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Thread: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

  1. #21
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    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Namaste,

    I find that arguments seem to drain me. I can debate with people, but really none of it is reality. For an example imagine that I converted to ISKON way of beliefs. I could come up with many arguments to support them. Or if I stay upon Advaita I can come up with many arguments. So what is reality? I think it is better for us to live the expressions that we choose and to have firm recognition of the truth that the Upanishads and other scriptures point to. Arguments will only harden our hearts. But this is just my opinion, after all the great Shankaracharya debated and refuted many schools in his time.


    Om Namah Shivaya

  2. #22
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    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    I think Spiritualseeker makes a good point. These kind of debates can easily lead to bitterness and frustration particularly when the people that you are debating are only interested in creating strawmans and circular logic etc, etc, etc...

  3. #23
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    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    "The Mayavadi theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of maya, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence"

    What stands out for me here is the word "lose". There is a dichotomy, whereby whilst the individual merges into the impersonal brahman, the individual isn't "lost" since it was never otherwise than the impersonal brahman. The duality is between types of experience, and not a duality of selves.

    On the one hand, there is the character (the individual self) but on the other hand there is the actor (Brahman), and the character in its totality is no more and no less than the actor.

    On the other hand, the actor can be backstage and not acting, waiting for its cue (the merging of the individual into the impersonal) or the actor can be on stage, acting as the character.

    it is in this second part that the duality is found between self and brahman - in order to play the character well, the actor forgets that he is an actor and becomes the character unto himself.

  4. #24

    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Namaste Ananda and other devotees/seekers

    This discussion caught my attention as it is a point of interest for me. Note that I am not an ISKCON devotee nor am I a Gaudiya Vaishnva nor an Advaitin.

    I think the first point to acknowledge is that in gItA 2.12, Sri Krishna is clearly speaking of a plural number of entities when He says, "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." Thus, a very straightforward reading of the verse would assume a plural number of individual, conscious entities rather than a single, conscious entity. This is also consistent with our experience. I know that if I harm myself, for example, none of you will feel the pain. Nor is it the case that one of you getting liberation will necessarily get it for me at the same time. Thus, we are different beings, and that seems implicit in gItA 2.12.

    Knowing a priori that we appear to be different individual beings, I would expect that a major spiritual revelation that we are all actually the same conscious living entity should spell it out very clearly and consistently. But that is not the case in this verse, or anywhere else in the Gita as far as I can see.

    Furthermore, to say that the soul *is* brahman contradicts the position that Brahman "is the eternal Self of all beings, of all the embodied jivas," because this latter statement presupposes the exitence of both Brahman and jivas. Actually, the latter position is more that of viShishtAdvaita, and it is supported in the Upanishads also. See for example bR^ihadAraNyakopaniShad 3.7.15:

    "He who inhabits all beings, but is within it, whom no being knows, whose body is all beings, and who controls all beings from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. This much with reference to the beings. "

    Again, reading this in a very straightforward way, we have to conclude that "He" (Brahman) and "all beings" (the jIvAtmans) are different, and that the jIvAtmans constitute His "body." It's hard to accept that the "beings" referred to here are merely the bodies made up of matter, since bodies have no consciousness inherent in them without the presence of the paramAtman or the jIvAtman. It is also hard to accept that the person who is failing to do the knowing is the paramAtman, since the paramAtman always knows Himself. Hence, the beings that do not know their inner controller must be the jIvAtmans, and it is brahman/paramAtma who is their inner controller. Both are real and are related as body is to soul.

    Compared to a straightforward reading, an interpretation to the effect that there really is no individual jIva seems to be a much more forced reading.

    regards,

    Philosoraptor

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    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Namaste Phil,

    So, in your opinion, Lord Krishna is talking of eternal existence of Jeevas in the verse. OK. Let's agree with that and proceed to other verses where the qualities of the AtmAs are given :

    Verse 2.24 says :

    This AtmA is "nityah" (eternal), "sarvagatah" (all pervasive, omnipresent), SthANuh (unchangeable, stable), "achalah" (non-moving) and "sanAtanah" (without beginning and end).

