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I heard from a knowledgable advaita vedantist blogger that if everything were not brahman or 'that', then brahman would not be complete, whole, infinite, absolute or sarvam, purnam and anantam, and restricted and limited by objects outside (not spatially per se but ontologically, since brahman is spaceless and all things are brahman but happen within brahman) itself or vastu paricchinnam.

Which would make brahman or God ontologically finite.

Which means that he is not fit for worship.Or moksha.

I am looking into advaita hinduism, and am undecided as of yet but this made a lot of sense to me.

How would this fit in vis-a-vis any supreme entity?

Could there logically be a differentiated entity that creates things ex-nihilo through infinite power, and still be sarvam, purnam, anantam and not vastu paricchinnam? And are these necessary qualities of any deity?

Only Advaitists answer.

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  • What is the differentiating entity ? There in comes space.. withdraw space & Brahman is back to its self.. inject space the varied forms Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 2:14
  • This is a very good question and a very good argument. +1 from me. More questions like these make this forum overall interesting.
    – user29449
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 16:22

2 Answers 2

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Could there logically be a differentiated entity that creates things...

"Creation" is a concept that advaita only accepts in the initial stages of studies for the sake of the student. In the advanced stage, advaita states that "there is no creation", which means there was, is and ever will be only one (Brahman), and that Brahman is you (the consciousness, existence, bliss principle). That's why it's called a-dvaita (non-duality) in the first place.

Gaudapaada in his "advaita prakaraNam" (chapter 3) of the maanDukya kaarika establishes this piece by piece. He first rejects the creation of the jiva using yukti. Then he rejects creation of the world using yukti. Further, he rejects creation of jiva giving shruti (Veda) references, and finally he rejects creation of the world using shruti.

Any process of creation needs a relationship between "kaaryam" (effect) and "kaaraNam" (cause). In advaita prakaraNam, Gaudapaada establishes there is no question of kaaraNam, hence no creation took place.

Then what is the multitude of things and beings that we come across every day? Vedanta says, they are all "naama-roopa" i.e. name and form of that one Brahman. "vaachaarambhaNam vikaaro naamadheyam" - Chandogya Upanishad. A popular example given is - ornaments are many, Gold is one. An ornament (bangle/ear ring/chain etc) is nothing but a name and form of that one substance - gold.

The world and all it's contents are only names and forms of that one substance - Brahman.

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  • YOG VASHISTHA TOO SAY THIS-
    – Singh S1
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 6:42
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Vishistadvaita Vedanta or Qualified Non-dualism is one attempt to bypass the Advaita objection.

NARENDRA: "What is Qualified Non-dualism?"

MASTER: "It is the theory of Ramanuja. According to this theory, Brahman, or the Absolute, is qualified by the universe and its living beings. These three — Brahman, the world, and living beings — together constitute One. Take the instance of a bel-fruit. A man wanted to know the weight of the fruit. He separated the shell, the flesh, and the seeds. But can a man get the weight by weighing only the flesh? He must weigh flesh, shell, and seeds together. At first it appears that the real thing in the fruit is the flesh, and not its seeds or shell. Then by reasoning you find that the shell, seeds, and flesh all belong to the fruit; the shell and seeds belong to the same thing that the flesh belongs to. Likewise, in spiritual discrimination one must first reason, following the method of 'Not this, not this': God is not the universe; God is not the living beings; Brahman alone is real and all else is unreal. Then one realizes, as with the bel-fruit, that the Reality from which we derive the notion of Brahman is the very Reality that evolves the idea of living beings and the universe. The Nitya and the Lila are the two aspects of one and the same Reality; therefore, according to Ramanuja, Brahman is qualified by the universe and the living beings. This is the theory of Qualified Non-dualism.

(To M.) "I do see God directly. What shall I reason about? I clearly see that He Himself has become everything; that He Himself has become the universe and all living beings.

"But without awakening one's own inner consciousness one cannot realize the All-pervading Consciousness. How long does a man reason? So long as he has not realized God. But mere words will not do. As for myself, I clearly see that He Himself has become everything. The inner consciousness must be awakened through the grace of God. Through this awakening a man goes into samadhi. He often forgets that he has a body. He gets rid of his attachment to 'woman and gold' and does not enjoy any talk unless it is about God. Worldly talk gives him pain. Through the awakening of the inner consciousness one realizes the All-pervading Consciousness."

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 38, With the devotees in Calcutta

Brahman in Vishistadvaita Vedanta is redefined as the sum of God(Narayana), Jiva and the universe. The Jiva and the universe are not created ex nihilo here. A spiritual adept experiences this as long as his purified ego is still around. What happens when the ego dies? Then only he can experience the all-pervading consciousness described by Advaita.

One could think of Vishstadvaita and Advaita as different stages of spiritual experience. When a person has succeeded in purifying his ego then he has the Vishistadvaita experience. When his ego dies then he has the Advaita experience.

Could there logically be a differentiated entity that creates things ex-nihilo through infinite power, and still be sarvam, purnam, anantam and not vastu paricchinnam?

Now we are in a position to answer this question. The answer is no. It is not possible to imagine a deity creating ex-nihilo anything. It might be possible to think of Brahman as sarvam, purnam and anantam if Brahman is redefined as the sum of God, universe and living beings. Of course there is still svagata-bheda which will not be acceptable to Advaitins.

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