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An instructor of monism can't possibly exist. Does he know the truth or not? The first can't be, for knowing the truth there is no second soul for him, there would be no student for him. The second also can't be, for it is not possible that ignorant person may be an instructor.

Let me explain the argument.

If a person speaks about Advaita, he doesn't know the truth, else he won't instruct since there is no second soul for him having realized everything is brahman.

The same applies to Krishna and all the mantra drastas in the Vedas. Do they know advaita? Then they won't instruct. If we accept them as perfect teachers of truth, then advaita is false on the basis of scriptures since they actually instructed.

How do Advaitins defend against this argument?

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  • where did you get this ? – Parabrahman Jyoti Apr 8 '19 at 14:19
  • Related: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/24090/… – user9969 Apr 8 '19 at 14:21
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    Not only that an instructor of monism can't possibly exist but a student of monism can't possibly exist either ;) – brahma jijnasa Apr 8 '19 at 15:06
  • @Pratimaputra can a teacher of dvaitavad exist? -- Yes, he and his student do exist. In all dualist systems of Vedanta they teach that an individuality of separate atmas or souls is reality, which is contrary to Advaita which teaches that individuality of separate atmas or souls is unreal idea of a mind in delusion who do not see reality. – brahma jijnasa Apr 8 '19 at 20:26
  • @Pratimaputra Advaita knowledge is often misunderstood. Because those are again interpreted by human mind. So again that's reason why its often misunderstood! When you go under realization, you will get what Advaita Gyan is!!! Because where mind gets extinct, there realization comes! – Parabrahman Jyoti Apr 9 '19 at 4:40
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An Advaitin does not defend against any argument as He needs no defence :He is not different from the argument also :)

But Lord Krishna comes forward to defend Him with His Gita :

4.22 Remaining satisfied with what comes unasked for, having transcended the dualities, being free from spite, and poised under success and failure, he is not bound even by performing actions.

4.23 Of the liberated person who has got rid of attachment, whose mind is fixed in Knowledge, actions undertaken for a sacrifice does not produce fruits for him.

5.7 Endowed with union with Brahman [yoga-yukta] while being devoted to the performance of the nitya and naimittika duties. pure in mind, controlled in body, a conqueror of the organs, the Self of the selves of all beings-he does not become tainted even while performing actions. [The construction of the sentence is this: When this person resorts to nitya and naimittika rites and duties as a means to the achievement of fully Illumination, and thus becomes fully enlightened, then, even when he acts through the apparent functions of the mind, organs, etc., he does not become afflected.] 5.8-5.9 Remaining absorbed in the Self, the knower of Reality would think, 'I certainly do not do anything', even while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, speaking, releasing, holding, opening and closing the eyes-remembering that the organs function in relation to the objects of the organs. 5.25 The seers whose sins have been attenuated, who are freed from doubt, whose organs are under control, who are engaged in doing good to all beings, having attained absorption in Brahman.

A real Advaitin therefore does not stop his activities. He becomes engaged in doing good to all beings and so teaches others the path of liberation, while enjoying the bliss of being one with everything internally.This state is really beyond any argument. Sri Krishna refers to this state by the words 'pashyato muneh'.

The 'Vedanta-Sara' also points to the same inaction in all actions after the jivanmukta comes out of the Nirvikalpa Samadhi.(219-221).

In 'Viveka-Chudamoni' also we get:

The gentle-natured great saints live by doing good to all like the sweet breeze of Spring. They being liberated want to liberate the suffering ones surrendering to them. Thus is their greatness.(37)

A real Dvaita-vadi on the otherhand will never come forward to teach anyone as He will be indrwan in love of God and would not spare a moment without looking at or serving his beloved.He will be mad in love, as Narada points out in His Bhakti-Sutras.The Braja-Gopikas never taught anyone or preached any doctrine.

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I will answer this question from the perspective of eka jIva vAda, which is a sub-darshana in advaita.

Appayya Deekshita, in his work Siddhantalesha Sangraha, summarizes the position of the eka-jIva-vAda advaitins –

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One may consult the Hindi translation in the same location. Here, I am giving the essence of the above passage in English from the book titled Idealistic Thought in Indian Philosophy by Shuchita C Divatia, page 170.

There is only one jIva, and hence only one body is animate, while the rest are inanimate like the bodies seen in a dream. The world is imagined by the ajnAna or nescience of that one jIva. All kinds of practical dealings take place as in a dream, until the ajnAna of the jIva lasts. Further, as there is only one jIva, there arises no question about the respective individual bondages and liberations. Liberation of Suka etc, is also an imagined one like the liberation of a man that takes place in the dream. In short, all types of doubts should be put aside by the analogy of a dream.

