Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Brahman and Maya - My doubts!

Friends, for the past few days, I am immersed in delusion. I have certain doubts and I need your views and suggestions on it. These are my doubts:

According to the Advaitic concept - everything is Brahman. There is one and only one i.e. Brahman and nothing else. So as human beings, our goal in life is to realize that everything is Brahman and there is nothing else other than Brahman. That's fine. But my question is:

Question 1:
Does this universe "really" exist?

Question 2:
If the universe exists then:
After the Kaliyuga when the entire universe is destroyed, God creates another universe with micro-organisms which is again the embodiment of Atman. So if GOD is "creating" micro-organisms, does that mean that micro-organisms exists? Are they true or false?

Question 3:
If the micro-organisms are true, now what is the use of "creating" these micro-organisms since they are not going to realize Brahman? Only humans can realize Brahman! So to become humans these micro-organisms transcend different stages to become humans. So does that mean humans exist?

Question 4:
Following question 4, do we really exist? For Arjuna to realize Brahman - his mind has to become silent. Arjuna should not consider him to be "Arjuna" nor "Brahman" and only when the mind is silent - Arjuna becomes merged with Brahman. So does that mean Arjuna's body exists? Does Arjuna's mind really exists? Also in this example, say Arjuna realizes that everything is Brahman and there is nothing but void - but TJ Swami may not realize that. So does that mean according to Arjuna, there is no entity called TJ Swami ? To summarize, are these bodies real? Are these minds real? Are these senses real?

For advaita to hold true - all these must be false and void. There should be nothing isnt it? So that means there is no mind, there is no body, there is nothing. So if that is true,going back to question 1 and 2 - then why does God create the universe and micro-organisms in the first place? So if GOD is creating something - then that means its true!

Quite confusing isnt it! I am confused! Spoke to TJ Swami about this now and he is also confused! Hopefully someone of you guys can answer us!

16 Comments:

At September 27, 2005 12:46 AM, Blogger Kasthuri Srinivasan said...

Arjuna,
Good questions. Somedays back I wanted to post about the word "creation" which is the most abused word in English, I could think of - gives the feeling that something comes from nothing. Anyway, let me posts my views on these questions.

Question 1 : Does this universe "really exits ?

I think you are questioning the very root of Advaita and Visishtadvaita. Before going into this, let me ask you what do u mean by 'real' ? There are two reals - one from the absolute point of view and one from the relative point of view. Assuming for a moment that God exists and He is the absolute, you can question the reality of this world from His point of view or you can question the reality from your point of you. The former is from an absolute view and the latter is a relativistic view. Advaita says, from the absolute view, this world is an illusion caused due to the maya sakti of Brahman. Visishtadvaita says the world is real even from absolute view. Neither theory says everything is an illusion and denies the existence relatively. So, if you are questioning the relative reality - yes the world is really real.

Question 2 : If the universe exists then ...

As I said, 'creation' is the most dangerous word in English. Nothing is created nor destroyed. In our philosophy everything manifests and undergoes transformation. So at pralaya nothing gets destroyed, but goes to an unmanifested state and again after does that He does not "create" but makes them manifest again. Does that mean that micro-organisms exists? Are they true or false? From the absolute point of view this depends on whether you ascribe to Advaita or Visishtadvaita. It may be false or true as the case may be. From relativistic view things are real and they exist.

Question 3 : f the micro-organisms are true ...

This once again as to do with the notion "creation". There is *NO* "creation" in our philosophy. Sorry for insisting but I think all creation theories must *go*. Everything is an evolution. After pralaya he again makes things manifest so as to continue its evolution to realize Brahman - which terminates the end of evolution. Again existence of humans is answered in 1.

Question 4 : For advaita to hold true - all these must be false and void. ...

Again Advaita doesn't say everything is an illusion. It says everything is like a dream of Brahman (note here it is from absolute point of view) and not like the dream of we mortals. Brahman without any attributes (Nirguna Brahman) is the one which is really real. Rest of them are unreal in the sense that his maya makes us think everything is real while its just an illusison considereing the fact that He(without attributes) is the only one real. Advaita doesn't say everything is an illusion. Otherwise Sri Sankara would not have pained himself to make such great works. But, if you ask what is Maya - Advaita has no answer for that. maya is indescribable. It is neither real nor unreal. But, Visishtadvaita treats maya as real.

This is something little I understand. Hope this explains somethings.

 
At September 27, 2005 2:53 AM, Blogger Kasthuri Srinivasan said...

