9. God (Īśvara) | Śrī Vaishnavism
9. God (Īśvara)
Now (the category of) Īśvara) will be inquired into.(
The characteristics ofare
- All-worshipfulness by work,
- All- energising,
- All-knowledge- goal,
- All-bodiedness excepting His own body and consciousness.
God thus indicated
- is the cid-acid-viśiṣtaḥ);of the Universe by virtue of His aspect as the constituted of the and (
- is theby virtue of His aspect as the Wilier; and
- is theby virtue of His immanence in Time etc.
The results as Effect by undergoing modification.
The is that which causes modifications so as to result into Effect.
The is that which helps the resulting into Effect.
Or this wise:
- The the jar effected from the antecedent state of being the clod of earth.is that inevitable antecedent state adequate to effectuate the immediate consequent state; as illustrated by the consequent state of being
Theis that which is required to be different from the modification (or the modifying). In this case the Instrumental Cause is included in the Effective (cause).
Whichever be the position adopted, the three-foldness or the two-foldness of the Cause, the characteristics of Cause is evident, and this is found in the (of the Universe, the Blessed All-God ( ).
If it be asked how in Nārāyaṇa rests (or abides) the (ultimate) causality, the reply is:
- Such conclusion is arrived at after an examination of all the Vedanta Texts (bearing on the question), rationally argued out. Thus:
To begin with,be the Cause of the Universe, for it is devoid of thinking etc.
In the Chāṇḍogya (-Upanishad) however, that which is indicated by the terms:, (Ether), , is seen to be (stated as) the Cause of the Universe.
In the Vājasaneyī (Up), the termis discovered (to be so).
By the canon known as the “resultant import of all the branches (of the Veda)”, all the texts which relate to Cause (of the Universe) must be interpreted to signify one Specific Object.
Hence terms of general import such as Being) etc., must ultimately connote the specific , according to the (analogical) rule of “goat-animal”.(
In the manner aforesaid, the termis next circumscribable into the (more specific) term found in the Aitareya (-Upanishad).
What then is indicated by this term,
- the Vedic celebrity Indra? Or Agni, of similar report? Or Surya, known as the adorable? Or Soma, said to be the Cause? Or Kubera, known to be the bestower of whatever is desired? Or Yama? Or Varuṇa?
When such doubt arises, they (deities or demigods) may be disposed of as incapable of being the Cause of the Universe, by reason of their being known to be subject to karma and possessed of limited affluence.
But in the Śvetāśvatara (-Upanishad), it is apparent thatis (stated to be) the Cause (of the Universe).
Similarly in the Atharva- Śikhā (-Upanishad), the entity designatedis mentioned as the object of adoration and as Cause.
Likewise in the Atharva-Śiras (-Upanishad), the entity designated asis stated to be the Soul of all (things).
And in the Taittirīya,is mentioned as the Cause of the Universe.
In all these cases, applying the canon (of interpretation) known as the “sāmānya- viśeṣa-nyāya), the fact of the general terms Śiva, Śambhu and Rudra finding their specific significance in Hiraṇyagarbha will be clear.” (
Again if the radical (or etymological) sense of the term well or good (or auspicious) as may be seen from the usages:be considered, it means
“Let it be ”, with all the Universe
“Let the deed be ,”
“Let thy path be ” etc.
Hence, judged by the etymological force of such common terms as Maheśvara, Śambhu etc., they find their particular significance in the Four-faced (entity, ).
But a protest may be entered why the terms Śiva etc., referred to as the Cause (of the Cosmos) should not through their primary significance, (be construed to) indicate ?
This cannot be done, inasmuch as the origination of Rudra (Śiva) is narrated (in the Scriptures) as happening from the Four-faced (Demiurge), and Rudra is not free from (the taints of) sin; and therefore cannot constitute the Cause, (of the Universe).
Hence terms such as Śiva etc., receive their ultimate connotation as the , severally designated as Hiraṇyagarbha, Prajāpati, Svāyambhu etc.
By a similar ratiocination, the terms Svāyambhu, Hiraṇyagarbha and Prajāpati may be traced up to (the Ultimate Source) ,
for, as the , as the Being that all terms connote, as the Saviour (moksha- prada), as the Cosmos-bodied etc.,
is proved in the Mahopanishat, Nārāyaṇa Upanishad, Subala Upanishad, Maitrāyaṇīya (-Upanishad), Purusha- Sūkta, Nārāyaṇa- Anuvāka, Antaryāmī-Brāhmaṇa etc.
Henceis the Cause of all the Cosmos, and the Knowable of all sciences.
No doubt need arise that the Science (of God) called the Antar-Āditya-vidyā may relate to , for from a majority of authorities (Scriptures), it is proved that it relates to Vishnu.
The termis not to be understood as (a masculine-indicating) termination: (अ).
Nor need a doubt arise that in the Science, Dahara-vidyā, the term Ākāśa implying Nārāyaṇa, has Rudra for its In-dwelling (Antaryāmī), for the In-dwelling there referred to are the auspicious graces or perfections inhering in Nārāyaṇa.
In this same way the interpretations of all the Vidyās) may be conceived.(
The inference thus is that He
who is possessed of all Holy Graces, Perfections, Glories,
Who is distinct from matter (Prakṛti) and soul (Purusha),
Who is constituted of these, the Supreme Brahman,
i.e.,is the Cause of the Cosmos.
