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Thread: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

  1. #1
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    Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    Hello All:

    I am trying to understand the relationship between ontological entities - Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas from a Dvaita perspective.

    If I understand correctly, Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas are real and distinct from each other, per Dvaita. All these three entities have been existing since eternity. Madhavacharya and subsequent Dvaita commentators expended lot of energy to quell a natural question that would arise on positing the eternality of Brahman and Prakriti/souls. Wouldnt these different entities be "independent" of one other in constant "opposition" to each other? Dvaita commentators answered back by stating that Brahman alone is "independent". Prakriti/Jivas are eternal but "dependent" on Brahman's will. Thus, for instance, even though Prakriti is the material cause, it is only a "dependent" entity. It "depends" on Brahman. So, Brahman is the actual material cause of the world, in an implied sense.

    I would like to understand this explanation in further depth. Could some analogies be provided to explain the concept of dependent/independent eternality?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
    Hello All:

    I am trying to understand the relationship between ontological entities - Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas from a Dvaita perspective.

    If I understand correctly, Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas are real and distinct from each other, per Dvaita. All these three entities have been existing since eternity. Madhavacharya and subsequent Dvaita commentators expended lot of energy to quell a natural question that would arise on positing the eternality of Brahman and Prakriti/souls. Wouldnt these different entities be "independent" of one other in constant "opposition" to each other? Dvaita commentators answered back by stating that Brahman alone is "independent". Prakriti/Jivas are eternal but "dependent" on Brahman's will. Thus, for instance, even though Prakriti is the material cause, it is only a "dependent" entity. It "depends" on Brahman. So, Brahman is the actual material cause of the world, in an implied sense.

    I would like to understand this explanation in further depth. Could some analogies be provided to explain the concept of dependent/independent eternality?

    Thanks.
    If I am not mistaken Madhva meant by dependency the fact of all things existing by the will of God and not that their being actually derived from Him. But then this book I have reads that, according to him, "there is nothing but God." Interesting.

    I also read about this analogy of a watch and its weight and how they are neither identical nor distinct. Ring a bell?

    ..Anyhow, I'll try reading more tomorrow. I'm rather tired now.
    How can I put this in a sentence? Try next time.

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    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    Quote Originally Posted by Kismet View Post
    I also read about this analogy of a watch and its weight and how they are neither identical nor distinct. Ring a bell?
    I too came across a similar analogy, that of the President of a country and the various powers he/she yields - like the power to veto a bill, approve legislation, etc. The latter powers may be added/subtracted from the powers of the President. The powers derive from the Presidency, but the President is independent of the powers.
    Last edited by wundermonk; 15 August 2011 at 01:26 PM.

  4. #4

    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    Sorry to be a bit late to join this discussion. Though I wanted to start a new thred for this discussion, but for some reasons I could not find a way to do this. The issue is:

    In this world everything has to pass away, every form, even if it is the cosmos itself has to pass away, but then every form reappears. This repetition of forms, shows that there are sources from which these forms reappear. Man is a source of the reappearence of man, horse is the source of horse , and a Cosmos may be is the source of begetting a cosmos. Yet no form can escape death, or end , and if we think about this chain , we come to 'nothingness', in the background of existence or Sat. Things are , and simultaneously they are not, their existence is and is not. Forms are and also they are not. How we can understand this relationship between, Sat and nothingness, the isness and non being of forms. What relates being with nothingness?

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    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    Namaste Khalidrawat,

    Welcome back !

    Quote Originally Posted by khalidrawat View Post
    In this world everything has to pass away, every form, even if it is the cosmos itself has to pass away, but then every form reappears. This repetition of forms, shows that there are sources from which these forms reappear. Man is a source of the reappearence of man, horse is the source of horse , and a Cosmos may be is the source of begetting a cosmos. Yet no form can escape death, or end , and if we think about this chain , we come to 'nothingness', in the background of existence or Sat. Things are , and simultaneously they are not, their existence is and is not. Forms are and also they are not. How we can understand this relationship between, Sat and nothingness, the isness and non being of forms. What relates being with nothingness?
    What is the relationship of invisible water vapour in the atmosphere with the water in the ocean and the the snow that is in the Himalayas ? These are all same. So, that is the case with Brahman. Brahman alone existence in different forms and formlessness in its different states. It alone is the material and efficient cause of everything and nothing.

    Brahman is neither sat nor asat, neither being nor non-being, neither form nor formlessness, neither a thing nor nothing, neither conscious nor unconscious ... in its untainted state i.e. the fourth state which is called the Turiya, it is incomprehensible within our mental realm. It cannot be known through our mind because it is the origin of mind and also the end.

    Your understanding that man is the source of man etc. is too limited an understanding. You must go much deeper. What is the source of everything and even nothing ? All the things within mental realm which are gross and subtle ... either knowable through our sense organs + mind (i.e. gross objects) or only through mind (i.e. subtle objects) are created by the third state of Brahman ie. God, the Lord of all beings, the omniscient and omnipotent.

