Advaitam and Science

OM, Purnamata purnamitam purnat purnamutachyate, purnasya purnamataye purnamevavasishyate – Bri.Up V.i.1



Dvaita viveka is an important concept in Vedanta.  It helps one to understand the root of samsara (bondage to worldly life).  Dvaita viveka is well explained by Sri Vidyaranya Swami in his outstanding text Panchadasi.  Dvaita means seeing duality in the non-dual principle.  Dvaita is further divided as Ishwara dvaita and Jiva dvaita.  It is also said as jiva srishti and ishwara srishti.  This article explains the ishwara srishti and jiva srishti, its differences, how it binds a person and the division of jiva srishti.

Ishwara srishti

Ishwara srishti (creation) is the outcome of maya undergoing various changes.  In the beginning there was only Brahman.  Brahman decided to become many.  The nature of Brahman is pure existence.  Its nature never changes even in creation.  Brahman using its inherent power maya it evolved as Prakriti.  Prakriti has three gunas.  They are sattva, rajas and tamas.  The three gunas were at equilibrium before creation.  By the will of Brahman, the three gunas lost their equilibrium.  From prakriti evolved the five subtle elements and then the five gross elements (pancha bhutas).  They combined to form millions and millions of forms and names.  Before creation each jiva existed in Brahman in the most potential form.  Jiva is the constituent of three principles.  They are the pure Consciousness, the subtle body and the reflection of the pure Consciousness on the subtle body.  Jiva enters in the inert body which is made of pancha bhutas and gives life to the inert body.  Jiva enters in the inert body to experience its karma, which is in the form of subtle impressions.  When its karma in this body is over, it leaves this body and takes another body.  When jiva leaves the body, the body again becomes inert.  Subtle body is mainly made of subtle impressions acquired from the past births.  Even the subtle body was inert until the reflection of Consciousness falls on it.  When the reflection of pure Consciousness falls on the subtle body, the jiva assumes that it is different from the rest and it is independent.  Pure Consciousness is called chaitanya or chit and the reflection of pure Consciousness is called chitabhasa.  All these are the activities of maya which deludes the jiva by its two powers called the avarana shakti (hiding power) and the vikshepa shakti (projecting power).  By the avarana shakti maya hides the real nature of the jiva, which is pure Consciousness.  Due to this the jiva believes that it is powerless, different from the rest, identifies with the body and mind, and experiences happiness and misery.  Maya with its vikshepa shakti projects a false universe, full of imagination and ideas, which later becomes the cause for bondage.  Thus by the power of maya the non-dual Brahman appears as different jivas.  This is ishwara srishti.  Ishwara srishti gives only peace and happiness to all.  Without ishwara srishti the jivas cannot exhaust their karmas.

Jiva srishi

Jiva srishti is the creation of the mind based on raga (love) and dvesha (hate).  Jiva srishti is also said as manasa prapanjam or manasa srishti.  The main reason for jiva srishti is imagination (sankalpa).  Our karma, knowledge and imagination are the basis for our attitude in life.  The imagination and judgment we impose on the existing ishwara srishti is called jiva srishti.  The imaginary world is called the jiva srishti.  It is purely based on the individual’s mind.  Our likes and dislikes are based on our karma and our knowledge.  A jiva attracts objects, events and situations in this world according to its karma, upasana (devotion), dharma (right values), austerities, sacrifices and knowledge.

In the creators vision all the objects are equal.  However, we create an imaginary and judgmental world of our own, based on our experiences and understanding.  We continue to live in this imaginary world.  Even though there is ishwara srishti, a jiva continues to live in his created world, the jiva srishti.

Difference between ishwara srishti and jiva srishti

Even though there are millions and millions of objects in this world, a jiva cannot experience all the objects in this world.  Some may be pleasing to him, some objects may not please his senses, some he may ignore, and he is ignorant of many.  This attitude differs from person to person.  Enjoying mentality, opportunity and circumstances are largely based on the karma and individual capacity.  From this, we understand that ishwara srishti is vast, whereas jiva srishti is limited and small.  Ishwara srishti is the modification of maya and jiva srishti is the modification of the mind.

