequestion that is often asked is whether there are two souls in the human heart viz. the individual soul (Jivatman) and the All-pervading Supreme Self (Paramatman) or one self only. Dealing with this question in his bhashya (commentary) on Sariraka Mimamsa (Brahma Sutras of sage Badarayana) verse I-ii-12 of Guhadikarana, Sri Adi Shankara states it as his final opinion that both these Upanishadic passages should be understood according to the interpretation given of the Katha Upanishad passage by the Paingi Rahasya Brahmana which states that only SATYAKSHETRAJNYOU i.e. the mind and the knower of the field (Atma) have entered into the human heart - not two Atmans. In accordance with the interpretation of a Sruti (Vedic) passage, Sri Adi Shankara gives his own view in the following words: ``this fact of being a doer and enjoyer is only fancifully put forth as due to the want of discriminative knowledge, by the mind and the knower of the body (Atman), of each other`s nature. In truth, it cannot apply to either, for the mind is non-intelligent (Achetana) and the knower of the body (Kshetrajna) is without any modification or change (i.e. absolute). `` He, therefore, concludes by stating that there is one Atman only who appears either as the All-pervading Iswara or the limited Jive and it is stated to reside in the heart.

Sri Adi Shankara also expressly states in his bhashya (comments) on the Sutra I-ii-20 that there is only one interior Atman; it is impossible that there can be two souls; the one only is spoken of differently according to different limiting conditions, just as ether in the pot and the ether that fills all space. The Adwaita school of philosophy, therefore, feels that it is not reasonable to maintain that there are two souls immanent in the human body.

The word KSHETRAJNA occurs in verses 1 and 2 of Chapter XIII of Srimad Bhagawad Gita, which reads as under:

``(1) This body, O Arjuna, is called the field and he who knows it is called the knower of the field by those who know them; (2) Also, know Me as the Knower of the field in all fields. O Arjuna, the knowledge of the field and its knowers do I consider as true knowledge.` In the Supreme Lord’s view, the knowledge of the field and its knowers is the whole crux of true knowledge. In fact, the whole of Vedanta is based on a proper understanding of the truth relating to human individual soul and its relation to the All-pervading Supreme Self. Both Sri Adi Shankara and Sri Ramanuja have recorded elaborate comments on the second verse and the latter strongly and vehemently refutes the former`s view. Sri Adi Shankara himself, in his comments refers to several objections raised by his opponents who do not agree with his interpretation of verse 2 of chapter XIII of Gita. From the objections it is quite evident that dualism seems to have been widely prevalent before the advent of Adwaita. The most important of the numerous objections are furnished below:

``Objection: Well, if it be that in all fields, there exists God alone and none else other than Him as the enjoyer or due to the absence of any mundane creature other than God, there will arise the contingency of negation of mundane existence. And both these are undesirable since the scriptures dealing with bondage, liberation and their causes will become useless and also because they contradict such valid means of knowledge as direct perception.`` What the dualists object to is the doctrine of non-dualism. If God is all that exists and nothing else, where is the need for creation of the physical universe and conscious selves? Creation can have no meaning at all and the scriptures cannot serve their purpose as the most authoritative guide to attain Moksha or release. The existence of an individual knower who uses his particular field (Kshetra) for his own ends cannot be denied as this is a self-evident and axiomatic truth needing no outside proof or testimony of any kind. The Lord’s Divine presence as the One Supreme Knower in all the fields is to help, inspire and guide the individual knowers on the path of purity, perfection and salvation. Creation can have fruitful purpose and definite meaning only if God as the One Supreme Knower of all knowers is distinct and different from the individual knowers of particular fields. The Lord very clearly says that He is the One Knower of all the fields.

The strongest, most serious and highly vehement of all objections raised by the opponents to non-dualism comes under verse 31 of the same chapter of the Gita in the following form:

``Objection: Who is it again that acts in the body and becomes affected? On the one hand, if there is to be some embodied being other than the Supreme Self who acts and becomes affected then it has been improper to say ``And also understand Me to be the Knower of the field in all fields `` etc that the knower of the field and God are one. Again, if there be no embodied being who is different from God, then it has to be stated who is it that acts and gets affected. Or it has to be asserted that the Supreme One does not exist (for if the SupremeOne also acts like all the mundane beings, then He can be no different from the ordinary human beings). Thus, since the Upanishadic philosophy as stated by the Lord is in every way difficult to understand and difficult to explain, it has, therefore, been abandoned by the Vaisheshikas, the Sankhyas, the Jainas and Buddhists.``

The question that arises in regard to the verses from the Katha and the Mundaka Upanishads and the Gita quoted above is- How many selves or knowers are there in the body or the field? Is there only one self or knower as asserted by Sri Adi Shankara or are there two selves or knowers in the body or field as maintained by dualists like Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madwa and several others who followed them? In Sri Adi Shankara`s view, the Supreme Lord is the one and only Self and knower and there is no second knower. Sri Ramanuja, however, vehemently opposes this single self or knower theory of Adwaita quoting several relevant passages from the Upanishads and the Purana Ratna Sri Vishnu Purana to support his view that the knower of the field is the individual self who knows only his particular field whereas the All-knowing SARVAJNAHA, the All-pervading VISHNU is the one Supreme Knower of all the individual knowers in all the fields. The key words used by the Lord in the Gita are CHA API i.e. `and also` and SARVA KSHETRESHU i.e. in all the fields. What the Lord declares is that He also is the One Knower of all the knowers of the individual fields. Verse 7 of section ii of the second Mundaka of the Mundaka Upanishad also declares YAHA SARVAJNAHA SARVAVIT i.e. The Supreme Lord is Omniscient and all knowing.