    If the AtmAs are many, can they all be sarvagatah and achalah ? Please visualise innumerable AtmAs and try to see them sarvagatah and achalah simultaneously and yet see them going with the bodies from one place to the other and migrating from one body to the other on rebirths.

    How do you feel ?

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  6. #26

    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste Phil,

    So, in your opinion, Lord Krishna is talking of eternal existence of Jeevas in the verse.
    Namaste. Always a pleasure to speak to a devotee :-)

    It isn't just my opinion. Most traditional Gita commentators that I have come across have taken the same position. Even Sridhar Swami appears to have taken that position.

    OK. Let's agree with that and proceed to other verses where the qualities of the AtmAs are given :

    Verse 2.24 says :

    This AtmA is "nityah" (eternal), "sarvagatah" (all pervasive, omnipresent), SthANuh (unchangeable, stable), "achalah" (non-moving) and "sanAtanah" (without beginning and end).

    If the AtmAs are many, can they all be sarvagatah and achalah ? Please visualise innumerable AtmAs and try to see them sarvagatah and achalah simultaneously and yet see them going with the bodies from one place to the other and migrating from one body to the other on rebirths.

    How do you feel ?

    OM
    Good questions both. Let's start with sarvagataH:

    A single, individual soul is not all-pervading, as that interpretation contradicts the particle-like character of the soul as described in shvetAshvatara upaniShad 5.9:

    bAlAgrashatabhAgasya shatadhA kalpitasya cha |
    bhAgo jIvaH vij~neyaH sa chAnantyAya kalpate ||

    On the other hand, if one takes the import of "sarvagataH" ("being everywhere") as driving home the point that the the soul pervades all elements and thus is *subtler* than the elements, it becomes apparent why Krishna includes this in a conversation with Arjuna about the indestructibility of the soul. Because if the soul is subtler than the elements (which directly follows from pervading all elements), then one cannot harm the soul with weapons which only damage things which are made up of the elements. This is the sense which Raamaanuja takes it and seems most consistent with the context of telling Arjuna that the soul is indestructible.

    Regarding "achalaH," again, I think one has to take it in context. Krishna is explaining to Arjuna why he cannot actually kill another jIvAtman. The soul cannot be moved by weapons. Raamaanuja writes "It is stable, immovable and primeval. The meaning is that It is unchanging, unshakeable and ancient." Madhva takes "achalaH" as meaning "being without any worldly kind of activity" by which I take it to mean that he is emphasizing the non-worldly nature of the soul (and hence, the soul's immunity from worldly weapons).

    So in summary, neither of those would be difficult to explain from a non-advaitin point of view, and when read within their context, they do not lend themselves easily to an Advaitic interpretation.

    Now, if you don't mind me asking, I'm curious to know how one takes a statement like bR^ihadAraNyakopaniShad 3.7.15:

    "He who inhabits all beings, but is within it, whom no being knows, whose body is all beings, and who controls all beings from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. This much with reference to the beings. "

    ... and extrapolates from this that there is only one entity Brahman, and nothing else exists. Would it not be more straightforward to accept the direct meaning that both Brahman and jIva-s exist, and that the former is the inner controller of the latter?

    regards,

    Philosoraptor

  7. #27
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    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Namaste phil,

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post

    Good questions both. Let's start with sarvagataH:

    A single, individual soul is not all-pervading, as that interpretation contradicts the particle-like character of the soul as described in shvetAshvatara upaniShad 5.9:

    bAlAgrashatabhAgasya shatadhA kalpitasya cha |
    bhAgo jIvaH vij~neyaH sa chAnantyAya kalpate ||
    You are moving from one scripture to the other without clearing the doubts of the former. The question is what does Sarvagatah mean not how AtmAn is described somewhere else. If you want to rely on this verse, please tell me how it refutes it being sarvagatah and achalah that we are discussing ? Please comment on word-by-word translation and see.

