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Bhuddhas Philosophy


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1.      Cārvāka said that the living body with awareness itself is the soul. There is no problem with this point because, after all, the soul is only a special work-form of inert energy associated with the material body. Since matter is also another form of energy, all the three phases, matter, energy and awareness, can be considered to be just one item, called creation. None of them is the Creator. Only the schools which treat the soul to be God have a problem with this claim of Cārvāka since they treat the soul, which is a created item, as God. The reality is that the unimaginable God alone is the Creator while the imaginable soul is a tiny part of creation. Actually, the soul is a form of energy and is slightly different from the body, which is made of matter. However, this slight difference is not a big problem because matter and energy are only slightly different. They are not totally different items. Cārvāka says that awareness is generated from a combination of the four elements other than space. He also accepts the requirement of subtle space for the existence of any created item. The existence or non-existence of space in awareness is not a major problem since space, after all, is only part of creation. Science too, analyzes awareness and we know that science can only analyze items within the universe. Thus, we must congratulate sage Cārvāka for discovering that the soul is only a created item or that it is a part of creation.


2.      Atheists and even some scientists say that God does not exist and hence, there is no heaven, hell or any other upper world. On this point, they are in line with Cārvāka, who too was an atheist. But the atheists and scientists claim to support the rules of justice in pravṛtti or worldly life. It is only the hypocrisy of these people. Actually, they are fully convinced that even if they secretly break the rules of justice in pravṛtti, they need not fear any punishment since, according to them, no God exists. But they externally claim to support justice. This superficial hypocrisy is only to cheat society and get a good name in spite of violating justice secretly. Their diplomacy is meant to help them in escaping the punishment from the law of the land for their secret injustice. These atheists maintain some external politeness even though they are actually cheating others. On the other hand, sage Cārvāka openly said that the rules of pravṛtti can be broken and sins can be committed without any fear. We must appreciate both the frankness of the sage and the politeness of the modern atheist. Sage Cārvāka was a great scientist who discovered the essential nature of the soul. His discovery has helped us recognize that the soul is a part of creation and is not the Creator. God is very angry with this perverted ancient scientist not because he denied the existence of God, but because he totally broke the rules of pravṛtti. These rules are the basis for maintaining the balance of society. After all, the fear of the punishment for sin intrinsically prevents a person from committing injustice. It is much more effective in controlling injustice than any external control such as the law of the land. This intrinsic fear of committing sins is based on the existence of God alone. It is God who punishes the sinner for his sins in unimaginable ways. The sinner may succeed in escaping the punishment from the law of land, but escaping God’s punishment is impossible since it is delivered in unimaginable ways.


3.      Sage Pippalāda, who was an Incarnation of God Śiva, found fault with the above point of Cārvāka regarding the soul. Pippalāda said that life (prāṇa) is the soul. Here, the word prāṇa indicates awareness and not the merely the inert air which is involved in the mechanical process of respiration. Plants too have the inert respiration. They even have inert energy. But they do not have awareness due to the lack of a nervous system. Since energy passing through the material nervous system gets converted into awareness, the energy can indicate the soul (awareness) that it produces. Thus, energy and its product, awareness, can be treated to be different from matter. In a strict sense, the word prāṇa, of course, means the inert air involved in the mechanical process of respiration. Respiration supplies oxygen for the oxidation of food leading to a release inert energy. This inert energy is converted into the special work-form of energy called awareness only when it passes through a specific functioning device called the nervous system. Hence, mere respiration (prāṇamayakośa) is not sufficient for the generation of awareness. Awareness (manomayakośa) is generated through nervous activity which is the passing of signals among neurons. But since inert energy which is obtained through respiration is essential to produce awareness, the word prāṇa can be used to mean awareness. Plants (botanical world) are living but they do not have awareness. But all beings (zoological world) on earth who have awareness need the processes of respiration and the digestion of food to release the inert energy. Awareness depends on both the released inert energy and the presence of a nervous system. Energetic beings from the upper worlds are exceptions to this requirement. In energetic beings, free inert energy is obtained directly from the cosmic energy, without any need for respiration or the consumption and digestion of food.


