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Thread: Advaita

  1. #1

    Advaita

    Pranams

    Recently I have been doing more study in Advaita and I have learned so many things, and of course so much more to learn.

    On my journey of listening to different people, both from India and outside who practice Advaita ( Yes I know the highest expression of advaita is no practice ...)

    But there are variations depending on the teacher.

    I have listened to Rupert Spira, I also found out that he is from my hometown in U.K. And in some ways he has prompted me to write this question, and I want to stress its a question not a challenge.

    Another interesting teacher is Francis Lucille, his interview in youtube buddha at the gas pump is very very interesting. According to my own my independent study I came up with a loose synopsis and theory. Of course its exploratory, I have no qualification to make any absolute claims due to ignorance and conditioning. So I am hoping it can be a learning opportunity and not a debate.

    I am considering that some things are getting lost in translation with word Brahman when it is translated in English, Brahman= self, God, among many other things, but this descriptions seems the most popular. Do you think that sometimes western Advaitist or even perhaps Indian Advaitist can give over emphasis to the meaning of these words in literal terms.

    I could write many things why I dont like the term God, its to general and not refined enough, so the actual word God is just a concept of language that points to something, but has no ability in it own meaning to actually describe what one is pointing to.

    It was the Great Rabindranatha Thakur who says that "Man is never literate, only in matters most trivia" so we are not dealing with something trivia when it comes to the subject of Brahman, so perhaps we have to understand that nothing is literal, but due to Kali Yuga influence we express Shastra with to much literal understanding and not enough introspect and or contemplative thoughtfulness without or less trace of mind phenomena, basically meditation.

    One translation I do like of Brahman into English is Ground, the ground of all things, ground of all being, everything is Brahman, nothing is outside, everything is contained within Brahman like all matter on this planet stands on the ground, so does all stand on Brahman, or something close to that. Of course its a limited translation, but the point I hope is clear.

    Brahman is known as God and Self, do you think there can be an error especially in the English language that God and self are being misused in that expression and making a subtle over estimation, I am Brahman, so that means that all is Brahman, Brahman is self, you are self, do we make a subtle mistake to think that I and you are totally the same thing, or is it that self of my nature and your nature is the same, that same self is all pervasive, and yes its one and the same, without division. I am not trying to limit the potential of One Advaita, Advaita can also be concluded in the summary that nothing is outside or inside, everything is the complete whole already.

    Its very hard to discuss this as words and my ability to express is very limiting.

    I want to say more but I fear it maybe to long. If there is a discussion without sectarian traits and its educational I hope I can learn something here.

    Ys

    Md
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 11 August 2014 at 04:09 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: Advaita

    praNAm
    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    One translation I do like of Brahman into English is Ground, the ground of all things ground of all being, everything is Brahman, nothing is outside, everything is contained within Brahman like all matter on this planet stands on the ground, so does all stand on Brahman, or something close to that. Of course its a limited translation, but the point I hope is clear.
    Ground of all being == BramhaNo hi pratishThA aham... BG 14.27
    KRshNa says He is that ground, basis, pratishThA, of "everything" that is Bramhan',

    Brahman is know as God and Self, do you think there can be an error especially in the English language that God and self are being misused in that expression and making a subtle over estimation, I am Brahman, so that means that all is Brahman, Brahman is self, you are self, do we make a subtle mistake to think that I and you are totally the same thing, or is it that self of my nature and your nature is the same, that same self is all pervasive, and yes its one and the same, without division.
    Advaita is saying :

    the real-Self of me and the real-Self of you is One. So, you and I are totally the same thing PROVIDED we refer to the real and right I and you, which is the One and Only Self.

    If we say I and you as referring to individuals with tags - pink yellow purple green, even subtle ones (forget bodily conceptions, even the subtle individuality) then those are not the same. Advaita says they are not even real. Only the underlying and innermost VAsudev IS.

