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Advaitic Brahman ! - Supreme Consciousness aka ultimate reality !

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Advaitic Brahman !

First off, I do NOT recommend anyone to do meditation, as this is not medically and clinically tested, so nobody knows the long term impact. Some people have raised concerns of extreme anxiety after attending 10 day vipassana !! So be aware.

The key to understanding Advaitic Brahman is to first go the origin of the concept of Brahman ! To do this, we need to go back to the life of our great Rishis. How did they come up with this concept and describe in such detail ?

The root of this is in the meditation process - (some of the following includes my interpretation)

1. In the first stage, the mind is trained to reduce the focus on all worldly thoughts and focus on one singular thought or name of a god or "om"

2. In the second stage, the mind is trained to silence all the other thoughts.

3. As the mind goes silent, the deep emotions start to manifest. This stage is the karmic phase, also the toughest, all the fears and anxiety start to manifest.

4. As the mind and body faces these extreme fears and anxiety, they overcome them one by one. It is at this time, the karma phalas start to manifest, and by continuously asking why am I suffering, you understand the root of the problem.

5. This is how the Rishis understood that past life karma phalas are manifesting now. They are also able to access the akashic records and see the past lives, and atone for their sins. There can be no liberation without atoning for the past sins.

6. As one continues beyond this, we reach the stage of experiencing Saguna Brahman. Brahman with all its attributes, and powers. Many Hindu school so of throughts like Shaivism, Vaishanavim, Dvaitam, Vishistadvaitam, defined this as Para Brahman, Ishwara, Personal God with all attributes aka Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Krishna, etc.

7. However Shankarar goes further. So Beyond this stage is the ultimate reality - Nirguna Brahman - Brahman without any attributes.

8. This is the stage of Jeevan Mukta, as the person "in this life itself" merges with the Nirguna Brahman even while living in the body. In this advanced meditative state, the "i" dissolves into the Nirguna Brahman. Cessation of "I" or independent state of soul.

9. So when the "i" disappears, then all worldly relationship, emotions - greed, lust, etc..all attachments, disappear. The Jeevan Muktha lives out the rest of this life without any attachments or worldly desires etc.., as his "i" has merged with Nirguna Brahman.

10. The lower realm - the current world with all its emotions and bondage is defined as maya by Shankarar. By viewing this world from the stage of Nirguna Brahman, he realises this is all a illusion aka maya.

11. Beyond this, there are no more stages. This is the ultimate reality aka Nirguna Brahman as defined by Advaitam. Thus the statement from Shankarar - that by knowing which, there is no more truth to be realised is the ultimate reality !!

12. This is the complete set of understanding of our world. Beyond this there is no more knowledge to be gained.

All our texts now define each of these stages in absolute detail. And our Gurus guide the disciples to go through these stages via vipassana, meditation, etc..

This is the big difference between shankarars approach and others. All others approach is that, after numerous rebirths and death or after this life, we get liberated by merging the "I" aka soul with Brahman.

Shankarar showed us the path of Jeevan Mukthi - how to merge the "i" into Nirguna Brahman in this life itself and while living, thereby proving that liberation is not just possible but can be done while living now with the right knowledge, perception, and sadhana !!

Now from this, comes the possibility that the Saguna Brahman including Ishwara or personal God is a lower order of reality and the ultimate reality is Nirguna Brahman.

Maya - And why did Shankarar call our current world including saguna brahman as maya ? Why not as a transient state or temporary state, or lower order of reality or just part of the soul journey across multiple worlds?

This is one of the core aspect of Advaitam.

When one is in the Nirguna Brahman stage, where the "i" merges, dissolves with Nirguna Brahman, then, one becomes the Nirguna Brahman himself and hence is able to experience "the whole creation" as a mere "reflection or projection or illusion or a dream state". Now that you are one with the supreme, you are able to understand the illusory existence of the known world with all its attributes.

This is not just a conjecture. If a dream state can be a mere projection or illusion of a normal human consciousness and can feel so real, the entire world with all the worldly attachments etc..can easily be a dream state of the highly advanced supreme consciousness.

Hence the realisation, that this entire space time world is just an illusion, or a dream state and the ultimate reality is Nirguna Brahman !!

