Tag Archives: Advaita Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta, Shastra

Shakti and Divisions of Brahman in Advaita Vedanta

Question: What is the concept of shakti in Advaita-vada?

Answer: Brahman has no shakti but Isvara has.

Question: From where does Isvara get his shakti? If Brahman, the cause, doesn’t have it, how can the effect have shakti? What is their explanation? Is is anirvacaniya (that which cannot be specifically described as real or as unreal)?

Answer: No, this is not anirvacaniya. They accept three realities, isvara, jiva and prakriti. Isvara exists at the vyavaharika (empirical) level and He is anadi (beginningless). So his shaktis are without a cause.

Question: Maya and vidya are two divisions of Brahman. Are they energies or some portion of Brahman?

Answer: Maya and avidya are two divisions of prakriti, not of Brahman

Question: Where does prakriti come from if it is all Brahman? Is some portion separated from Brahman? If Brahman is covered by avidya and vidya, that means prakriti exists simultenously? Then are there two main principles?

Answer: Prakriti is also anadi, jiva is anadi and isvara is anadi. But according to Advaita Vedanta they are only at the vyavahrika level. At the paramarthika (absolute) level only Brahman exists.

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Shastra

Question: I have noticed that in your posts you write that shastras are the only pramana. I do agree with it. Now my first question is, what is the definition of shastra that you refer to.

Answer: Shastra means Vedas and books based on the Vedas. The definition of shastra is that which gives you knowledge that cannot be attained by any other means. For example the existence of atma in a body is known from shastra.

Question: The 2nd question is what are all the titles in this category. As I understand, this includes all our Vedas, Puranas, and Upanishads. But what else? Please name the other categories.

Answer: Mahabharata and Ramayana, called Itihasa; Smrtis, such as Manu Smrti; and Agamas, such as Narada Pancaratra Agama.

Question: The 3rd and most important question is that I have noticed that you seldom quote Bengali Gaudiya texts like CB, CC, etc. As I understand from your CV, you know Bengali, so it is not a constraint for you, but maybe for others who do not know Bengali texts. Is that why you do not quite them? Or do these Bengali texts not come under the definition of shastra? Kindly clarify

Answer: Yes, you are right. I do not cite Bengali texts because they are not known to everyone.

Question: Now this is a bit different question from the above subject. In Sri Chaintanya Charitamrita, the supremacy of Shri Krishna is clearly and elaborately defined both in the beginning by Shri Kaviraj Krishnadas and then in Mahaprabhu’s teachings to Shri Sanatana Goswamipad. Is such lucid and elaborate description given earlier in any shastra (Sanskrit text)?

Answer: Yes, in Srimad Bhagavatam, Brahma samhita, Mahabharata and some of the other Puranas. This is especially brought out by Jiva Gosvami in Krishna Sandarbha.