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Thread: How does Advaita counter this argument?

  1. #1
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    How does Advaita counter this argument?

    "If you feel there is no God, how do you explain as to why you cannot free yourself from the limitations on Earth? If you feel YOU are the one in control of everything (as Advaita preaches that Soul and God are one and the same), then how come you don't enjoy happiness always and are also subject to sorrow and pain (as God is supposed to be an eternity of happiness)?" - Madhvacharya
    At first I thought, well, the sorrow and pain wouldn't be the true nature of the divine... However, I noticed the question is not HOW, but instead, WHY. So the inquiry is basically: Why would God (Brahman), that is viewed as One, become two and put itself under influences that are not the reflection of his inate nature?

    Om Tat Sat
    Last edited by Adhvagat; 09 March 2011 at 12:16 PM.

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    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    It seems there are two portions here to consider. One is why would things be good and bad, happy and sad...pleasure and pain if We are He.

    I used to ponder this question a lot as a child. It was one of those things I just couldn't get past. I remember being barely six or seven and asking the mormon elder why heaven was so so good. He was puzzled by this as I seemed very distressed. He said..."Don't worry heaven is perfect,always good and always wonderful."

    But, his reply disturbed me even more...as I know that without wretched there can be no way to quantify wonderful.

    There can be no way to know and mark the darkness without having some knowledge of light?

    Isvara, in all His Beautiful, Wondrousness wanted to truly feel these things. So He broke Himself off, each portion just as the last...gently placing them onto the stage and manifesting this world.

    The second portion of this is...Why would He bring Himself to such a state of misery and imperfection?

    Well, look no further than your own parents, or your own children to answer this mystery. Broken off from this fragile vessel I brought these children into the world of pain and suffering because I know...that no matter what.....no matter what...we are always always fine....always perfect.
    Nothing can change this...nothing. Kill me...take my sight...break me into bits...and I will remain whole.

    These children were brought into this world to share this joy...and happiness...and with it comes sorrow and pain as they are inevitable portions of this blessed and wretched experience.


    How can one truly know the gentle sentiments of love without one to love?

    Holding my child...I close my eyes and I hug Shiva, I look into their eyes overwhelmed with this Beautiful Truth. It's almost too much to bear...knowing Beloved is Always Watching.


    Today was a birthday, the 15th for our Sonshine...

    We came for the Love, and stay for the ice cream.

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    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    We can't be happy always, otherwise there would be no sorrow and we can't be sad always otherwise there would be no happiness. It's like a mountain and a valley, you can't have one without the other.

    And the Atman in each body never changes and isn't affected by happiness/sadness only the ego is affected by maya.


    As for why? It is said that "all this" is in Divine Play. And as Alan Watts said, It's Brahman playing hide and go seek with itself by creating a world so vast and distinct that it tricked itself into believing that it was not Brahman.

    This video explains it well in layman's terms.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es_inFeGnwk

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    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    Namaste Pietro,

    "If you feel there is no God, how do you explain as to why you cannot free yourself from the limitations on Earth? If you feel YOU are the one in control of everything (as Advaita preaches that Soul and God are one and the same), then how come you don't enjoy happiness always and are also subject to sorrow and pain (as God is supposed to be an eternity of happiness)?" - Madhvacharya
    Let us get the things straight here :

    a) It is not Advaita position that there is no God. For an Advaitin, there is nothing but God alone & whatever is perceived as not-God is due to Maya.

    b) Advaita says that the substratum of both JIva and Ishvara is same i.e. the Nirguna Brahman/the fourth state of Self ... "JIvo Brahmaiva naaparah" ! Once the veil of Maya is removed, JIva realises its true nature i.e. of being Brahman Itself.

    c) Why don't we always enjoy the happiness & why are we subject to pain and sufferings ?

    Advaita says that it is due to Maya which the nature of Brahman in the first two states of Self. When you are sleeping & dreaming you see a dream which may be completely different from reality. You may see that you have gone bankrupt even if you may be having a million dollars in bank ... you may see that you have lost your limbs in a bomb blast in the zone of war when actually you are comfortably lying on your bed etc. etc. and you suffer the pains arising out of these dreams even though there is absloutely no cause of worry.