Experiences differ from person to person.  No two person experiences an object or event in the same manner.  Basically, there are three types of experiences in a jiva.  They are happiness, misery and indifference.  If an object gives happiness to a person, it may cause misery in another person.  The difference is due to the imagination or creation of attachment or aversion towards an object.  For example, if a person who likes mango gets that fruit, it causes happiness in him.  If a person who hates mango gets it, it causes irritation in him.  If a person who has no attachment or detachment gets it, he is indifferent to it; all the time the mango fruit is the same, but the experiences differ from person to person.  A single object creates different experiences in different people.  Sometimes, a single object creates different feelings in a same person in different times.  Therefore, ishwara srishti do not change, but jiva srishti changes from person to person.

External objects are not known until the mind comes in contact with it.  When you see an object, a thought wave arises from the mind, goes out through the indriyas (eyes) and pervades the object.  That is, from the mind the antakarana vritti arises.  It reaches the object (vishaya).  It takes the form of the object and returns back to the mind as sukshma vritti.  We perceive the thought form (sukshma vritti) and not the object directly and thus we get the knowledge of the object.  If the thought form and the object are exactly the same, then we get the exact knowledge of the object, which is said as samyak jnana.  Sometimes, as soon as a thought wave is formed, the existing impressions of the object in the mind superimpose a judgment on it and distort the correct understanding of the object.  Thus, we see an object through the glass of the mind.  If the object and the thought form are different (due to misunderstanding) then it is said as viparita jnana or branti jnana.  Even though, iswara srishti has equal importance for all the created objects in the world, jiva srishti has different standards for them, because a jiva views the external world through his mind.  This affects the jiva srishti remarkably.  His misunderstanding leads to the attachment or detachment for the object.  If you see an object without superimposing any idea on it, then you are seeing the object directly.  However, only a jnani can view like that.  Therefore, the ishwara srishti is based on maya and jiva srishti is based on raga (love) and dvesha( hatred).  In ishwara srishti there is no place for hatred.  However, in jiva srishti one of the main reasons for its creation is hatred; thus it differs widely from the point of view of love.

Jiva srishti is the cause for bondage

Anvaya vithireka nyaya says that when reason (karanam) is present, the effect (kariyam) is also present.  When there is no reason there is no effect.  Applying this principle in this context, when jiva srishti is present – bondage, misery and happiness are present.  When jiva srishti is absent –   bondage, misery and happiness are absent.  In waking state (jagrad avasta) and dream state (swapna avasta), jiva srishti is present and so bondage, happiness and misery are present.  In deep sleep state (sushupti avasta), there is no jiva srishti and so no bondage, misery and happiness.  If there is no jiva srishti there is no suka (happiness) or dukha (misery).  However, in all the three states ishwara srishti is present.  In the waking state, there is ishwara srishti but we are more aware of the jiva srishti.  In the dream and deep sleep states we are unaware of ishwara srishti.  In dream state, we purely rely on jiva srishti and in deep sleep state we are unaware of both iswara and jiva srishti.  From the above discussion, it is clear that majority of the time we are attached to the jiva srishti and so jiva srishti is the cause for our bondage.  Moreover, we take decisions based on jiva srishti.  For example, a mango is present before all eyes, but the decision to eat it depends on raga or dvesha.  Even though external world (ishwara srishti) is present our interaction with the world is through the mind, which is jiva srishti.  Therefore jiva srishti is the cause for our bondage (samsara).  A jnani understands both ishwara srishti and jiva srishti are mithya and although he lives in the world he is detached to ishwara srishti and jiva srishti.  He views the iswara srishti as it is and by meditation and knowledge he takes control of the jiva srishti.  He just lives to exhaust his karmas.