    Hare KRshNa
    Last edited by ameyAtmA; 21 September 2014 at 02:13 AM. Reason: bramhaNo
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

  3. #3
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    Re: Advaita

    Namaste Markandeya,

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Brahman is know as God and Self, do you think there can be an error especially in the English language that God and self are being misused in that expression and making a subtle over estimation, I am Brahman, so that means that all is Brahman, Brahman is self, you are self, do we make a subtle mistake to think that I and you are totally the same thing, or is it that self of my nature and your nature is the same, that same self is all pervasive, and yes its one and the same, without division. I am not trying to limit the potential of One Advaita, Advaita can also be concluded in the summary that nothing is outside or inside, everything is the complete whole already.
    You have asked questions and asked about some possibilities which can be a guesswork. It would have helped if the question was focused. As far as understanding of the terms, Brahman, Self, God is concerned, it has never been the same for everyone even in Hindu Dharma. People of different sects have tried to see these words in their own ways. If you ask me how Advaita sees it, I would like to say this :

    Brahman is the Ultimate Reality and everything that is there is nothing but Brahman. It doesn't mean that Brahman is like a heap of mud and everything in this universe is nothing but articles made by using chunks of mud from the heap. When we say All is Brahman ... it doesn't mean that. Brahman is without parts and it cannot be divided into parts. It is Indivisible, Infinite, all encompassing. It is pure consciousness. In its state where there is no "agitation" in consciousness, It is called the Fourth or Turiya as this state cannot be described and given any name. Please refer to MAndukya Upanishad for getting a description of this state of Brahman. This is Self. Brahman or Self in this state is without any attribute which mind can perceive. It is Existence, It is Blissful and It is auspicious.

    God is an aspect of Brahman as we all are and anything in this universe is. Brahman has the power of MAyA which gives rise to God/Ishvara, our gross world and the subtle world. The word "self" (with 's' in small letter) is used for individual Jeeva which is what we are. This 'self' too arises in MAyA. MAyA, Ishvara and Jeeva are all beginningless. MAyA can project both subtle elements and gross elements and by that power it creates the whole of the Creation whether gross or subtle. Ishvara or God is the master of MAyA (quite strange as God existence is due to MAyA). God is nothing but Brahman associated with MAyA. Though Jeeva, material world, animal world and God are Brahman alone within MAyA but each one is different from others to great extent. Jeeva is overpowered and deluded by MAyA whereas MAyA is under control of God and God is not deluded by MAyA. Material world has very limited manifest consciousness and acts according to the laws of Nature. They have consciousness only to help them know the laws and ways to obey the laws. Animal world is at a higher side of the spectrum of consciousness. It has more freedom than the material world but it chiefly acts on instinct i.e. they behave in a manner as they are programmed. Humans are at a much higher part of the spectrum of consciousness. They have intellect and they can discriminate and take their own decisions in given circumstances.

    I don't know if that was what you wanted to know/understand. I have given a general overview of the meaning of terms that you have brought out in your post.

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 09 September 2014 at 02:12 AM. Reason: Typos
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  4. #4

    Re: Advaita

    Pranams,

    Thank you for your answers devotee and ameyAtmA,

    Both of you already proved my point in some ways that Brahman can be better explained when there is a much broader context surrounding the nature/reality of Brahman.

    In many ways I am criticizing the ability of the English language to keep up with the same subtle ways of translating Vedic Culture and Sanskrit words, somethings just cannot be put into English. so we have to deal with so many versions of the same thing, due to that limitation in translation of languages.

    I am much stronger in natural introspect and contemplation as a natural ability than scholarship and Jnana as an expressed part of my practice in written format, but I try .

    When I was in India for 5 years, I traveled mostly alone and got to know the soul of India from the people itself and not with the blinkers of my own concepts carried in from abroad. I always felt very close to the Indian expression of Sanatana Dharma than what the the majority of outside students could express, but I am still a condition from the West and my Sanskrit is handicapped, but my sense of natural wonder is very much alive and well.

    Also the internet does not help, I do feel it's a poor substitute for the discussion of subtle topics, its frustrating for me.

    I hope it does not seem like guess work. In fact I am trying to avoid some of the scars that have arisen from mis-communications between students of Sampradaya's. I have no interest in the theoretical differences between the schools, at least not to the point of arguing, but still we have this universal question athato brahma jijnasa and Aham Brahmasmi. When I go to a certain school of thought it is considered only the ABC for beginners, I cant accept this. Even if one is to fully understand that Philosophy one first has to come to the realization that he/she is Brahman to understand the rest of the teaching in its purity. I am not sure many have come to the matured state of Brahman realization, so it's not a subject that is explored in detail, its kinda jumped over once one has an intellectual understanding. Its impossible to realise Brahman and then transcend it as a rudimentary level. Its is our very nature, the core of our being.