The distinctive qualities of the two selves are specifically mentioned in the subsequent passages of the Katha Upanishad through the words `` Know that the soul is the charioteer `` and ``He attains the end of the journey, that Supreme state of Vishnu VISHNOR YAD PARAMAM PADAM. The two selves i.e. the Jivatman or individual self and the Paramatman the Supreme Brahman are mentioned as the attainer and the Supreme Goal to be attained. In a previous passage also the two selves are spoken of as the meditator and the object of meditation through the words: ``The sage relinquishes joy and sorrow having realized by meditation ---that Effulgent One seated in the heart (Katha Upanishad I-ii-12).

Mundane existence is characterized by happiness, sorrow and their cause is apprehended through direct perception. Besides, from the perception of variety in the world, it can be inferred that mundane existence results from virtue and vice or the moral law of causation. All this will become illogical if the individual self or knower does not exist and the Supreme Lord is the One and the only Knower. The physical body cannot be said to be the knower, as such a view would be patently absurd as the body is made of inert, non-intelligent and unconscious matter.

The perishable body bereft of consciousness cannot generate, on its own, thoughts or feelings or exercise willpower, which are the functions of only the mind of the individual knowers. Consciousness, which illumines the knower to perceive and cognize, is an attribute of the being or self who experiences pain or pleasure or suffers from ignorance and gets enlightened with the truth of things with the help of consciousness. The existence of an individual knower who utilizes the perishable body for his own narrow and selfish ends cannot, therefore, be denied as this is a self-evident and axiomatic truth. If the term knower is applied to the One Supreme All-knowing Lord without a second, such a narrow and in fact, perverted interpretation of the scriptural truth would be preposterous and even absurd. The All-knowing perfect Lord who is pure, perfect and immutable cannot suffer even temporarily, any limitations or weaknesses to become ignorant, weak, finite mundane beings to suffer bondage and the indignities of the worldly life.

It is a self-evident fact that all living beings from microorganisms to man possess both life and consciousness. Life without consciousness can only result in vegetative existence as in coma whereas consciousness without life is a physical and psychological impossibility. The physical body will become inanimate in the absence of consciousness and will get decomposed in the absence of life. The inert physical body and the conscious self have no independent existence of their own, apart from the inner controlling Life Spirit. Life and consciousness are the two inseparable aspects of human life and like space and air and the two always go inalienably together. In fact, it is the Life Spirit that provides the Light of cognition to consciousness and energy to activate the physical body. The Mundaka Upanishad (III-I-1) says the two birds are closely united (SAYUJYA) and bound together in close friendship (SAKHYA). The Jivatman or individual conscious self is inseparable from Paramatama or the Supreme Self i.e.the Life Spirit.

The exact nature and specific characteristics of both consciousness and life principle can be known only when a person is devoid of consciousness or in coma. An unconscious person is unaware of his own existence and he does not also know what is happening around in the external world. The presence of consciousness gives an awareness of one's individual existence and also enables him to know the objects and beings of the outside world. Brain damage or head injury, which prevents the supply of blood as also oxygen and glucose to the brain, do affect the normal functioning of consciousness. In the state of coma, the vital organs of the life support system like the heart, lungs, kidneys etc, continue to function despite the total loss of consciousness. The loss of consciousness beyond the possibility of revival is reckoned by some medical experts as Brain Death. As the vital organs of the body continue to function, life cannot be considered as totally extinct. Being or Life Spirit cannot, therefore, be equated with consciousness. Consciousness depends for its very survival and existence on the Life Spirit but life can linger in the body even without consciousness such as in coma.

Sri Adi Shankara was only an intellectual philosopher who did not concern himself much with the deeper aspects of psychology. He seems to have gone more by the letter of the scriptures than on its spirit. On the other hand, Sri Ramanuja with his brilliant exposition of Dharmi Jnana i.e. Substantive Consciousness and Dharmabhuta Jnana i.e. Attributive Consciousness reveals the depth of his knowledge of psychology in addition to his incisive philosophical comments on the Brahma Sutras in his Sri Bhashya. In the Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahman has been described as SATYAM, JNANAM, ANANTHAM i.e. Existence, knowledge and infinity. The term Satyam can have a variety of meanings like Truth, Existence, Being etc. Obviously existence (Satyam) and knowledge (Jnanam) cannot mean one and the same thing. Likewise, life principle and consciousness are not one and the same. Existence refers to Life principle and knowledge refers to conscious awareness. Consciousness and life principle are basically different but consciousness cannot exist independent of life principle. Consciousness is a dependent attribute of the substantive life principle. Chandogya Upanishad declares that in deep sleep the conscious self rests in Brahman or the Life Spirit.

Mutually contradictory attributes of imperfection and perfection, unity and diversity etc, cannot exist in one and the same individual self. In verse 20 of chapter X of the Gita, the Lord declares that He is the Atman (Self) in the heart of all beings. In verse 7 of chapter XV of the Gita He further says that the Life Principle(JIVA BHUTA) in the body is an eternal portion of Himself. The term JIVA BHUTA i.e. Life Principle finds a place also in verse 5 of chapter VII of the Gita. While it will not be reasonable to maintain that there can be two souls immanent in the human body, there will be nothing wrong in presuming that the One Atma in the body may be having twin aspects viz. Life principle and consciousness. It is the One Life Spirit as the substratum that possesses the attribute of consciousness of individuality. The Katha and the Mundaka passages quoted at the beginning refers to Life Spirit and consciousness as the two separate selves as they are inalienable though two in number. They are inseparably united and one cannot exist independent of the other. Though consciousness and life spirit may be distinct and separate as two entities like space and air, they constitute one single indivisible whole. The life principle is the very same in all species from the microorganisms to man but the level of consciousness is different in different living beings depending on the type of body and the functions of senses. The conscious self experiences the pleasure or pain and not the Life Principle, which is only a witness and passive spectator of the game of life. The unity underlying the diversity is in Life Spirit and not in consciousness.

