Random Musings-Part 12- A+Dvaita

Advaita is “a+dvaita” i.e. “Not- Dual”. What does Duality represent here? The duality of subject and object, which is the basis for this Universe of name and form is the “Dvaita” that is referred here.

The birth of this Universe is caused, when Brahman through his power of Maya imagines himself to be the enjoyer, the subject. This is the state of “Sushupti” (deep sleep) also called as “Karana Brahman” or Mula-Prakriti that is the cause of the whole universe. And from this, Karana Brahman, the Karya Brahman i.e. the Universe-subtle and the gross is born. The gross Universe represents the Jagrata/waking state and the subtle Universe represents Svapna/dreaming state. These gross and subtle Universes together are objects that Brahman enjoys.

Hence, Advaita refers to absence of the 3 states, the absence of duality, in other words the absense of Srishti/Jagat. Brahman is called as “Advaitam” because, from stand point of Brahman, It alone exist. There is neither creation, nor dissolution, nor bondage, nor liberation. The whole creation is “Kalpanika/Imaginary” that he accomplishes by his Maya-Shakti.

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4 responses to “Random Musings-Part 12- A+Dvaita”

  1. cabrogal says :

    I always find using words to describe Nirguna Brahman to be more misleading than enlightening – unless perhaps the words are ‘neti, neti’.

    To say that Brahman ‘imagines himself …’ is to suggest that he acts.

    I don’t really think it is meaningful to talk about Nirguna Brahman nor to postulate how Karana (Saguna) Brahman or Maya may arise.

    Nirguna Brahman cannot be described with words – they are dvaitist by nature, dividing things into subject/object and is/isn’t.

    Nirguna Brahman can only be experienced (samadhi).

    • Nithin Sridhar says :

      While it is true that, any description of Brahman including the words like “Nirguna” is only a pointer to the Paramarthika Satya, but to say that we should not say or write anything is not proper. If this were so, why would Vedas and Upanishads take so much pains to instruct about it? Why would Jivanmukta’s like Vyasa and Shankara write so many Sutras, Bhashyas etc?

      The reason being, a student must first understand the Reality intellectually and then through Sadhana and Vichara must realize the Self. 🙂

      • cabrogal says :

        Well, I’m no Hindu so I’ve never subscribed to the infallibility of the Shrutis and while I discovered Shankara long ago and have always admired him my understanding of the massive depth of his wisdom has been something that has slowly grown over decades. I once thought his insistence on the validity of Ishvara worship and his endorsement of bhakti was a kind of ninth century political correctness.

        Perhaps our different attitudes reflects our different paths.

        My own feeble Advaita scholarship does not come from seeking Vichara or wishing to practice Sadhana, rather it came from looking for a framework whereby I could explain the experiences I was already having.

        I am an Australian Aborigine with no cultural background in Hinduism at all.

        So to me, the data came first, the theoretical framework second.

        I am also a rationalist so am far more comfortable with fitting theory to data than data to theory.

        Advaita is certainly not a perfect fit for my experience, but the fit has been getting better as the years go by – unlike other frameworks I have tried like Christianity, Therevada, Zen, Taoism, pantheism and indigenous Australian beliefs.

        It seems to me that sramanism is a thread that runs through all cultures and religions and it is very hard to dismiss the notion that it is a universal human experience. But the interpretation of the experience differs wildly according to the ideology of the experiencer.

        Sometimes the need to find an explanation makes the sunnyasin very vulnerable to cults and fake gurus.

        Perhaps the most important lesson I took from Buddhism was that of the Kalama Sutta. I don’t take anything on pure faith. I try it and see if it works for me. If it doesn’t I set it aside (perhaps taking it up again later if my understanding changes).

        For me, the notion of experiential Nirguna Brahman ‘imagining himself’ as something doesn’t fit. Nor do any explanations of the relationship between maya and Brahman nor how one might arise from the other. Or even the need to explain such things.

        And when it comes to speaking of Brahman in words … well you might as well speak about ‘red’. If the listener is colour blind there is nothing you can say that will help him understand. If he can see ‘red’ explanations are unnecessary.

  2. Nithin Sridhar says :

    Well, as you rightly pointed out, any explanation assumes a certain competency on the part of listener to understand it. If, one does not have it he wont get it.

    While I am glad that you have found Advaita to be explaining many of your experiences, but at the same time the goal of Hindu scriptures is Atma Jnana/Self Realization and all injunctions, instructions explanations are given for one who is desirous of this Jnana/Moksha.

    I understand that you find questions of creation futile, but there are people who feel it is very important. So, the Upanishads address both. 🙂

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