    On the other hand, if one takes the import of "sarvagataH" ("being everywhere") as driving home the point that the the soul pervades all elements and thus is *subtler* than the elements, it becomes apparent why Krishna includes this in a conversation with Arjuna about the indestructibility of the soul. Because if the soul is subtler than the elements (which directly follows from pervading all elements), then one cannot harm the soul with weapons which only damage things which are made up of the elements. This is the sense which Raamaanuja takes it and seems most consistent with the context of telling Arjuna that the soul is indestructible.
    Why should "sarvagatah" be indestructible ? Even if it is subtler than the elements how can it pervade all elements ? It is not necessary that which is subtler than the elements must pervade everything ! Can there be two things which would be simultaneously "sarvagatah" ? Not only this, we can't forget that it is "Achalah" too. How does an unmoving thing moves in the bodies of you, me and other beings ?

    Regarding "achalaH," again, I think one has to take it in context. Krishna is explaining to Arjuna why he cannot actually kill another jIvAtman. The soul cannot be moved by weapons.
    I think it was you who suggested that we should not interpret the scriptures the way we like but should take it as it is. Now, tell me, when "Achalah" means straightway, "unmoving" in sanskrit why should any one try to change it ? "Soul cannot be moved by weapons" ... do you think this what Krishna would say if He really wanted to say what you are suggesting ? Moreover, the effect of weapons has already been discussed in "Achhedyoayam" and other adjectives used for AtmA are not for weapons at all. It also says, "AdAhyo", Ashoshyaevacha" ? Then why should you assume that the whole verse is talking of effect of weapons and nothing else ? There are other adjectives used for AtmA too which are not at all talking its immunity towards weapons but something else. So, is it not a distorted meaning taken out by you of the word, "Achalah" ?

    Raamaanuja writes "It is stable, immovable and primeval. The meaning is that It is unchanging, unshakeable and ancient." Madhva takes "achalaH" as meaning "being without any worldly kind of activity" by which I take it to mean that he is emphasizing the non-worldly nature of the soul (and hence, the soul's immunity from worldly weapons).
    Is it proper to refute Advaita by quoting RAmAnuja or MAdhvA ? Why is your understanding. Let's give RAmAnujachAryA, MAdhava and Shankara some rest for the time being. Let's discuss the scriptures from our understanding of sanskrit and logic and see what should be the correct meaning. Again, "what do you mean by "worldly kind of activity" which the Atman doesn't do ? How is the jeevAtman non-worldly ? The JeevAtma is fully worldly and takes part in all worldly activities ? If it didn't how could it acquire the merits and sins of the Karmas performed by it ?

    So in summary, neither of those would be difficult to explain from a non-advaitin point of view, and when read within their context, they do not lend themselves easily to an Advaitic interpretation.
    No, you cannot take some extrapolated translation by someone for one verse and not allow the other to interpret the other verse except the way it suits you. Let's play fair. I too can give you the Advaitic meaning of "There was no time when these Kings were not ... etc.". But let's deal the issue with our own undrstanding without rapidly moving from one scripture to the other.

    The questions remain :

    a) Can there be two things which are truly sarvagatah i.e. all-pervading ?

    b) Can an achalah move in bodies ?

    Now, if you don't mind me asking, I'm curious to know how one takes a statement like bR^ihadAraNyakopaniShad 3.7.15:

    "He who inhabits all beings, but is within it, whom no being knows, whose body is all beings, and who controls all beings from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. This much with reference to the beings. "
    I can discuss all the 108 Upanishads with you. Let's first finish and come to a conclusion on verses of Bhagwad Gita. However, let me assure you that quoted verse doesn't refute Advaita even a little bit but supports it. When one single thing inhabits all beings and is my own immortal self then how is it many ? How can single being be seen as many ? If He is different from me, why should He be called "my self" at all ... why keep this confusion and why not call it just "God" ? But this would derail the issue we are dealing with here. Let's discuss the verses we have chosen.