One last point has to be dealt with in order to remove all misconceptions about One Atma with two selves. On the basis of the Upanishadic passage PRAJNANAM BRAHMA i.e. consciousness is Brahman , Sri Adi Shankara defines the One Knower as formless, attributeless Pure Consciousness without clearly comprehending the nature and characteristics of consciousness. Consciousness is Jada i.e. inert like light and cannot exist independently of Life Principle. Shri Yamunacharya also known as Alavandar, in his Atma Siddhi translates Prajnanam Brahma as Brahman the Knower possessing consciousness. The Sanskrit word Prajna occurs several times in verses 56 to 68 of Chapter II of the Gita. The Lord refers in these verses to the Sthitha Prajna or the knower with steady wisdom and not to mere consciousness.

In the light of the above, the Maha Vakhyas like Aham Brahmasmi, Ayam Atma Brahma, Tat Twam Asi etc, have to be interpreted as the Life Principle possessing the attribute of consciousness and not as inert consciousness. Consciousness can neither be pure nor be impure and it is the nature of thoughts that surface in the conscious mind that makes the mind either pure or impure. Consciousness always remains in a single steady state in the wakeful, dream and deep sleep states like the flame.

Vedanta, as declared by Prof. Max Muller is the most sublime philosophy and the most satisfying religion. Its rational aspects appeal to the intellect while its emotional aspects deeply impress the heart. In the Gita, the Lord says that among the Vidyas He is the Adhyatma Vidya. Of all the sciences, the science of soul is the most difficult to comprehend. Philosophical interpretation ignoring the psychological aspects can endanger the very spirit of Vedanta. The Upanishads, Gita and the Brahma Sutras, which form the Prasthana Traya or the Scriptural Trinity of Vedanta, clearly refer to the twin aspects of Life Spirit and consciousness as the Self in the human body.
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Parabrahmoupanishad



Para-Brahma Upanishad

Translated by Prof. A. A. Ramanathan

Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai

Om ! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious;

May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship !

May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas,

Praising them with our body and limbs steady !

May the glorious Indra bless us !

May the all-knowing Sun bless us !

May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us !

May Brihaspati grant us well-being !

Om ! Let there be Peace in me !

Let there be Peace in my environment !

Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !



1. Now then Saunaka, the great householder (mahashala) approached in due form the revered sage Pippalada of Angiras family and asked him: (All created things) were surely present in the divine ether of the heart of Brahman (the Hiranyagarbha). How did the great lord create them out of himself in different species and who is this great and powerful lore ? To him (Pippalada) said: The most excellent lore of Brahman which I now expound, (Brahman of that alone) is true. It shines brilliantly in the city of the transcendent Brahman, being beyond Rajas (and the other gunas), partless, pure, indestructible and sustaining the power of the senses and the vital airs. He is the creator of the group of bees (in the form of individual souls) and restrains (their outward vision). Remaining in the city of his Self, doing no worldly work (as an ascetic) (he realizes oneness with Brahman). (But) as a doer of action he reaps the fruit (of repeated births and deaths), like a farmer. The knower of the true nature of action does action, (without attachment). Knowing the secret of action, (that unattached action leads to liberation) (the ascetic) shall do action. Which person (possessing discrimination) will throw the net (of motivated action) on the one (Brahman, screening it) ? (Motiveless action) will not drag him (to worldliness), will not drag him.

2. The deities presiding over the vital breath are four (Vishva, Viraj, Otir and Turya). All the nadis (where the vital breath and the deities remain are also four). (The former two active in Rama and Arama get fatigued in the waking and dreaming states and rest during) deep sleep as a hawk flying in the sky. Just as a hawk flying in the sky goes (when fatigued) into its abode, the nest, so the speaker (the Self) after remaining in this (waking) and the other (dreaming state, rests in deep sleep). This Self (while resting) in the golden transcendent sheath (of the ether of the heart) and being immortal is active in the three nadis (Rama, etc.,). (The first pada of this being avidya) it remains in the state of Brahman in the three quarters. The remaining pada (the Jiva) attains (its natural state) and then follows (i.e. attains liberation). Hence the speaker of elsewhere (the Jiva in the avidya) and the other (the Tripada Brahman are fancied to be different and thereby the Jiva wanders in bondage.

(Although) the Jiva remains in the golden transcendent sheath (of the ether of the heart,

yet it experiences the states of waking, etc., due to avidya). Just as Devadatta (i.e. any person) awakened from sleep when prodded with a stick does not go back (to sleep immediately, so also the Jiva getting wisdom from the Vedanta does not have the delusion of the three states of waking, etc.,); and it is not tainted by good or bad acts (such as the optional) charitable deeds. It is similar to a small boy who experiences joy without specific desires (in whatever thing that comes to him). Just as the luminous being (Jiva), (after getting fatigued in the waking and dreaming states) welcomes the joy of deep sleep, so it experiences bliss by realizing (its oneness with) the supreme effulgence (Brahman), which gives all round lustre to luminaries (such as the sun). Thus the heart (chitta) merges itself in the highest (Brahman) and thus realizing the Paramatman enjoys bliss. The pure colour (i.e. the state of non-distinction) arises from the (grace of) Ishvara. Again by the same path of turya-svapna (dreaming in the fourth state) he gives rest to the Self. Just as a leech moves from one position to another (the Jiva moves from the waking state of the turya to the dreaming state of the turya); this desire (to move from one state to another in the turya) arises due to (the grace of) Ishvara. By this the Jiva enjoys itself (by means of the distinctionful and distinctionless deep meditation, Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa Samadhi).

