• Welcome to Tamil Brahmins forums.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our Free Brahmin Community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Fundamental queries of Life and discussion on Advaita and Vishishtadvaita

Status
Not open for further replies.

vvinjamur

New member
Namste,

I am new to this forum and I really liked the fact, many ardent spiritual followers have similar queries I have had since childhood and am eager to know more about these people to correct my ignorance and gain some insight into different paths to realize the supreme...

I have read few authoritative works of Adi Sankara, Ramanuja and Ramakrishna Bodhamruta, I am born in a brahmin family and have been following traditions of Tamil Iyengar.

Some of the questions I have after 40 years of life on this earth:

1. Can a human being see the god?
2. If everything is governed and ruled and IS god, why there is suffering, why there is bad in this world?
3. If everything is god, Is bad in the world also god?
4. As I understand Advaitha proposition of Adi Sankara Charya, The three states of existence (Avastha) prathibhasika, vyavaharika, paramarthika..Being in one state how can one realize the other?
5. What is Bhakti?
6. I understand this body of mine is not going to be there forever and this will also cease to exist as it happened to my forefather and father, before this goes to non existent state how do I know which path to realize self is right...(life is short, and if I dont know what is right, how can I follow it sincerely?)
 

renuka

Well-known member
Namste,

I am new to this forum and I really liked the fact, many ardent spiritual followers have similar queries I have had since childhood and am eager to know more about these people to correct my ignorance and gain some insight into different paths to realize the supreme...

I have read few authoritative works of Adi Sankara, Ramanuja and Ramakrishna Bodhamruta, I am born in a brahmin family and have been following traditions of Tamil Iyengar.

Some of the questions I have after 40 years of life on this earth:

1. Can a human being see the god?
2. If everything is governed and ruled and IS god, why there is suffering, why there is bad in this world?
3. If everything is god, Is bad in the world also god?
4. As I understand Advaitha proposition of Adi Sankara Charya, The three states of existence (Avastha) prathibhasika, vyavaharika, paramarthika..Being in one state how can one realize the other?
5. What is Bhakti?
6. I understand this body of mine is not going to be there forever and this will also cease to exist as it happened to my forefather and father, before this goes to non existent state how do I know which path to realize self is right...(life is short, and if I dont know what is right, how can I follow it sincerely?)

I dont have much experience either after 41 years of existence but let me try giving you my opinion.

1)Can a human being see God?
First we should ask ourselves this question.Have we created a mental impression that God should only be in this place and not that place and only look like this and not look like that?
What is the impression of God in your mind?
We all know that Brahman is formless..so what are you looking for?
Saguna Brahman as in Vishwaroopa?
Do you feel that even nature and creation is also God?
If you feel so..so dont we already see Him?
God is within us as even Jeevaatma is the dormant form of Paramatma just waiting to climb the evolutionary scale of self realization..so dont we already harbour Him is us?

2)God is the witness, Karma is our doing.Yes everything is God but He has given us a free will and what we see is the consequences of our free will too.

3)As long as dualism persists we will see things at the opposite end of the spectrum..good & bad,beautiful & ugly,rich & poor etc.
Technically speaking good and bad is a broad classification which could be misunderstood..in reality there are only experiences that either increase our merit or increase our demerit..the ultimate goal is to get a zero balance in Karma.
Good and bad can also be relative..what is good to me might be bad to you and vice versa.

4)I guess we go tru each state as our spiritual progress increases till we realize there was actually no state to start with at all.Everything was an illusion to begin with.
I need to read up more to answer in detail..

5)Bhakti can go by various definitions...each one of us might have our own form of communication with God.Faith holds the fabric of Bhakti togather.
Its up to us how we want to weave the fabric.
I feel there shouldnt be any hard and fast rule when it comes to defining bhakti.

6) Yes nothings lasts..but why worry..Just ask yourself what do you really seek.
This question has to be answered by you only.There is really no right and wrong path in realizing God.
Hinduism is a very user friendly religion..you can choose what you like.
Dont focus too much on being right all the while..making mistakes also help us realize God.