4.      Buddha, Kapila, Vyāsa and Śaṅkara were Incarnations of God. Unfortunately, the three incarnations of God, namely Buddha, Kapila, and Śaṅkara were misunderstood to be atheists due to the lack of proper and complete understanding of their concepts. Buddha kept silent about God because the absolute unimaginable God is beyond words. Even the Veda says that the absolute God can be explained only through silence. Buddha said that this entire world is nonexistent (śūnyam), momentary (kṣaṇikam), fully of misery (duḥkham) and made of matter and energy (vastusvalakṣaṇam). Vastu means an item of creation which is made of matter, which is gross. Svalakṣaṇam means the property of the gross matter. It refers to energy which is subtle. Here, energy need not mean only the inert forms of energy. It also means awareness, since it is also a form of energy. The misery mentioned by Buddha, pertains to awareness, which confirms the fact that the term svalakṣaṇam includes awareness as one of the forms of energy. Buddha indicated the absolute God through silence. The absolute God is the God existing alone before creation. With respect to the absolute God, creation was nonexistent before its creation and is actually nonexistent even after its creation. Hence, Buddha refers to creation as śūnyam, which means ‘nothingness’. God is the absolute truth whereas creation is always nonexistent with respect to Him. Even though creation is actually nonexistent for God, it appears to be existent to Him only because of His unimaginable omnipotence. The nonexistence of creation refers to the state before creation. The same nonexistence being perceived to be existence through the unimaginable power of God, refers to the state after creation. There is no contradiction between the nonexistence and the existence of creation owing to the unimaginable power of God. While God is the absolute truth, creation, due to its apparent existence with respect to Him, is said to be a relative truth. The absolute God created creation for His entertainment. God watches the nonexistent creation as if it were existent and derives entertainment. Since God is eternal and has been watching creation for an extremely long period of time, any event in creation is only momentary for Him. Hence, Buddha calls creation kṣaṇikam, which means momentary.


5.      The four disciples of Buddha took the four concepts preached by Buddha independently. They did not correlate them to bring out the total concept preached by Him. The Madhyamika school (or Madhyamaka school of Nagarjuna) took the concept of the nonexistence of creation alone. The Yogācāra school took the concept that awareness or soul (vijñāna) is existent because, as pointed out by Śaṅkara, awareness must exist to even grasp the nonexistence of the world. In fact, the soul is only a part of the world and hence, not only the soul, but also the rest of the world is existent. This point was grasped by the school of Sautrāntikās. Finally, the school of Vaibhāṣikās took the whole correlation of the above three as the total concept of Buddha. This means that the Mādhyamikās took only the concept of the nonexistence of the world as stated by Buddha. The world’s nonexistence was actually stated with reference to the absolute God and not with reference to the soul. The Yogācārās rectified this mistake and they realized the existence of the soul which perceives even the world’s nonexistence. The Sautrāntikās further improved the concept by saying that the awareness which grasps the world and its nonexistence exists and the world that is grasped by the awareness also exists. This is because the awareness which grasps the world is itself a part of the world. The Vaibhāṣikās added all these three steps to bring out the total correlation. They also noted the differences in the two points of reference, namely God and the soul.


6.      Buddha said that the world is nonexistent (śūnyam) as well as momentary (kṣaṇikam). These two characteristics of the world are mutually contradictory if both are applied to the world from the same frame of reference. That which is nonexistent cannot be momentary. Only an existent entity can be momentary. Only ‘something’ can appear for a moment. ‘Nothing’ cannot be said to appear for a moment. It means that the momentary entity cannot be nonexistent. For the unimaginable God, the world is always nonexistent. Certainly, before creation, the world was nonexistent. But after creation, even though the world remains actually nonexistent for the unimaginable God, it appears to exist for a certain period during which it provides entertainment to the same unimaginable God. The nonexistent becoming existent while still remaining nonexistent simultaneously is possible with the inherent unimaginable power of God. Hence, for God, the world, which is basically nonexistent, simultaneously becomes existent to give real and full entertainment to Him. These two mutually contradicting states of creation are possible only from the frame of reference of God. The soul, which is a part of the nonexistent world, is also nonexistent for God. Yet, it is also simultaneously existent for the God who is watching creation and being entertained by it. But from the soul’s frame of reference things are different. The soul thinks that it exists and so, the rest of the world also exists for the soul since the soul is only a part of creation. We cannot apply the word śūnyam (nonexistent) to the world from the soul’s point of view because the world is never nonexistent to the soul. Both the soul and the world which contains it are nonexistent only from God’s point of view. But for the nonexistent soul, the nonexistent world indeed exists and is real. Hence, the frame of reference is very important in order to resolve such contradictions.