The juncture of the individual and supreme consciousness is rejected as there is a tinge of distinction involved in it. (When distinctionlessness alone exists) it is the highest (i.e. Brahman) and there is nothing other than that. (When Self-realization does not result by the study, etc., of the scripture) then one shall resort to the eight-limbed Yoga; this like a flower of a plantain tree (ever rubbing against the stem and attaining the state of a blossom) succeeds (in attaining perfection). That which remains as the source of Indra (Ishvara) is ever awake there, as the source of the Veda (as Parameshvara). Beyond (the bonds of) good and bad, he (the ascetic) is not tainted by (accidental) good or bad actions. This effulgent Being is the (bestower of) favour on other gods (like the god Brahma), the ‘internal check’ of the form of unattached pure consciousness, the Purusha, the Hamsa of the Pranava, the supreme Brahman. It is not the chief Prana (vital breath). The Pranava is the Self (Jiva). (This state of the Jiva) remains as the first effulgent being. How can he who knows thus (the true nature of the Pranava) set forth difference (between the Jiva and Brahman) ? He realizes that the Jiva is Brahman (alone).

3. Then to this realized person reality (i.e. true wisdom) constitutes the inner tuft and sacred thread. To the Brahmana desirous of liberation is (allowed) the state of the inward tuft and sacred thread. The wearing of externally visible tuft and sacred thread (is necessary) for the householders engaged in rituals. The characteristic of the inward sacred thread is not clearly visible like external thread; it is the union with reality inwardly.

4. It (avidya) is not existent (as the cause is not visible), nor non-existent (as the effect is visible as the phenomenal world), nor both (existent and non-existent part, as the two are incompatible). It is not different (from Brahman as it has no independent existence), nor non-different (as it is not a substance), nor of both (different and non-different, as it is an impossibility). It is not possessed of parts (as the parts are absent in the cause), nor partless (as the effect is seen possessed of parts), nor a combination of both. (Thus avidya is indescribable). It is to be discarded by the realization of oneness of Brahman and the Self; for it is the cause of illusion. Thus (it is to be understood).

5. There is nothing other than Brahman of the five padas (i.e. the turyatita). There are four places for realizing the inward Jiva-Brahman who consists of four padas inside the body. (The vyasti’s four padas are: Vishva, Taijasa, Prajna and Turiya. The samasti’s four padas are: Viraj, Sutra, Bija and Turiya). In the eyes, throat, heart and head there are (the four) states of waking, dreaming, deep sleep and turya. (Moreover the Atman is to be conceived as) the Ahavaniya, Garhapatya, Dakshina and Sabhya fires. In the waking state (the presiding deity is) the god Brahma, in dreaming state Vishnu, in deep sleep Rudra and the fourth state is the indestructible one, consisting of consciousness. Hence the four states (waking, etc.,) are to be considered as a covering by four fingers and just as the sacred thread is of ninety-six four-finger breadths (in extent) so the inward brahma-sutra consists of ninety-six categories (tattvas). As the sacred thread consists of three threads so the inward brahma-sutra is brought to the state of thirty two categories in each of the three gunas.

This state of the triad purified by wisdom is to be known separately as the three gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). This is known as the nine Brahman-s possessed of nine attributes. These counted as nine, being rendered into three each having three attributes, are to be identified with the digits of the sun, moon and fire. The first and last (of the triad) are to be turned thrice in the middle and are to be considered as Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara. The first and last are to be joined and the knot of non-duality is to be made in the knot of consciousness. Then this which extends from the navel to the Brahmarandhra and connected with the twenty-seven tattvas separately and possessing the three gunas is to be considered as one though they are seen with the characteristics of the Trinity. This (inward) brahma-sutra is to be considered as hanging from the left shoulder reaching up to the right hip. The meeting together of the first and last is to be understood as having one foundation. Things made of clay are considered real (but) it is verbosity (born of ignorance); the transformation is a (mere) name; that it is clay alone is the truth. (As there is no pot without clay, so the primary cause, Brahman alone is real).

With the two letters of the Hamsa (i.e. I am the Hamsa, Brahman) he should be convinced of the internal tuft and sacred thread. The state of a Brahmana is the state deserving meditation on Brahman. The state of being a sage has the absence of visible tuft and sacred thread. Thus the householder has visible tuft for performing ritual and the sacred thread for acquiring wisdom. To the state of the semblance of a Brahmana there is the tuft consisting of a mass of hair and sacred thread made of cotton threads. (The brahma-sutra is one alone); it is four (as Vishva, Viraj, etc.,) by quadruplication. The twenty-four tattvas constitute the threads. The nine tattvas constitute the one transcendent Brahman, (but people) provide many paths (such as Sankhya, Yoga, etc.,) due to difference in approach. Liberation is one alone to all, whether they are Brahma and the other gods, divine sages or human beings. Brahman is one alone. The state of the Brahmana is one alone. Castes, stages of life and special duties are divergent. The tuft is the same to the castes and stages of life. To the ascetic seeking salvation the basis of tuft and sacred thread, (the wise) declare, is the Pranava alone. The Hamsa is the tuft, the Pranava is the sacred thread and the Nada is the connecting link. This is the dharma and no other is the dharma. How is that ? The Pranava, Hamsa and Nada constitute the three fold thread and this remains in consciousness in one’s heart. Know this to be the three fold Brahman. (The ascetic) shall discard the worldly tuft and sacred thread.