    But God which is the Lord of all beings with attributes as the creator, sustainer and the destroyer, benevolent, omnipotent, omniscient etc. is not the final source ... the final source is the Turiya the fourth state of Brahman. The fourth state of Brahman cannot be described by use of any words or concepts ... it is indescribable and incomprehensible ... it can be described at best by words "Not this, Not this" (Neti-Neti). The Turiya is the untainted canvas where all these three states appear and disappear.

    There is no death in true sense, Khalid. It is only change of forms. You were a child ... that form of a child today is gone, tomorrow your form of this youth will also go and the form of an old man will be taken up by you finally you will discard this old body & will take up a new body (first a subtle body in the second state i.e the Taijasa state & then again into this world in gross form) because it will become unusable after that. This cycle will go on until the Knowledge dawns upon you that "YOU are that (Brahman)" !

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
    Hello All:

    I am trying to understand the relationship between ontological entities - Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas from a Dvaita perspective.

    If I understand correctly, Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas are real and distinct from each other, per Dvaita. All these three entities have been existing since eternity. Madhavacharya and subsequent Dvaita commentators expended lot of energy to quell a natural question that would arise on positing the eternality of Brahman and Prakriti/souls. Wouldnt these different entities be "independent" of one other in constant "opposition" to each other? Dvaita commentators answered back by stating that Brahman alone is "independent". Prakriti/Jivas are eternal but "dependent" on Brahman's will. Thus, for instance, even though Prakriti is the material cause, it is only a "dependent" entity. It "depends" on Brahman. So, Brahman is the actual material cause of the world, in an implied sense.

    I would like to understand this explanation in further depth. Could some analogies be provided to explain the concept of dependent/independent eternality?

    Thanks.
    Namaste Wundermonk,

    I can describe the achintya bheda-abheda view, which will perhaps help understand dvaita (bheda) :

    The jivas are dependant on Bhagvan like Rays are dependant on the Sun for existence.

    Just as the Sun will always have rays by nature, the jivas are eternally existent as rays of Bhagavan-Sun.

    Brahman is the glare, effulgence, halo-like brightness around the Bhagavan-Sun Who is the Deity, foundation, pratishThA of Brahman.
    "BrahmANo hi pratishThA aham, amrutasya avyaktasya cha..." BG 14

    Jivas are in Brahman.

    This post might help : http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...6&postcount=24

    The all-pervading feature of the Lord which exists in all circumstances of waking and sleeping as well as in potential states and from which the jīva-śakti (living force) is generated as both conditioned and liberated souls is known as Brahman. - purport to Ishopanishad by Shrila PrabhupAd
    om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya
    praNAm
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

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    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    Quote Originally Posted by khalidrawat View Post
    we come to 'nothingness', in the background of existence or Sat. Things are , and simultaneously they are not, their existence is and is not. Forms are and also they are not. How we can understand this relationship between, Sat and nothingness, the isness and non being of forms. What relates being with nothingness?
    I am briefly responding to part of your post.

    There is No such thing as Nothingness is what Gita(2:16) says and hence there is no question of relating to ASAT.

    Gita 2:16 Of the non-existent there is no coming to be; of the existent there is no ceasing to be. The conclusion about these two has been perceived by the seers of truth.

    Translation by ramana prasad:

    There is no nonexistence of the Sat and no existence of the Asat. The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the
    seers of truth.

  8. #8

    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    In Dvaita it is a fundamental tenet that God is the efficient cause and not the material cause.

    There are several points which I must state.

    in Semitic religion it is said "...in the beginning God was alone, and then God created..."

    We believe that God exists the way He always has

    However what Hindus believe is that the existence of God is unlike the existence of any other (a belief held by Advaitins as well)

    there is no one beside God, sharing with Him His existence

    God exists, as He is, alone, with no other else

    God is the Creator of all things, before a created thing exists, God its Creator must have existed, therefore creating it as its Creator, otherwise it could not have existed

    and God continues to exist after destroying a created thing

    However Dvaita Vedanta does not limit itself to this understanding



    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
    If I understand correctly, Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas are real and distinct from each other, per Dvaita. All these three entities have been existing since eternity.
    Yes. But its not as simple as it is put. This eternity does not negate that we are subject to modification, death and universal destruction.

