s1va

Vedantic non-dual vs. Abhinavagupta's non-dual

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There is a distinction -- in my view -- between the non dual Brahman that Vedanta talks about and the nondual that Abhinavagupta describes in Monism of the Kashmir Shaivism.  The first one states that Brahman alone is real and everything else is unreal.  This seems to be about subject and object.  It concludes that Brahman is the only real thing and all else is mithya, false or unreal.  Whereas the Abhinavagupta's nondual seems to be stating consciousness and energy are not two separate phenomenon, but they are one.

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30 minutes ago, s1va said:

There is a distinction -- in my view -- between the non dual Brahman that Vedanta talks about and the nondual that Abhinavagupta describes in Monism of the Kashmir Shaivism.  The first one states that Brahman alone is real and everything else is unreal.  This seems to be about subject and object.  It concludes that Brahman is the only real thing and all else is mithya, false or unreal.  Whereas the Abhinavagupta's nondual seems to be stating consciousness and energy are not two separate phenomenon, but they are one.

 

Yes, agreed.  Or as Abhinavagupta says...

 

The nature of such a consciousness is its capacity for self-referral, and because of that, there always arises a spontaneous sound (dhvani) which is termed the supreme, the great Heart.  That self-consciousness in the Heart in which the entire universe without remainder is dissolved, present at the beginning and at the end of perception of objects, is called in the authoritative texts the vibration (spanda), and more precisely, the universal vibration, and its nature is an overflowing in the Self.  For that vibration, which is a slight motion of a special kind, a unique vibrating light, is the wave of the ocean of consciousness, without which there is no consciousness at all.  For the character of the ocean is that it sometimes filled with waves and sometimes waveless.  This conciseness is the essence of all.

 

And this difference is vast as the analogy of simply being a wave in the ocean, is known to be incorrect...Not just a wave, but the ocean itself...

 

"He who by means of this teaching perceives on all sides the universe like a mass of foam in the midst of the ambrosial ocean of consciousness, he is declared to be the one Siva Himself"

 

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7 minutes ago, Jeff said:

"He who by means of this teaching perceives on all sides the universe like a mass of foam in the midst of the ambrosial ocean of consciousness, he is declared to be the one Siva Himself"

 

 

Not only is that  entire thing described so beautifully, this last part seems to act as a milestone or reality check also.  If someone has reached or become one with Shiva, they must be feeling in the midst of the ambrosial ocean of consciousness as described here.

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48 minutes ago, s1va said:

There is a distinction -- in my view -- between the non dual Brahman that Vedanta talks about and the nondual that Abhinavagupta describes in Monism of the Kashmir Shaivism.  The first one states that Brahman alone is real and everything else is unreal.  This seems to be about subject and object.  It concludes that Brahman is the only real thing and all else is mithya, false or unreal.  Whereas the Abhinavagupta's nondual seems to be stating consciousness and energy are not two separate phenomenon, but they are one.

 

I wanted to point out this one distinction or correction to what I stated in the OP.  I described the first view as Vedantic nondual.  While this is true, the Vaishnava and other schools give different interpretation of their own to the non-dual Brahman.  As something that is unique and 'one without a second', but not as relating to the subject and object entirely.  Therefore, the nondual state I described here is more Advaita Vedanta nondual vs. Abhinavagupta's nondual.  

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6 hours ago, s1va said:

There is a distinction -- in my view -- between the non dual Brahman that Vedanta talks about and the nondual that Abhinavagupta describes in Monism of the Kashmir Shaivism.  The first one states that Brahman alone is real and everything else is unreal.  This seems to be about subject and object.  It concludes that Brahman is the only real thing and all else is mithya, false or unreal.  Whereas the Abhinavagupta's nondual seems to be stating consciousness and energy are not two separate phenomenon, but they are one.

Advaita Vedanta’s final conclusion is that the “all else” is none other than Brahman, so are also real. Only the “all else” don’t have independent self nature separate from Brahman. 

 

From AV perspective, energy is the creative power of Brahman, so not separate from Brahman.

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and obviously mind can make no final conclusions per its limitations, although it sure points which is also not final...