I have written what I felt here but when I read what I wrote I wonder how much of what I wrote I really put in practise???God knows!!!
 
OP
OP
V

vvinjamur

New member
Thanks Ranuka!! I appreciate your thoughts on my questions, However, I am not seeking exact answers to my questions, but an inquiry into these questions I feel is better than an answer which is close ended...

you said

What is the impression of God in your mind?
We all know that Brahman is formless..so what are you looking for?

The impression I have of God seems to be changing every time...How do I know what is right?
How do I know Brahman is formless?

Is freewill not God?

true, I "heard" and read from scriptures and other religious books that nature is god...but how do "I" "realize" that?

If good and bad are just perceptions and creation of my mind and they are different for different people, dont you think there will be chaos and humans end up in fighting for each others good and bad? and what you call merit/demerit seems to be different words for good and bad. All I know about good is what my parents showed me as good...for example the other day I read in a news paper in a country some 40-50 children (3-8 years) are brought up into a secluded place and all they teach them is some thing which is not inline with "normal good" that we consider, like help others in need, dont harm others, respect teachers etc......how does poor kid know what is good or what bad...

apart from this,

whether god with four hands and a conch in his hand or he is a jyothi swaroopa, or chaitanya, my pain point is how do I "know" him in this life? Is there a person who can tell us that he has seen/known/realized god? if yes how do I "know" he has...

BTW...thanks for showing interest in this topic...I hope this could converge somewhere I get solace to my ever spinning head with these thoughts....do we call that solace (if ever I get) as God?





 

sangom

Well-known member
Namste,

I am new to this forum and I really liked the fact, many ardent spiritual followers have similar queries I have had since childhood and am eager to know more about these people to correct my ignorance and gain some insight into different paths to realize the supreme...

I have read few authoritative works of Adi Sankara, Ramanuja and Ramakrishna Bodhamruta, I am born in a brahmin family and have been following traditions of Tamil Iyengar.

Some of the questions I have after 40 years of life on this earth:

1. Can a human being see the god?
2. If everything is governed and ruled and IS god, why there is suffering, why there is bad in this world?
3. If everything is god, Is bad in the world also god?
4. As I understand Advaitha proposition of Adi Sankara Charya, The three states of existence (Avastha) prathibhasika, vyavaharika, paramarthika..Being in one state how can one realize the other?
5. What is Bhakti?
6. I understand this body of mine is not going to be there forever and this will also cease to exist as it happened to my forefather and father, before this goes to non existent state how do I know which path to realize self is right...(life is short, and if I dont know what is right, how can I follow it sincerely?)

Shri vinjamur,

Let me first ask an impertinent question : are you, by any chance, related to Vinjamuri Varadaraja Iyengar, the Carnatic music doyen?

Now to your questions and the answers from a 70+ old man:—

1. God has not been seen by any human being so far probably despite some of the stories in our religious lore that some people had actual "darshan" of God. (e.g., the wife of Thyagaraja)

2. If there is a God and "everything is governed and ruled and IS god", then that god is most probably very highly masochistic , that he relishes all these sufferings himself/herself/itself. If we forget, for a moment, the last clause, viz., everything IS god, and limit ourselves to "everything is governed and ruled by god", then we will be compelled to admit that god cannot be omniscient, omnipotent and all merciful all at the same time; he must be devoid of one of these characteristics.

3. If we first postulate that "everything is god" without any caveat whatsoever, it naturally and logically follows that all that is bad in the world is also god; where is the confusion?

4. Advaita as we find it today is very much twisted and turned from what Sankara originally proposed. This happened, imho, because advaita with its popularly called "maayaa" concept was untenable and the advaitin scholars have had to invent newer and newer devices to withstand the attack on advaita from visishtadvaita and dvaita scholars. Today, hinduism as followed by the billions is more dvaita than advaita, imo.
The three states prathibhasika, vyavaharika, paramarthika, were logical devices introduced by Sankara to substantiate his advaita and nothing more. No human being can ever go beyond vyaavahaarika and only in sleep the humans 'forget' or become partly unaware of this vyaavahaarika world.