    When I listen to Western teachers I think they are sometimes using the word Self, and self as exactly the same thing, because we are using the word self, and in the evolution of the West's rise back to original nature of consciousness the word God itself has also become to broad a definition of Brahman. One problem with this is that they are separating self from the Tradition it was born. Take Jeff foster as an example, it seems he does not even think one needs a guru, so part of the Sanatana Dharma culture has been left out, again another subtle over emphasis of self and God.

    I am Self I am God, Brahman is self Brahman is God, therefore I am everything, its an over estimation, there are subtle distinctions, but that subtle distinction of Brahman is now included in the Ego in some ways. I AM EVERYTHING, I hope I am expressing it in the right way. I am speaking of what so many people outside of India are thinking.

    An Ocean is not really an ocean if we do not include all the diversity of life, everything in the ocean is contained in the ocean, if its a mass body of water alone it would not be an ocean, it would be a mass body of water. There is that danger of translation to go more in the direction of just a mass body of water rather than the ocean. This I feel is the misunderstanding.

    I try to write much more in the mood of conversation, I also consider this the real model of Sanatana Dharma. Its only really in our recent history that things started to get written down, and it does cause lots of problems.

    Brahman= consciousness Brahman= Ground Brahman= Being. The ground of all being is consciousness, nothing is outside of this. We are consciousness, everything happens in consciousness and this consciousness is all pervasive, I am that, but at the same time there has to be some distinction. I am just proliferating and expressing a thought.

    Ys

    Md
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 11 August 2014 at 06:26 AM.

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    Re: Advaita

    Namaste Markandeya,

    I have met such westerners who blindly proclaim "I am Brahman" without understanding what it means. You find them so attached to their egoistic views, so much attached to worldly comforts, their honour etc. and yet they keep parroting "I am Brahman".

    Yes, you are Brahman. I am Brahman. But when this state is really attained, there is no "I" or "You" who could claim this. There is no desire, no egoistic feeling, no fear of losing prestige. There is a feeling of One-ness with the whole universe.

    So, "I am Brahman" is a state which has to be "realised" by following the path prescribed by a True Guru. It is not an egoistic claim to be made. There can never be a situation when I see myself as Brahman but I see you as a non-Brahman.

    Due to this danger, it has been stated in Upanishads that Brahman-Vidya should not be imparted to all and sundry indiscriminately and doing so is akin to pushing one to hell.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  6. #6

    Re: Advaita

    Pranams Devotee,

    I agree with full heart what you say. To inject a consideration in regards to Prabhupada in his Pranams the second verse is

    Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvatî Gosvâmî. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
    Key words impersonal and voidism are influences of thought outside of the Vedic model and Sanatana Dharma, the west.

    I am more comfortable to think that these terms impersonal and mayavadi are pointing to us, and not to the teachings of Adi Shankara, I have thought like this for many years.

    Now in the west everyone is going around claiming that they are God and all sorts of Rubbish claims, its an insult to Veda and to the teachings of Advaita, apart from a few, but sometimes I think within the tradition I was initiated in that I am ( Mostly referring to west) one of a few that thinks that Srila Prabhupada and the lineage of Gaudiya Vaishnavism Paramapara is actually protecting Sanatana Dharma and pure Advaita.

    All True Acharya's have a purpose, but also in my considerations they are not attached to that purpose. Take Lord Buddha for example, I consider him nothing less than a teacher of Sanatana Dharma, but how many will accept this, only the ones who are absorbed in the subtle meanings can know this. It cannot be understood through the conventions of religion, only consciousness in its more refined state.

    Within the tradition of culture that has arisen from Sanskrit expression of the absolute there are apparent grammatical differences. For example nirguna can be translated as void or emptiness in regards to the western view. Its just not acceptable to me. There is no place where an absolute void is present, and absolute non existence, maybe Brahman can manifest like this but who would want that. I am not making reference to advaita in regards to this.

    I read and study all sorts of things and History is one of them, and we can trace Jnana in civilizations such as the ancient Greeks, the womb of Western Culture, but Jnana became to dependent on empirical inference, and hence the conscious devolution begins.


    This problem arising is from not accepting the full model of Veda and the expression of Vedic culture, I am avoiding sectarian systems, Veda is not located in space or time or even geographically, or else Brahman is not all pervading. Everything is somehow connected and interwoven, even if Siddhanta may vary. The Achary'as teachings IMO are fighting the conditions in mind to reach transcendence, the teachings can vary but the aim is the same, so we have to include diversity, but does diversity have to be something outside of Advaita, sometimes the way I see it is that Advaita is all inclusive of diversity, its not lacking anything. From what I read or hear from Advaitist this is correct. One can be a Advaitist atheist and also an Advaitist Bhakta and many other forms are included, as long as Dharma is the substratum of practice and exposure.