    Why does it happen so in dreams when actually it is not so ? Why do we suffer in dreams when the real "we" is absolutely unharmed by anything that happens in the dream ?

    ===> How does Dvaita answer it ?

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    NayaSurya, that's a nice metaphor, thank you.

    TheOne, that video is actually pretty awesome, I may subtitle it to portuguese.

    Devotee, If I were a Dvaitacharya I could answer that for you more easily.

    I think the unaceptable part to Dvaitas is the notion that Bhagavan is not really as supreme as Brahman itself and Bhagavan is God presenting itself through Maya, not an ultimate cause like Brahman. Could you talk more about this?

    Just so you know where I'm basing my arguments on, I'm not a sympathizer of pure Dvaita, as far as I've studied my thoughts are more in line with Acintya-bheda-abheda.

    Om Tat Sat

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    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pietro Impagliazzo View Post
    So the inquiry is basically: Why would God (Brahman), that is viewed as One, become two and put itself under influences that are not the reflection of his inate nature?

    Om Tat Sat
    Namasté
    I feel the answers above are good and cover it, but just to add a thought.

    Brahman isn't two, but appears as many. The sum (Brahman) is always present but it appears to change. It changes because we sense (see, smell, etc) change and this is reported to the mind. The mind remembers change. So really any sense of change is occurring at the level of mind/senses.

    So the "influence" is the mind, which we are told is itself prarkiti. Prarkiti is still Brahman.

    The quote by Sri Madhvacharya strikes me as being a little odd, what is the source of this quote? As Devotee-ji illustrates, the question seems to lack the basic premises, and as I would not underestimate Madhvacharya's understanding of Vedanta it strikes me as being a little strange to stop here. I wonder if this dialogue with a Buddhist or an Atheist and simply uses Advaita as a comparison in brackets, as personally I feel, it should be beyond doubt that Advaitin's recognise the gods of the Vedas?

    Secondly Sri Madhvacharya would have an answer for this and I cannot see that being very different to the answer found in the Bhagavad Gita, on which both Sri Shankara and Sri Madhvacharya, I assume agree. I would be interested if you can find out more?


    "If you feel there is no God, how do you explain as to why you cannot free yourself from the limitations on Earth? If you feel YOU are the one in control of everything (as Advaita preaches that Soul and God are one and the same), then how come you don't enjoy happiness always and are also subject to sorrow and pain (as God is supposed to be an eternity of happiness)?" - Madhvacharya

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    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by Onkara
    The quote by Sri Madhvacharya strikes me as being a little odd
    Yes, I also doubt it having come from Madhava.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pietro Impagliazzo
    I think the unaceptable part to Dvaitas is the notion that Bhagavan is not really as supreme as Brahman itself and Bhagavan is God presenting itself through Maya, not an ultimate cause like Brahman. Could you talk more about this?
    Advaita talks about Saguna Brahman and Nirguna Brahman. However, these are not two different Brahmans. The same Nirguna Brahman when seen through the first two states of Brahman (under the influence of Maya within mental realm) is perceived as Saguna Brahman. This is so because Nirguna Brahman/the fourth state of Brahman is inconceivable ... it is beyond all concepts ... beyond the whole mental realm. If you remember, this is what Lord Krishna tells us in Chapter 12 of Bhagwad Gita. He validates both the paths but warns that as the Nirugna Brahman is inconceivable within mental realm, it is a difficult path (i.e. not for every one).

    Dvaita's objection is not because of the above. Dvaita has objection to JIva being claimed as Brahman Itself ... that is unacceptable to Dvaita. As per Dvaita, the JIva, Jada & God are eternally different.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    Once I was in one of my favorite places, it's a private forest reserve nearby. We were looking at this absolutely fabulous, lush green, steep hill in the distance and decided to walk to it and then roll down it. It's a past time here.

    As we stood at the top of this beautiful scene it seemed so perfect...brilliant blue skies and fresh Spring grass covered in cherry blossoms...there was only one thing left to do...roll.

    But as we began down the hill we realized it was covered in ants and razor edged rocks...things you couldn't see from above the tall, lush grass. Only things you could know from rolling down it. So steep, we could not stop and were battered brutally by the sharp stones...we simply tried our best to protect our limbs and suffer through it. At the bottom, covered in ants which bit us, cuts and bruises...we knew the full truth.