5. Bhakti, the word means sharing, dividing and in that sense bhakti envisages sharing of god just as sharing some ice cream or dividing a treasure between the finders. In both cases, each one will normally desire a larger or higher share for oneself than the others; similarly, in bhakti under religion each bhakta is supposed to crave for more and more of the godhead as compared to other bhaktas. This "oneupmanship" leads, in practice, to a cultish end for any bhakti line. Bhakti is thus a cult.

6. Self cannot be "realized" if you mean by self, the power which makes you alive and what you are. With self it is possible to understand, enjoy, hate, etc., many things. Therefore, the whole idea of self-realization is a great trickery being played on people, imo. If each one of us will only live as ordinary, law-abiding citizens, it is more than enough.

Life is always a mixture of good and bad and we must try to face the bad things with the least damage to ourselves and to others. That probably is the most valuable path to adopt in life.
 
OP
OP
V

vvinjamur

New member
Sri Sangom,

Thank you very much for your thoughts on my queries..not that I agree on everything you mentioned here..I appreciate much for giving me some different perspective on some concepts I have, I read some time back an interesting dialogue between God and Mortal about free will, this is one of favorite books (The Mind's I by douglas hofstadter, you are right he is the author of Hitch Hiker Galaxy) God tells the mortal "I dont have a choice after making an equilateral traingle than to keep it equi angular, however, I do have a choice to make a traingle in the first place that's all" this brings out an interesting argument if God is also bound by some rules hence I said God governs and rules...I definitely deny God a masochist who enjoys the pain he inflicts, but why the suffering is there in the first place was my question...if it is some thing my mind is creating what is the way out...if everything IS God why in Geeta Krishna mentions few places of his existence in verses like "Aham Vaishwanaro Bhutva, Praninam dehamaashritah..", "Mruganamcha Mrudroham.." and others...

If I cannot go to Paramarthika state of existence from Vyavaharika, why Sankara mentions that to humans in that state?

I am law abiding citizen because I dont want to inflict bad to others. but this does not keep me in a happy state because I need answers to my existence...I saw my father's body burnt into ashes, one who gave me immeasurable love and affection is no more in front of me...where has he gone? I know I have to meet the definite truth "death" some time soon...I dont fear that (I cant help but that to happen) but before that happens I need to find a way to my questions...
 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear vvinjamur,

You wrote:
true, I "heard" and read from scriptures and other religious books that nature is god...but how do "I" "realize" that?

This question of your reminds me of a shloka from Dakshinaamurti Stotra with Maanasollaasa(commentary by Sureshvara..disciple of Adi Shankara) which goes:

How does the Jiva know that? What is the means of that knowledge?What results does he gain by that knowledge?How does the identity come about?

 
Last edited:

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Sangom,

I have a doubt.I hope you are reading this thread.

The Mahavakya Tat Tvam Asi which appears in the Chandogya Upanishad(where sage Uddalaka mentions this nine times to Svetakethu) is in second person(Madhymapurusha) hence Tvam Asi is used.

For something to be in Madhymapurusha that means someone is telling us this..so who was the original person who was imparting this and to whom?
 
OP
OP
V

vvinjamur

New member
I was eagerly waiting for Songom or you to reply for few days and after I stopped looking for a couple of days, looks like he is busy. By the way, I visited some good places last couple of days and exciting part is I drove all the way...I went to Basar( the famous saraswathi temples) , Kanaka durga (vijayawada) were couple of them. I wonder sometimes that God gave us this life just to see the beautiful creation he made, the river flow, flora and fauna around, the evening sky over the river with light drizzle and the sunset on the other side..
 

sangom

Well-known member
Dear Sangom,

I have a doubt.I hope you are reading this thread.

The Mahavakya Tat Tvam Asi which appears in the Chandogya Upanishad(where sage Uddalaka mentions this nine times to Svetakethu) is in second person(Madhymapurusha) hence Tvam Asi is used.

For something to be in Madhymapurusha that means someone is telling us this..so who was the original person who was imparting this and to whom?

Smt. Renuka,

Sorry, I came across your post only now.

