ishvara-god-intelligence-of-universe-advaita-vedanta

It was pointed out in conversation 33, that knowledge of One without a Second, is not meant to create indifference towards your daily world engagements.

It's not supposed to turn one into a hermit.

Nor dismiss the world as a mere dream, because the very mind that's dismissing is made out of the same material as the world itself, which is not away from the Limitless One.

Indifference means, unwillingness to contribute for sake of bettering other peoples lives, in areas where you have value, skill and talent.

If parents were consistently indifferent towards the vulnerable, toddler-you — you'd be a fraction of the capable-educated person of today.

Where would today's adult be if everyone dismissed you with, “His or her immoral behavior is not my problem! Let someone else fix it”.

Without a hint, your live would be a misprint.

The capable-person I am today is a consequence of many helping hands that have reached out to me, even when I didn't have the courage to ask.

We are reaping the rewards today because the circle of influence was not indifferent towards us.

For this very reason, a mature adult recognizes, “I have an obligation to proactively contribute in those areas where I shine”.

Proactive means to get involved without incentive of reward.

This very attitude of proactive contribution is what brings fulfillment. It develops character and confidence. Improves problem-solving. Sharpens concentration. Because you're actively engaging the mind.

In fact, you cannot NOT benefit in unimaginable ways by contributing. Because the nature of God is to give. Thus to give is to be aligned with God's laws and orders.

Now the student replies, “Are you saying the various laws and orders we see all around us – is what's referred to as God? How can I worship an impersonal presence?”

” God in Sanskrit is Ishvara, which means the cause of the universe.

Our scriptures specifically define Ishvara as — Limitless Consciousness (Brahman) together with maya (all-knowledge, all-power).

Example to help us grasp the definition…

Suppose you just completed your doctorate degree. Replete with knowledge and power to cure patients.

But you suddenly lose consciousness.

Is there any use of your knowledge and power in a coma? No. They are certainly in potential, but remain fruitless until there is consciousness.

Similarly, all-knowledge, all-power is ineffective without Consciousness.

Therefore Ishvara is both — Brahman and maya.

Ishvara means the totality of everything — known and unknown.

For example, in year 500, the knowledge of genes was unknown. It only became known in late 1900's and named DNA.

Furthermore, if we observe the world, we find many orders at work like material, physical, psychological, chemical, biological.

All of them are already true. Human beings only come to discover and understand them on bases of our investigation.  DNA existed even before we came to know about it.

In other words, Ishvara is the author of all authors.

We are mini-authors writing about a small sections of Ishvara's all-knowledge.

And how do we demonstrate that Ishvara is all-knowledge?

If you look at a beautifully crafted sculpture, or an intricately woven cloth, you can infer the skill and knowledge of it's talented creator.

In the same way, the entire world and it's magnificent vastness… from the tiny grain of sand to the immense universe… implies the presence of a maker with unimaginable intelligence, skill, talent and power.

Such an intelligent maker and his material, we call Ishvara or God. There is no place where His intelligence and power is not.

The sheer magnitude of the universe fascinates us.

Songs and words of praise pour out spontaneously, from deep within us.

Such is the power, the awe of Ishvara's manifestations. Even the eyes used to read these words praising Ishvara's glory – are themselves Ishvara's manifestation.

Knowing this, how can one not worship the almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Lord. “

“What is your definition of God? And how do we relate to God?”

” As explained earlier, Limitless Consciousness (Brahman) with maya power is God.

And how is God expressed in form of the world? As intelligence and material at every level we observe.

For example…

Atoms are put together to create molecules. Which create nucleic acids, proteins and carbohydrates. Which together form cells. Which create organs. Working in synergy, organs and limbs are put together to form a human body.

It goes even further…

The presence of sun evaporates ocean water and forms clouds. Though precipitation and gravity, rain falls which feeds the plants. The plants convert sun's solar energy to chemical through photosynthesis.

This chemical energy is designed to be consumed by a human body to sustain it's own life.

Just look at the intelligence at every level. Everything is perfectly interconnected with another.

This is why we create different schools to research different aspects of this all-intelligence, like… physics, biology, astronomy, psychology, etc.

Therefore we can recognize the presence of Ishvara through any observable name-form — whether known (like a full grown tree) or unknown (like a tree inside a seed).