7.      The Mādhyamikās took the word śūnyam as applicable to the world from all frames of reference at all times. They said that the world is nonexistent even for the soul. The Yogācārās took the word kṣaṇikam (momentary) in the sense of existent and applied it to awareness or the soul, while continuing to apply the word śūnyam to the inert world. This means that only the soul or awareness is existent while the rest of the inert world is nonexistent. The Sautrāntikās, through the words kṣaṇikam and vastusvalakṣaṇam, said that both the soul as well as the rest of the inert world composed of matter and energy, are existent.


8.      The Vaibhāṣikās accepted all the three concepts as applicable in different contexts. The vācyārtha means a single concept conveyed by a single statement. For example, the statement “The rains have started” means a single concept. It literally means that the rainy season has started and hence, it has started to rain. But this single statement has different implications in different contexts: (i) For saints, it means that they are now required to stop travelling and stay in one place for the next four months (cāturmāsyam). As per tradition, Hindu saints are supposed to constantly travel and preach spiritual knowledge and devotion to the public, without staying in any one place for more than three nights in a row. But for the four monsoon months (cāturmāsyam), they are supposed to stay in one place since travelling is inconvenient during the rainy season. (ii) For farmers, the same statement means that it is time for them to sow seeds in the ploughed fields and (iii) For the general public, the statement means that they have to procure umbrellas. These three different statements are the implied meanings of the same statement in different contexts. Such context-specific implied meanings are called adhikaraṇārthās. The vācyārtha or the literal statement of Buddha was interpreted differently by His different disciples giving rise to different context-specific adhikaraṇārthās. The followers, unfortunately, limited themselves only to their own contexts. Not only that, but they also claimed that their selected context-specific meaning alone was the original statement or the vācyārtha. They even went to the extent of claiming that their context-specific meaning is the heart of Buddha’s teaching. This led to the quarrels among the different schools of Buddhism. The same scene is also found in case of the different sub-religions within Hinduism. Each of these sub-religions or sects of Hinduism takes the same statement of the scripture, interprets it in its own specific context and then claims that its interpretation is the original meaning of the scripture.


9.      The world is made of energy. Energy propagates in waves which have crests and troughs. The distance between two crests can be considered to be a gap. The crests can, therefore, be treated to be momentary (kṣaṇikam). It means that we are neglecting the trough, which is the negative half-cycle and treating it to be almost non-existent. Even if we take the particle-nature or the corpuscular-nature of energy, a gap between two particles or packets of energy is essential. This allows the application of same word momentary (kṣaṇikam). Thus, the word, momentary (kṣaṇikam), used by Buddha to describe the world is explained. For the eternal constant Spectator, God, a human life is momentary. The same human life, for a human being, is constant but non-eternal because the human being clearly knows that it is not eternal like God. Hence, the Arhata school (Jainism) said that the soul is constant even though it is temporary (sthiraṁanityam). This concept of Jainism is not in contradiction with the concept of Buddhism because the original meaning should be viewed in different contexts due to different frames of reference.


10.   Śaṅkara was criticized to be a Buddhist-in-disguise (pracchannabauddha). Actually, it would be correct to say that Śaṅkara was Buddha-in-disguise (pracchanna Buddha) because both Buddha and Śaṅkara were the Incarnations of same God. Buddha is said to be the Incarnation of God Viṣṇu and Śaṅkara is said to be the Incarnation of God Śiva. But Viṣṇu and Śiva are different names of the same God (ŚivaścaNārāyaṇaḥ—Veda). Buddha kept silent about the absolute God. People thought that Buddha had negated the existence of God and they mistook Him to be an atheist. So, Buddha came again as Śaṅkara and gave the explanation for His silence about God (Mauna vyākhyāprakaṭitaParabrahma...). Since the absolute God is unimaginable, no word can reveal the identity of such a God. The same fact is also told by the Veda (Yatovāconivartante...). The Gita also says that God is unimaginable (Māmtuvedanakaścana).


11.   Both Buddhism and Jainism gave the topmost importance to non-violence since non-violence to all beings is the climax of justice (Ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ). Both stressed a lot on justice and social service, which shows the extreme importance given by them to pravṛtti. Jainism recognized space to be existent as subtle energy through the authority of inference like Cārvāka. The Sautrāntika school of Buddhism also agrees that the inert world composed of the five elements is existent. It is not correct to say that Buddha and Cārvāka did not recognize the existence of the soul. Cārvāka called the living body itself as soul. The three schools of Buddhism, except the Mādhyamikās, recognized the existence of the world that includes space. Except Cārvāka, the others were not atheists.