I understand that the very explanation of "reflection or projection etc.. of Nirguna Brahman" means it has some attribute and thereby invalidating it. So my point is not to reconcile this, but to prove that this entire known world can and very well be a dream state or illusory state of maya as propounded by Shankarar ! It is "my usage" to describe maya as a dream state just to demonstrate how this world can all be an illusion !t

From shankarars view, once the entire world is proven to be a maya aka illusion, he does not bother about it anymore - he is not worried about explaining it further as a projection or reflection or dream state.

He moves on to Nirguna Brahman and finds it has no attributes. It is just pure consciousness and is the ultimate reality !
 

agopal

Active member
"This is not just a conjecture. If a dream state can be a mere projection or illusion of a normal human consciousness and can feel so real, the entire world with all the worldly attachments etc..can easily be a dream state of the highly advanced supreme consciousness. "

"I understand that the very explanation of "reflection or projection etc.. of Nirguna Brahman" means it has some attribute and thereby invalidating it. So my point is not to reconcile this, but to prove that this entire known world can and very well be a dream state or illusory state of maya as propounded by Shankarar ! It is "my usage" to describe maya as a dream state just to demonstrate how this world can all be an illusion !"

Good. I see that you are in the "right technical understanding" path. Advaitha is a good theoretical and experiential framework to explain and experience Parabrahman or Nirguna Brahman(NPB). Let's extrapolate more. You do "see/feel/hear etc." creation whether it is Maya or not.
Even-though those are all "properties/attributes" of "our" structure from Pattern-less randomness called NPB. Let's list all the properties emanated from such attribute-less entity. All this "structure" - include everything with a pattern/property like stars, gases, chemicals, galaxies, sound, light, Electricity, Magnetism, the natural elements, etc., Call this collection with a name. Since it spans the entire universe let's call this "Universe 1". The question to you is
1) Is Space part of this or not?
2) If all these are properties then logically by your own description NPB *cannot* have those properties. Which means "Universe 1" is not part of NPB ! So The elusive NPB does not contain Universe 1. Is that correct?
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
First to answer your points, yes, universe 1 is not part of NPB aka Nirguna Brahman.

My interpretation and extrapolation -

Nirguna Brahman (NPB) - causeless origin
Space time world (Universe 1) - causeless origin **My view is the space time world and Nirguna Brahman are separate, one is not part of the other. NPB and Universe 1 are intertwined together to form this world of existence.
Maya - Illusory existence - caused by empirical world.

Maya is the illusionary bondage and existence caused by the empirical world of the human body, emotions, etc..clouding its perception of the ultimate reality of Nirguna Brahman.

And this interpretation is not necessarily inconsistent as advaitam talks about 2 realities - Vyavaharika (empirical reality) and Paramarthika (absolute, spiritual reality)

My point is both have a causeless existence, so one does not come from the other. I feel this is the correct interpretation of shankarars advaitam, others may not agree.

Maya or Illusionary existence -

Let's revisit the rope snake example made by Shankarar and understand maya.

The person sees the illusion of a snake looking at a rope, and when maya is removed, the snake disappears. In this example, what is causing the person to see the snake ?

It is the human body, sense organs, and emotions - fear, sound, altered eye perception due to fear, wind, earlier fear experiences of seeing snakes, etc.. all of them cause the person to see the snake instead of a rope. So when these emotions are removed, the "illusion of the snake" disappears. **

This example is a pure illustration of maya aka illusion. Ie, you see a illusion of a snake due to the emotions clouding your sense organs.

So the human body, sense organs, emotions, people around us, material world and its pleasures, covers the jeevatman, and creates the illusion of this worldly life of existence, relationships, ego, happiness, suffering, death, etc..

And when you remove the Maya, remove all the emotions, ignorance, avidya, all that is left is only atman or Nirguna Brahman, it is the ultimate spiritual reality, the entire world of relationships, bondage, suffering, emotions etc.. disappears like the snake in the example. It is all an illusion. Only pure consciousness remains.
 