6. Having had a shave removing the tuft, a wise person shall discard the external sacred thread. He shall have as the sacred thread the transcendent Brahman which is indestructible.

7. For avoiding rebirth he shall ever long for liberation. The sutra is so called as it indicates (liberation); the sutra indeed is the highest position.

8. He knows the sutra who has become a seeker after liberation, a mendicant monk. He is the knower of the Veda, having unimpeachable conduct. He is the learned Brahmana who sanctifies by his presence the persons who sit in the same row to dine with him.

9. The Yogin, who is the knower of Yoga, a Brahmana and an ascetic shall wear that sutra by which all this (phenomenal world) is joined together (as a unity) just as gems are strung together in a thread.

10. A learned Brahmana who is deeply intent on Yoga and spiritual wisdom shall discard the external sacred thread. He who wears the sutra consisting of devotion to Brahman attains salvation. There is neither impurity nor the state of eating the leavings of others when one possesses that sutra.

11. Those who, having the sacred thread of spiritual wisdom, possess the sutra inwardly are the knowers of the sutra in the world and they are the (true) wearers of the sacred thread.

12. Their tuft and sacred thread consist of spiritual wisdom (Jnana), they are established in Jnana; to them Jnana alone is supreme and this Jnana is declared to be sanctifying.

13. The wise one whose tuft consists of Jnana and no other, like the flame emanating from fire, is said to possess the (true) tuft; not the others who wear (a mass of) hair.

14. Those who are immersed in activities, whether Vedic (ritual) or worldly actions live as Brahmanas in name only, filling their bellies. They come to grief and have rebirth again and again.

15. The sacred thread hanging from the left shoulder to the right hip is contrariwise (to liberation). The wise shall wear (i.e. possess) true knowledge which is rooted in consciousness, having threads in the form of true principles (tattvas) and extending from the navel to the tip of the aperture in the crown of the head (Brahmarandhra).

16. This sacred thread which forms part of ritual and made of (cotton) threads is to be worn by them (i.e. the ignorant). He whose tuft consists of wisdom as also his sacred thread has all the (true) characteristics of a Brahmana; others have none at all.

17. It is this sacred thread which is the supreme panacea. The wise one who wears this sacred thread attains liberation.

18. That learned Brahmana is entitled to renunciation who has the sacred thread both within and without; but the one having one (i.e. the external one) alone is never entitled to renunciation.

19. Hence by all effort the ascetic shall long for liberation. Discarding the external thread he shall wear the internal sutra within himself.

20. Disregarding the external phenomenal world, tuft and sacred thread he shall hold on to the tuft and sacred thread in the form of the sacred syllable (Pranava) and Brahman (Hamsa) and thus equip himself for liberation. Thus declared the revered sage Saunaka. Thus (ends) the Upanishad.





Om ! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious;

May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship !

May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas,

Praising them with our body and limbs steady !

May the glorious Indra bless us !

May the all-knowing Sun bless us !

May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us !

May Brihaspati grant us well-being !

Om ! Let there be Peace in me !

Let there be Peace in my environment !

Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !
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Brahma Sutra by George Thibaut
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<!--QuoteBegin-Ashok Kumar+Jan 29 2005, 06:47 AM-->QUOTE(Ashok Kumar @ Jan 29 2005, 06:47 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> I have some questions ( hopefully not too provocative <!--emo&Wink--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='wink.gif' /><!--endemo--> )

All the jivas are supposed to have these five koshas (or 3 bodies) that belong completely to them.  So all the way to anandamaya-kosha, the 'light' or knowledge has progressively increased, but 'separation' hasn't ended.  But in one fell step, from anandamaya-kosha to Ishvara, the multiplicity of all the jivas suddenly gets connected to one single Ishvara.

But aren't there supposed to be many kinds of beings, like devas, asuras, etc. in this vast universe.  Are all of them supposed to be constructed according to the same sheath plan? Does the point of merger for them  also lie just beyond the anandamaya-kosha?

Do all beings possess all the koshas? Does an ant have an anandamaya kosha?  Does an amoeba? 

If lets say, an amoeba doesn't possess some higher kosha such as anandamaya, vijnanamaya and manomaya. Then where does merger take place for an amoeba?  At some level just beyond pranamaya?  Do amoebas have an amoeba-Ishvara at the level of manomaya where they merge?

Do human beings with the five koshas eventually merge into a Ishvara specifically meant for humans? (nArAyana = whose abode is in humans or nara).

Would other type of beings with different kosha structures merge into their own kind of Ishvara?

I am a bit uncomfortable with the single point merger implied for all the beings in the whole of the universe.  A progressive merger into higher and higher Ishvaras sounds more appealing. 

<b>If merger can at all happen, then why can't it happen at many levels?  Why does it have to happen at one highest level?  Remember that Ishvara is not nirguna brahman.  He is saguna.  So if a merger can happen at a saguna level, why can't it happen at other lower saguna levels? </b>

I am thinking again of the upside down ashvattha tree model where the root is the brahman, and branches other beings.  There is no single point from where all the branches simultaneously branch out.  But branching is rather gradual, like a tree.