12.   Sage Kaṇāda of the Vaiśeṣika school very clearly stated the existence of God. Hence, his philosophy is called Vaiśeṣika, which means distinct and clear expression. The philosophy distinguishes God from the soul. Sage Gautama of the Nyāya school expressed the importance of the scripture. He accepted the ‘revealed word’, śabdam, as the fourth authority. Nyāya means analysis. So, it means that it is very important to analyze the scripture because even Holy Scriptures may contain certain mischievous insertions. Both Kaṇāda and Gautama gave a lot of importance to logical analysis (tarka). Kaṇāda’sVaiśeṣika philosophy is based on two authorities for getting valid knowledge, whereas the Gautama’s Nyāya philosophy is based on four authorities. Both have given a lot of importance to justice in worldly life (pravṛtti).


13.                  Unfortunately, sage Kapila, the Incarnation of God Viṣṇu has been misunderstood to be an atheist. Kapila was referred to in the Gita through the word Sāṅkhya, which is the philosophy preached by Kapila. As per Kapila’s analysis, the world (prakṛti) is made up of twenty-four items or tattvas. Over and above the twenty-four items of creation, the twenty-fifth item is Puruṣa, which literally means ‘person’ but it actually refers to God. The twenty-five items can be divided into four categories, which are based on whether the item is ‘nature as-it-is’ (prakṛti) or its modification (vikṛti). The twenty-five items in the four categories are as follows: (a) The first category is kevalaprakṛti or mūlaprakṛti, which means pure nature. It is the primordial nature, which is the root material cause of creation and is the first item out of the twenty-five. (b) Kevalavikṛti is the second category which consists of sixteen items which are purely modifications of nature. It includes the five elements, the five senses of perception (eyes, ears, skin, tongue and nose), the five organs of action (mouth, hands, legs, genitals and anus) and the mind (c) The third category is that of both prakṛti and vikṛti. It includes seven items, which are the mahat (intelligence), the ahaṅkāra (ego) and the five subjects (viṣaya) corresponding to the five senses. Each of these five subjects are also the properties of the five elements in creation and they are: sound of space (śabda), touch of air (sparśa), form of fire or visible energy (rūpa), taste of water (rasa) and scent of earth (gandha) (d) Finally, the fourth category contains the twenty-fifth item which is Puruṣa, who said to be is neither prakṛti nor vikṛti.


14.   Kapila, being an Incarnation of God, could never have been an atheist. He mentioned God by the word Puruṣa and He called the world prakṛti (nature). In Kapila’s Sāṅkhya philosophy, Puruṣa does not mean the soul as thought by some people. It actually means God. Even the PuruṣaSūktam in the Veda speaks about God and not the soul. Apart from this twofold classification of Puruṣa and prakṛti, there is another threefold classification. Accordingly, prakṛti means creation or the world, puruṣa means the soul and Puruṣottama means God. Both these classifications exist in the Gita (prakṛtiṁpuruṣaṁcaiva..., uttamaḥpuruṣastvanyaḥ...). Puram can mean both the body and the world. Puruṣa is the one who lies in the puram (puriśeteitipuruṣaḥ). Thus, puruṣa can mean the soul or God. But Kapila followed the first classification consisting of two components. Accordingly, Puruṣa must stand for God because the soul is already mentioned as part of the world or prakṛti. Intelligence, ego and mind are classified under prakṛti by Kapila. Chittam or memory can be treated as a part of mind. So, the four mental faculties or internal instruments (antaḥkaraṇams), which together constitute the soul, are found to be classified under prakṛti. Puruṣa or God is said to be detached (Asaṅgohyayampuruṣaḥ) from the world by Kapila. If puruṣa were taken to mean the soul, it would not be correct because the soul is always attached to the world.


15.   Patañjali was the incarnation of Adiśeṣa, who is a devoted servant of God Viṣṇu. Kapila was the Incarnation of God Viṣṇu. The philosophy of Yoga established by Patañjali further clarified the place of God, who had been mentioned in the Sāṅkhya philosophy as ‘Puruṣa’. Yoga used the word puruṣa to indicate the soul and a separate word, Īśvara, to indicate God. Īśvara was said to be the twenty sixth item. This follows the threefold classification of prakṛti, puruṣa or soul and Īśvara or God. Īśvara is also known as Puruṣottama. Krishna says in the Gita that both Sāṅkhya and Yoga are one and the same (Ekaṁsāṅkhyañcayogañca...). It is unfortunate that the philosophy of Kapila was said to be an atheistic philosophy (nirīśvarasāṅkhya). In contrast, the philosophy of Patañjali was said to be a theistic philosophy (seśvarasāṅkhya). In fact, both are indeed theistic philosophies and none of the founders of these philosophies, except Cārvāka were atheists.


