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Brahman and God

Discussion in 'Hinduism - Philosophy and Theology DIR' started by atanu, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. atanu

    atanu Member
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    The following is an important verse from Brihadaraynaka upanishad.

    "This (self) was indeed Brahman in the beginning; It knew only Itself as, "I am Brahman". Therefore It became all; and whoever among the gods knew It also became That; and the same with sages and men…” - (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I.iv.10).


    Can we discuss this?
     
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  2. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    That is a long one:

    "brahma vā idam agra āsīt, tad ātmānam evāvet, aham brahmāsmīti: tasmāt tat sarvam abhavat, tad yo yo devānām pratyabubhyata, sa eva tad abhavat, tathā ṛṣīṇām, tathā manuṣyāṇām. taddhaitat paśyan ṛṣir vāma-devaḥ pratipede, aham manur abhavaṁ sūryaś ceti, tad idam api etarhi ya evaṁ veda, aham brahmāsmīti sa idaṁ sarvam bhavati; tasya ha na devāś ca nābhūtyā īśate, ātmā hy eṣāṁ sa bhavati. atha yo anyāṁ devatām upāste, anyo'sau anyo' ham asmīti, na sa veda; yathā paśur, evam sa devānām; yathā ha vai bahavaḥ paśavo manuṣyam bhuñjyuḥ, evam ekaikaḥ puruṣo devān bhunakti; ekasminn eva paśāv ādīyamāne'priyam bhavati, kiṁ u bahuṣu? tasmād eṣām tan na priyam yad etan manuṣyā vidyuḥ."​

    http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/brdup/brhad_I-04.html (that has Swami Krishnanada's explanation)

    "He knew, 'I Am the All, the Absolute'; and whoever knows thus, becomes the All. This is the essence of Brahma-Vidyā, the highest wisdom of life."
     
    #2 Aupmanyav, Sep 5, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  3. atanu

    atanu Member
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    I request Amrut, Makaranda, Ekanta and other vedantists to expand on this.
     
    #3 atanu, Sep 5, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  4. Makaranda

    Makaranda Active Member

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    Let me get back to you, moving house at the moment, busy busy :)
     
  5. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    There are degrees of reality; a hierarchy of complexity; worlds nested within worlds. In Vedanta, Brahman is generally the point at which all qualities merge into a featureless, undifferentiated singularity. But; as Krishnananda pointed out, a featureless nothingness is inconceivable; so, if we're to think or talk about Brahman it helps to attach some qualities to latch onto. This violates the definition, of course, but what can you do?

    Brahman isn't God. Even Saguna Brahman is more than God. God comes into being at the point you personify some aspect of reality. God is generally conceived of as a personage.
     
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  6. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Yes. You say: Even Saguna Brahman is more than God. I will go by that.

    Brahman is defined as Sat (True), Anantam (Infinite), Jnanam (Knowledge) and Anandam (unbroken Bliss). And also 'One Without a Second'. These are not mere words. These are pointers to understanding.

    For example. I have heard some say that Brahman is beyond Sukha-Dukha (Joy and Sadness) and thus they do not agree to the attribute "Anandam". They are trying to fool themselves. "Anandan" has no Antonym. It is without an opposite.

    Similarly with Jnanam. Opposite of Jnanam is 'Ajnanam (Unconscious). Brahman is never Ajnanam. Furthermore, if Brahman alone IS, who or what knows it, if is not pure Jnanam? If Brahman, the 'One Without a Second', is not of the nature of Knowledge, then it will never know itself. So, Shankara defines Brahman, in line with Shruti, as below:

    Viveka Chudamani of Shankara

    127. Which Itself sees all, but which no one beholds, which illumines the intellect etc., but which they cannot illumine. – This is That.
    225. Brahman is Existence, Knowledge, Infinity, pure, supreme, self-existent, eternal and indivisible Bliss, not different (in reality) from the individual soul, and devoid of interior or exterior. It is (ever) triumphant.