For example shaivism defines a whole series of shivas leading upto the paramashiva. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Ashok Kumar,
These are my answers to yuour questions:

1. The consciousness that is projected onto the anandamaya kosha or the very FIRST covering of the Atman is a subset of Ishwara's consciousness. The consciousness that is projected onto the other koshas activate the mind and physical body of the being to whom these koshas belong. It is at the level of the mind and body that all beings differ from each other and are affected by Karma and hence the other Koshas can not be part of Ishwara. If the other koshas also form part of Ishwara then Ishwara will be affected by Karma of the Jivas.

2. No one can give you an authoritative answer to your question regarding devas (indra etc) or asuras. However, it would seem reasonable that any being will have to be a sum of the Atman and coverings. If there is no covering or kosha then those beings will all become mukta which is unlikely. So I would think that the Koshas would be there.

3. I think all beings must have koshas since without Koshas they will be pure Atman and be free.
I read somewhere that at least one Upanishad gives the location of the chakras of birds. I would think, however, that non-human creatures (lower than humans) will probably not have the Vijnanamaya kosha (intellectual sheath) , at least not as human have it. This is because non-human beings are not as intelligent as humans.

4.Ishwara is the sum total of ALL consciousness. Hence there is no Ishwara for only human being. Remember that Ishwara is defined as the sum of the consciousness that is projected on the first covering of the Atman. Since all beings must have their Atman covered, there has to be a common Ishwara.

5. It is not possible for any being to merge into Ishwara since Ishwara is merely the consciousness projected on to the first covering of Atman. Other beings (higher than human beings) might well be able to merge with the Atman itself. I think there is a discussion about this in Brahma Sutra Bhasya. Normally it is thought that only human beings can merge with the Atman. Lower beings can not because their intellect is not well developed. "Gods" like Indra can not because their lives in lower heaven are too good for them to meditate.

I will give the rest of mya answer later.
  Reply
There can not be higher and higher Ishwara because there can be only one ominiscient being.

Merger can not happen at many levels. Merger means that the Jiva realizes he is Atman or Brahman. This realization can only happen when the Jiva goes beyond all koshas.

Yes, there are many shivas within the human subtle body. By that is meant that consciousness is projected at all the levels. This is also what happens at the various koshas too. Consciousness is projected at all 5 koshas. However, the kosha at the first level is called Ishwara.
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Regarding mergers, many devotees become deeply identified with thei guru or chosen deity.

On a lower level even we get identified with our country, religion etc. This common identity for a group of separate people could appear like a disjoint bunch. But in many cases such as a highly devotional group or a lynch-mob, the collection takes up a personality of its own.

People fall in love and have deep identification with their object of love.

Since such identifications can happen even at mundane levels, it suggests, many to one mapping that the relationship of jivas to Ishvara implies, could possibly happen at many levels too.

Of course as we move up the consciousness chain, the roots where the mergers could possibly happen are likely to become more and more sat, chit and anada.

The other way to ask the same questions is to ask whether there is just one kind of 'mukti' or many kinds. Most people mean by 'mukti' to attain to the level of the highest nirguna brahman. But for our human condition, in this school of earth, it appears that 'mukti' from even just the push and pulls of vital-emotions means a huge accomplishment. Just watch the movies, dramas, TV and read the books. A majority of drama of life on earth is written in terms of vital-emotional push and pulls, the rAga and dvesha of the lower vital personality. A 'mukti' from just that may be a hug 'mukti' for most people.

While philosophizing, it is easy to forget how far the nirguna brahman really is. From a saguna level like ours to the nirguna there may be uncountable numbers of layers.

And if someone says that one particular saguna level is especially important and is the ONLY one just below the nirguna, then I have a problem with that too. I think it is always possible to find the next element in a sequence of sagunas. There is no 'final' element at the level of sagunas. Only final element is the nirguna.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> There can not be higher and higher Ishwara because there can be only one ominiscient being. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
The usage of words like 'omniscient' (all-knowing) also opens up the same problems as the usage of the word 'all' in other instances.

<b>Is an omniscient being also aware of all future, (trikAladarshI)? Then there is no meaning of 'will' as everything that is going to happen is already known to him. There can't be any purpose for the omniscient being because to him the future is already decided, he knows it. In that sense there is no role for him to play within time. No devotees to save, no dharma to protect etc., no purpose. Seen from within time, such as from our viewpoint, he will appear completely devoid of any motive or purpose, completely immovable by any demands, prayers or requests. We may wish to change the coming events, but he can't, because for him they are already fixed. That differes from the conventional idea one has about a personal God.</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->1. The consciousness that is projected onto the anandamaya kosha or the very FIRST covering of the Atman is a subset of Ishwara's consciousness. The consciousness that is projected onto the other koshas activate the mind and physical body of the being to whom these koshas belong. It is at the level of the mind and body that all beings differ from each other and are affected by Karma and hence the other Koshas can not be part of Ishwara. If the other koshas also form part of Ishwara then Ishwara will be affected by Karma of the Jivas.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Why doesn't Ishvara, if he has any action on any of the koshas, not feel the reaction too? All the koshas are supposed to be linked causally. TWhy wouldn't they mutually affect each other. Even if Ishvara only deals with anadamaya, still he gets the effects of all the koshas because anandamaya itself gets affected by lower koshas.

It appears that it is being implied that Ishvara can act on the world without himself facing any reaction. This kind of separation has been proposed many times where a certain ideal entity can affect other non-ideal entities, but remains unaffected himself. Again if this were to be taken to be absolutely true then certains problems arise.

