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Satya-advaita and achintya-bhedabheda-tattva


Posted on August 23, 2012 by shantanup

Vrindavana Das said The only way to understand the Infinite Lord is to follow the process shown by Him. The process is to surrender.

I agree. The word surrender is very meaningful. It is not just faith or even faith, but giving oneself to Him in apparent knowledge that it is not only futile to resist but that not doing so will result in suffering. In advaita surrender also means acceptance of the Reality that is before one and being at one with the apparent, the emerging and the established reality. It is within the process of satya-advaita (that is, wishing to be at one with truth) that the Supreme is understood.

Vrindavan Dasji responded:

ShantanuThe word surrender is very meaningful. It is not just faith or even faith, but giving oneself to Him in apparent knowledge that it is not only futile to resist but that this will result in suffering.

I agree. In fact, Lord says that one who surrenders to Him in knowledge is the best.

bahūnāḿ janmanām ante jñānavān māḿ prapadyate vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare. [Bhagavad Gita: 7.19]

And of course, the final instruction of Supreme Lord in Bhagavad Gītā is:

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaḿ śaraṇaḿ vraja ahaḿ tvāḿ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. [Bhagavad Gita: 18.66]

In advaita, surrender also means acceptance of the Reality that is before one and being at one with the apparent, the emerging and the established reality. It is within the process of satya-advaita (a word that I coined a year or so ago of wishing to be at one with truth) that the Supreme is understood.

Makes sense. In devotional discipline, to be established in reality is to know that we are simultaneously one and different from the Supreme Lord. We are one with the Lord qualitatively (advaita) – like spark and fire/sunshine and sun. We are different from the Lord quantitatively (dvaita) – like spark is not fire/sunshine is not the sun. It is called the doctrine of simultaneous oneness and difference – philosophy of achintya-bhedābheda-tattva.

My reply: I agree with you that only when He decides to make himself known to a person will that person get to know Him. This is how the achintya-bhedabheda tattva needs to be understood and clarified. The oneness and the differnce are not perfectly simultaneous until atma and Parmatma are in surrendered-union at all times of the day and night. Even so one can never entirely assume that what one is doing and writing is coming from Him through the jiva but when oneness in devotion is so strong it is 99 (not 100) per cent certain that He is the ultimate doer and writer of ones actions through perfect impartation of gyana/jnana into the mind. Such a person is an avatar. For 100 per cent certainty, one needs to develop a method of consultation with the Supreme. This consultation may be denied because He is ‘gyaneshwar’, that is knows what is best for humanity. So in achintya bhedabheda tattva we are jiva’s primarily.

Vrindavana Das: That is correct. This is the process of ‘realizing’ Achintya-bhedābheda tattva. Transcendental meditation. In other words, transcending the modes of material nature to achieve spiritual existence – same in quality (sat-chīt-ānanda) and yet different in quantity (one is infinitesimal and other is infinite) with Supreme Lord – Kṛṣṇa. The process of achieving this is to utilize the body in the service of Lord. Then the material body becomes spiritualized.

Transcendental Supreme Lord is like fire. Material body is like an iron rod. Iron rod, constantly in touch with fire, at the end becomes fire. It acts like fire. although the rod is not fire, it becomes red-hot and acts like fire itself. Similarly, all the actions and reactions of material nature are not actually the work of material nature but are actions and reactions of the energy of the Supreme Lord manifested through matter. The power of electricity is transmitted through the medium of copper, but this does not mean that the copper is electricity. The power is generated at a powerhouse under the control of an expert living being. Similarly, behind all the jugglery of the natural laws is a great living being, who is a person like the mechanical engineer in the powerhouse. It is by His intelligence that the entire cosmic creation moves in a systematic way.

māṁ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman. [B.G. 14.26]

My reply: I am not engaged in any devotional service to the Supreme or anyone else for that matter, only to myself: I guess I am therefore not subscribing to or being in compliance with the achintya bhedaabheda tattva doctrine and philosophy, am I?

Vrindavana Das: That means, like most of us, you may know the doctrine theoretically. Practically will have to follow later. One is like knowing that sugar tastes sweet. Other is tasting the sugar to realize it’s sweetness.

My reply: Honestly, Vrindavana Dasji, after 15 years of search in transcendental meditation I have reached the end of the line: ‘ved-anta’; so I must call my knowledge something else, not achintya bhedabheda tattva.

Vrindavana Das: Veda-anta or the end of Vedic wisdom is to know Kṛṣṇa.

sarvasya cāhaḿ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaḿ ca vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham

I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas. [B.G. 15.15]

Your research and study into the Vedānta has got you to the platform of knowing that you are not this material body, but the transcendental soul. Spiritual life begins from this platform.

A person who takes a loan, after repayment of that loan, is ‘free’ from debt. Still, he cannot be called a ‘rich’ person. Similarly, one must advances further from this platform of knowing that he is not the body and through proper practices, ‘experience’ spiritual bliss of association with Supreme Lord – Kṛṣṇa.

My reply: I am a very simple person with a very simple logic to my life: in order to live properly (to get the most from life), one has to understand reality or one will come into danger. If the Reality is Paramatma as Sri Krishna (kindly note that this is the correct name for the Supreme that I have determined through the use of the Chaldean-Hebrew Kabala Numerical Alphabet which I was brought to my notice as follows: A – 1, H – 5, O – 7, V – 6, B – 2, I – 1, P – 8, W – 6, C – 3, J – 1, Q – 1, X – 5, D – 4, K – 2, R – 2, Y – 1, E – 5, L – 3, S – 3, Z – 7, F – 8, M – 4, T – 4, G – 3, N – 5, U – 6; which gives Sri Krishna when spelt with numbers and the numbers are added up the numerological significance of the number 7) then only a fool will not take notice of that and learn about Sri Krishna in the minutest detail that it is possible to know. And you are right the longer one studies the more one realises this association of the atma and the Paramatma so that Vedanta does mean the ultimate knowledge of this Reality. Please refer to this: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_significance_of_the_number_seven_in_the_Bible.

Vrindavana Das. Great! So let us continue on with our quest to know and understand the ultimate object of knowledge of Vedānta – Supreme Personality of Godhead – Kṛṣṇa. Haribol!

Me: That is a very good idea. Let us do that.



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