Also, in Vedanta philosophy, the causation (not creation) has two aspects. The matrial cause and efficient cause. For any object in the world we perceive, they are different. For example, a clay pot has clay as the matrial cause and the maker is the efficient cause. But, in the case of Brahman both are the same. The manifestation can be thought of like a seed becoming a tree. The whole tree is already there but in a unmanifested state. The universe is similar to this after pralaya or before srishti. And during srishti it evolves like a plant from the seed. Now if you ask why does he create, the only answer to this is "It is His lila" or 'He wants to sport". Sport needs no explanation. Anand has beautifully explained about the origin of universe in this post
http://dwaarakavaasin.blogspot.com/2005/09/universe-is-real-and-has-parabrahman.html

 
At September 27, 2005 5:52 AM, Anonymous Jacky said...

I was reading Dr.Spencer wells (Genealogist) interview transcript yesterday and first thing that contradicts to Hindu Mythology is India (or anything it was named before) is not the origin of habitation. I was beginning to wonder the relevance and evolution of Vedas and other religious literatures and epics. Be it Ramayan, Mahabarata or Prahlad - they all date back to Millions of years if we trust Mythology but it reality scientists have proved life in India happened only 32,000 years ago! Suddenly, to me this Dharma and other principles seem to made more out of a necessity caused from the adversities of Barbarian life.
If GOD had created universe, Dharma, Brahman and good principles why did he let the Barbarians to life a no-moral-Animal life for so many thousands of years? Now the whole concept of God as ultimate-impartial-moral police takes a beating.

 
At September 27, 2005 5:56 AM, Blogger Anand Ramamoorthy said...

Dear Arjuna,

I am pleasantly surprised to see this post coming soon after my post on a not too different topic, please check out my post and see if it matches with the info you are seeking.
also I am thinking of doing higher studies in UK . I have your mail ID will mail you with some questions, hope you don't mind.
SARVAM SRIKRISHNAARPANAMASTHU!

 
At September 27, 2005 7:30 AM, Blogger mysorean said...

Arjuna,

After writing two parts on "Summa Iru", I guess you need to practise it now my dear friend! :))

You are asking too many questions!!

LOL!!

I shall get back after a few years with answers to these questions!!

On a serious note, read Kitchenette soul's reply to Agnibharathi's post on cosmic verity. You won't find any answers there, but surely there's an underlying philosophy that applies to both situations.

 
At September 27, 2005 7:42 AM, Blogger Sriram C S said...

There are two things, one is truth another is appearance. Appearance is not false, it is merely a representation of truth so that truth which is infinite can be comprehended by finite means. To say with an example, appearance and truth are like a word and its meaning. The word does not become false once the meaning is conveyed. This might appear to be going on a tangent...but somehow felt like saying this here. BTW, these are Tagore's ideas.

 
At September 27, 2005 8:20 AM, Blogger Aatma said...

Hey Arjun, as we talked i went ahead and read a great deal about Buddhisim and then about Zen. I found it very interesting, and I will write a blog on it. I think you will like it and it will provide some of the answers, and will even give u some ideas on how to continue further. In short it gives us mortal some hope ;)

 
At September 27, 2005 11:02 AM, Blogger Jeevan said...

Arjuna i have no idea about this. will this universe exist? i dont think.

 
At September 27, 2005 2:19 PM, Blogger TJ said...

After the marathon late night discussion yesterday, i find the answers equally in sync with me.
Kasthuri, i had infact used the same tools to counter the points as used by you[the misuse of the word 'creation', and the concept of dream.]

For me there are two fundamental questions abt Universe/brahman and the following are the answers.

1. What?
It is all one
2. Why?
I call it Tiruvilayadal, but the real answer will not be found in the near future.

 
At September 27, 2005 3:14 PM, Blogger viji said...

hey Arjuna.. thought provoking post...
but I never had the urge to probe deep into Brahminism...i believe more in the "Anbe Sivam" school of thought. Mayb im too lazy to think ;)

 
At September 27, 2005 9:02 PM, Blogger Sriram V Iyer said...

Neither the Universe, not the Mind, nor the Purusha is True. Self alone is true. All these things may exist in the level of your mind or in Purusha's. They do not have any real existence.

Only the Atman is real. Nothing else is.

Why doubt?

 
At September 28, 2005 3:17 AM, Blogger Phoenix said...

Forgetting about religion and vedanta etc for a while...Big bang made it possible for it create the universe...the first thing that could possibly wouldhave gotten germinated is a single cellular organism and everything evolved from there.

Upanishads support this claim only that it has a religious tinge to it...it says god first took the form of hiryanyagarbha (golden germ)..possibly a single cellular organism....