<b>If Ishvara is completely unaffected by lower things, then how can he respond to our prayers, complaints and sorrows that evidently arise in the lower realms. If his actions would only be 'actions' not 'reactions' then nothing we could do, pray or beseech from our lower level could affect him to change his intent or action. Compassion implies getting affected by others suffering.</b>

Is Ishvara a personal God, who listens to our prayers and responds to our requests and causes changes in the world based on those needs? Or Ishvara is the far far away omniscient, unattached being? It is said that he does get affected by our sorrow to respond with compassion. If he were not affected at all then his response would be stochastic.

To me it appears that to be the father & the mother, the protector and the compassionate refuge, Ishvara has to descend into all the lower realms and give loving importance to every little thing of creation. Is he happy with the joy of the world and sorrowful with the pain of the world. If he enetrs the worlds down to the level of inconscient then does he also willingly suffers the associated pains that this endeavour entails. He couldn't just be sitting far away in heaven. He is also enmeshed in the world. Christianity for example tackles this situation by seating the "father" in the heaven while the "son" wears the crown of thorns in the world.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-Ashok Kumar+Feb 1 2005, 06:10 AM-->QUOTE(Ashok Kumar @ Feb 1 2005, 06:10 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Regarding mergers, many devotees become deeply identified with thei guru or chosen deity. 
On a lower level even we get identified with our country, religion etc.  This common identity for a group of separate people could appear like a disjoint bunch.  But in many cases such as a highly devotional group or a lynch-mob, the collection takes up a personality of its own.
People fall in love and have deep identification with their object of love. 
Since such identifications can happen even at mundane levels, it suggests, many to one mapping that the relationship of jivas to Ishvara implies, could possibly happen at many levels too. 
Of course as we move up the consciousness chain, the roots where the mergers could possibly happen are likely to become more and more sat, chit and anada.

The other way to ask the same questions is to ask whether there is just one kind of 'mukti' or many kinds.  Most people mean by 'mukti' to attain to the level of the highest nirguna brahman.  But for our human condition, in this school of earth, it appears that 'mukti' from even just the push and pulls of vital-emotions means a huge accomplishment.  Just watch the movies, dramas, TV and read the books.  A majority of drama of life on earth is written in terms of vital-emotional push and pulls, the rAga and dvesha of the lower vital personality.  A 'mukti' from just that may be a hug 'mukti' for most people.
While philosophizing, it is easy to forget how far the nirguna brahman really is.  From a saguna level like ours to the nirguna there may be uncountable numbers of layers.
And if someone says that one particular saguna level is especially important and is the ONLY one just below the nirguna, then I have a problem with that too.  I think it is always possible to find the next element in a sequence of sagunas.  There is no 'final' element at the level of sagunas.  Only final element is the nirguna.


The usage of words like 'omniscient' (all-knowing) also opens up the same problems as the usage of the word 'all' in other instances. 
b]Is an omniscient being also aware of all future, (trikAladarshI)?  Then there is no meaning of 'will' as everything that is going to happen is already known to him.  There can't be any purpose for the omniscient being because to him the future is already decided, he knows it.  In that sense there is no role for him to play within time.  No devotees to save, no dharma to protect  etc., no purpose.  Seen from within time, such as from our viewpoint, he will appear completely devoid of any motive or purpose, completely immovable by any demands, prayers or requests.  We may wish to change the coming events, but he can't, because for him they are already fixed.  That differes from the conventional idea one has about a personal God.[/b]


Why doesn't Ishvara, if he has any action on any of the koshas, not feel the reaction too?  All the koshas are supposed to be linked causally.  TWhy wouldn't they mutually affect each other.  Even if Ishvara only deals with anadamaya, still he gets the effects of all the koshas because anandamaya itself gets affected by lower koshas.
It appears that it is being implied that Ishvara can act on the world without himself facing any reaction.  This kind of separation has been proposed many times where a certain ideal entity can affect other non-ideal entities, but remains unaffected himself.  Again if this were to be taken to be absolutely true then certains problems arise. 


]If Ishvara is completely unaffected by lower things, then how can he respond to our prayers, complaints and sorrows that evidently arise in the lower realms.  If his actions would only be 'actions' not 'reactions' then nothing we could do, pray or beseech from our lower level could affect him to change his intent or action. Compassion implies getting affected by others suffering.[/b]
Is Ishvara a personal God, who listens to our prayers and responds to our requests and causes changes in the world based on those needs?  Or Ishvara is the far far away omniscient, unattached being?  It is said that he does get affected by our sorrow to respond with compassion.  If he were not affected at all then his response would be stochastic. 
To me it appears that to be the father & the mother, the protector and the compassionate refuge, Ishvara has to descend into all the lower realms and give loving importance to every little thing of creation.  Is he happy with the joy of the world and sorrowful with the pain of the world.  If he enetrs the worlds down to the level of inconscient then does he also willingly suffers the  associated pains that this endeavour entails. He couldn't just be sitting far away in heaven.  He is also enmeshed in the world.  Christianity for example tackles this situation by seating the "father" in the heaven while the "son" wears the crown of thorns in the world. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Ashok Kumar,

You have asked a series of tough questions. I have given below my answers:

1. The "ultimate merger" means going beyond the ego. Such a merger is beyond
all the mundane levels. One can also have a "devotee's merger". In this case
God is pleased with a devotee and tells the devotee that, "you and I are one".

2. There are in fact many types of mukti. Vaishnavas define the following
types of mukti:

salokya (place in Lord's world)
samipya (proximity)
sarupya (attaining same form as god)
sayujya (absorption)
Absorption means psychological union for Bhaktas.

It is only the Advaitists that says that mukti is the attainment of nirguna
Brahman. There is indeed a final saguna level. This final saguna level is
not a matter of speculation but of experience. This final saguna level is
experinced when the manasa chakra in the middle of the forehead gets
activated.

