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According to Advaita there are no Bheda or difference in Brahman.

It explains the indifference between souls by saying that the upadhi or delimitng agents separate one super soul into multiple souls.

So the difference is only created like a pot and house walls separating space into pot space and house space. Here space is comapred to the Brahman and the separating agents like body, mind etc with pot and wall.

But here space itself is not actually one before division. It was there spanning wide. The difference of "here" and "there" was still there in space. What ever the difference was already there was only made apparent by pot and walls. If space had no difference within itself or Svagatha Bheda, these separating agents would not be able to create a difference. Just like you can't create a difference inside an subatomic particle like electron. It is not divisible further. So this example of Brahman being divided like space by separating entities is not quite accurate.

So how exactly is the difference introduced where difference is not there.

Please do not reply saying the difference is introduced by Maya like rope snake etc. That is a different analogy where you are confusing one thing for another, which is different from how difference is seen when there is none. These two different classes of examples.

There are primarily three kinds of Bheda. Desha, Kala and Vasthu. Vasthu Bheda or Objet difference is what is addressed by snake rope example and golden ornaments examples. Lets leave time or Kala Bheda for now. But how is Deshiya Bheda or Spatial difference is introduced in Brahma, in whom there should be no spatial difference of here and there?

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    Brahman, the Atma, is spiritual, not sensual. Most people when they think of infinite, think of infinite distances in the sensual universe...but the Atma is beyond the sensual universe. IT is THAT which touches everything, as it is spiritual it touches everything and is not limited by space and time. You cannot measure the size. It has been described in the scriptures as 'atomic' in size - this should not be taken literally, but it is meant yo relay the idea that you cannot measure it. Apr 11, 2022 at 5:31
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    Scripture says that akasha (which many modern day interpreters write as 'space') came first. There is no 'how' as you ask. Questions of 'how' and 'why' can only occur within the sensual universe of space and time, these questions are not possible beyond space and time. Read Rig Veda 10.129 Apr 11, 2022 at 5:36
  • @SwamiVishwananda you are reffering to Nasadiya Sukta, which talks about beginning itself, not just beginning of this universe. That's different. How question is completely valid as Space is within our experience. Moreover I undrstood it with analogy of we dreamimg space when there is no space in mind. Like we can experience entire mountains in dream even though it is not there. So mind causes the illusion if Space. Apr 11, 2022 at 9:38
  • @SwamiVishwananda Your conceptual idea seems very right to me. Can you please write an answer on that? I'd upvote that too.
    – user29449
    Dec 31, 2023 at 12:08

3 Answers 3

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Brahman is beyond trividho bhedha.

"Ekam eva adviteeyam” . (Mahavakya -Chandhogya upanishad).

Ekam is one without parts, in which case it is not made up of its constituents (not an Avayavi) Hence swagatha bhedha is ruled out.

Evam means one alone and adviteeyam means there is no entity that exists apart from Brahman, Hence there is no swajathiya bhedha and vijathiya bhedha.

Aparoksha anubhuthi says

aatmaa vinishhkalo hyeko deho bahubhiraavR^itaH . tayoraikyaM prapashyanti kimaGYaanamataH param.h

Atman is without parts, is one alone , Body is many and with parts. If we say that both are the same, is there any ignorance greater than this?

The multiplity of entities that one sees is similar to water in a Mirage.

Space itself is different from time , hence vasthu parichedham applies to both space and time , hence according to definition , both space and time are unreal.Corollary of which is, the difference of 'here' and 'there' is perceived bcos the space is unreal, (though Unreal doesnt mean non existent)

Brahman is beyond space , time and any other possibility of human understanding and is not an object of knowledge.

( dog may infer the color of the grass not to be green due to lack of rods and cones in its retina, but may respond to a sound in ultrasonic range when a galton whistle is blown . so world is not absolute, perceived by different species according to its upadhi. )

If you think subatomic particles arent made up of its constituents , quark up and quark down refutes it, and is deemed to be fundamental ,till a later evidence sets a timeline.

Chandogya Upanishad says

Sad eva, saumya, idam agra asid ekam evadvitiyam, tadd haika ahuh, asad evedam agra asid ekam evadvitiyam, tasmad asatah saj jayata.

