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Thread: why sat chit anand are not attributes to brahman

  1. #11
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    Re: why sat chit anand are not attributes to brahman

    Hello folks,

    Before we debate whether Brahman has attributes or does not have attributes, perhaps we should define a substance (dravya) and an attribute (guna) as was discussed in Indian philosophy?

    Any dualistic philosophy that differentiates between a substance on the one hand and an attribute that is different on the other hand immediately opens itself up to the problem of infinite regress.

    That is, if an attribute is related to a substance by a relation (this relationship was posited to be one of samavaya [or inherence] by the Naiyayikas), how is the substance related to this relation?

    Advaitins have used this basic argument to keep at bay Naiyayikas. Naiyayikas have devised workarounds and modified the rest of their philosophy to be consistent with this workaround.

    This argument has also been called the Bradley problem in Western philosophical traditions.

    My point is that before arguing about substances and attributes, should we not be clear what these are?

  2. #12
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    Re: why sat chit anand are not attributes to brahman

    Namaste Kali,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalicharan Tuvij View Post
    "Pervades" is not the same as "includes all". For example, "a smell pervades a room" doesn't mean "the room is contained within the smell".
    That is the issue when we resort to English translation. What I have stated is right. I will give you word-by-word meaning of the verses I have quoted :

    Verse 2.17

    The Sanskrit is :

    "AvinAshi tu tadviddhi yena sarvam idam tatam"

    We must focus on "Yena Sarvam idam tatam" ===>

    Yena = By which
    Sarvam idam == All this (universe) (please check, it includes all)
    Tatam === ??? what does this word mean ? It has been translated in English as "pervade", "Expanded" , "spread throughout" etc. in a bid to give an exact translation of the word. However, the exact meaning is "pervading in a way as water pervades an ice-brick".

    So, it can be translated best as, "pervading through and through".

    The exact word used there, I suppose, is "Vasudeva" that is: "who pervades", and not "all this is God". Please correct me if I am wrong here.
    Yes, the verse is, "VAsudevah sarvam iti" ===> VAsudeva has been used for Lord Krishna here. Vasudeva doesn't mean "Who pervades". It comes from the word, "VAs" means "home" or abode" and "deva" means God. Therefore, VAsudeva means "God who is the abode of all". "VAs" also means "reside" and therefore it is also translated as "God who resides" or "Indweller God" or "God that dwells Within".

    However, in this verse, Lord Krishna, because of being son of Vasudeva, is called VAsudeva. We need not go so deep in meaning of this word because it has been used as noun and is being equated to all that is and it is being said for Lord Krishna.

    So, it says :

    Vasudevah === Lord Krishna/God
    Sarvam === All, everything
    Iti === In this manner

    I think this is a misquote; perhaps you mean B.G 7.7 which says "there is nothing beyond/ superior than Me." And not "there is nothing besides me" as suggested here.
    Thanks for the corrected verse number which was a typo. However, the meaning given by me is correct. The verse is :

    BG 7.7
    "Mattah partaram na anyat kinchit asti Dhananjaya"

    (I have written the verse after Sandhi viccheda for separating the words )

    Mattah === Me/My
    Partaram = Except

    (this translation of "Partaram" is done by GIta Press, Gorakhpur. I have relied on this translation.). Its Hindi translation is "SivAya".

    NAnyat Kinchit Asti == Na (No) + Anyat (other) + Kinchit (anything else) + Asti (exists) ===> no other (thing) exists
    Dhananjaya == Arjuna

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalicharan Tuvi
    "yasya antaḥ-sthāni bhūtāni" means "inside whom jiva-s reside". But this can mean "the room that has a cat inside it (but the cat still not a part of the room)". So this means Purusha is of infinite, all-encompassing nature, but still not "everything" necessarily.
    Verse 8.22 again has the term, "Yena Sarvam Idam tatam" which was earlier used in Verse 2.17 and that clearly states the meaning I have given. Gita Press, Gorakhpur has translated this verse exactly as I have quoted.

    Verse 9.4 has again used the term, :"tatam" === "MayA tatam Idam sarvam Jagat" ===> By me this whole world is pervaded through and through (like water pervades Ice)

    So, the "wrong" is:
    Brahman (Brahm) pervades everything -- is well evidenced. But "Brahman contains everything" has a weak support, if at all, and something open to discussion.
    No. "Brahman contains everything" is correct and also "Brahman alone is everything". If you have doubts over the meaning that has been used in my post, we can take the help of what Shruti says:

    "sarvaṁ hy etad brahma, ayam ātmā brahma" (MAndukya Upanishad, Verse 1)

    ===> This all is verily Brahamn. This AtmA/Self is Brahman.