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agopal

Active member
Very Good!
You haven’t answered my first question 😀 though!
Now, such a Nirguna Parabrahman
Can it have Consciousness? From your answer You do seem to assume that it does and hence you are calling it Supreme Consciousness.
Doesn’t that mean Nirguna Parabrahman has an ‘attribute’ or a property called “Consciousness” 😀? So can Consciousness be a property?
If so then Nirguna Parabrahman cannot even ’contain’ that property correct?
Once you answer this we can move on...
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Agree. NPB can have no attributes including Consciouness.

As I mentioned in OP, the terminology and usage is more to explain the concept, rather than reconcile the difference.

Once the concept of maya aka illusion is clear, and we have the clear distinction of empirical and spiritual realities, we can reconcile or conclude that NPB as per advaitam has no attributes.
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Some additional thoughts -

This human existence with its limitations of the mind (despite the high perception power acquired by mediation) "may not be able to decipher or observe or understand NPB fully. Hence we cannot be sure if NPB is attribute less. So to me NPB is "Known Unknown"

And beyond this NPB - "Known Unknown", there could even be a "Unknown Unknown".

NPB - "Known Unknown".
TBD - "Unknown Unknown"

Given the human limitations, we can only go so far and not beyond. Hence we need to use abstract mathematics to finally prove that NPB is the final spiritual reality as established by Shankarar.

This is not something out of the realm. Say a cockroach can never decipher the human existence. It can never know that al of us are talking to each other on the Internet or that I am using a tablet to write this note.
 

agopal

Active member
Yes. Very good. Much touted Consciousness is unfortunately an attribute as well. We have to be very careful on the assumptions. For example, the consciousness we are talking about is different from awareness. You are aware in the Waking state of Consciousness. You are somewhat aware in dreaming state but you can’t exercise your will. When you are dreaming you go with the flow. You are NOT aware at all in deep sleep state. The much touted ‘Free Will’ is part of the Waking state. I say part because many a times you do not register the activities done by you in your Waking state. You are out of the zone of awareness. For example, how many times you scratched your head while talking to someone, or how many times you moved your head to the left, things your conscious awareness does not notice but your sub-conscious does. How many times you made an error while typing the above text etc.?
Now this sub-conscious entity is very interesting. You are borne with it. It comes to this world with a bunch of preset knowledge like how to digest the food provided how to trigger you to cry etc. since it functions in all the states of your consciousness. Waking, REM sleep and Deep sleep states. You may have to train it for example to drive a car in Waking state. But it doesn’t usually teach you any thing back. However, There is a fourth state that it is programmed for as well. It is called by the Rishis as ‘Turiya’. In that state It lets your aware waking Consciousness to look at the Part of the Consciousness that runs your sub-conscious. That , my friend, is none other than the Supreme Consciousness. It is also called Savitr the all pervading Vishnu. It is the same entity that runs this Universe. It is that Supreme consciousness that makes you immortal, soul-wise not body-wise. The Kundalini awakening triggers that in Agnya Chakra.
Many Upanishads are all about this. You could quickly expand your field of knowledge on this with just Upanishadic descriptions. Here is some more...

Sama Veda statement in Agneya Kanda:
“In early days of Creation the effulgent Consciousness bestowed his rays and looked within to create the Waking State - the sentience”

That happened at noon again Sama Veda statement.
“ Consciousness arose Mid-day in Man”.

So far, so good.

Getting back now the attribute-less NPB,
Yagnayavalkya described NPB as “Neti, Neti” meaning “Not this, Not this”. That alone is enough to understand more about NPB.
That is an extremely powerful description. I am sure you are aware of the NOT operator in computer Logic gates. Give it any input, it will negate it and produce the opposite.
Now, assume Yagnyavalkya’s description as a supremely- extended NOT operator that can apply to anything conceivable and apply it.
With that knowledge what more can you say about NPB?
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Agree, not sure if you are aware. I had in fact penned a thread way back, how the supreme consciousness is the cause of this empirical world. In short, all secondary creation comes form human Consciouness, say, all the temples, buildings, homes, pyramids, etc,,comes form human thought leading to action. Hence as a corollary, the primary creation of the the universe 1 has to be from the advanced or supreme consicouness.

Science may not be far behind, the field of telekinoses, is precisely focused on this, if human thought can move physical objects or it can create a physical object by just imagining the object. So by mind power can we create a coffee cup by just thinking about it. *Now you can see, how close this to shankarars maya. If science can prove this, then even the empirical world becomes just an imagination of the supreme consouness.