    ... and extrapolates from this that there is only one entity Brahman, and nothing else exists. Would it not be more straightforward to accept the direct meaning that both Brahman and jIva-s exist, and that the former is the inner controller of the latter?
    You are too quick to pass judgement. Discussions are not done in this way. Please answer the questions I have asked. I have not given any conclusion from my side. I am not asserting whether Advaita is right or Dvaita is. Let both of us start with clean slates.

    You are free to consult Sanskrit dictionary to see the correct meaning of words in the verse I have quoted. Does it support your translation or mine ?

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 30 May 2012 at 11:40 AM.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  8. #28

    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Namaste devotee,

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste phil,

    You are moving from one scripture to the other without clearing the doubts of the former. The question is what does Sarvagatah mean not how AtmAn is described somewhere else.
    No I'm not. shAstra-s have to be understood *consistently.* jIvAtman can't be all-pervading in one shAstra and then particle-like in another shAstra. All vedAntists accept that smRiti should be understood in a way that does not contradict shruti. Hence, if shruti says that jIvAtman is atomic, then gItA has to be understood in that way too.

    Why should "sarvagatah" be indestructible ? Even if it is subtler than the elements how it can pervade all elements ? Can there be two things which would be simultaneously "sarvagatah" ?
    It is indestructible precisely because it is sarvagataH. Being sarvagataH it pervades all elements. Because it pervades all elements/matter, it follows that it is subtler than the elements/matter. Since weapons of war can only harm things made of matter, QED the soul is indestructible. Hence, Arjuna should not grieve for the destruction of bhIshma, drOna, and others and that is precisely how it fits in that context.

    Not only this, we can't forget that it is "Achalah" too. How does an unmoving thing moves in the bodies of you, me and other beings ?
    Because it is "unmoveable" by *worldly means.* Despite his bowmanship and mastery over so many divine weapons, nothing Arjuna can do can move the jIvAtman. All he can do is destroy the body, leaving the jIvAtman to move under the influence of its karma to another body.

    Interpreting "achalaH" in the way that you suggest contradicts other shrutis which do describe it moving between different bodies, from heaven to earth, etc.

    I think it was you who suggested that we should not interpret the scriptures the way we like but should take it as it is. Now, tell me, when "Achalah" means straightway, "unmoving" in sanskrit why should any one try to change it ?
    Because the meaning you have proposed is not consistent with context and actually contradicts shruti. There are times when being inappropriately literal also leads to the wrong understanding.

    Is it proper to refute Advaita by quoting RAmAnuja or MAdhvA ?
    I didn't realize I was trying to refute Advaita. I was merely pointing out how other commentators explained that particular verse in order to answer your question.

    Why is your understanding. Let's give RAmAnujachAryA, MAdhava and Shankara some rest for the time being. Let's discuss the scriptures from our understanding of sanskrit and logic and see what should be the correct meaning.
    I'm afraid I may not be the logician you think I am. I tend to read things and assume a straightforward meaning unless there is reason to assume otherwise. I've already explained why "sarvagataH" and "achalaH" can't be interpreted in the ways that you proposed. Leaving aside Shankaraachaarya as you proposed to do, have you explained why gItA 2.12, which speaks of a plural number of entities, should be logically interpreted to refer to a single entity? Because if so, I missed that.

    No, you cannot take some extrapolated translation by someone for one verse and not allow the other to interpret the other verse except the way it suits you. Let's play fair.
    What "extrapolated translation" are you referring to? When have I "not allowed" you to interpret any verse?

    I quoted the translation of the bRhadAraNyaka upaniShad by Swami Madhavananda of the *Advaita Ashram* (http://www.celextel.org/upanishads/s...daranyaka.html). I gave the exact verse numbers so you should be able to look up the Sanskrit yourself if you doubted the translation.

    I too can give you the Advaitic meaning of "There was no time when these Kings were not ... etc.". But let's deal the issue with our common sense.
    The questions remain :

    a) Can there be two things which are truly sarvagatah i.e. all-pervading ?

    b) Can an achalah move in bodies ?
    The problem is your misunderstanding of the terms. Specifically, you misunderstood the meaning of the terms as used by Sri Krishna because you took them out of context.