Note: This is a bit different from the more well-known form of advaita, where multiple jIva-s are admitted and the waking state has vyavahArika satya. In eka-jIva-vAda, all vyavahAra is itself analogous to a dream.

Now to answer the following question –

An instructor of monism can't possibly exist. Does he know the truth or not? The first can't be, for knowing the truth there is no second soul for him, there would be no student for him. The second also can't be, for it is not possible that ignorant person may be an instructor.

Answer: The instructor is also a product of the dream or imagination of the one jIva (who is the student). The act of the instructor teaching the student (the one jIva) is also unreal. Because the instructor does not really exist, the question as to whether the instructor knows the truth or not does not arise. It is like asking whether the water that is seen in a mirage is sweet or salty. (Not only is the instructor a product of imagination of the student, even God, the entire world, and other beings are also the products of the student's imagination).

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Is the existence of an instructor of monism in any way essential to monism itself? I don't think so!

Furthermore, it is not obvious that an instructor is of use only if he/she has complete mastery of the subject. A physics professor need not be a master of all branches of physics to be a good physics teacher. In fact, it would be highly unusual to find a physics teacher who claims to have mastered even one branch of physics!

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  • The question that arises how does instructor of advaita (who doesn't have complete mastery) know the truth of advaita. He can't know, since a person who realized the truth of advaita doesn't teach anything since for such a realized soul, there is no second soul. If he heard from one who didn't realize the truth, where did this person get knowledge get from and this goes on... – Krishna Varna Apr 9 '19 at 7:26
  • I thought the truth of Advaita is established solely from Sankara's interpretation of the Brahmasutrabhasya, the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. If anyone has ever claimed that they have complete mastery and is a realized soul then your argument shows that there is a good chance they are lying. – Jaikrishnan Apr 9 '19 at 11:49
  • I have edited the question to make it more clear – Krishna Varna Apr 9 '19 at 12:39
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    This looks like a comment rather than an answer. Visit How to Answer. Also note that you need to cite some sources. – Pandya Oct 9 '19 at 2:35
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Savitar mantra aka Gayatri mantra eulogises Savitar for attaining divine knowledge.

May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar the God: So May he stimulate our prayers.

Rig Veda VIII.6.10 says as follows:

अहमिद धि पितुष परि मेधां रतस्य जग्रभ | अहं सूर्य इवाजनि ||

I from my Father have received deep knowledge of the Holy Law I was born like unto the Sun

Here, Father is the Almighty or Savitar or Sun. After attaining divine knowledge, one becomes SUN, which is nothing but Advaita.

However, till one gets UNION with the Almighty, there will be dualism or separation.


Now, let us visit the content in the question.

  1. Do they know advaita? Then they won't instruct.

  2. If we accept them as perfect teachers of truth, then advaita is false on the basis of scriptures since they actually instructed.


The point no.1 is correct, because, a realised sage or one who got union with the Almighty will never bother to instruct.

Sri Ramana Maharshi was an example of such stage. He never instructed anything to the visitors, who came with inquisitiveness of learning something.

He always advocated a single advice. - Self Realisation - one has to investigate on his own.


Coming to the point no.2 - it is to be remembered that a REALISED sage never asks for others acceptance him/her to be an Advaitin or Realised one. If we accept that they are REALISED ones, then it is our problem. Why should they be blamed?

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I will get straight to the point of your question and relate it to teachers in particular. All (and I mean without exception) the advaita teachers I have ever listened to say there is no truth that can be spoken, no “one” who can become enlightened, and ultimately, as papaji said, “There is no student, no teacher, no teaching, and nothing ever happened.” Or as Nisargadatta said, “There is not one iota of truth in this world”. They all also say questions dont get answered, the questioner finally dissolves (menon said this a lot). Ramana Marharshi said there are no people and no objects and only silence can really help anything.

In short, it is not an objection at all. Because they agree with it.

They all say the truth is beyond this dream world and readily admit they are just apparent entities manifested of Parabrahman, making apparent sounds with their apparent mouths. This is not to say the Brahman cannot flow into various apparent forms, but no one can get outside of it all to know it, or to even exist independently.

Ribhu gita (in sanskrit)

The state of firm abidance in that thought-free after Mano nasha constitutes moksha. This is the Truth.

Finally, I will add that advaita is NOT exactly monism anyway. “Not two” (advaita) was selected instead of “One” very deliberately. The truth cannot be said, even by saying it’s all one.

I wish materialist monists would also understand this fact. They are secret dualists who repeatedly sneak in dualism accidentally not noticing they did. They think only material exists and yet claims can be made, conditioned truth exists, agents exist, etc. They don’t realize they have introduced a separate God who evaluates truth, and it is themselves. Almost every philosophical materialist is playing God, while adamantly declaring atheism.

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