VI-1 of chāndogya starts, as you know well, śvetaketurhāruṇeya āsa...meaning "śvetaketu" grandson of aruṇa. This aruṇa is different from the one associated with the sun god; he is a ṛṣi created out of brahma’s flesh at the time of creation, as per taittirīya āraṇyaka. aruṇa’s son was āruṇī and he was also known as uddālaka; śvetaketu was uddālaka’s son.

The advice about brahman contained in chāndogya VI-8 are given by uddālaka āruṇī to his son śvetaketu, who came back at the age of 24 after spending 12 years in gurukula and was very conceited and immodest.
 

suraju06

Well-known member
Renuka,

Your post #7:

Dear Renuka,

Now that in the General Discussions there are sparks flying left and right and it is full of fire and heat, I wandered and came into this discussion topic and found this. After reading your querry and Mr. Sangom’s answer and your “like” of it, I am not sure whether you got what you wanted. So I am making this post. “Tat Tvam Asi” from the upanishad is one of the most analysed statements. Uddaalaka said this to his son Swetaketu. In understanding the true import of this sentence the context where it was said is very important. If you take this sentence alone and try to understand it you may be getting away from the truth.

When Uddaalaka understood that his son Swetaketu was ‘conceited and immodest’ he wanted to teach him about the Brahmam. In order to kindle his interest in that inquiry he asked him a question “உத தமாதேசம் அப்ராக்ஷ்ய: யேநாச்ருதம் ச்ருதம் பவதி , அமதம் மதம் , அவிஞானம் விஞ்ஞானம் ”. The son did not know the answer and so he told his father “கதம் து பகவ: ஸ:”, Then the father gave an example “யதா சோமய ஏகேன ம்ருத் பிண்டேன சர்வம் ம்ருன்மயம் விஞாதம் ஸ்யாத்”. To further remove any doubts in his son’s mind Uddaalaka said “வாசாரம்பணம் விகாரோ நாமதேயம் , ம்ருத்திகேத்யேவ சத்யம் ”. Then he moves to the upadesam of subject proper with “சதேவ சோமய இதம் அக்ரே ஆஸீத் ஏகமேவ அத்விதீயம் ” and proceeds to teach his son the nature of Brahmam in a few sentences.

I suggest that you go to the original upanishadic text itself and try to understand the rest of the conversation between the father and son.

Now coming to your question, if what you wanted to know was the philosophic import of the sentence Tat Twam Asi and so asked “who” said this, then it becomes a question on epistemology and my answer will be this:

Epistemology deals with the how , that is, to know how we apprehend the reality. The apparatus of knowing is investigated and the structure of thought is analysed. In its approach it is psychological as well as logical. The ‘criterion of reality’ has to be formulated and fixed. The nature of the subject, the nature of the object and the nature of their compresence have all to be understood. That is the starting point and that is exactly what Uddalaka started with before his Tat Twam Asi in Chandogya Upanishad.

My Sanskrit transliteration takes a lot of time so I have make a compromise and use tamil transliteration. Please bear with me.

Now, over to you for your tapas.

Cheers.
 
Last edited:

renuka

Well-known member
Renuka,

Your post #7:

Dear Renuka,

Now that in the General Discussions there are sparks flying left and right and it is full of fire and heat, I wandered and came into this discussion topic and found this. After reading your querry and Mr. Sangom’s answer and your “like” of it, I am not sure whether you got what you wanted. So I am making this post. “Tat Tvam Asi” from the upanishad is one of the most analysed statements. Uddaalaka said this to his son Swetaketu. In understanding the true import of this sentence the context where it was said is very important. If you take this sentence alone and try to understand it you may be getting away from the truth.

When Uddaalaka understood that his son Swetaketu was ‘conceited and immodest’ he wanted to teach him about the Brahmam. In order to kindle his interest in that inquiry he asked him a question “உத தமாதேசம் அப்ராக்ஷ்ய: யேநாச்ருதம் ச்ருதம் பவதி , அமதம் மதம் , அவிஞானம் விஞ்ஞானம் ”. The son did not know the answer and so he told his father “கதம் து பகவ: ஸ:”, Then the father gave an example “யதா சோமய ஏகேன ம்ருத் பிண்டேன சர்வம் ம்ருன்மயம் விஞாதம் ஸ்யாத்”. To further remove any doubts in his son’s mind Uddaalaka said “வாசாரம்பணம் விகாரோ நாமதேயம் , ம்ருத்திகேத்யேவ சத்யம் ”. Then he moves to the upadesam of subject proper with “சதேவ சோமய இதம் அக்ரே ஆஸீத் ஏகமேவ அத்விதீயம் ” and proceeds to teach his son the nature of Brahmam in a few sentences.