Only by the presence of ishwara srishti a jiva can create jiva srishti, by which he exhausts his karmas.  In this place, knowledge helps him to exhaust his karmas in a fast pace and without getting much affected by the karmas.  Therefore, till one attains jnana, ishwara srishti is absolutely needed.  Ishwara srishti helps millions and millions of jivas to exhaust their karmas.  To attain liberation one must know to shift the consciousness level from external to internal.  He must also understand the jiva srishti as mitya (illusion).  A jnani also has jiva srishti, but he knows it as illusion and he is well aware of his real nature.  Since jiva srishti do not bother him, he does not experience the modifications of jiva srishti like jealosy, anger, hatred, love etc.  He views the world as Brahman itself.  To detach from jiva srishti, it should be further understood in the right sense.

Division of jiva srishti

Jiva srishti is further divided as asastriya jiva srishti and sastriya jiva srishti.  To attain liberation, asastriya jiva srishti must be first removed, and then latter sastriya jiva srishti also must be removed.

Asastriya jiva srishti

Asastriya jiva srishti are the web of thoughts that do not incline with the sastras (scriptures).  To attain jnana one must remove the asastriya jiva srishti; else he may attain jnana by shravana and manana, however he will realize Brahman as the object.  Asastriya jiva srishti can be further divided as thivra asastriya jiva srishti and mandha asastriya jiva srishti.

Thivra (violent) asastriya jiva srishti

Strong desires and passions which awake strong emotions like anger, lust, revenge etc are said as thivra asastriya jiva srishti.  Sometimes, we may feel that we cannot survive without satisfying these desires.  Such strong desires disturb the mind.  These strong desires are called the asastriya thivra jiva srishti.  These strong desires are to be subdued by knowledge.

Mandha (dull) asastriya jiva srishti

When the desires are in the beginning stage, they form subtle impressions in the mind.  This causes day-dreaming and makes one to think of the desires often.  Desires in the beginning stage are dull and called as mandha asastriya jiva srishti.  These subtle impressions are the main cause for the rebirth and an obstacle for jnana.

Repeated thinking of an object leads to attachment for that object which evolves as a strong desire for that object.  When we cannot get that object it results in anger.  By anger the mind is deluded and the memory becomes weak.

Dhyana of the object – sangam (attachment) – kama (desires) – krodha (anger) – moham (delusion) – loss of memory.

In this way even a dull desire affects the mind.  When mind has a desire, it deludes the intellect (bhuddhi) and it is called moham.  Mind thinks and bhuddhi decides.  In a jiva, most of the time by the accumulation of knowledge, bhuddhi is programmed to take correct decisions.  However, strong desire in the mind, by repeated thinking, draws the intellect to its side preventing it from taking right decisions; thus, the mind and the bhuddhi both slips from the right path.  Therefore, mind must be focused on the goal.

Sastriya jiva srishti

Sastriya jiva srishti are the impressions inclined with the sastra (scriptures).  It includes our knowledge based on scriptures, divine knowledge, knowledge of rituals, austerities, dharma, dhana, dhyana etc,.  It is gained by shravana, manana and nididhyasana.  These are absolutely needed for a sadhaka to realize his true nature.  Once he attains a very clear knowledge of the scriptures he has to detach from it; else he will be attached to scriptures and scholarly knowledge, which is an obstacle for liberation.

In the beginning stage of vedanta, one feels that he wants to attain Brahman.  He takes effort by reading scriptures and practices sadhana chatustaya.  In the second stage, he realizes that “Brahman is in me”.  In the third stage he strives to know “That Brahman”, which is in him.  In the fourth stage he realizes that “I am Brahman”.  He realizes that he is Brahman himself.  At this stage he becomes silent.  He leaves all the scriptural practices to remain as Brahman himself.  Ishwara srishti or jiva srishti no longer disturb him and he realizes the entire creation as mitya.

The above discussion makes it clear that the external world is not the root for bondage.  His imagination, interpretation and judgment about the external world are the cause for bondage.  No two person or objects are equal in this world.  They differ by the level of Self awareness.  Thus dvaita viveka helps one to know their cause for bondage and helps them to shift to the higher level of Self awareness




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