16.   Yoga means union. There are several steps in any union, starting from a mere association to perfect merging of the two items finally. For humanity, the Human Incarnation of God is the best and most suitable goal in all respects. Yoga, thus, means the soul uniting with the contemporary Human Incarnation of God in the sense of reaching the climax of aspiration-free devotion to the Incarnation. Yoga mentions rotating wheels or whirlpools known as the cakras, in which the soul is naturally stuck and keeps rotating in them. They are the whirlpools present in the worldly sea that trap the swimmer, causing him to rotate in them for some time and finally get drowned. The cakras are also represented as lotuses that attract the black bee by their scent and trap it by closing their petals. The worldly bonds similarly attract the ignorant soul and trap it, ending its upward spiritual journey. These worldly bonds which are pictorially represented as wheels or flowers, do not exist in a physical sense. They are worldly attractions of the mind that should be controlled (cittavṛttinirodhaḥ) in order to escape from worldly miseries (kleśa).


17.                   Justice and good qualities related to worldly life or pravṛtti have been encouraged granting rewards like miraculous powers (vibhūti). These rewards help in maintaining good qualities among people in the world. Samādhi is the final step of the spiritual journey in which the devotee attains a state of firm decision in his devotion. A dualistic devotee is always aware of the form of God in which God exists separate from him. When he attains firm devotion to that form of God, he is said to have attained samprajñāta samādhi. The devotee into whom God has merged is in a state of monism with God. As a result, he does not perceive God as separate from himself. He attains asamprajñāta samādhi. Both the dualistic devotee and the monistic devotee are indeed Human Incarnations of God. Balarama was a dualistic devotee of God Viṣṇu, who was actually separate from God. Yet, he is counted as one of the ten important Incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu. Krishna was an example of monism with God since Lord Viṣṇu had entered and merged into Krishna. Both Krishna and Balarārma are treated to be Human Incarnations of God. Balarāma is also Patañjali since both were incarnations of Ādiśeṣa. Krishna is Kapila since both were Incarnations of God Viṣṇu. In monism, there is no dualism between God and the soul. Hence, other than creation (prakṛti), Kapila mentioned only one item called Puruṣa. The Puruṣa mentioned by Kapila was the specific soul with whom Īśvara had perfectly merged. In other words, Kapila was referring to the Human Incarnation of God through the word Puruṣa. Knowing the background and identity of divine personalities is also important while studying their philosophies.


18.                   The Pūrva Mīmāṁsā philosophy was established by sage Jaimini, who was a disciple of sage Vyāsa. Sage Vyāsa established the Uttara Mīmāṁsā philosophy which is commonly known as Vedanta. Vyāsa was an Incarnation of God Viṣṇu and Jaimini was His devotee. How can we say that the Divine Preacher and His disciple had different philosophies? Jaimini gave a practical philosophy (karma yoga) in which the emphasis was on serving God, since practical service and sacrifice alone gives the divine fruit. Vyāsa stressed on knowledge and devotion. Knowledge generates devotion and both of them are theoretical (mental). Devotion transforms the knowledge into practice and the practice alone yields the practical fruit.


19.                   Yajña means practically sacrificing one’s efforts (service) and sacrificing the fruit of one’s work (donating one’s hard-earned wealth) to God. In the Vedic yajña, food is cooked and served to the participants of the ritual. The actual Vedic ritual is an activity in which an assembly of devotees gather to gain spiritual knowledge from a divine spiritual preacher and improve their devotion to God. A yajña should be done only due to one’s attraction to God and not due to any worldly desire. Jaimini stressed greatly on justice (Dharma Sūtram) and he gave a lot of importance to the path of worldly justice or pravṛtti in order to please God.