I suggest that you go to the original upanishadic text itself and try to understand the rest of the conversation between the father and son.

Now coming to your question, if what you wanted to know was the philosophic import of the sentence Tat Twam Asi and so asked “who” said this, then it becomes a question on epistemology and my answer will be this:

Epistemology deals with the how , that is, to know how we apprehend the reality. The apparatus of knowing is investigated and the structure of thought is analysed. In its approach it is psychological as well as logical. The ‘criterion of reality’ has to be formulated and fixed. The nature of the subject, the nature of the object and the nature of their compresence have all to be understood. That is the starting point and that is exactly what Uddalaka started with before his Tat Twam Asi in Chandogya Upanishad.

My Sanskrit transliteration takes a lot of time so I have make a compromise and use tamil transliteration. Please bear with me.

Now, over to you for your tapas.

Cheers.

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for detailed reply.
My mind seems a bit blank today.Will read up soon.

regards
renu
 

prasad1

Well-known member
Renuka,
I did read and tried to understand. The tamil translations did put me off (i can not read). So when you understand please explain to me in simple English. Thank
 

Nara

Well-known member
Dear vvinjamur, greetings!

Since you say you are from a family following "Tamil Iyengar" tradition, i.e. SV tradition, and since I know a little bit about SV and VA thoughts, I venture to offer my comments. Full disclosure, I am a non-believer, free-thinker, rationalist, whatever word suits you.


....Some of the questions I have after 40 years of life on this earth:

Before I give the answers from SV POV to your questions, let me give the answers to six questions Bhagavat Ramanuja, the shining pendent in the necklace of SV acharyas, had answered by Lord Varadaraja of Kanchi through his mentor Thirukacchi Nambi, a NB, who is famed to be able to converse with Lord Varadaraja everyday while fanning the Lord.

Those six questions and answers are as follows:
Q: What is true, "bedham" or "abedham"?
A: bedhame dharshaNam -- i.e. Jeeva and Iswara are distinct

Q: Who is para Brahmam?
A: Para-tattvam naame -- i.e I am (Sriman Narayana) the supreme Brahmam

Q: What is the means of liberation?
A: Upaayamum prapatthiye -- unconditional surrender seeking moksha is the means.

Q: Is anthima smrithi necessary for moksham?
A: Anthima smruthiyum venda -- anthima smrithi is not needed, SVs say the Lord will provide that smrithi for prapannas

Q: When will one get moksham?
A: shareera avanaashatthile moksham -- at the end of the present life

Q: Who should I take as my acharya?
A: Peria Nambi ThiruvadigaLilE Ashrayippadu.

This last question is very interesting, but that is for another day.

Now to your questions:
1. Can a human being see the god?
I don't know what you mean by god, if you mean Para Brahman/Iswara, then the answer is yes from SV POV. They have lots of stories claiming human beings seeing Sriman Narayana.

2. If everything is governed and ruled and IS god, why there is suffering, why there is bad in this world?
Most Indian traditions give the same answer, karma, more precisely accumulated karma. Why can't Para Brahman get rid of all this karma in one sweep, SVs say it is his sport, leela -- sounds cruel to me.

3. If everything is god, Is bad in the world also god?
Good and bad are because of karma. For Parabrahmam and muktas nothing is bad. Good and bad result only as a result of one's own karma.

4. As I understand Advaitha proposition of Adi Sankara Charya, The three states of existence (Avastha) prathibhasika, vyavaharika, paramarthika..Being in one state how can one realize the other?
SVs reject these states as unVedic.