For example…

Tree is a form. To distinctly identify that form from infinite other forms, we give it name “oak tree”.

Thus we find in Vedic-Indian culture that anything is worshiped. Sun, ocean, wind, fire, rain. They too are names-forms which resolve into Ishvara's all-knowledge, all-power. “

“But how do we relate to an infinite God, including all known and unknown manifestations, at once?”

” A relationship exists only within the same ontological levels.

God and world are both empirically real.

Meaning they are related to one another.

Just as countless waves and One ocean are related.

Meaning the wave can only ever relate to other waves, all which enjoy their existence in the One total ocean.

However a finite wave cannot relate to the entire ocean all-at-once.

A finite wave has a finite mind. A finite mind cannot capture the infinite Ocean.

Similarly, a person is not relating directly to Ishvara, but to a concept of Ishvara. This is a fact and it's one which religion is limited by. Thus most religions idolize God into an object to be enjoyed some time in the future.

So what is the solution then? It is one which takes our understanding further…

The content of one small finite wave and the infinite ocean — is the one same water.

Similarly we can understand that the truth of all-knowledge, all-power — which is manifested as infinite names-forms — is Limitless Consciousness (Brahman).

The very consciousness illumining your mind's finite knowledge right now — is the same consciousness illumining Ishvara's all-knowledge — which is keeping the entire universe running, including your mind.

Both resolve into Brahman, because as we said — Ishvara is Brahman with maya. It's not like wave, ocean and water are three separate entities.

As long as we think we are individuals, the vastness of the universe will dwarf us.

adoring-ishvara-pouring-milk-shivalinga-advaita-vedantaTherefore we invoke the Limitless One as Ishvara through whichever name-form that inspires us — imbuing it with the best of human qualities like kindness and compassion.

That's why in Vedic culture we see adornment of various God figures. No name-form is away from the Limitless One.

Thus we look upon Ishvara as father, mother — drawing strength from it through our sincere worship. “

“The One appears to revel in our sorrows, miseries… in a world of violence and disorder. First, it creates ignorance about the Limitless One. Then it confuses and draws us in further. Watches us struggle as we try to swim homewards… creating whirlpools and eddies… making the effort more difficult.”

” We see only disorder and conflict when we do not know the truth of our self.

Once we understand we are the Limitless Consciousness, we see it's knowledge everywhere, manifested as various orders.

If there is a problem, there is a solution.

If there is a struggle, there is a reward.

If there is ignorance, there is knowledge meant to destroy that particular ignorance.

If we look at the world with the knowledge that everything is the one Consciousness — we find there is such beauty of infinite variety in the world.

Everything is in perfect order. Nothing out of place.

For every unethical deed, there is an inescapable order built in which manifests as guilt, shame and fear of being caught. Such person suffers immediately or later because of their own deeds.

They may pretend like nothing happened, but the mere act of pretending implies “what I did was wrong”. A person who has nothing to hide has no incentive to pretend.

Eventually the guilt becomes so great — perpetrator helplessly seeks repentance. Noone can escape Ishvara's laws and orders governing the universe.

Diversity sings the glory of the One.

When we view the world through our wisdom filled eyes, what we used to call a struggle or sorrow, we see them now as means to grow.

Through strain and strive, your physical strength grows. Just as through sorrow and pain, your wisdom, emotions and peace matures.

So nothing goes to waste.

Although at the moment of suffering, life does seem hard. This is when prayers help.

We turn to God, helping us recall the knowledge — All that is, is the Limitless One.

The One speaks through compassion in form of random helping hands throughout your life — through grace by sending you a wise teacher — helping you develop a fertile mind — and gives proper perspective to life's challenges.

How can we not worship the Lord, our only refuge, our best friend. “

In next conversation, the student makes an argument that it makes more sense to be one with Ishvara (which is all-knowledge, all-power)… then to be one with Brahman which merely watches. Genius objection! “

5 Comments

  1. Robert Green on October 21, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Andre.
    As Brahma is connected by umbilical cord to Vishnu, to show that what appears as seperate entities are in fact one, so language gets in the way when understanding Brahman and Isvara.
    Because language designates objects, it implies separation.
    We can easily anthropomorphise by seeing Isvara as an active entity and Brahman as a passive witness.
    The anthropomorphism is not one of assuming a human form, but of assuming human qualities.
    If I am on the right track, then to be one with Isvara is necessarily to be one with Brahman anyway.
    We have just made an artificial separation because we use different descriptors to try and convey functions of the whole looked at from different perspectives.
    The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said that “ language is the bewitchment of intelligence”.
    We are trying to use language to go beyond language and end up being caught in a kind of ‘ grammatical maya’.
    Please help me to understand if my observations and reflections here are misguided or incomplete and inaccurate.
    Thanks.