    In fact, I can give many such references from Upanishads where this is clearly written. Bhagwad Gita is Smriti and therefore it cannot be translated in a way that it violates Shruti.

    *******************

    In fact, if we read the verse BG 2.17 carefully, it makes very clear that there is nothing except Brahman/Self which alone is imperishable. 2.17 uses singular number for describing what is imperishable and what pervades this universe through and through. It says, "AvinAshi to tat viddhi, yena sarvam idam tatam" ===> Please mark it. It uses the term, "Tat" which is singular for "That". If the imperishable were many, it could not have used the word, "Tat" but "TAni". So, this verse declares without any doubt that there is One alone which is imperishable and that alone pervades everything in this universe through and through. "Sarvam Idam" doesn't exclude anything. This meaning is completely in line with, "Sarvam hi etad Brahman" =-== "All this is verily Brahman" declared by Shruti and therefore is the correct meaning of the verse.

    **************

    In spite of whatever I said above, I have no issues, if some Vaishnava schools or anyone translate the verses in different ways and stick to that. However, saying that the above given translation is wrong is not right.

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 10 September 2014 at 04:38 AM.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  3. #13

    Re: why sat chit anand are not attributes to brahman

    Pranam Devotee-ji,

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    In spite of whatever I said above, I have no issues, if some Vaishnava schools or anyone translate the verses in different ways and stick to that. However, saying that the above given translation is wrong is not right.
    This clarification is a very welcome one. So the issue here is hardly the BG, since as seen from your own reply,
    Tatam === ??? what does this word mean ? It has been translated in English as "pervade", "Expanded" , "spread throughout" etc. in a bid to give an exact translation of the word. ~~~~

    So, it can be translated best as, "pervading through and through".
    which is still near to the meaning "pervading" than to "including".
    "VAs" also means "reside" and therefore it is also translated as "God who resides" or "Indweller God" or "God that dwells Within".
    Again the meaning ("indwelling") perilously close to "pervading".
    Partaram = Except

    (this translation of "Partaram" is done by GIta Press, Gorakhpur. I have relied on this translation.)
    parataram = para (beyond) + taram (moving) = exceeding.
    So Krishna tells nothing exceeds Him. Krishna is the upper limit; the best of all qualities. But not "all qualities"; at least that is not implied here.

    So, at this point we can leave BG (because strictly from within this text there is at best indirect evidence for "Brahm is everything").

    "Brahman contains everything" is correct and also "Brahman alone is everything". If you have doubts over the meaning that has been used in my post, we can take the help of what Shruti says:

    "sarvaṁ hy etad brahma, ayam ātmā brahma" (MAndukya Upanishad, Verse 1)

    ===> This all is verily Brahamn. This AtmA/Self is Brahman.
    This is the full context:
    1 This syllable AUM is verily all this
    This is the explanation about AUM:
    The past, the present and the future are AUM,
    And That beyond these three is also AUM.

    aum ity etad akṣaram idam sarvam, tasyopavyākhyānam
    bhūtam bhavad bhaviṣyad iti sarvam auṁkāra eva
    yac cānyat trikālātītaṁ tad apy auṁkāra eva.

    2 Brahman is indeed all this.
    This self (AtmA) in us is also Brahman.
    And this self (AtmA) has four planes.

    sarvaṁ hy etad brahma, ayam ātmā brahma
    so’yam ātmā catuṣ-pāt.

    ~~~
    ~~~
    7. That is known as the fourth quarter: neither inward-turned nor outward-turned consciousness, nor the two together; not an indifferentiated mass of consciousness; neither knowing, nor unknowing; invisible, ineffable, intangible, devoid of characteristics, inconceivable, indefinable, its sole essence being the consciousness of its own Self; the coming to rest of all relative existence; utterly quiet; peaceful; blissful: without a second: this is the Ātman, the Self; this is to be realised.

    nāntaḥ-prajñam, na bahiṣ prajñam, nobhayataḥ-prajñam
    na prajnañā-ghanam, na prajñam, nāprajñam;
    adṛṣtam, avyavahārayam, agrāhyam, alakṣaṇam,
    acintyam, avyapadeśyam, ekātma-pratyaya-sāram,
    prapañcopaśamam, śāntam, śivam, advaitam,
    caturtham manyante, sa ātmā, sa vijñeyaḥ.