    Now, those of us who had already came down began to tell the others at the top of the steep hill. "Stop...do not come..."

    From that view we did not seem to worse for our trip. How many do you think simply took our advice and avoided this lesson? The hill appeared safe. They were not able to accept our differing viewpoint upon this and so they came down and suffered the same lessons...as it should be.

    Sometimes things in life are just this way. They look one way until you begin uncovering the truth through experience and knowledge.

    Both views are correct...the hill is lush beautiful...and trecherous...simultaneously.

    Think of my signature...So much truth resides there.

    We could debate upon which philosophy is correct, but both truly are...the most important thing to me within this discussion is the question upon why Shiva would be here in an imperfect state and if that would be even possible. This is what I can say as one, who has already come down the hill...

    That there is nothing here which can taint the pure nature of these Portions. They are Portions Of Beloved Isvara. However, within this manifested reality things may appear bad. I like to think of it as drivers inside cars.

    We can say our car is broken...or slow...fast. But, these labels and states of being do not affect us. We never say you are broken because your car is? Such is this world.

    We, the car can be sad, broken, mentally ill, ...but We, the Portion inside, are whole, beautiful and unaffected.

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    Smile Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    Dear Respected friends,

    we are dissecting Madhwacharya here. but to me its pretty unconceivable.we are not in a position to analyse such personalities as if we would have been in their position,certainly we would not have been sitting on internet and wasting time with such discussion.

    once a person achieve a height like Madhwacharya, adisankar ,buddha, they stays in in brahma-sajujya.(equal and non-separable with brahman). so if we analyse by going their words,we are bound to do blunder in understanding their meaning.

    The Context is very important.their advice depends upon the contemporary time period,to whom they are addressing and their goal. because supreme master (jagatguru) has always plan and goal and he preaches different theory and philosophy through these great-souls differently at different time.it purely depends upon the social,evolutional and spiritual status in society at that time.

    so its totally unwise finger at their philosophy with our small bookish knowledge.

    achintya-bheda-abheda is a concept not for ordinary souls.its for already realized ones. and again advita is also not for ordinary souls,its for above mentally developed souls. so for ordinary people god preaches daivta philosophy.

    knowledge is gradual and ascending. through daivta only we can go into advita ,then achintya-bheda-abheda.

    again ,even if we talk high sounding advita,but practically live in daivta world,behave as dual. and again spiritual practice is also purely dual.as how many of us can go in JNAN MARGA.that is purely by thinking that we are brahman ,we will able to be brahman. it ultimately make us arrogant,egoistic.

    this excactly happened after Adi-shankar. people started byabhichar,downfall with name of aham-brahmansi. then next AVATAR came in form of such great souls like mDHAVACHARYA,BALLABHACHARYA,CHAITANYA who just broke that pseudo ego of Aham-brahmasmi. but by heart they knew the truth,but they preach to people what is needed at the time to be preached.

    their noble aim is beyond our understanding.

  10. #10

    Re: How does Advaita counter this argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    ......
    a) It is not Advaita position that there is no God. For an Advaitin, there is nothing but God alone & whatever is perceived as not-God is due to Maya.

    b) Advaita says that the substratum of both JIva and Ishvara is same i.e. the Nirguna Brahman/the fourth state of Self ... "JIvo Brahmaiva naaparah" ! Once the veil of Maya is removed, JIva realises its true nature i.e. of being Brahman Itself.
    .......
    This is a succinct corrective to what appears to be erroneous premises in the OP question.

    On the question of achintya bheda abheda as propounded by Lord Chaitanya - he was an Advaitin Sanyasi who was a devout Radha Krishna bhakta - the term refers to the inconceivable oneness and difference within the divine. At the mundane level oneness and difference can be easily demonstrated as in apples and oranges being all fruit and an apple is as much absolutely a fruit as an orange is absolutely a fruit and yet both are different. However in Brahman where distinctions are extinguished (due to transcending Maya) how can differences obtain?

    We can discuss this at great length but Lord Chaitanya has used achintya which means INCONCEIVABLE and indeed it so - we cannot CONCEIVE it, concoct it, explain it. Its reality is, according to bhakta saints EXPERIENCED or KNOWN in Brahman realisation.

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