    • mm Andre V on October 25, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      Nowhere in Vedas do we see language being seen as some kind of barrier/obstacle.

      I think the idea that language limits, comes from Western philosophers or mindset. I postulate this is, because if the complete teaching of the universe is incomplete, then language itself gets blamed for person’s lack to enjoy total unceasing clarity about everything.

      Another reason is:

      Language doesn’t oppose non-duality.

      Just as chair doesn’t contradict wood. The chair is made out of wood. It’s wood only.

      Thus with proper pramāṇa (means of knowledge), language is NOT limited in any way.

      For example, in Vedas, the letter “a” basically represents the entire universe. Never mind a word. We’re talking about a single letter! More about this in: https://www.yesvedanta.com/advaita-vedanta-melbourne/lesson-85/

      SUMMARY:
      “Language is limiting” > Not a Vedic statement. But likely from philosophers involved in incomplete systems, who then transfer the frustration of not understanding, unto the words themselves.

      Spirituality full of statements like “Brahman can’t be described. It’s beyond words”. All these statements are coming from a mind which is yet to assimilate the total vision. A wise person, will never make such statement.

      Every word is Ishvara itself. How can I say “Word is limiting”. That’s like saying “Ishvara is limited”.

  2. Robert Green on October 25, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks Andre.
    I can see that my mind has been conditioned to accept certain incomplete truths from western philosophy as if they were facts.
    It is Roberts nature to ask questions, but I think I need to be quiet again for a while and just listen.
    Thanks for your patience.

  3. Christopher Robin 100acre on November 5, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Given that we cycle through the three states (dream, waking, deep sleep or whatever the wavelength) everything is subject to change, besides of course, pure untouched awareness. What do you think about substituting brahman for void? How do they differ? Also, given that you’re a westerner, are there any philosophers, academics, artists etc that you think embody the essence of what you’re teaching? Do you point people outside the lineage? What other modalities help you in your day to day? I fondly remember you teaching qi gong prior to the weekend class I used to attend.

    On a intellectual level I can grasp most of these concepts although I’m sure you’d agree there are levels of understanding. For example, I could follow the grain of the wood, while simultaneously processing the shining light dancing off the oiled surface and then identify chair, or I could just glance brown that supports the person at the computer and identify chair. Both scenarios ultimately try to capture the situation and as such use words to symbolise the happening, and that seems to be a problem for me because it’s a recreation of the first hand experience, an overlay may I say. A projection for the minds eye to behold all the while your stuck in your mind. I’m reminded of the ungoogleable Michaelangelo and his mastery of language. “Where the limits of language meet the fringes of reality”…

    Hari Om 🙂 -as per the definition you once told me

    • mm Andre V on November 6, 2020 at 8:56 pm

      Greetings Christopher.

      We’re not discarding anything. Only putting it in the right place. All confusion happens when one puts (EG: qigong, meditation, etc) as ultimate end in life.

      They’re useful, although, one needs to know specifically what they’re made for and what their limitations are.

      EG: Psychology is crucial for a healthy self-image, and general confidence in oneself. Else person won’t be interested in universe, let alone God.

      Same with words like “void, emptiness, nothingness”. One needs to know what schools they come from. We often mix up words from different philosophies, and the result is today’s spiritual marketplace of confusion. That’s why in Vedanta, one learns about ṣaṭ-darśanās (6 Schools of Philosophy: Buddhism, Jainism, Advaita, Yoga, Sankhya, etc).

      Summary: Every modality has it’s useful place. And more importantly one needs to also have foundation of entire reality to know where each modality fits. Without fundamental reality, each modality seems fascinating, and worthy of investigating. So it’s life of endless seeking. Whole point is to be at peace with everything (out of understanding that nothing is apart from self).

      For example, do you want your own arm? 🙂 No. Because you know it already belongs to you. So we don’t chase our own limbs. We only chase things (philosophies, modalities, objects) if we believe they are apart from the One reality.

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