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perfect knowledge, perfect power, perfect wisdom, perfect being, and whatever other terms one wants to input  are never and can never be gained as a possession or understood by  mind power, for they are already related to the Self so to speak.  (which may be partially alluded to above, but of course the meaning of Self being a four letter word to most Buddhists is something they will never accept as revealed doctrine per the Upanishads and its related sources)  

 

btw. since this is a Hindu sub forum the Buddhist text opens itself  to being refuted as not just another persons opinion about same but as mistaken, - whereas if those texts had been put in the general forum things would be a little different.

Edited by 3bob
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12 hours ago, dwai said:

Advaita Vedanta’s final conclusion is that the “all else” is none other than Brahman, so are also real. Only the “all else” don’t have independent self nature separate from Brahman. 

 

From AV perspective, energy is the creative power of Brahman, so not separate from Brahman.

 

I think one of the big differences between AV (and other Hindu views) with KS is found in the Shiva Sutras relative to “result”.

 

3-26 śivatulyo jāyate 

He becomes like Shiva.

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15 hours ago, dwai said:

Advaita Vedanta’s final conclusion is that the “all else” is none other than Brahman, so are also real. Only the “all else” don’t have independent self nature separate from Brahman. 

 

I guess the difference lies right there in what you stated.  Self/Brahman is the truth and if all else (illusion/maya) doesn't  have self nature seperate from Brahman, they don't have real existence. 

 

Though I like Abhinavagupta's ideas and they make sense to me, I am not arguing one is right and other is wrong here.  Merely observing the difference.  As Jeff points out, the result or outcome is also different in these systems.  All Tantric systems, even the Vaishnava systems and their Agamas seem to have a different result from the Vedanta and Brahman.  In Vaishnava systems, one reaches vaikunta and becomes like or in the image of Vishnu.

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

 

I think one of the big differences between AV (and other Hindu views) with KS is found in the Shiva Sutras relative to “result”.

 

3-26 śivatulyo jāyate 

He becomes like Shiva.

But Adi Shankara also said "Shivoham". As a Jivanamukta, he too claims that he is none other than Shiva. :)

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1 hour ago, s1va said:

 

I guess the difference lies right there in what you stated.  Self/Brahman is the truth and if all else (illusion/maya) doesn't  have self nature seperate from Brahman, they don't have real existence. 

 

Though I like Abhinavagupta's ideas and they make sense to me, I am not arguing one is right and other is wrong here.  Merely observing the difference.  As Jeff points out, the result or outcome is also different in these systems.  All Tantric systems, even the Vaishnava systems and their Agamas seem to have a different result from the Vedanta and Brahman.  In Vaishnava systems, one reaches vaikunta and becomes like or in the image of Vishnu.

It is just a difference of degrees. Not dramatically different results. 

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On 9/9/2018 at 9:57 AM, Jeff said:

 

I think one of the big differences between AV (and other Hindu views) with KS is found in the Shiva Sutras relative to “result”.

 

3-26 śivatulyo jāyate 

He becomes like Shiva.

 

The Sutras appear to differ in 'stages', 'awakenings' or more accurately - upayas('means'), of approaching "God-consciousness". The tradition assigns levels of quality regarding those approaches in accordance with the respective Sutra, ordered from "superior" to "inferior".

 

Siva is identical to each jiva, and identical to the means through which they aspire to become established as Siva("highest" means or "lowest" means). So to extract one line from one approach and conclude there is any notable contrast in the experienced "results" between traditions, seems pretty sketchy.

 

On 9/9/2018 at 1:47 PM, dwai said:

It is just a difference of degrees. Not dramatically different results. 

 

This exactly.

 

Edited by neti neti
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Difference is difference.  The degree is just a perception that cannot alter the fact they are different.

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On 9/9/2018 at 12:46 PM, dwai said:

But Adi Shankara also said "Shivoham". As a Jivanamukta, he too claims that he is none other than Shiva. :)

 

Adi Shankara did say "Sivoham" in his work Nirvana Shatakam.  However, there is so much attributed to Shankra and also we need to take them in the context in which they are given.  He had primarily the view of Advaita, which does not accept this becoming into Shiva, or becoming into anything else other than Brahman.  Even when he said Sivoham, it's from the standpoint of Aham Brahmasmi, and not anything else.  If the manifested world is a mistake of perception, such as the rope being perceived as snake, the only thing that matters is this mistaken perception and there is no need to become like Shiva to dispel this wrong perception.  The Shiva can be entirely taken out of the equation.  Such is not the case with Shaivism which centers on Shiva and Vaishnavism that centers on Vishnu.

 

Also, on quoting that Shankara said this also,  can once again lead to many different ends and to justify many different philosophies because of the diverse and extraordinary amount of works attributed to Shankara.  Shankara is also the author of 'Bhaja Govindam' that sings the praise of 'Govinda' / Krishna / Vishnu.  There are few devotees of Hare Krishna, who routinely quote this and say Sankara ultimately accepted that Krishna is the only God.  We all know that is not the meaning or purport of Bhaja Govindam, I think the same may be the case with Nirvana Shatakam.  Though he says Sivoham, I am sure he did not mean the same as what Abhinavagupta meant in transforming into Shiva.  There is also another issue or concern regarding the actual authorship of Shankara.  For instance some verses in the Bhaja Govindam are attributed to Shankara's disciples who held slightly different view on some subjects.  The very popular tantric poems on the beauty of the Goddess, The Soundarya Lahari  (a complete Tantric work) is attributed to Adi Shankra and Sage Pushpadanta.  I have no doubt that Shankara authored some part of this work as observed in the wikipedia article.  But which part or verses is something that is very hard to determine.  Going by his core works, we have to assume that Adi Shankara primarily explained the Vedanta from the Advaita standpoint, and we need to interpret his words in this context.  I hope you would agree :)

 

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9 minutes ago, s1va said:

 

Adi Shankara did say "Sivoham" in his work Nirvana Shatakam.  However, there is so much attributed to Shankra and also we need to take them in the context in which they are given.  He had primarily the view of Advaita, which does not accept this becoming into Shiva, or becoming into anything else other than Brahman.  Even when he said Sivoham, it's from the standpoint of Aham Brahmasmi, and not anything else.  If the manifested world is a mistake of perception, such as the rope being perceived as snake, the only thing that matters is this mistaken perception and there is no need to become like Shiva to dispel this wrong perception.  The Shiva can be entirely taken out of the equation.  Such is not the case with Shaivism which centers on Shiva and Vaishnavism that centers on Vishnu.

 

Also, on quoting that Shankara said this also,  can once again lead to many different ends and to justify many different philosophies because of the diverse and extraordinary amount of works attributed to Shankara.  Shankara is also the author of 'Bhaja Govindam' that sings the praise of 'Govinda' / Krishna / Vishnu.  There are few devotees of Hare Krishna, who routinely quote this and say Sankara ultimately accepted that Krishna is the only God.  We all know that is not the meaning or purport of Bhaja Govindam, I think the same may be the case with Nirvana Shatakam.  Though he says Sivoham, I am sure he did not mean the same as what Abhinavagupta meant in transforming into Shiva.  There is also another issue or concern regarding the actual authorship of Shankara.  For instance some verses in the Bhaja Govindam are attributed to Shankara's disciples who held slightly different view on some subjects.  The very popular tantric poems on the beauty of the Goddess, The Soundarya Lahari  (a complete Tantric work) is attributed to Adi Shankra and Sage Pushpadanta.  I have no doubt that Shankara authored some part of this work as observed in the wikipedia article.  But which part or verses is something that is very hard to determine.  Going by his core works, we have to assume that Adi Shankara primarily explained the Vedanta from the Advaita standpoint, and we need to interpret his words in this context.  I hope you would agree :)

 

I trust the traditional attribution of authorship. I don't think its cogent to question the authorship given that he has been attributed with authorship for a 1000+ years now. 

 

I've highlighted the section of your post that IS relevant (imho) wrt. the comparison you started out with. I think it is great that you're doing it. But you stopped at the "jagat mithya" bit. So, it was incomplete. 

 

There are aspects of Vedanta that normally people are not well versed with. What is the relationship of Brahman with Vak (the four states thereof)? 

 

When looked at in context of Vak (parā, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari), suddenly many things become clear.  Parā is Vak in primordial state, undifferentiated, with full potentiality of all permutations and combinations that arise out of it. It is corresponding to Turiya. 

 

Then there is Vak as Pashyanti, where it manifests as "archetypes". This corresponds to the causal state (and deities, et al arise exist here). This is the state from/in which infinite beings (kārana sharīra) arise (and re-incarnate over and over again, the body-mind changes). 

 

Then there is Vak as Madhyama, where it manifests in thought-forms and is accessible by the mind (more profoundly so in the dream state). 

 

Finally there is Vak as speech (and words), where it exists in the most unsophisticated state (verbal communication, language, etc). 