20.                            It is most unfortunate to think that Jaimini was an atheist. It was a misinterpretation of his ignorant followers. Jaimini himself was a follower of Vyāsa, the sage who fundamentally and clearly established theism. Jaimini stressed the importance of practical sacrifice in the philosophy of Vyāsa (Karmānurūpāṇi puraḥ phalani). He never said that God does not exist; only his atheistic followers said it (Devo na kaścit). The same Jaimini has made valuable contribution to the field of astrology by authoring the Jyautiśa Sūtram. In this composition, Jaimini clearly mentions God Viṣṇu as the controller of Saturn and God Śiva as the controller of Jupiter. This clearly proves that he was not an atheist. He gave a lot of importance to the divine scripture, Veda, eighty percent of which is about practical sacrifice.


21.                            Ignorant followers said that the sound of the Veda itself is God, which is absurd because sound energy is an inert item of creation. The inert sound can represent God just as a material statue represents God. Bhaṭṭa said that the sound of the Veda itself is God (Shabdamātra Devatā) only so that the public gives a lot of importance to the Veda. The Veda should be given importance since it preaches to us about many concepts that are unknowable by human effort. God can be represented by either the Veda or a statue. Just as a beginner believes that a statue is God, he can also believe that the Veda is God. Both the statue and the Veda are only representative models of God. The followers started performing yajña (practical sacrifice) aspiring for practical worldly fruits. Defects are inevitable in the beginning. So, to encourage the beginner, the Veda itself declares certain worldly fruits that the performer of such practical sacrifices will attain. There is no harm in joining a school beginning with the LKG class (lower kindergarten). But one should not remain in the LKG throughout one’s life. Just because the preacher gave a lot of importance to practical sacrifice keeping silent about the theory, it does not mean that there is nothing other than practical sacrifice. It certainly does not mean that even the God, to whom the practical sacrifice is dedicated, does not exist!


22.                            The madness of the followers went to the extent of saying that śabdam, which means ‘the word’ (sound), is eternal and hence, it itself is God. Sage Gautama condemned this notion and clearly said that the word is not eternal. Buddha said that worldly desire is the cause of misery and that it stands as the main hurdle in pleasing God. Any worship should be done due to one’s attraction towards the divine personality of God and not to fulfill any worldly desire. This is emphasized in the Gita, through the term niśkāma karma yoga. There are three authoritative scriptures which are said to be the ‘approaches for learning’ (prasthānās) the Uttara Mīmāṁsā philosophy of sage Vyāsa. The Gita, which was composed by sage Vyāsa, is called the Smṛti Prasthānam, which means that it is the approach based on the scriptures called the Smṛtis. The Smṛtis are scriptures composed by sages out of their memory of the divine revelation they ‘heard’ (Śruti) from God. The Śruti Prasthānam means the approach based on the scripture which was directly ‘heard’ from God. It means the Upanishads, which are part of the Veda. The Veda was heard by the sages directly from God Brahmā. The logical analysis and correlation of the Upanishads and the Gita is achieved through the Brahma Sūtras which are aphorisms written by sage Vyāsa.


23.                   The Brahma Sūtras are called the Nyāya Prasthānam, which means the approach based on logical analysis. The three authoritative scriptures, namely the Gita, the Upanishads, and the Brahma Sūtras are together called the prasthāna trayam and they constitute the whole Uttara Mīmāṁsā philosophy.


24.                   In the Brahma Sūtras, the first part gives the correlation (samanvaya) of various statements of the Veda. In the second part, contradictions are resolved (avirodha). In the third part, spiritual efforts (sādhana) are discussed. In the fourth part, the fruit of the spiritual efforts (phala) is explained. The philosophy of Vyāsa was interpreted in three different ways by Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja and Madhva. The three interpretations are complementary to each other and not mutually contradictory at all. Śaṅkara was an Incarnation of God Śiva just as Buddha, Kapila and Vyāsa, were Incarnations of God Viṣṇu. In the philosophy of Śaṅkara, we can find the essence of the theories of other Incarnations. Rāmānuja and Patañjali were both incarnations of Ādiśeṣa. Rāmānuja further clarified the concept of Śaṅkara whereas Patañjali further clarified the concept of Kapila. Madhva was the incarnation of angel Vāyu, who is a devoted servant of God. He gave a philosophy (Dvaita) which was almost similar to that of Rāmānuja in which the soul was said to be a devoted servant of God.


25.                   As per Buddha, God is unimaginable and Buddha expressed this concept through His silence. The unimaginable God can never be grasped by anybody. Hence, the unimaginable awareness of the unimaginable God was simply stated to be awareness and it was taken to be the unimaginable God. The reason for this that the simple relative awareness in a person can at least be grasped easily. The mechanism by which God’s unimaginable awareness is produced is unimaginable, since it was produced even before the creation of inert energy and matter. It certainly cannot be a converted form of inert energy as it passes through a material nervous system. That unimaginable awareness was simply said to be awareness because the relative awareness is well-understood by everybody. The imaginable relative awareness is the product of the inert energy as it passes through a material nervous system in human beings and other living beings having awareness. Since the unimaginable awareness was simply said to be awareness, people misunderstood it to be the relative awareness in living beings.


26.                   There is a valid reason why Śaṅkara followed this strategy. It is true that the mechanisms of producing the unimaginable awareness and the imaginable awareness are quite different. The former is produced by an unimaginable mechanism while the latter is produced by an imaginable mechanism. But in effect, both are the same. Awareness simply means to know. Knowing is common to both the unimaginable awareness which is omniscient and the imaginable awareness which has very little knowledge.


27.                            Hence, the unimaginable God without any medium (nirguṇa) is the unimaginable awareness itself. This unimaginable God merges with relative awareness and that relative awareness, after merging, can be directly called unimaginable God or unimaginable awareness. This process happens when the unimaginable God merges with the relative awareness existing in first energetic body of Īśvara. The soul of Īśvara is the relative awareness in which God has merged and it is the absolute God (Nirguṇa Brahman) of Śaṅkara. That same soul covered by the energetic body is called Īśvara (Saguṇa Brahman) by Śaṅkara. The unimaginable God has also merged into the energetic body of Īśvara making the body also eternal. Therefore, both the body and soul of Īśvara are eternal like the unimaginable God. Even though Īśvara’s body and soul were created by the unimaginable God at the beginning of creation (Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ samavartatāgre…—Veda), no damage to the soul or body of Īśvara is possible at any time. At any point after the first creation, the unimaginable God and Īśvara are absolutely one and the same. Hence, Rāmānuja and Madhva stated that Īśvara (Nārāyaṇa) is the ultimate Reality or God. They referred to both the body and soul of Īśvara as the ultimate God.


28.                   Kapila referred to this unimaginable awareness as Puruṣa. Thus, Puruṣa, as per Kapila, actually means the relative awareness of Īśvara after the unimaginable awareness has merged with it. The word Puruṣa can generally stand for the soul, which is relative imaginable awareness as well as God who is the absolute unimaginable awareness. It basically means the awareness that lies in the body (Purī śete). But Kapila was specifically referring to the awareness that lies in the body of Īśvara. This same awareness of Īśvara, which Kapila called Puruṣa was taken to be the absolute God (Nirguṇa Brahman) by Śaṅkara. Śaṅkara only considered the awareness of Īśvara, without the energetic body, as the absolute God. Since this awareness has become unimaginable after the merging of the unimaginable God with it, it can certainly be called the absolute God Himself. In fact, this was the hidden intention of Śaṅkara. Note that the merging of the unimaginable awareness (unimaginable God) with the relative awareness is confined only to Īśvara and other Energetic and Human Incarnations of God. Only all such Incarnations including Īśvara can be called the mediated absolute God since the unimaginable God is present in the external media of their bodies. But Śaṅkara’s hidden intention in His philosophy was not grasped by His followers. They misunderstood the relative awareness or the imaginable soul in every ordinary person, excluding the external medium of the body, to be the unimaginable awareness itself. This misunderstood theory, was extremely tempting since, according to it, all the followers got the status of God. As a result, they readily adopted the theory. It could also be said that Śaṅkara twisted His philosophy so as to tempt His atheistic followers into accepting His philosophy. Accepting His philosophy meant accepting theism, which was in their greatest interest.


29.                   The Puruṣa of Kapila is the relative awareness of Incarnations alone. It is only due to the will of such a Puruṣa that creation takes place (Mayādhyakṣeṇa...—Gita). Only such a Puruṣa is God and not any ordinary soul. The same relative awareness that existed in Īśvara before the unimaginable God merged with it, exists in every human being. It is called the soul. So, there is a risk of misunderstanding the Puruṣa to mean an ordinary soul. But if we were to take every ordinary soul to be God, then there would be no God other than the ordinary soul! In that case, we would misunderstand God Kapila and God Śaṅkara to be atheists! God Vyāsa also uses the word śarīra (body) for puruṣa. In that context, puruṣa means the ordinary soul present in a body. Buddha’s silence about the unimaginable God before creation avoided all this confusion.


30.                            Buddha limited Himself to only the non-mediated unimaginable God. Hence, the word Īśvara was not used by Him. Kapila and Śaṅkara took the unimaginable God who has merged with the relative awareness of Īśvara and called that God Puruṣa and Nirguṇa Brahman respectively. The same Puruṣa of Kapila was given an energetic body by Śaṅkara and called Īśvara or Saguṇa Brahman. Rāmānuja and Madhva directly started with Saguṇa Brahman because the Saguṇa Brahman can easily be grasped by anyone since He possesses an energetic body. Śaṅkara started with Nirguṇa Brahman, who is the unimaginable awareness that has merged with the relative awareness of Īśvara. This awareness of Īśvara has finally become unimaginable awareness or the unimaginable God Himself. Apart from the Nirguṇa Brahman, which as per Śaṅkara’s philosophy was the ultimate absolute God, He also provided a second place for Īśvara. The same unimaginable awareness, along with the energetic body around it, was called Īśvara. Awareness can be grasped by the common man but only with a lot of difficulty (Avyaktāhi gatirduḥkham...—Gita). The same awareness when contained in either an energetic or material body can be easily grasped and understood. Kapila only mentioned the unimaginable God or the unimaginable awareness as mentioned above. There was no place in His philosophy for the Īśvara with the energetic body. Hence, His philosophy was called nirīśvara sāṅkhya, which means a philosophy or knowledge without Īśvara. Śaṅkara’s philosophy was not called so due to Īśvara standing in the second place in His philosophy. Patañjali and Rāmānuja started with the Īśvara having an energetic body and hence, the philosophy of Patañjali is called seśvara sāṅkhya, which means a philosophy or knowledge that includes Īśvara.


31.                   Śaṅkara said “Awareness is God”. This statement appears to mean that the relative awareness present in any human or energetic body is God. But Śaṅkara had anticipated that people would take His statement in this wrong sense. Yet He allowed it because it was very helpful in converting atheists into theists. Here, actually, the word awareness means the unimaginable awareness (unimaginable God) resulting from the absolute unimaginable awareness merging with the relative awareness of Īśvara. The relative awareness of Īśvara becomes the unimaginable awareness itself due to perfect merging. This resulting unimaginable awareness, excluding the external energetic body, was said to be the absolute God or Nirguna Brahman by Śaṅkara. The relative awareness or soul of Īśvara is relative awareness only before the merging of the unimaginable God with it. After the merging, it can no more be called relative awareness or soul. It must be called unimaginable awareness or unimaginable God Himself. In other Incarnations, Īśvara merges with selected energetic or human devotees. Even in these cases, the relative awareness or souls of those devotees become the unimaginable awareness due to the perfect merging of Īśvara with them. The unimaginable awareness present in Īśvara and other Incarnations is the unimaginable awareness or unimaginable God Himself. The relative awareness or souls of Īśvara and other Incarnations were relative awareness only before the merging of the unimaginable God with them. After the merging, it is not relative awareness any more. It has become unimaginable awareness. This unimaginable awareness was simply stated by Śaṅkara to be awareness. Hence, it was misunderstood to be the relative awareness of the soul present in every living being having awareness. Rāmānuja and Madhva separated the unimaginable awareness (God) from the relative awareness (soul). Their philosophies started with the unimaginable awareness covered by an eternal and divine energetic body, whom they called Nārāyaṇa (Īśvara).


32.                   Buddha said that the world is nonexistent as well as existent. It is nonexistent for the absolute unimaginable God while it is existent for the soul since the soul is a tiny part of the world. The world was nonexistent to the absolute God before creation. But after creation, the absolute God is entertained with the basically nonexistent world which appears fully existent to Him just as it appears to the soul. The world is existent since it gives real entertainment to God. The same world is also basically nonexistent to God because God is able to do miracles in the world.


33.                   If the world were actually real for God, He could not have created, changed, controlled or destroyed anything in the world. This is because, one absolute reality cannot do anything with another absolute reality. Due to the unimaginable power of the unimaginable God, the world which is actually unreal, appears to be fully real for the sake of giving real entertainment to God. The same world was totally unreal for the unimaginable God before creation since it had not been created. The world which is actually unreal is very much real for the soul which too is equally unreal. One unreal item is real for another equally unreal item. In fact, the soul is an inherent tiny part of the world.




Universal Spirituality for World Peace


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