Advaita (Monism or
Non-dualism), is believed to be the ultimate
explanation of things. According to it, there is
one Absolute Reality (Brahman) which is pure
consciousness and pure bliss. This can only be
defined as Sat (Truth) Chit (Consciouness) and
Ananda (Bliss). Of course such an absoulute God
is really inexplicable and beyond comprehension.
He is neither existing nor not existing, because
existence does not make meaning in the concept.
Brahman therefore has no Guna - property.
Brahman is simply the singularity. Hence any
attempt to describe Brahman will be futile.
Nirguna according to Sankara is being beyond the
guna traya,(Triguna-Ateeta) the three attributes
of Prakriti (nature')".viz., Satva (goodness),
Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance). But then
such a God is of no consequence. According to
Sankara, Brahman is the only reality. The
Brahman is unborn and uncreated. He does not
create; He does not cause.
According to historians, Shankara was born in
the year Nandana (26th year of the sixty year
cycle) in the lunar month of Vaishaakha
(May/June) under the Zodiac sign of the Archer
on Monday in the year 805 AD.
Yet from the the 'Vyahavaric' (pragmatic)
standpoint, Sankara postulates a Saguna Brahman,
Iswara. But this Iswara is an illusion of the
beholder. How can a propertyless Brahman cause a
Vyahavaric dimension is not clear. Attributeless
implies homogenity within the dimension of
Brahman. Only when this homogenity is
transformed into inhomogenity can guna arise.
Advaitic Nirguna Brahman therefore is a myth
incapable of creation as long as there is
nothing outside of the Brahman. But if there is
an outside of Brahman, then Brhaman receives a
property in relation to this outside. A pure
Monistic Advata is a misnomer since a relative
standpoint cannot be established on it.
Brahmans to be a reality capable of creation
there has to be an inhomogenity within it. Then
we can attribute Sat, Chit and Ananda to the
Brahman. We can attribute a purpose of Goodness,
and a happiness which is possible only if
Brahman is a personality with dimensions within.
This Brahman can then transform and emanate and
create. The Saguna Brahman has to be a transform
of Nirguna Brahman.
The Hindu Saguna Brahman being a transform of a
homgeneous Brahman causes both good and evil.
But what defines good and evil is not really
defined. This theme runs through the puranic
schmes of creation stories etc in the form of
churning of milky way and the like where
polarisation is produced bringing in creation -
bringing in good and evil, producing both Amrit
(elixir of life) and Visham (Poison or death)
This appearance of Saguna Brahman is Iswara -
the perosn of God. Here again I have come across
conflicting descriptions of Ishwara. To some
Ishwara is both Good and Evil. For others
Ishwara is always good. Good and evil are mere
illusions (Maya) to this way of thinking. The
created universe itself being maya. The universe
(pervaded by God) is analysable into the
subjective experiences called soul and objective
experiences called matter; these two constitute
man and the creation.
Matter with its name and form, themselves have
no reality of their own. On this basis, Advaita
explains that God, man and creation are aspects
of one Absolute Reality. Life and its
experiences are only a game played (Leela) by
A basic problem with this appraoch is that it
gives us no reason to escape from the
experience. In fact trying to escape will be in
direct violation of the intentions of God.
Imagining that suffering is only an illusion do
not make it any less pleasant for anyone.
Vishishtadvaita explains that the three
entities, i.e, God, man and universe are one
integral whole, that man is but an aspect of
But we see the world. Advaita says it is only a
change in name and form of Brahman - 'Vivarta'.
It is only a superficial appearance while there
is no change in reality. What seems to be
a'snake' is really only a rope. We can
understand that only when a light is lit. One
Brahman appears as many Pratibimbas (reflections)as
'Pratibhasika Satya'. Sometimes the diversity of
Jivas are explained as conditioned Brahman or
limitations of Brahman for period just as there
are waters in the pools and lakes and rivers.
This is 'Avacheda Vada'. But what is this
reflecting media and the limiting walls? Are
they also Brahman? If they are then it produces
the inhomogenity and the variation, the essence
of guna. Form and substance cannot be identical
in essence. They belong to two categories.
Thus pure monism is a self destructing
philosophy. It has the beauty of the Unified
Field Theory. But unification can work only when
the unified monad itself is complicated, not
otherwise. It must be capable of transformation
providing many distinguishable dimensions and
What then is the means of Mukthi? Hindusim
arbitrarity define the purpose of life in terms
of human perspective. However all forms agree
that the ultimate purpose is Tatva Darsana
(realization of essene) and not Tatva Jnana
(intellectual conception of truth). This
realisation is said to put an end to all sorrows
and leads to abiding inner peace and joy and
bliss eternally without break.
How do we attain this mukthi? Karma, whether
good or bad, has a binding effect. This will
result in series of incarnations. Punarapi
Jananam Punarapi Maranam. Bhakti is devotion and
love towards a chosen deity. It brings
viveka(understanding) and vichara (Intellect),
but does not remove the ignorance. In fact in
adds to the ignorance that I am different from
Ajnana leads to bondage and Jnana alone leads to
While Bahkthi and Karma prepares the mind to
recive the Jnana, they themselves do not lead to
mukthi. Once we accept the monistic oneness
Brahman Absolute, Jnana is the only marga. All
others leads to further bondage and further