"My dear boy, there was only a single Reality existing in the beginning. The so-called variety was not there. It was one; it was without a second. There was nothing outside it; nothing external to it, to compete with it, to equal it or to be different from it. There is no conceivable reality in this world of this nature. Whatever be the stretch of your imagination, you cannot conceive of something outside which nothing is. At least space would be there, time would be there, something would be there. But even space and time are objects, externals, effects that came afterwards in the process of creation. And, therefore, they too are negated in the case of this reality. That alone was. There was absolutely no differentiation whatsoever, originally. There was neither external differentiation nor internal variety. In scriptural language, there was neither sajatiya bheda, nor was there vijatiya bheda, nor svagata bheda."(Translation courtesy:Swami Krishnananda)

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  • Thank you for the answer. But it answers the question only partially. Yes Space is unreal. Mu question is how is Space illusion created. The Mirage example is where you confuse sand with water. So that analogy only helps to explain why Brahman is confused as the world. My question is about the properties of illusion. Which are ofcourse unreal. How is Space imagined in spaceless entity. Where is the analogy where there is no space but space is imagined. Apr 10, 2022 at 3:49
  • A contemporary analogy could be a prism(upadhi) veiling(aavarana) the white light(upahita Brahman) and projecting(vikshepa) the dispersed spectrum of component colours(jagat cosmos).creating a false notion of the white light ,is said to have , caused the illusion . So long as, you ve put on a green spectacle, its inevitable you see things green. But here you can easily discrimanate (viveka)that it's due to the green tint, as upadhi and upahitha are objects of knowledge in an analogy
    – Athrey
    Apr 10, 2022 at 6:17
  • But in a real scenario, Brahman is not an object of knowledge , and one has to discriminate the upadhi through say, yogam, nidhidhyasam etc, to perceive the fact, Brahman is beyond trividho bhedha, which is a rarity in a human life(as Lord Krishna says in BG, Mama Maya Durathyaya)
    – Athrey
    Apr 10, 2022 at 6:17
  • that's all right. You are missing the point of the question. The prism example is again confusing one thing for another or twisting the object because you are seeing through tint classes. That is ok. I'm not asking how one obiects qualities are seen differently due to a upadhi. I'm asking how does upadhi create space in a spaceless entity? Or how is space illusion created when there is no space. Apr 10, 2022 at 9:03
  • Illusion implies false notion, and this very meaning of illusion loses its relevance if one can hold on to that truth Brahman is 'Satyam, Jnanam,Anantham(desha parichhedha shunyam) Brahman'.. True, space and time is attributed to Maya/Prakruthi and not Brahman . –
    – Athrey
    Apr 10, 2022 at 9:50
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12 verses on Om

4-th verse of Mandukya Upanishad

4: Svapna-sthano’ntah-prajnah saptanga ekonavimsatimukhah praviviktabhuk taijaso dvitiyah padah

Second is Dreaming / Subtle: The second aspect of Atman is the Self in the Dreaming state, Taijasa. In this second state, consciousness is turned towards the inner world. It also operates through seven instruments and nineteen channels, which engage the subtle objects of the mental realm.

In dreaming states, we often see spaces that resemble to infinite universe. There could be pots and walls in the dream too that seem very real and cause division of spaces. Similarly, we see multiple people who appear to act independently too.

But here space (dreaming space) itself is not actually one before division. It was there spanning wide. The difference of "here" and "there" was still there in space. What ever the difference was already there was only made apparent by pot and walls. If space had no difference within itself or Svagatha Bheda, these separating agents would not be able to create a difference. Just like you can't create a difference inside an subatomic particle like electron. It is not divisible further. So this example of Brahman being divided like space by separating entities is not quite accurate.

This answers the question too.

As declared by Mandukya Upanishad 6th verse

6: Esha sarvesvara esha sarvajna esho’ntaryamy-esha yonih sarvasya prabhavapyayau hi bhutanam

Find the Experiencer: The one who experiences all of these states of consciousness is the omniscient, indwelling source and director of all. This one is the womb out of which all of the other emerges. All things originate from and dissolve back into this source.

Both dreaming state and waking state from the perspective of the experiencer is unreal. The only thing - the self that experiences this is real, according to Advaita Vedanta.


Taittiriya Upanishad

According to the definition of Brahman from Taittiriya Upanishad, a Brahman MUST be limitless/infinite:

As already known to you, brahman must have no limitations on attributes (or objects), time, or space. The differences such as here and there in spaces are appearances to us from our sense organs through Maya. In the dream, just as these appearances of space are created due to ignorance, similarly independently the appearance of space is created in the real world too, but the self (brahman) is the sole cause of getting deluded via sense organs and limiting the Brahman via space. Once the person gets enlightened, he knows that he is Brahman, hence totally beyond the concepts of space-time.


Note: I see that you are getting confused by the terms of Mithia (unreal) and false.

In Quantum Mechanics, there's a popular paradox called, Schrodinger's cat paradox.

In the thought experiment, a hypothetical cat may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead, while it is unobserved in a closed box, as a result of its fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. This thought experiment was devised by physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935[1] in a discussion with Albert Einstein[2] to illustrate what Schrödinger saw as the problems of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Src: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

A cat called to be called - both dead and alive, until it is observed. This is a popular phenomenon, in Quantum Mechanics, where a probability observation of a physical feature of a state of the particle is both n and 1-n, till observation is made. For example, if the particle has a probability to be at point A at 50%, and at point B at 50%, it is supposed to be 50% at both points, until final observations are made.

The same is true for Advaita Vedanta, any observation at time t and space x could be both true or false until the final observation is made with consciousness. The very nature of appearances brahman through maya to be very uncertain is what makes it unreal or mithia which is not equivalent to false (which is established after observations of chit or consciousness).


PS - Erwin Schrodinger was a staunch Advait and used to read a lot of Upanishads in Sanskrit during his leisure time. Thanks to Swami Vivekananda for propounding the very philosophy in the West. Although this concept of mithia isn't much explored by Advaitas (the best ones I've seen are in a book called AdvaitaSiddhi) Quantum Mechanics has come up with a range of interpretations - Copenhagen, many worlds (or multiverses), Bohr's interpretation, Ensemble interpretation, etc.

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Excellent question! You said

The difference of "here" and "there" was still there in space.

But Brahman/Atman is all pervading.

Know that to be indestructible, by Which all this is pervaded. None can cause the destruction of That, the Imperishable.(Gita 2.17)

Swami Sivananda comments, "Brahman or Atman pervades all the objects like ether. Even if the pot is broken the ether that is within and without the pot cannot be destroyed. Even so if the bodies and all other objects perish Brahman or the Self that pervades them cannot perish. It is the living Truth Sat.Brahman has no parts. There cannot be either increase or diminution in Brahman"

To again get back to your question of "here" and "there", both these are in your mind, are experienced as objects and therefore appear to consciousness, in consciousness, as consciousness.

Everything that you experience and do not experience, everything is pervaded by you. It sounds completely counter intuitive, but a simple example will show what is meant. Imagine your dream experience. When you look back upon the dream, from the waking state, what do you realise? You realise that in the dream - the roads, the trees, the sky, the lakes and rivers - I was all of that. ‘I was all of that’, means, all of those things, they were all imagined in my mind.It was the dreamer’s mind alone which became all of that. Then can I not say that, all the people, the events, the time - the very time and space of the dream world - were pervaded by me, the dreamer? Now take this to the waking world. What is true of the dream world and the dreamer’s mind, the same is true of consciousness and its objects. What you see, hear, smell, taste, touch, as well as what you remember, imagine, desire, love, hate, all of that is pervaded by you, the awareness. It is given existence by you, the awareness, by you the pure being, by you, which is Chit and Sat - Awareness and Being. Awareness does not change, but all changes are lit up by awareness.If existence is an intrinsic characteristic of this awareness, then anything apart from this awareness is an appearance. It does not have an intrinsic existence. It borrows existence from awareness. Just as everything in your dream borrows existence from you, the dreamer. You are Sat and Chit, pure being and pure awareness, pervading everything that you experience. So the Atman is Sarva vyapi, all-pervading. Here is a little anecdote. Once when this concept was being taught in the Himalayas, a monk asked the teacher, “Just a minute! How can you say that I am all-pervading? I am here and not there, so how can I be all- pervading?” And the teacher answered, “Aha, but here and there, are they not both in your awareness?’’ The moment I say I am here and not there, I am speaking as the body. Can you not say exactly the same thing in your dreams? Somebody comes in your dreams and says, “You are everything here.” You exclaim, “What silliness? I am here and I am not even there.” When you wake up, who will be right? That person would be right because everything in your dream was in your mind. Similarly, everything that we experience is in fact in our awareness. You as awareness pervade everything. That’s the point Sri Krishna makes in the Bhagavad Gita, that awareness, Atman, is all-pervading. (The Atman, Swami Sarvpriyananda)

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