5. What is Bhakti?
BG describes four levels of Bhakti, i.e. praying to Lord Sri Krishna (i) those wanting wealth, (ii) those wanting to regain lost wealth, (iii) those wanting enjoyment of self, (iv) those who want inseparable union with the Lord. Lord Sri Krishna says the last one is even greater than himself as without them his own greatness will not be known. He says they are his anthratma.

SVs also look at Bhathi from a different POV. Bhagavat Ramanuja describes three stages, Bhakti, Para Bhakti, and Parama Bhakti. At the Bhakti stage one seeks only Sriman Narayana for anything, material or spiritual. When this Bhakti matures, it becomes Para Bhakti. In this stage the Bhakta sees Sriman Narayana everywhere and in everything. This matures into the third stage Parama Bhakti. In this stage the bhaktha is unable to stand the separation and craves for instant union. It is at this stage Sriman Narayana lifts him up into Vaikunta.

6. ...(life is short, and if I dont know what is right, how can I follow it sincerely?)
SVs say, வைகுந்தம் புகுவது மண்ணவர் விதியே -- moksham is inevitable. This life may be short, but one's good deeds, and bad, will have effect and in a birth sooner or later all, even the most wretched, will find the right path, which, for SVs is, of course, SV.

Cheers!
 

einsteinstutor

New member
Some of the questions I have after 40 years of life on this earth:

1. Can a human being see the god?
2. If everything is governed and ruled and IS god, why there is suffering, why there is bad in this world?
3. If everything is god, Is bad in the world also god?
4. As I understand Advaitha proposition of Adi Sankara Charya, The three states of existence (Avastha) prathibhasika, vyavaharika, paramarthika..Being in one state how can one realize the other?
5. What is Bhakti?
6. I understand this body of mine is not going to be there forever and this will also cease to exist as it happened to my forefather and father, before this goes to non existent state how do I know which path to realize self is right...(life is short, and if I dont know what is right, how can I follow it sincerely?)


1. Literally, may be not, I mean through sight. But then if you try hard enough we can feel the manifestations of god in our life. Perhaps highly likely in the moments of crisis. There have been instances in my life when I was saved from intense turmoil by events that I cannot still explain.

2. You can't get anything without consciously or subconsciously asking for it. IF you read Roy Posner's work or go to Karmayogi's website, then you will find text on Life Response. Everything that we experience is the result of our own actions and thoughts. But then, you need to understand it well and seek for clues to see how true it is.

3. The bad in the world is not God. It is stupidity to believe that our suffering, or crisis are all trials by our god. Sometimes we have to work harder and face obstacles to achieve our goals; be it wealth, fame, or even spiritual achievements. Our own imperfections such as doubt, lack of true aspiration, or effort without interest etc are the reasons for the obstacles and suffering. As soon as we find out about them and rectify it then we are free from

In some ways these are indeed trials and tests for us, as we need to know what is right and wrong, we learn from mistakes and once we learn then we won't repeat it.


4. ?

5. Bakthi is in some ways faith in the god. To have faith is to make our best effort to live the way that is desirable to reach our goal. In essence all religions have pretty much the same preaching.

6. This is the fundamental question everyone tries to answer. Science follows it own way, religion has another. But, what I think best for the person is to continue his search throughout his life. Knowledge is power, but it cannot replace experience. People might tell you what is the best way, but then you have to find out on your own. I think you will be able to answer yourself, or more likely arrive at a plausible explanation by continuing your search, through reading. And if you find an interesting proposition, why not try it.

Many of us don't bother to do that while some follow one particular path with determination and faith. I have felt that once our aspiration for something is strong enough, the right path will show up in front of us.
 

alwar

New member
yes we can see god that is night sky with its infinite brhamananda but in essence

very similar this is creators intelligence
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top
Thank you for visiting TamilBrahmins.com

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.

We depend on advertising to keep our content free for you. Please consider whitelisting us in your ad blocker so that we can continue to provide the content you have come here to enjoy.

Alternatively, consider upgrading your account to enjoy an ad-free experience along with numerous other benefits. To upgrade your account, please visit the account upgrades page

You can also donate financially if you can. Please Click Here on how you can do that.

I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks