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Thread: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

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    Light BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    Namaste, I'm looking for an explanation of Bhagavad Gita verse 4.6. To my limited understanding, some commentators like Shankara suggest that the Highest / Krishna is originally unmanifest and projects/creates a form under which he appears. Others state that Krishna is originally manifest and has a transcendental form. I tend towards Shankara's concept but I don't know who is right. Can you say that there is a "correct" interpretation at all? Or is the question of manifest/unmanifest rather like the two sides of the same coin?

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    Smile Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    Pranam,

    It's not easy to understand ! we have to understand that although krishna seems to be a doer, he is a non-doer. Although he is seen in form with the help of maya, he is formless only ! The same thing Krishna is telling in Bhagavad gita 4.6 verse. No one knows how krishna is formless although he is seen in form. No one knows how he is non doer although he seems as a doer! The one who knows it, he is liberated !

    The best explaination from a great devotee of lord Krishna, Sant dnyaneshwar, A self realized bramha ..

    Though I am unborn and immutable and also the Lord of all creatures, yet resorting to my own nature, I come into being through my Maya.( gita 4.6 )

    I come into being through my maya : This clearly indicates bramhan come into being or in a form through Maya. Besides, Krishna calls them fools who consider him as a person ( in form) .

    Explaination:

    I remember all my former births, as I take birth with the aid of Maya. But I do not lose my eternity. What appears as my descent and return is mere appearance due to this Maya. This does not affect my freedom, and if I appear subject to action, that too is due to delusion, in reality it is not so. One thing appears two, when seen in a mirror; but if you consider the reality, are they really two? So Arjuna, although I am without form through the power of my Maya, I play-act different roles for the good of the world.


    Edited: Yes, supreme is formless. Pramana of this is Upanishads. Many times Upanishads stated Bramhan as formless !
    But that formless is not like that we think! In fact, supreme bramh is beyond form and formless concepts of our deluded mind!


    Dhanyavad
    Last edited by hinduism♥krishna; 11 October 2013 at 01:38 PM.
    Hari On!

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    Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    Namaste
    Quote Originally Posted by Cosinuskurve View Post
    Namaste, I'm looking for an explanation of Bhagavad Gita verse 4.6. To my limited understanding, some commentators like Shankara suggest that the Highest / Krishna is originally unmanifest and projects/creates a form under which he appears. Others state that Krishna is originally manifest and has a transcendental form. I tend towards Shankara's concept but I don't know who is right. Can you say that there is a "correct" interpretation at all? Or is the question of manifest/unmanifest rather like the two sides of the same coin?
    Welcome to the world of Hindu dialectics.
    Basically there are two opposing interpretations. One is advaita whose proponent was Shankara, while the other is vaishnava whose proponents were vaishnava acaryas such as Ramanuja (Ramanujacarya), Madhva (Madhvacarya), Nimbarka (Nimbaditya), Vishnusvami and Sri Caitanya, etc, all of which vaishnavas.

    "Who is right?"
    Good question to say the least.
    Each tradition or school (sampradaya) will tell you "We are right! We know what is the true meaning and purport of the verses in Bhagavad gita, Upanishads and other scriptures."
    If this question is bothering you then examine the arguments of both sides and put them on the scale and weigh them. Then decide who is right. I have done this many years ago and I made the decision for myself.
    Maybe this will help, "Is Brahman a Person?" thread, pages 6 & forward: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...t=10726&page=6

    regards

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    Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    Namaste


    I think same question is asked by Arjuna to Sri Krishna in chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gita

    “ of the two- those ever steadfast devotees( bhakta) who worship you and those who worship the unmenifested Brahman – who are the superior devotees ?”- verse 1

    Sri Krishna replies : “ those whose minds are attuned to Me in earnest love and who worship Me with supreme faith are deemed by Me to be the highest among the devotees”- verse 2

    “ those who set their thoughts on the Unmenifested have to face a harder task, for the goal of the Unmenifested is difficult to attain by the embodied souls”- verse 5

    It is upto to you whether you choose easier or harder task to reach to goal. It is Upanishad which says Brahman is having form and it is also Upanishad which says Brahman is formless.

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    Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    hariḥ o
    ~~~~~~
    namasté
    Quote Originally Posted by jopmala View Post
    I think same question is asked by Arjuna to Sri Krishna in chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gita
    “ of the two- those ever steadfast devotees( bhakta) who worship you and those who worship the unmenifested Brahman – who are the superior devotees ?”- verse 1
    If I may, I wish to add just a bit more for the discerning reader. When one translates a sloka it is important to get the words aligned. With the offer above arjuna does not ask who is 'superior' but who is yoga-vittamāḥ .

    So the key to this śloka resides in yoga-vittamāḥ and this does not mean superior. We know what yoga means , but what of vittamāḥ ?
    Vitta = acquired , gained , obtained , possessed . It is rooted in 'vid' which means 'known , understood'. So the question is about who has gained , obtained, ~understood~ yoga, and not so much who is superior ( which infers an inferior state also).


    But there is more... as this vittamāḥ also has mā as part of the word offer. This mā = knowledge, measure, authority, when we look to its 4th derivative.
    In the 3rd derivative it can mean to measure (by any standard) , compare with . In this case we then can suggest the question is when comparing (mā) devotees which of these are most established (really comprehend fully) this yoga ?


    Arjuna's question is quite insightful - it shows a keen intellect as he wishes to compare-and-contrast the differences.


    Also too - one needs to be mindful that in BOTH cases of devotion that is discussed - that of brahman or of īśvara ( the manifest version of brahman) both are kṛṣṇa.

    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    Namaste
    With due respect , I like to say that if yoga means sadhan marg and the one who knows the sadhan marg better he is uttam yogi . the aspect of superior or inferior can be felt in the answer to Arjuna given by sri krishna where he says “yuktatamah matah” . Even comparison also involves degree of difference between two different devotees. In 6/47- “ Even among all the yogis, he held by Me to be most intimate to Me who worships Me. ‘madgatena’ntaratmana.’ If I prefer to travel to Delhi from patna via Mumbai on rail route nobody will call me knowldgeable person.I must be called inferior to those who travel direct route.
    2. The statement “ that of brahman or of Iswar ( menifest version of brahman) both are krishna” is a advaitik view which has no general acceptability.So far Gita is concerned, Krishna himself is not any version of any entity instead every version or entity comes from him. Krishna in BG nowhere says “ I am menifest version of brahman” but what he says in verse 16,17 and 18 of chapter 15 :
    In this world there are two kinds of purushas ‘kshara and akshara’. Kshara is sarva bhutani and kutastha akshara.-16
    There is supreme person ( uttama purushah) distinct from these. It is he who as the imperishable Lord, pervading the three worlds,sustains all -17
    Since I transcend the perishable (ksharam) and Excel the imperishable (akshara). I am known in the vedas and in this world as the Supreme person (Purushottama)-18
    The point here is sagun sakar savishes sri krishna says he is known in the vedas and in this world as purushottamha having both aspect of sagun and nirgun but advaita vedanta makes him ultimate entity as nirgun nirakar brahman only.

    In Gita kutastha or akshara word has been used to mean nirgun nirvishesh brahman tattva ( 8/3,8/21,11/37,12/3). In 13/12 he says ‘ matparam brahman’ – (“ mama vishno param nirvishes rupam brahman”- Sridhara) simple meaning is - it is brahman which is my attributeles aspect. What I meant to say is that sri krishna is not menifest version of brahman rather brahman is unmenifest version of sri krishna because there is nothing whatever that excels sri krishna ( Mattah parataram na’nyat)- (7/7) ,definitely ‘Me’ is sri krishna himself who is sagun sakar savishesh.
    Therefore the supreme person of the Gita is calm undisturbed attributless infinite abiding a soul in all beings. At the same time, he promotes and sustains attributes is inspirer of prakriti or karma partaker of rites and sacrifices Lord of lords etc etc. Every sampradaya uses Gita to their convenience but basically Gita is out and out a bhaktivadi grantha. 18/66 establishes this fact.
    Last edited by jopmala; 17 October 2013 at 02:53 AM.