Coming to NPB, No doubt, yagnavalkya's neti neti is a very powerful way to understand it. And that's how one arrives even consouness is not the ultimate spiritual reality. Once consouness and its creation is removed as the ultimate reality and relegated to the realm of maya, we are only left with Brahman without attributes,
 

agopal

Active member
Agree, not sure if you are aware. I had in fact penned a thread way back, how the supreme consciousness is the cause of this empirical world. In short, all secondary creation comes form human Consciouness, say, all the temples, buildings, homes, pyramids, etc,,comes form human thought leading to action. Hence as a corollary, the primary creation of the the universe 1 has to be from the advanced or supreme consicouness.

Science may not be far behind, the field of telekinoses, is precisely focused on this, if human thought can move physical objects or it can create a physical object by just imagining the object. So by mind power can we create a coffee cup by just thinking about it. *Now you can see, how close this to shankarars maya. If science can prove this, then even the empirical world becomes just an imagination of the supreme consouness.

Coming to NPB, No doubt, yagnavalkya's neti neti is a very powerful way to understand it. And that's how one arrives even consouness is not the ultimate spiritual reality. Once consouness and its creation is removed as the ultimate reality and relegated to the realm of maya, we are only left with Brahman without attributes,
Ok. Now, the more interesting part! Now you have Brahman without Attributes - The NPB. Now, by definition Yagnyavalkya’s Neti operator should also apply to the ‘Brahman without attributes’ definition itself! Doesn’t it? Just by specifying and defining something called ‘Brahman without attributes’ and the assigned meaning for that exact statement you are defining an attribute! Many Upanishads claim that ‘Brahman’ is beyond thoughts and the mind as well! So if you can conceive of some definition like above for Brahman then that also defines an attribute isn’t it? So, what ever you even thought of and came up using your mind as Brahman is also subject to the same rule of Neti,Neti! Now, apply Neti, Neti to whatever you thought using your mind of as Brahman. What is left?
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Ok. Now, the more interesting part! Now you have Brahman without Attributes - The NPB. Now, by definition Yagnyavalkya’s Neti operator should also apply to the ‘Brahman without attributes’ definition itself! Doesn’t it? Just by specifying and defining something called ‘Brahman without attributes’ and the assigned meaning for that exact statement you are defining an attribute! Many Upanishads claim that ‘Brahman’ is beyond thoughts and the mind as well! So if you can conceive of some definition like above for Brahman then that also defines an attribute isn’t it? So, what ever you even thought of and came up using your mind as Brahman is also subject to the same rule of Neti,Neti! Now, apply Neti, Neti to whatever you thought using your mind of as Brahman. What is left?
No you cannot !

Neti Neti ceases to exist once all attributes are removed by this self enquiry process !

Hence the end point of this analysis is Brahman without attributes. And by saying this,we are not assigning any attributes ..

Yes the entire process of enquiry is itself from "within", hence this realisation and truth is definitely subject to human limitation as i explained earlier.
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Just so we are clear, describing something as "abc without attributes" means we are not assigning any. So there is no inherent contradiction here.
 

agopal

Active member
No you cannot !

Neti Neti ceases to exist once all attributes are removed by this self enquiry process !

Hence the end point of this analysis is Brahman without attributes. And by saying this,we are not assigning any attributes ..