    O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.
    ~ Bhagavad Gita chapter 7 verse 26

    this eternity is stated;

    - God's ability to create is Eternal

    the creation being created has been in the power of God eternally

    the act of creation has been something that God can do eternally

    - the fact that such things(that God would create) would be created, is eternal

    - that created things have their prescribed period only in spatio-temporal world
    - the actions of God;
    when God creates something, the difference between it and God, is an eternal one, if we agree there exists distinction between objects and that God is distinct/unique (He resembles nothing and nothing resembles Him), the question arises, is this only upon the existence of the created thing or is this eternal? Since God is eternal, therefore everything about Him must be eternal, and that includes His distinctness and the distinctness can only be said if there are other "things" from which He is different from

    God is as He is by Himself, upon creation He remains as He is, now as the created we must realize that He is different, but our nature of difference do not terminate when we are destroyed

    - God is never spontaneous, the Will by which He acts, is not determined by things which He never had any knowledge of previously, He is All-Knowing meaning that His Knowledge encompasses all things and His Knowledge is not subject to being changed(updated) - since His knowledge encompasses all things, all things are included in His knowledge eternally

    the material, nature, attributes and essence of the created is different from the qualities of the Lord, and it was never prior to them being created that they entered into the realm of creation with all their attributes, such that previously it is not that they emerge from sameness(or that there was no sameness out of which they came and then they became different) and then to difference

    if God is able to create a thing, the becoming of the thing to be created must have been with Him, and the thing for what it is must have been within His ability(for Him to be able to create it)

    when man creates a specific object(through the manipulation of material already created by God), his will, inspiration and ability to do that accumulate resulting to that specific object eventually being carried out, is something that occurs within a particular time. his will, inspiration and ability to create is something within a limited span, and there was a time it was not within him.

    this is not the case with God, God has always been able to create a thing the way that He wanted it, that Will was not sudden, but has been with Him at all times

    the modification or termination of thing is accepted by verification of another, it falls withins its own history and its own witnesses

    things exist the way that they do and are perceived in a limited manner as such by mortals in this world

    since everything is accessible to God at anytime, and it is up to Him to act on it anyway that He alone pleases - it is eternally subject to and under the mercy of the Lord

    the temporaryness of things is temporary from its own perspective, but it is not so from God's perspective

    everything about a created thing includes its limitations and difference, this has not been so by its own, but by God, and such limitations and difference cannot be from out of nowhere, it was set upon it by God, who by His Supremacy as the Sole Being who only holds-the designation of all the differences, and this 'differences of all things' was not spontaneous, but is His Infinite Creativity that has been with Him all ways

    'potentiality of differences' cannot be temporary, otherwise God cannot create things that are different, its subjecthood to His Lordship must be eternal

    the important thought is that - we exist in our own time, because we are subject to time, but God is not limited to time, and God exists outside the sphere of Time, and He is Eternal

    it cannot be that our existences are not eternal, we are not-eternal within our own frame of existence, however not so for God, for it is God who acts upon us, His ultimate acts are not preceeded by acts by anyone other than Himself, He creates us and destroys us, but to Him, His actions are eternal

    and just as the Lord who is Immaterial Himself is able to create material from a non-material state (where the created realm with its own laws implemented by the Lord, outside of which it has no other laws likes those that act upon its own nature), the Lord who is able to create time and temporal entities is outside chronology that binds him

    time records the sequence of events in our universe, the only echos of the actions of God is His ownself

    Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be
    ~ Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 12

    can be rendered as

    time is not a barrier to God, God is not subject to time, the existence of God does not fall under time, the Creatorhood of God is Eternal and the createdness of us is therefore Eternal, the reality of God is permanent and unchanging, the reality of ourselves(being subject) to God, is therefore eternal, though we may be in a place at a given time and die at a certain time, we are never completely removed from God

    we are subject to time but God is not subject to time
    we are subject to time because we are subject to God, but God is never subject to what he subjects others with
    the limitations of the limited thing applies only to itself, but God is unlimited therefore limitations are irrelevant to Him, His knowledge of us includes Him knowing us the way we know ourselves but the way He knows us is something we can never know

    nothing is ever new to God, just because we are created, does not mean we are the way we are newly to God

    with or without His creations, God exists, His existence and its uniqueness cannot be tarnished and rendered changed due to His creation, His control over His creation, and His claim to His creation has always been with Him

    the Lordship of God over His creation, exists before Him creating them and even after destroying them

    the bondage of the creation as the slaves of the Lord never part them and the Lord being the Master of His creation does not part the Lord

  9. #9

    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    By the way just to be clear that no one gets any heretical meaning,

    - we(creation) do not share attributes or essence with God
    - God has no co-equals, parrellels or counterparts
    - only God exists without a beginning or end (because He is the One who is the beginning and end to all things)
    - God intentionally creates us by His power and will, creation is the act performed by God alone

    - the limitations that we have are imposed to us by the Lord, who is Unlimited, Infinite, All-Supreme Being, but the limitations of ourselves are irrelevant to God, such as space and time,

    - our own "eternity" is absent from us, but this mentioned eternity is through the sole eternity of the Lord, we are accessible to Him at all times

    this mentioned "eternity" alluded in the verse extols the Glory, Supremacy and Majesty of the Lord and the Magnitude of His Sovereignty and His Undefiable, Unquestionable, Unmatched Infinite Power

  10. #10

    Re: Brahman, Prakriti and Jivas per Dvaita

    I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
    ~ Bhagavad Gita chapter 10 verse 20

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