How do Advaitins justify that Nirguna Brahman is the ultimate reality and that Saguna Brahman is illusory?

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    So, i am not sure if we can say anything about superiority since it is same thing. It like asking how do you prove "Sun" (Nirguna Brahman) is superior to "Sun obscured by clouds" (Saguna Brahman: Clouds is Maya) (2/2)
    – The Destroyer
    Oct 27, 2017 at 15:16
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    Yes. For unrealized Jivas, Nirguna Brahman appears as Saguna Brahman and after realization he knows his true form as Nirguna Brahman or in above correlaton, jiva knows he is that one "Sun".
    – The Destroyer
    Oct 27, 2017 at 15:20
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    Your question makes no sense as Nirguna and Saguna Brahman are the same. Saguna Brahman is how we who are immersed in maya view Brahman. Nirguna Brahman cannot be experienced by us in maya. How to know the knower? The knower can never be known. Can you see your eyes? You can only see your eyes by looking at a reflection of them in a mirror. The Knower (Nirguna Brahman) can only know Itself by looking at Itself through the mirror of maya; and when it does It only sees a reflection (Saguna Brahman), not Its 'real' self. Oct 28, 2017 at 4:20
  • 1
    Ok, I will try to give an answer in a few days.
    – user17987
    Sep 29, 2020 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Ikshvaku How does one experience a Nirguna Brahman? Everybody "experiences" nirguNa brahman everyday in the state of sushupti or deep sleep. (Some advaitins think it is saguNa brahman that is experienced in deep sleep, but imo there are enough instances to show it is nirguNa brahman).
    – user23407
    May 13, 2021 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


He is the self-luminous and formless Purusha, uncreated and existing both within and without. He is devoid of prana, devoid of mind, pure, and higher than the supreme Imperishable (Mundaka Upanisad II. 1. 2).

According to Shankaracharya's commentary, here, "He" refers to the attributeless pure consciousness or Nirguna Brahman.

On the other hand, the word Imperishable (Akshara) means Saguna Brahman (associated with Maya and the cause of creation), in which the Upadhis of names and forms of the manifested universe exists in a seed state. He is declared supreme in a relative sense. Because he is higher than the manifested universe.

Thus the Nirguna Brahman is higher than the Saguna Brahman. So, according to the scripture, Nirguna Brahman is the ultimate reality.

Ref: Upanishads by Swami Nikhilananda.

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