3. Yes, an omniscient being is aware of all future. Sri Krishna showed Arjuna
the fate of all the Kaurava warriers before the war even started. Krishna
also told Arjuna that the Kaurava warriers will all be dead regardless of
what Arjuna does and Arjuna is merely an instrument.
Yes, Ishwara has no purpose or motive. It is also true that it is very
difficult even for Ishwara to change events. Buddhists believe that it is
indeed impossible for Ishwara to go against karma. Hindus say that Ishwara
can reduce the intensity of karmic suffering.

4. Ishwara does not have the physical body-mind complex which is affected
by Karma. Ishwara is the Lord of Maya and is unaffected by Karma.

5. It is our own Karma that decides our fate. However, prayers to Ishwara can
reduce our suffering. Ishwara is indeed affected by the suffering of a devotee.
Even Ishwara can not negate the effect of bad Karma 100 %. Ishwara is very powerful
compared to Jivas but does not have infinite power.
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->On a lower level even we get identified with our country, religion etc. This common identity for a group of separate people could appear like a disjoint bunch. But in many cases such as a highly devotional group or a lynch-mob, the collection takes up a personality of its own.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
This identification with the external thing is what caused Jeevatma (Chidabhasa) to think that it is the body. Nonetheless, when a billion ppl identify themselves with the Nation or religion, and the collective experience takes up a personality, the 'collective consciousness' is not seen by the individual observer. You can only have YOUR perception of the group thought. Thus, the group personality in reality cannot be called a 'separate' personality any different from you.
People fall in love and have deep identification with their object of love. And yet do not really MERGE and think that they are their object of love. A man never thinks that he has become the woman he loves, and vice versa. If that was the case, then lovers would have lost their original identity, and this is not seen from experience.

The Jeeva-Ishwara relation is not the same as Jeeva-jeeva relation. Between two jeevas, there is the same level of impediments, and hence one jeeva does not merge into another jeeva. The merger is always vertical, and never horizontal. Even though a mother carries a jeeva for nine months, she does not feel that she is her baby, does she ? Nor does the fetus think it is the mother.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The other way to ask the same questions is to ask whether there is just one kind of 'mukti' or many kinds. Most people mean by 'mukti' to attain to the level of the highest nirguna brahman. But for our human condition, in this school of earth, it appears that 'mukti' from even just the push and pulls of vital-emotions means a huge accomplishment. Just watch the movies, dramas, TV and read the books. A majority of drama of life on earth is written in terms of vital-emotional push and pulls, the rAga and dvesha of the lower vital personality. A 'mukti' from just that may be a hug 'mukti' for most people.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
In colloquial terms Mukti can take any meaning, like "guru", or "pundit" has different applications in english. But the Shruthi always means Mukthi to be free from all pleasures/pains. It could be jeevan-mukthi, or videha-mukthi. The presence or absence of a physical body does not alter the nature of mukthi.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->While philosophizing, it is easy to forget how far the nirguna brahman really is. From a saguna level like ours to the nirguna there may be uncountable numbers of layers. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
"Dhoorastham, cha anthike cha thath". It is far, yet it is the closest. It is the one that makes you aware of the layers in the first place. It cannot be any further from you than yourself <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> I like Sri Rubhu's words, "Yathra Yathra mano yathi, thathra Brahmaiva darshanam." This can be practised during self enquiry, or while travelling in the skytrain, or local bus etc.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->And if someone says that one particular saguna level is especially important and is the ONLY one just below the nirguna, then I have a problem with that too. I think it is always possible to find the next element in a sequence of sagunas. There is no 'final' element at the level of sagunas. Only final element is the nirguna.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Isn't any saguna based on Nirguna as it's substratum? If a saguna has another saguna as it's substratum, then I am confused. Thus the hierarchy that we talk about cannot be saguna-based-on-saguna model. It has to be saguna-with-nirguna-substratum model alone. If that is the case, then the merger can be easily explained. Just as your dream objects merge back into your mind when you awake, there is no hierarchical mergers of dream objects.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Why doesn't Ishvara, if he has any action on any of the koshas, not feel the reaction too? All the koshas are supposed to be linked causally. TWhy wouldn't they mutually affect each other. Even if Ishvara only deals with anadamaya, still he gets the effects of all the koshas because anandamaya itself gets affected by lower koshas.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
The Sandhaanam (joining) of the Ishwara with the kosha is not the same as a physical link between them. As Shri Bhagavaan says in the Geetha, "Yatha akaasha stitho nithyam vayu sarvatrago mahaan" in BG 9.6. (I think I had mentioned this earlier.
If all quarks, electrons and protons are in contact with space, then how come space does not get charged by the +ve and -ve charges of the electron/protons ? If something is OMNIpresent, then it naturally will be the encapsulation point for any and all classes below it.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It appears that it is being implied that Ishvara can act on the world without himself facing any reaction. This kind of separation has been proposed many times where a certain ideal entity can affect other non-ideal entities, but remains unaffected himself. Again if this were to be taken to be absolutely true then certains problems arise.

If Ishvara is completely unaffected by lower things, then how can he respond to our prayers, complaints and sorrows that evidently arise in the lower realms. If his actions would only be 'actions' not 'reactions' then nothing we could do, pray or beseech from our lower level could affect him to change his intent or action. Compassion implies getting affected by others suffering.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Getting affected here would mean mutation of Ishwara. This does not happen. However, all your prayers and sufferings go away because of the WILL and Compassion of Ishwara. This is my understanding, though I am not competent enough to understand how the Will and Compassion of Ishwara works.
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