    I understand that someone may point out that these attributes cannot apply to Nirguna, One without a Second. Yes. But these do too.

    One cannot ever say that Brahman is "not Anandam" or "not Jnanam".

    I missed your post for long. Since you brought up Krishnanada, I am citing a portion of his thought from the Preface of his book on Mandukya Upanishad.

    Yes. That is the position of the Vedas. Shruti says: Knower of Brahman becomes Brahman. However since, Brahman is anantam (infinite) it is pre-mature for an ego self to declare "I am Brahman".
     
    #6 atanu, Mar 24, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  7. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Brahman is God too. Since the Shushupti, the state of deep sleep is Ishwaratta -- of Godhood state of Turiya Atman Brahman, as cited below from Mandukya Upanishad.

    And interested readers may also read the Chapter "God of The Universe" in

    http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/mand/Mandukya_Upanishad.pdf
     
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  8. Kirran

    Kirran
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    Some Advaitins also just use the word God for Brahman.

    It can be a case of finding there is that which is much greater than God, or of finding that God is much greater than you'd thought. Different structure on the same thing.
     
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  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    If they do, then they should think about being a little more careful in the use of their words. Is Brahman a God like in Abrahamic religions? :)
     
  10. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    The usage of God for Brahman is specifically for Saguna Brahman (Ishwara).

    Nirguna Brahman obviously cannot have any positive descriptions (including energy, gravity, bliss, pure, impure, consciousness, unconsciousness, etc.,). Any such attribute can only be applied in the context of Saguna Brahman.
     
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  11. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Sure? You know Brahman? 'Neti, neti'.
     
  12. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    I think "neti, neti," was the point Shivsomashekhar was trying to make, Aup.
     
    #12 Valjean, Mar 29, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
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  13. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    Yes. If we use the term Brahman in the context of Advaita, the first thing to be done is to clarify if we are discussing Saguna or Nirguna.

    The latter cannot be described, except in the negative.
     
  14. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    But do we know Brahman? What if it does have such descriptions and we are denying them because of our own misunderstanding? Quantum Mechanics is a different world where things may appear from 'absolute nothing, do various things and disappear back into 'absolute nothing'. I would not be categorical in saying that it does not have any positive descriptions. I will accept what we know today (which itself is perplexing) and leave the rest to future generations, dimensions, braines et all.
     
  15. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    Any such finding would still be in the realm of Saguna Brahman.
     
  16. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    We can't "know" Brahman, at least not from our present state of consciousness, that's why we persist in tacking various qualities onto it in attempts to convey some vague impression of the concept.

    Short of actual merger, I'd say the closest we can come to actually describing Brahman comes from Physics; M-theory or the Quantum mechanics Aup cites.
    Of course, the mathematics involved are as far beyond the grasp of the average layman as the attempts to describe Brahman.
     
  17. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    Kena 1:3 There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind. We know not, we cannot understand, how it can be explained: It is above the known; it is above the unknown. Thus have we heard from the ancient sages who explained this truth to us.

    The mind cannot go there; it is above the known and also above the unknown - meaning it can *never* be known.

    And that is why it is Nirguna and that is also why it can only described in the negative. Anything that can enter the field of the known, is not it.
     
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  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    That is for future to say. Why jump to conclusions now?
    That is what the sages said according to what was known at that time. My homage to those sages. Knowledge increases, views change, what was unknown at one time becomes known. They were Einsteins of philosophy, and then came Planck. ;)
     
  19. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    No. Please read the Kena Upanishad verse carefully. That and the neti neti verses from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.

    It is not unknown that can become known some day. It is *above* the unknown and therefore it can never be known. The moment some one says they know it, they are no longer discussing nirguna brahman.
     
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  20. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Kindly read my previous post. What was not known at one time, becomes (or may become) known after we get new information. That it will never be known is a prejudice, prediction, future may negate it.
     
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