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"Brahma Sathyam,
Jagat Mithya;

Jivo Brahmaiva
Na Paraha".

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 God.

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 God.

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 variables.

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 Iswara.

Ajnana leads to bondage and Jnana alone leads to liberation.

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 mythya.