    When one single thing inhabits all beings and is my own immortal self then how is it many ?
    It isn't. It is one being who resides within the many jIvas. Hence, the Advaita Ashram translation of bRihadAraNyaka upaniShad 3.7.15:

    "III-vii-15: He who inhabits all beings, but is within it, whom no being knows, whose body is all beings, and who controls all beings from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. This much with reference to the beings."

    Please note that I've seen more or less the same translation given by at least 2 other translators.

    Thus, the jIvAtman is the Atman of the body. And the paramAtma who resides in each jIvAtma is the Atma of the jIvAtma. And that is why He is "your immortal self." Because He (the paramAtma) dwells within you (the jIvAtma), just as you (the jIvAtma) dwell within the heart of the body.

    There is no other straightforward way of reading "He who inhabits all beings" without taking "all beings" as real, plural and conscious.

    regards,

    Philosoraptor

  9. #29
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    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Namaste phil,


    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    No I'm not. shAstra-s have to be understood *consistently.* jIvAtman can't be all-pervading in one shAstra and then particle-like in another shAstra. All vedAntists accept that smRiti should be understood in a way that does not contradict shruti. Hence, if shruti says that jIvAtman is atomic, then gItA has to be understood in that way too.
    The consistency can be understood when you will allow it to be understood. You have assumed a lot of things and are not allowing any other views to be considered except what you think to be correct. Did I ever say that Smritis should not conform to the Shruti ? No. But you have assumed that I said that and you have put forward your extended conclusion based on that. Ever thought why Bhagwad Gita uses AtmA instead of JeevAtma in the verse ? Let's assume that in the verse I have taken, BG uses AtmA as JeevAtmA and therefore, it was necessary to translate Sarvagatah and achalah as you suggest. If that were so, why did Krishna said this, "Aham AtmA gudAkeshah sarvabhUtAshaya sthitah" ? Why didn't Krishna use different words for JeevAtmA and AtmA ? How can you take a sloka from Sruti which talks of JeevAtma and equate it with another word in another scripture where AtmA is being talked about ?

    You are assuming that the said verse of Gita talks about JeevAtmA and there lies your mistake. As you are not ready to move from this position, there can't be any progress in discussion. As assumptions remain unchanged so will the conclusion be.

    It is indestructible precisely because it is sarvagataH.
    Please tell which principle says so ?

    Being sarvagataH it pervades all elements.
    But you denied it pervading all elements, didn't you ? How can one "thing" pervade more than one thing ? How can your JeevAtmA pervade the mountain in front of you ?

    Because it pervades all elements/matter, it follows that it is subtler than the elements/matter. Since weapons of war can only harm things made of matter, QED the soul is indestructible.
    Can't it (the destruction) be achieved even by BrahmAstra or some powerful mantras ? Why are you thinking of only conventional metallic weapons ?

    Hence, Arjuna should not grieve for the destruction of bhIshma, drOna, and others and that is precisely how it fits in that context.
    It will fit into the right context, even if you think in Advaitic way. So, fitting into context is no issue at all.

    Because it is "unmoveable" by *worldly means.* Despite his bowmanship and mastery over so many divine weapons, nothing Arjuna can do can move the jIvAtman. All he can do is destroy the body, leaving the jIvAtman to move under the influence of its karma to another body.
    Did Krishna use the term, "worldly means only" ? I am afraid ... you have a very strong fixed idea and therefore I can't make you see the correct meaning. Please be happy with this translation which, in fact, is distorted translation and nothing else.

    Interpreting "achalaH" in the way that you suggest contradicts other shrutis which do describe it moving between different bodies, from heaven to earth, etc.
    No, it doesn't contradict Shruti. You are mixing up JeevAtmA and AtmA. JeevAtmAs are normally referred to as Bhootas or BhootAtmAs.

