If Brahman and Prakriti are not separate, but two sides of the same coin ... i.e. if Brahman 'IS' Prakriti, then that makes Brahman full of qualities. How can it possibly be devoid of attributes when in reality it's full of attributes.

After cosmic dissolution, all nama & rupa disappear, but do the gunas dissapear. No. The 3 gunas continues to exist, (even though they remain in a state of equilibrium or in a state of dormancy) they do exist.

Who possesses these 3 gunas? It is Prakriti and Prakriti is Brahman. This makes Brahman full of gunas.

I would like to know whether any disciples of Shankara raised this point and if it was addressed by Shankara.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 13:13
  • @TheDestroyer above chat url leads to "page not found". Do the chats get deleted after a pre-defined time duration?
    – Vineet
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


It is not possible to answer this question since it is not possible to describe Nirguna Brahman.

  1. Moreover, the Vedas reveal this; likewise this is mentioned in the Smritis also.

Moreover, the Vedas reveal through a negation of other aspects that Brahman has no distinguishing feature, as for instance in, “Now therefore the description (of Brahman): ‘Not this, not this’” (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad II.iii.6), “That (Brahman) is surely different from the known; and, again, It is above the unknown” (Kena Upanishad I.4), “That Bliss of Brahman, failing to reach which, words turn back along with the mind” (Taittiriya Upanishad II.ix.1), and so on. And it is also known from the Vedic texts that Badhva being asked by Baskali, replied merely by not uttering a word, as stated in, “He (Baskali) said, ‘Teach me Brahman, sir.’ He (Badhva) became silent. When the question was repeated a second and a third time he said, ‘I have already spoken, but you cannot comprehend. That Self is Quiescence’ “. Similarly in the Smritis, the instruction is given through a negation of other things, as in, “I shall tell you of that which is to be known and by knowing which one attains immortality. The supreme Brahman is without any beginning. It can neither be called gross (visible) nor fine (invisible)” (Gita XIII.12), and so on. Similarly the Smriti mentions how Narayana in His cosmic form said to Narada, “O Narada, that you see me as possessed of all the (five divine) qualities of all elements, is only because of My Maya, called up by Myself. For else you should not understand Me thus.”

Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sri Sankaracharya III.ii.17

  • In your above post Narayana says, if it weren't for his maya shakti, no one could understand or perceive him ... This means, maya & it's gunas are part of nirguna (dwells within nirguna) ... I mean, if maya were never a part of nirguna, then how could nirguna manifest as this world? ........ The truth was right infront of the scholars (the verse of Narayana you provided). How on earth they failed to decipher the meaning out of it? Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 15:26
  • 1
    Yes, Nirguna Brahman contains maya, guna and all of us. How it manages to do this and yet be devoid of all qualities is beyond the capacity of a jiva to understand. Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 15:28
  • Nirguna Brahman is too strange, too far from any human experience and hence can not be explained by any human model. Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 15:32
  • That i agree. It is beyond human comprehension. But since we have already unlocked the mysteries of maya from sage Kapila and a bit from Gita ... and at the same time when the scriptures/rishis say that nirguna and maya are same, then it becomes hard to digest such a claim ... I mean, if we think logically, then it sounds totally absurd. The one who is a beggar cannot be at the same time a rich millionaire. lol Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 15:43
  • OR ... it could be ... that the ancients simply meant nirakar/formless, and not quality less, when they used the term nirguna .... It's probably the modern scholars who have sticked to the actual translation which may not have been used by the rishis in the first place. Who knows. I'm simply speculating. Would love to know the opinions of others. Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 15:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .