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I see that a lot of followers of Advaita Vedanta say that praying doesn't make sense since 'I' myself am Brahman. But the Swami they often refer to, Swami Tatmananda (Arsha Bodha) says otherwise.

He says that when we are thirsty in our dreams, a glass of water beside our bed will do us no favour what so ever. We need water in our dream to nullify our thirst. Similarly there's no use worshipping Brahman (the Self) because that reality is one level above us in the same way our waking state is one level above our dream state.

At our level of reality i.e Vyavaharika Satta (emperical reality) we for sure exist, just like in our dreams we for sure exist. In our reality we exist AND SO DOES ISHVARA i.e SAGUNA BRAHMAN or Brahman with qualities. That is why we should indeed pray to Ishvara, yes ultimately everything is Brahman at the highest level of reality but at the moment there is a difference. It is possible to had a dualistic idea WITHIN A NON-DUALISTIC FRAMEWORK.

If this is so, why do so many Advaitins reject the existence of our deities? What were Adi Shankaracharya's views on this?

Many people suggest that Shankara said that Ishvara is only illusionary but this begs the question as to why did he write so much poetry about our deities?

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  • Advaitins don't reject any deities. Ishvara is itself rejected by most darshanas - Sankhya has no concept of Ishvara - similar to Advaita, Nyaya intreprets it differently, in Yoga school, it is an optional concept and so on. If you say there exists an Ishvara - then just show it? Neither by tantras, nor by Vedas - they need to be shown in a matter you wish to know about.
    – user29449
    Commented Apr 5 at 13:19
  • @User29449 your answer seems vague, does Advaita recognise Ishvara or not? Commented Apr 5 at 14:59
  • I already said - What do you mean by Ishvara? is what is highly dependent on it. You should rather ask - if other darshanas do recognize it or not.
    – user29449
    Commented Apr 5 at 18:17

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