I happened to see a video of quantum physics and conciousness and scientists seem to verify that consiousness is there in a cellular level...You work and think because of the neural nets firing inside..

If you are asking "now what is the use of "creating" these micro-organisms since they are not going to realize Brahman? "

then think for a while what are you?
You are a bunch of microorganism...

I dont necessarily mean to answer your questions but jotting down my views on what i felt is relevant.

 
At September 28, 2005 5:09 PM, Blogger Saravana Kumar said...

Kasturi I was thinking about this concept of something coming out of nothing. but when you analyse things you also see that the infinity and zero concepts mean the same thing. so when we say that absolute we also mean that infinite. and Its no wonder that something of finite can be extracted from the infinite and still the infinite is non modified.

This universe doesn't make any sense outside the relativistic point of view. Its a disturbance in an infinite expanse of inactive time.

Vedas say that there exists various timelines in which there are separate instances of universes that emanate from the absolute infinite.

@jacky - we are the only beings who go beyond Dharma, Animals follow them unconsiously. It is our Ego that makes us go beyond Dharma.

 
At September 29, 2005 1:02 AM, Blogger krishna said...

bro arjuna

here's what i have to say ..tho not necessarily relevant..kindly excuse me...:)

one has to be really very very pure to understand or perhaps to realize the jnana attained thru all these discussions ..until then i guess doubts will remain (at least somewhere in the back of mind)..

jnana to the FULLEST jnana (brahman) is in a lower plane to the FULLEST jnana. hence , no matter how great is the jnana , one still would have doubts lurking around...

so.. i guess, by means of gradually purifying (our minds ) ourselves , we can be sure that we are making a good progress spiritually .. so, let's all give our best efforts to purify ourselves (thru bhakthi and karma and perhaps thru meditation) so that jnana becomes self-explanatory..:)

till then we have to wonder

"engum niraindhaayey ..nee engu maraindhaayoo??? :)"

 
At October 02, 2005 12:04 PM, Anonymous motorcyclezen said...

hi,
once an English lady was deeply flustered and posted several questions on death,rebirth,the universe,karma,etc. to Ramana Maharshi.He answered some of her questions,then later told her-"It's good that you're asking these questions but dont get too intellectual about it.Simply focus on the 'I' thought."
It's now a big cliche (and a tired one) to talk about the Hindu 'maya'or illusive universe.The following viewpoints exist:
1.Most scholars ramble on and on about the illusive universe,but it doesnt impress you much-i think thats what even ramana tried to say-it just becomes another set of words that someone else has said ,not your experience.
3.Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has defined maya not as illusive duality,but as the condition when we fail to see what lies beyond the duality,i.e.unity.He ascribes the verse-"Purnam idham,Purnam adham" to this,there is fullness here(duality) and there(unity).
3.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,says maya is failing to see that beyond an event there is knowledge,beyond an object there is infinity and beyond a person there is love.Getting attached to the event,object or person is what distorts our reality.
4.Before i start sounding like the rambling philosophers i dont especially like-ill quote ramana who said-"The world through the eyes of the unenlightened is illusive,the same world through the eyes of a jnani is all real,all Brahman."I strongly recommend Paul Brunton's "In Search Of Secret India " for more!

 
At October 02, 2005 12:04 PM, Anonymous motorcyclezen said...

hi,
once an English lady was deeply flustered and posted several questions on death,rebirth,the universe,karma,etc. to Ramana Maharshi.He answered some of her questions,then later told her-"It's good that you're asking these questions but dont get too intellectual about it.Simply focus on the 'I' thought."
It's now a big cliche (and a tired one) to talk about the Hindu 'maya'or illusive universe.The following viewpoints exist:
1.Most scholars ramble on and on about the illusive universe,but it doesnt impress you much-i think thats what even ramana tried to say-it just becomes another set of words that someone else has said ,not your experience.
3.Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has defined maya not as illusive duality,but as the condition when we fail to see what lies beyond the duality,i.e.unity.He ascribes the verse-"Purnam idham,Purnam adham" to this,there is fullness here(duality) and there(unity).
3.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,says maya is failing to see that beyond an event there is knowledge,beyond an object there is infinity and beyond a person there is love.Getting attached to the event,object or person is what distorts our reality.
4.Before i start sounding like the rambling philosophers i dont especially like-ill quote ramana who said-"The world through the eyes of the unenlightened is illusive,the same world through the eyes of a jnani is all real,all Brahman."I strongly recommend Paul Brunton's "In Search Of Secret India " for more!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home