 

The Shivoham of Shankara, I am inclined to say is the parā, that he verbalizes (so it is in my books, not different from Kashmir Shaivism perspective that dramatically). And it manifests as Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari (as Deity, Concept/Ideal and in speech). 

 

Seems tangential, but thought we should look at this subject from a different angle :)

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50 minutes ago, s1va said:

Difference is difference.  The degree is just a perception that cannot alter the fact they are different.

 

Yes, the KS view on realization is very different. From The Secrete Supreme...

 

Up to this point, I have explained twenty-five tattvas; five mahabhutas, five tanmatras, five karmendriyas, five jnanen-driyas, three antahkaranas, prakriti, and purusa. This is the limit of the Vedantin's understanding of the tattvas. They say that there are only twenty-five tattvas. Yet in Saivism, nothing as yet has happened. All these tattvas exist in the field of maya, in the field of objectivity.
In Saivism, purusa is not a realized soul. Purusa tattva is bound and limited just as ahamkara tattva is.

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6 minutes ago, dwai said:

I trust the traditional attribution of authorship. I don't think its cogent to question the authorship given that he has been attributed with authorship for a 1000+ years now. 

 

I've highlighted the section of your post that IS relevant (imho) wrt. the comparison you started out with. I think it is great that you're doing it. But you stopped at the "jagat mithya" bit. So, it was incomplete. 

 

There are aspects of Vedanta that normally people are not well versed with. What is the relationship of Brahman with Vak (the four states thereof)? 

 

When looked at in context of Vak (parā, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari), suddenly many things become clear.  Parā is Vak in primordial state, undifferentiated, with full potentiality of all permutations and combinations that arise out of it. It is corresponding to Turiya. 

 

Then there is Vak as Pashyanti, where it manifests as "archetypes". This corresponds to the causal state (and deities, et al arise exist here). This is the state from/in which infinite beings (kārana sharīra) arise (and re-incarnate over and over again, the body-mind changes). 

 

Then there is Vak as Madhyama, where it manifests in thought-forms and is accessible by the mind (more profoundly so in the dream state). 

 

Finally there is Vak as speech (and words), where it exists in the most unsophisticated state (verbal communication, language, etc). 

 

The Shivoham of Shankara, I am inclined to say is the parā, that he verbalizes (so it is in my books, not different from Kashmir Shaivism perspective that dramatically). And it manifests as Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari (as Deity, Concept/Ideal and in speech). 

 

Seems tangential, but thought we should look at this subject from a different angle :)

 

That is a brilliant exposition.   Thanks for sharing that.  Though we hold different views on this, I am glad I started this topic.   It is not tangential at all, the different angles add to the beauty of the discussion.

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On 9/9/2018 at 12:46 PM, dwai said:

But Adi Shankara also said "Shivoham". As a Jivanamukta, he too claims that he is none other than Shiva. :)

 

The difference is found in the concept of conscious realization and the associated integration (and differentiation) that comes with the realization.

 

Abhinavagupta clearly states...

 

"True, but even though it shines there, it has not truly become a conscious apprehension. Without conscious apprehension, even if a thing exists, it is as if it did not exist..."

 

He goes on to say...

 

"The question is thus appropriate because contentment (enlightenment) is not possible without a conscious realization. Contentment is of two kinds. The first is effected by means of absorption (samavesa) and consists of magical powers. The second is attained by reaching a condition of conscious heart-felt realization, and it is the state of being liberated while still alive."

 

With the conscious realization and intergation one is not lost (or a wave) in Shiva, but instead fully imbodies all of Shiva (and hence the “magical powers” part).

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11 minutes ago, Jeff said:

 

The difference is found in the concept of conscious realization and the associated integration (and differentiation) that comes with the realization.

 

Abhinavagupta clearly states...

 

"True, but even though it shines there, it has not truly become a conscious apprehension. Without conscious apprehension, even if a thing exists, it is as if it did not exist..."

 

He goes on to say...

 

"The question is thus appropriate because contentment (enlightenment) is not possible without a conscious realization. Contentment is of two kinds. The first is effected by means of absorption (samavesa) and consists of magical powers. The second is attained by reaching a condition of conscious heart-felt realization, and it is the state of being liberated while still alive."

 

With the conscious realization and intergation one is not lost (or a wave) in Shiva, but instead fully imbodies all of Shiva (and hence the “magical powers” part).

