In this chapter of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the sage Yagnavalkya tells his disciple king Janaka about the levels of bliss among beings in different Lokas:
Now a hundred of these human blessings make one blessing of the fathers who have conquered the world (of the fathers). A hundred blessings of the fathers who have conquered this world make one blessing in the Gandharva world. A hundred blessings in the Gandharva world make one blessing of the Devas by merit (work, sacrifice), who obtain their godhead by merit. A hundred blessings of the Devas by merit make one blessing of the Devas by birth, also (of) a Srotriya who is without sin, and not overcome by desire. A hundred blessings of the Devas by birth make one blessing in the world of Pragâpati, also (of) a Srotriya who is without sin, and not overcome. by desire. A hundred blessings in the world of Pragâpati make one blessing in the world of Brahman, also (of) a Srotriya who is without sin, and not overcome by desire. And this is the highest blessing.
Here is what the Advaitin Acharya Adi Shankarachrya says about this verse:
This human joy multiplied a hundred times makes one unit of joy for the Manes. They are qualified by the clause ‘who have won that world of theirs,’ i.e. who have pleased the Manes by the performance of obsequial rites etc., and have won their way to their world. Their measure of joy is the human joy multiplied a hundred times. That again multiplied a hundred times makes one unit of joy in the world of the celestial minstrels. That again multiplied a hundred times makes one unit of joy for the gods by action—those who attain their godhead by their actions such as the Agnihotra enjoined by the Śrutis. Similarly one unit of joy for the gods by birth, those who are gods from their very birth, as well as of one who is versed in the Vedas, sinless, i.e. doing what is prescribed by the scriptures, and free from desire for all objects below the level of the gods by birth. That his joy equals theirs is gathered from the word ‘ca’ (and) in the text. That multiplied a hundred times makes one unit of joy in the world of Prajāpati, i.e. in the body of Virāj, as well as of one who is versed in the Vedas, sinless and free from desire—this has already been explained—and who meditates on him. That multiplied a hundred times makes one unit of joy in the world of Brahman, i.e. in the body of Hiraṇyagarbha, as well as of one who, etc.—already explained. After this mathematical calculations cease.
This is as good an opportunity as any to clarify some pieces of Advaita terminology I'm somewhat confused about. My question is, who are Viraj and Hiranyagarbha in Advaita terminology?
By default one might assume that Hiranyagarbha refers to the god Brahma, husband of Saraswati, because Brahma was born from a golden seed or Hiranya Garbha. But I get the sense that this is not how Advaitins use these terms. Here is how I think they use these terms:
Viraj = Karya Brahman = Brahma husband of Saraswati
Hiranyagarbha = Karana Brahman = Saguna Brahman
Karana Brahman refers to Saguna Brahman being the eternal reflection of Nirguna Brahman in the world of Avidya (according to Advaita), and being the cause of the material world. Karya Brahman refers to the fact that Brahma is a created being.
In any case, is my understanding of Advaita terminology correct? One thing that militates against my understanding is this Wikipedia article:
Hiranyagarbha, the collection of deities in the Hindu pantheon of gods, is not saguna brahman as popularly misconstrued. Sankara clearly says that hiranyagarbha is called brahman only because of nearness to brahman. After many millions of years, the devotees who reach the worlds of gods (hiranyagarbha), will reach the state of vishnu. This is called advaita siddhi and this state can be reached here and now by one who is free from all desires and blessed by the lord.
Wikipedia seems to be saying that Hiranyagarbha just refers to Saraswati's husband Brahma in Advaita terminology, but I think that's wrong. I think that's just a confusion due to the fact that as I said above Brahma is often called Hiranyagarbha due to the that he was born from an egg.
Are there any Advaita works that clarify this terminology? By the way, I should mention that at least according to the Sri Vaishnava sect (of which I am a member), Saguna Brahman is considered supreme and he's equated with Para Vasudeva or the highest Vishnu.