    I didn't realize I was trying to refute Advaita. I was merely pointing out how other commentators explained that particular verse in order to answer your question.
    Till now you have been advocating to accept the Dvaita version in this Advaita forum. What was that for ?

    I'm afraid I may not be the logician you think I am. I tend to read things and assume a straightforward meaning unless there is reason to assume otherwise. I've already explained why "sarvagataH" and "achalaH" can't be interpreted in the ways that you proposed. Leaving aside Shankaraachaarya as you proposed to do, have you explained why gItA 2.12, which speaks of a plural number of entities, should be logically interpreted to refer to a single entity? Because if so, I missed that.
    It will be difficult to understand it for you unless you are ready to accept other views. So, I wonder how it will be fruitful at all ! The Advaita is difficult to understand and if you are not in a mood to listen and accept other views, any discussion on this matter will be simply a waste.

    What "extrapolated translation" are you referring to? When have I "not allowed" you to interpret any verse?
    You were discussing something with Ganeshprasad ji in another forum. Didn't you say this,
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil
    When "interpretation" becomes confused with "interpolation" and "explanation" is misread as "insinuation," and the gist of the conversations becomes one of "I have great respect for scripture, just as long as I don't disagree with it," then I think that it is a sign that nothing productive will come of participating further in the discussion. Hence, I'll leave you to it on this one.
    ?

    The problem is your misunderstanding of the terms. Specifically, you misunderstood the meaning of the terms as used by Sri Krishna because you took them out of context.
    Why do you think that I am taking the meaning out of context and you are doing it right ? Any special cause for this extra confidence ?

    It isn't. It is one being who resides within the many jIvas. Hence, the Advaita Ashram translation of bRihadAraNyaka upaniShad 3.7.15:

    "III-vii-15: He who inhabits all beings, but is within it, whom no being knows, whose body is all beings, and who controls all beings from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. This much with reference to the beings."
    Have you considered the rope and snake analogy ? The reality is the rope but snake is perceived due to avidyA/ignorance. Are there two entities i.e. both rope and snake ? Have you considered that AtmA has four states and the first three states arise and dissolve on the fourth which is the sole reality ? The reality is one alone i.e. the Turiya. Unless this is understood you will have problems in understanding Advaitic point of view.

    Please note that I've seen more or less the same translation given by at least 2 other translators.
    It is ok. I didn't say that the translation is wrong. No need to bring in more proofs.

    There is no other straightforward way of reading "He who inhabits all beings" without taking "all beings" as real, plural and conscious.
    From you present status, "yes", but if you agree to move to Advaitic analysis, you will get the real picture of the reality as it is. The answer appears to be correct doesn't mean that it is correct.

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 31 May 2012 at 12:36 AM.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  10. #30
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    Re: Need refutation on this argument put forth by the hare krishnas:

    Continued from the last post :

    Let's see some of the verses you have relied upon :

    bAlAgrashatabhAgasya shatadhA kalpitasya cha |
    bhAgo jIvaH vij~neyaH sa chAnantyAya kalpate || Sve. 5.9.

    What does this verse say ? This verse talks about jIvAh. We can't have any confusion about it here. Again, it uses the word, "kalpitsaya cha". Kalpita means "imagined" though it is also used in "creation". Again it says, "cha ananta kalpate". "Ananta" means "infinite". How can same thing which is as subtle or thin as hundredth part of a hair be "infinite" ? How is it One and also Infinite at the same time ?

    How do you explain this paradox ?

    In fact, the above verse should be read with this previous verse :

    V-8: Subtle as the point of a goad, and pure, effulgent and infinite like the sun, He alone is seen assuming as another the size of a thumb on account of the finiteness of the heart (in which He appears), and associating Himself with egoism and Sankalpa on account of the limitations of the intellect.


    The Pure, effulgent and Infinite are the adjectives used here for the AtmA/JeevAtmA. How can Infinite be many ?

    I can explain this further in detail, if you interested. However, if you are happy with your current views, I quit here.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 28 March 2010, 03:45 AM

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