It IS a fact that many  advaitins don’t aim to acquire the magical state or even siddhis. I do know of several who have quite a great many siddhis. 

 

I just think the original premise of this thread was not clear. The AV position was not correctly posited. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, dwai said:

It IS a fact that many  advaitins don’t aim to acquire the magical state or even siddhis. I do know of several who have quite a great many siddhis. 

 

I just think the original premise of this thread was not clear. The AV position was not correctly posited. 

 

 

 

I am curious.   I think what I stated in the OP accurately describes the view of Advaita Vedanta.  Why do you think it's not correctly posited. The Braham alone is real and the jagat is mithya is the basic concept of Advaita. Perhaps in your view of Advaita, you feel there is more to it, and it is inclusive of some other philosophies or systems.  What I stated were documented differences between Advaita and Monism, which is accepted as different by various masters from both sides of the aisle.

 

At least, the KS masters never engaged in criticizing the views of Advaita that were different.  They just pointed it out.  Whereas the Vaishnava schools that follow this type of Monism or qualified non-dual philosophies, engage in outright rejection and criticism of the way the Brahman and how the reality is described in Advaita.  They have gone to great lengths to explain the difference.  After learning what I have learned, there is no way I can agree Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism, or for that matter any other Tantric system, describe the same thing as the final goal or Realization.  This is simply not the case.

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7 minutes ago, dwai said:

It IS a fact that many  advaitins don’t aim to acquire the magical state or even siddhis. I do know of several who have quite a great many siddhis. 

 

I just think the original premise of this thread was not clear. The AV position was not correctly posited. Abhinavagupta is just stating that it is a natural part of the differentiation that I am trying to describe. 

 

 

 

It is also a fact that Shaivites do not aim to acquire a magical state or siddhis.  In Shaivism, the universe itself is seen to be the aggregate of Shakti (energy), and with that true realization, one becomes the lord of the wheel.

 

3.3. kalādīnāṁ tattvānāmaviveko māyā

Being unable to possess the undifferentiated knowledge of the thirty-one elements, you live in those elements, from kalā to pṛithvī (earth), which are the expansion of the energy of illusion (māyā śakti).

 

-Shiva Sutras

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2 hours ago, s1va said:

Difference is difference.  The degree is just a perception that cannot alter the fact they are different.

 

An argument can be made that the very difference is but a perception in itself.

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3 minutes ago, s1va said:

 

I am curious.   I think what I stated in the OP accurately describes the view of Advaita Vedanta.  Why do you think it's not correctly posited. The Braham alone is real and the jagat is mithya is the basic concept of Advaita. Perhaps in your view of Advaita, you feel there is more to it, and it is inclusive of some other philosophies or systems.  What I stated were documented differences between Advaita and Monism, which is accepted as different by various masters from both sides of the aisle.

Jagat Mithya is only one phase of Advaita vedanta. It is a preliminary phase and actually an incomplete view. Advaita Vedanta view is all-inclusive and jagat is only mithya in and by itself. When taken in context of Brahman it is non-different from Brahman, who is Sat (so absolutely Real) :) 

 

3 minutes ago, s1va said:

 

At least, the KS masters never engaged in criticizing the views of Advaita that were different.  They just pointed it out.  Whereas the Vaishnava schools that follow this type of Monism or qualified non-dual philosophies, engage in outright rejection and criticism of the way the Brahman and how the reality is described in Advaita.  They have gone to great lengths to explain the difference.  After learning what I have learned, there is no way I can agree Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism, or for that matter any other Tantric system, describe the same thing as the final goal or Realization.  This is simply not the case.

I find the KS material fascinating (had some profound experiences as I was studying the Shiva Sutras commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo). 

 

My own work in the Daoist internal alchemy and Tamil Siddhar yoga leads me to believe that they are all different modalities to the same objective - liberation. Of course, there are Tantric and Daoist systems that believe in the rainbow body and dematerializing into a puff of smoke (and I've got nothing against that either). 

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It isn't of surprise that one can single out apparent differences among traditions in the process of pitting one thing against another. There are as many traditions as there are opinions concerning their interpretation. 

 

It can be fascinating to explore the many viewpoints, like seeing through another's eyes. However, comparing the appearances of those supposed disparities rarely guarantee the discovery of any substantial meaning, aside from the glaring revelation that they're all pointing to the same thing. :)

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