    Ys

    Md

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    Re: Advaita

    Namaste

    since you are studying hard to understand advaita and learned a lot, I would like to put some questions for your further study . I will just request you to study the status of sagun Brahman and maya in advaita philosophy. Mere asserting some sentence or words does not satisfy the thurst . In one hand there is nirgun Brahman which is knowledge and on the other hand there is maya which is ignorance but how both nirgun Brahman and maya get together to creat sagun brahman. The big difference between nirgun Brahman and sagun Brahman is that sagun Brahman is not absolute. They say only nirgun Brahman is truth then my question is where does this maya come from ? is it a separate entity or brahman itself ? when jiva is nothing but brahman and there is no parmarthik validity of this universe then what is the status of maya . since maya can not be a separate entity and there is only Brahman which exists , will it not be appropriate to say that ‘maya’ is also brahman otherwise the term ‘advaita’ will be at stake . Therefore sagun Brahman can not stand on the same line where nirgun Brahman stands and maya belongs to whom ? this maya is so powerful that it can creat an upadhi or cover on nirgun Brahman . Peculiarity is that maya is the power of nirgun Brahman ( since sagun Brahman is not in the scene) but nirgun Brahman does not control maya. Nirgun Brahman creates sagun Brahman with the help of maya and then send her under the custody of sagun Brahman ,again maya has no beginning and end but her controller sagun Brahman is created and at one stage he melts away ( since he is not absolute) . now nirgun brahman is one & only but there are so many sagun brahmans like sri krishna ,vishnu, surya, ganesh, shiva etc etc. now the question is which sagun brahman is the master of maya ? in other way how many sagun brahman has been created by nirgun brahman with the help of maya ? one more thing, if nirgun Brahman is only ultimate reality then what happens to sagun Brahman and maya. Actually my problem is when everything is dream like situation i,e, a dhoka or bhram what is the job of sagun Brahman in between nirgun Brahman and maya

    everybody accepts that Brahman is nirgun but he is sadchidanand. brahman is sat means he exists but where does he exist . from his side there is no universe . we say he is all pervading but what is that ‘all’ that he is to pervade . as far as he is concerned there exists nothing other than him. next he is chit means he is knowledge. what is this knowledge meant for , who requires this knowledge who delivers this knowledge and to whom. If he is knowledge then who is ignorance. If ignorance is maya which is brahman’s power that means he is ( since power can not be separated from powerful) ignorance also. Next he is anand that is bliss. What is the need of being blissful for a nirgun nirvishesh Brahman. Is there any link between the anand or bliss we enjoy and that of Brahman ? if he is blissful then why is he nirgun or attributeless. Are all these that is sat (existence),chit (knowledge) and anand( bliss) not attributes ? if not how these three will be described. He is there, he is knowledge and he is anand still we have to say he is nirgun or nirakar nirvishesh.
    Here is a quote from devotee’s post which says
    “God is nothing but Brahman associated with MAyA. Though Jeeva, material world, animal world and God are Brahman alone within MAyA but each one is different from others to great extent. Jeeva is overpowered and deluded by MAyA whereas MAyA is under control of God and God is not deluded by MAyA”.
    I like to ask :
    1. How can Brahman which is knowledge be associated with maya which is ignorance
    2. Jiva, world god everything are Brahman ok. But how can this Brahman be within maya
    3. God that is sagun Brahman is not deluded by maya but this god itself is the creation of maya. Maya is the power of nirgun Brahman but controlled by sagun Brahman. Does it mean nirgun Brahman and sagun Brahman are same entity . if yes, why sagun Brahman is not absolute. If not why nirgun Brahman does not control his power I,e, maya.
    4. “Jiva is overpowered and deluded by maya.” If it so then jiva is not Brahman . if Brahman is the only reality then jiva and maya everything is Brahman and nothing else. My basic question is where from this jiva comes to get overpowered and deluded by maya .How can maya overpower and delude jiva since maya is a kind of power only. The act of overpowering and delusion can be done by the holder of the power not by the power itself. Is maya independent to act ?

    Brahman is the Ultimate Reality and everything that is there is nothing but Brahman i.e. Brahman. Then jiva , world , god and maya all are Brahman as is said by devotee “Brahman is the Ultimate Reality and everything that is there is nothing but Brahmans” is it acceptable ?

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