    The verse (1) talks about AUM as "The past, the present and the future are AUM", and also "And That beyond these three is also AUM".

    But, there are things that are besides (if not beyond) trikAla. Example, "this place", "love", "ego", "truth", "matter", "life" (even though the expanded idea trikAla pervades them all).

    So in (2) "this all" means "trikAla" in its basic and ramified implications. And this is being equated with AUM/ Atman/ Brahm (Brahman).

    "AtmA is Brahman" is also said, but the very next verses go on explaing the "four layers" of this AtmA, and it is clear from the MU overall (see verse 7 above) that:
    "The fourth (turiya) is Atman"
    That is, "the fourth is Brahman"
    because we know Atman = Brahman, in Upanishads.
    And this is further explained to be (in verse 7),
    "invisible, ineffable, intangible, devoid of characteristics, inconceivable, indefinable"
    In a single word, "Nothing".

    Infact, verbosity is the greatest learning block in brahmvidya. In RgVeda therefore this "nothingness" is not talked about at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    In fact, I can give many such references from Upanishads where this is clearly written. Bhagwad Gita is Smriti and therefore it cannot be translated in a way that it violates Shruti.
    That will be good because the status of AtharvaVeda as a Veda is suspect, and the MU is a follower Upnishadic text on that. Even then, as shown in this post the MU can be seen to equate Brahman to Nothingness (also called the Fourth).
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  4. #14
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    Re: why sat chit anand are not attributes to brahman

    Namaste Kali,

    By reading your post, I think you are here with a fixed idea and anything offered to you is going waste. So, I won't go any further.

    You are free to have your own meaning of the scriptures.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  5. #15

    Re: why sat chit anand are not attributes to brahman

    Pranam,
    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste Kali,

    By reading your post, I think you are here with a fixed idea and anything offered to you is going waste. So, I won't go any further.

    You are free to have your own meaning of the scriptures.

    OM
    Thank you for reading my post. (This is all I wanted in this thread). We don't need to take it further either, for there is nothing more to say.

    I am not particularly interested in any philosophy. "Brahm" is true is enough ; I don't care- don't fear- if "Brahm" is true but "the philosophy" turns out to be untrue.

    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
    Hello folks,

    Before we debate whether Brahman has attributes or does not have attributes, perhaps we should define a substance (dravya) and an attribute (guna) as was discussed in Indian philosophy?

    Any dualistic philosophy that differentiates between a substance on the one hand and an attribute that is different on the other hand immediately opens itself up to the problem of infinite regress.

    That is, if an attribute is related to a substance by a relation (this relationship was posited to be one of samavaya [or inherence] by the Naiyayikas), how is the substance related to this relation?

    Advaitins have used this basic argument to keep at bay Naiyayikas. Naiyayikas have devised workarounds and modified the rest of their philosophy to be consistent with this workaround.

    This argument has also been called the Bradley problem in Western philosophical traditions.

    My point is that before arguing about substances and attributes, should we not be clear what these are?
    Pranam WM,

    Let us say, we are measuring the temperature field (in a town) with a thermometer.

    Thermometer is finite whereas the temperature field is infinite. So the measurement (the "temperature reading") of the thermometer is nothing but the result of the interaction between the infinite (the field) and the finite (thermometer).

    So, as we see, without a thermometer (the finite observer) there is no meaning (as we understand the normal "meaning" to be) to the concept of "temperature".

    Surya is the presiding Devata of this interface between the two and those who worship Him directly or indirectly keep receiving everything (Soma) they need along their evolutionary journey.

    If I understood the "problem" correctly, the example just mentioned shows there is no problem as such. That said I think the the focus in this thread was individualistic, and I just wanted to further clarify on a point or two- for my own understanding, given such discussions already have had conclusion achieved long since- in the eyes of a neutral observer at least (non-Vaishnav non-Vedanti). On my own part, I dont even consider terms such as "Krishna", "Brahm", "Aum", "Atman" to be equal- it is simply not in the nature of Sanskrit to waste more than one term for naming one thing.


    KT
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

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