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    Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    hariḥ o
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    My concern is with the words used and I do not see 'superior' asked by arjuna.
    I will leave it there and avoid any undue words.

    iti śivaṁ
    Last edited by yajvan; 17 October 2013 at 02:14 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Light Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    Namaste Jopmala and all of you ,

    KRSNA is not that we see ! Seeing itself is a illusion, a game of mind ! and krishna is bramhan. Brahman is a Supreme nirguna , without a second. So you can not impose anything to bramhan such as maya and it's products like form, name, dualities etc.

    Besides, Shri Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, " Only ignorants see me as a person, they don't know all pervading supreme nature as bramhan." Further Krishna says " I take the avatara with the help of maya ( form) ." This itself proves krishna = bramhan + maya. SO FORM can't be the absolute reality, Form is a mere illusion. Understanding krishna is much different than understanding him as a person. ( or divine person ).

    And besides, lord krishna calls himself as a tattva and certainly tatva word is used when there is no any shape or name. Tattva word verily proves krishna as not a person.


    The moon is always in the sky. It does not fall in the water in a pot. But the pot is responsible for the moon being called Ghatachandra (moon in the pot), which is a misnomer, and stupid persons accept that term.

    Similarly, Shri Krishna is without any qualities, but people conceive qualities like a friend, Atman, unattached etc. and worship him in that manner.

    Though krishna doesn't touch any qualities or Gunas, they call him Leeladhari (the bearer of body playfully). Thus you will find that Gunas are functioning mutually within themselves, and he is, in vain, called to be limited by them.

    Shri Krishna is neither receiver nor giver. He is neither Doer nor he causes anything to be done; which is his real nature. Any other state is within the scope of Gunas.


    Jai shri Krishna rukmini !
    Hari On!

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    Exclamation Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    Namaste,

    I don't think that Upanishads explicitly states bramhan as person. That is mis(interpretation). However we get many statements from Upanishadas which clearly say bramhan as Nirguna, formless !

    If anyone has quotes from Upanishads stating bramhan as a person, please post it here. It will be great if anyone will post the statements like, bramhan is not formless, from Upanishads.

    Dhanyavad.

    Jai shri Krishna rukmini !

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    Re: BG 4.16 - Is the Supreme originally manifest or originally formless?

    hariḥ o
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by hinduism♥krishna View Post
    Namaste,

    I don't think that Upanishads explicitly states bramhan as person. That is mis(interpretation). However we get many statements from Upanishadas which clearly say bramhan as Nirguna, formless !

    If anyone has quotes from Upanishads stating bramhan as a person, please post it here. It will be great if anyone will post the statements like, bramhan is not formless, from Upanishads.
    The bṛhadarāṇyakopaniṣad¹ is clear on this matter. Brahman is fullness, wholeness, some use the word bhūman¹.

    Because of this fullness, wholeness , completeness (pūrṇa) brahman is both that of nirguṇa (without properties) and saguṇa (having properties or qualities). There is no place It is not, and even this suggests some limitation and is a meager definition at best.

    iti śivaṁ

    words
    • What is being offered is a few things in this name. That the knowledge being offered is bhat - vast , lofty , great , large. It is a vast forest of knowledge. It also infers that, like a forest, it takes some navigation to get around, to find one's way. Hence another definition of bhat is 'brightly' and is considered the light to find one's way as it is brightly lit.

      Yet too this bhat is also of wholeness, bhūman, because it is another name for brahman - fullness, wholeness itself. Hence from a forest perspective it is composed of all sorts of trees, shrubs, flowers, animals, but together there is the wholeness of the forest, bhat.
    • bhūman - abundance , plenty ; suggesting plenum
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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