Yes the entire process of enquiry is itself from "within", hence this realisation and truth is definitely subject to human limitation as i explained earlier.
You cannot say the attributes are done and dusted! You cannot cover all attributes!
‘Neti, Neti’ and ‘Brahman without attributes’ are all conceptual symbols that Yagnyavalkya *thought* of using his Mind using some ordering of symbols of some symbol set ( Sanskrit Language) and providing meaning to such ordered symbols! And so did you and I like ‘NPB’ definition using English language symbols! The act of conceptualizing and using such symbols and assigning meaning to such symbols uses our Mind and hence we need to get rid of them too! Also means that we are trying to define some structure to Brahman! The structure or attribute being the ordering of symbols and meaning assignment! That act itself is in violation and defines some abstract constraints into which we are trying to frame Brahman.If Brahman is purely not definable then even such mental framing of symbols and meaning assignment cannot happen! However I can say that there is something that you could do that expresses Brahman without using words or meanings. What would be a very interesting candidate- but still falls short- that kind of approximately defines Brahman? Let’s say ok I cannot completely define Brahman. But I can minimize the number of attributes ( say only with one attribute) and approximately define Brahman...
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
You cannot say the attributes are done and dusted! You cannot cover all attributes!
‘Neti, Neti’ and ‘Brahman without attributes’ are all conceptual symbols that Yagnyavalkya *thought* of using his Mind using some ordering of symbols of some symbol set ( Sanskrit Language) and providing meaning to such ordered symbols! And so did you and I like ‘NPB’ definition using English language symbols! The act of conceptualizing and using such symbols and assigning meaning to such symbols uses our Mind and hence we need to get rid of them too! Also means that we are trying to define some structure to Brahman! The structure or attribute being the ordering of symbols and meaning assignment! That act itself is in violation and defines some abstract constraints into which we are trying to frame Brahman.If Brahman is purely not definable then even such mental framing of symbols and meaning assignment cannot happen! However I can say that there is something that you could do that expresses Brahman without using words or meanings. What would be a very interesting candidate- but still falls short- that kind of approximately defines Brahman? Let’s say ok I cannot completely define Brahman. But I can minimize the number of attributes ( say only with one attribute) and approximately define Brahman...
Yes it does. Once all attributes are removed, only Brahman without attributes remains. And with that the process of neti Neti concludes.

Now coming to your points ~

No doubt all of our analysis and conception are limited by human experiences.

Having said that, the very act of analysis and discussions does not invalidate the concept of NPB. Neti Neti does not apply to the "process" of analysis but to the "attributes". If it does then we cannot even use neti Neti. So you see the contradiction.
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Finally our focus is on NPB, the ultimate spiritual reality. Neti Neti is just a process devised by yagnavalkya in his human experience to get there. Hence every process and analysis are limited but none invalidates Shankarars Npb.
 

agopal

Active member
Correct. That’s all with Yagnayavalkya could come up with after deep pondering. The problem is what with our limited intellectual understanding we consider to be ‘an attribute’. If Sun or moon is conscious they may come up with a completely different set of attributes which we probably can’t even conceive of and their Definition of what an attribute is could vary greatly. Ok . With our Human minds let’s test the limits of knowledge to get at at least one attribute that makes sense to us and at the same time we can say Ahaa.. that path may be we could follow to learn more about NPB. Can you think of one such attribute? Hint: Brahma sutra talks about it a bit...
 

agopal

Active member
We can move forward with more discussions on Neti, Neti you spot that very interesting Attribute.
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
If Sun or moon is conscious they may come up with a completely different set of attributes which we probably can’t even conceive of and their Definition of what an attribute is could vary greatly.
Slightly off topic to our discussion. In fact they do. sun and moon have their own consciousness. Supreme consciousness pervades all entities in the universe 1.

This is why these planetary bodies have such influence on the human lives, and our astrology and horoscopes are so accurate ! And praying to Shani aka Saturn consciousness to solve our problems are not superstitious !!

Maybe I should write a thread on why our astrology actually works !!
 

agopal

Active member
Slightly off topic to our discussion. In fact they do. sun and moon have their own consciousness. Supreme consciousness pervades all entities in the universe 1.

This is why these planetary bodies have such influence on the human lives, and our astrology and horoscopes are so accurate ! And praying to Shani aka Saturn consciousness to solve our problems are not superstitious !!

Maybe I should write a thread on why our astrology actually works !!
Yes. You are correct. Sun and Moon are conscious. The question really is are we behaving and acting in such a way that we are conscious of it in all our actions? That is knowing that Sun and Moon and probably other entities are watching us 😀?
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Yes. You are correct. Sun and Moon are conscious. The question really is are we behaving and acting in such a way that we are conscious of it in all our actions? That is knowing that Sun and Moon and probably other entities are watching us 😀?
Agree, we are all oblivious of our actions nor conscious of these entities watching us till the Shani Payerchi, Ezharai Natu Shani, etc..starts to haunt us. And then we wonder, how the heck the universe knows to punish us exactly the way we did our mistakes !! LoL
 
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