But it may be alleged that according to thetexts, (of the Scriptures), is real and undifferentiated (=devoid of attributes);
what is fancied in it (Brahman) as the “being cognizer” (subject) and as the “being cognized“ (object) etc., : Brahman (itself) in consequence of nescience (avidyā) revolves in material life (samsāra);
the monistic knowledge gained from such texts as: “That thou art” dispels it (i. e. samsāra or avidyā).
When thus, views such as these held by other schools, go to establish the sense of the Vedānta (texts) to point to an undifferentiated Brahman, which is but consciousness absolute,
how could they connote Nārāyaṇa, and the discourse (hold) that He is possessed of all the Holy Graces (or Excellent Attributes)?
The reply to this is thus:
- From the texts referring to the Cause (of the Universe),has been shown as the ;
the conflict that seems to exist between the dualistic and monistic texts is reconcilable by means of the reconciling (or arbitration, ghaṭaka) texts:
the texts that seem to import non-differentiation (or quality-lessness) are interpretable as meaning absence of evil qualities;
as there is no authority by which to suppose a nescience, consequent on which the notions “cognized” and the “cognizer” come to be fancied, the Effect (generating) from Brahman is real;
if by nescience, Brahman itself rolls into material life as Soul (Jīva), the faults pertaining to the Soul necessarily attach to Brahman, and no other agent (than Brahman) can be conceived as the banisher (of that material life).
As therefore the contention of monism cannot be sustained, no undifferentiated Brahman, as but mere consciousness is established;
ergo,full of exquisite Graces, and is Nārāyaṇa, Who is the Source of the Cosmos, and Bestower of eternal bliss (Moksha) etc.
Conscious ( ) and the Non- Conscious (Acit) alone is the Cause of the Cosmos; and as constituted of the Conscious and Non- Conscious, alone is the Effect., as constituted of the ,
Thus the creed of the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedāṅtins is that no Cause is different from its Effect.
As God (Īśvara) is admitted, the views of the Schools of God-less Sānkhya, the Mimāmsakas etc., are exploded.
As Material Causality is predicated (by us) of this same (God), the views of the Schools of Yoga, Pāśupata and Naiyāyikā are confuted, for their admission of God is confined to His Efficient Causation only.
In the same manner as Material as well as Efficient causation is ascribable to God, are ascribable to Him the faculties of action, stimulation, governance, illumination, permission, succour, neutrality and so forth.
In the same manner as the imperfections (known as) childhood, youth etc., pertain to the body (Śarīra), not the body-holder (Śarīri), the soul, so is it in the case of the All-Soul (Paramātman), the bodied of Soul (Cit) and Non-soul (Acit).
There is thus no conflict with the Śruti (Scriptures) which proclaims the un- modifiable (character of God).
As a rule, what is cognised as “body” in the world is what possesses the properties of being “sustained” (ādheyatva), “controlled” (vidheyatva), and “subordinated” (Śeṣatva) ( );
the body” ; but the imperfections pertaining to the body do not affect Him;is the “
This God (Īśvara) is
To be infinite is to be . This (pervasion) is threefold:
(1) By essence,
(2) By attributive consciousness,
(3) By representation (vigraha)
He is called Ananta).
Boundless means the negation of the three kinds of limitations.
The three kinds of limitations are those:
(1) by space,
(2) by time and
(3) by thing.
- The qualities of satyatva), (amalatva), (anantatva), betoken the essential nature of God;(
- the qualities of Jñāna), (Śakti) etc., describe Him, on such (essential) characterisation.(
- The qualities of Omniscience, Omnipotence etc., are requisite for purposes of .
- The qualities of Love, Meekness, Accessibility etc., are requisite for suasion (to souls) to take shelter.
- The qualities of Mercy etc., are useful for purposes of protection.
The import of these qualities has been discussed in the Section on Consciousness, and no expatiation here is therefore called for.
This God first created the (Four-faced (Catur- mukha), Dakṣa, Time etc., continues creation.; and then by His immanency in the
He becomes the Manu, Time etc., and directly Himself.by incarnating as , abiding in
He is Rudra, Time, the destroyer (Yama) etc.by His indwelling in
Hence He is the, and .
God as thus depicted assumes five aspects:
(1) or the Transcendent,
(2) or the Grouped,
(3) or the Incarnated,
(4) or the Immanent, and
(5) or the Iconic.
The Parabrahma etc., Vāsudeva etc.,is , variously called by the names
Who, four-armed, and beaming with His beatific presence, is exalted on the throne poised on its eight supports Dharma etc., with Śeṣa over the seat, erected in the gemmed pavilion in the Divine Hall,
guarded by the sentries: Caṇḍa, Pracaṇḍa, Bhadra, Subhadra, Jaya, Vijaya, Dhātri, Vidhātri etc., in the -named- City of the Thrice-Magnificent Land,
protected by such city-keepers as Kumuda, Kumudākṣa, Puṇḍarīka, Vāmana, Śankukarṇa, Sarpanetra, Sumukha, Supratiṣtha etc., all divinely adorned and armed, with all the paraphernalia of servitors etc.;
- Who is supported by Conch, Discus etc., decked with the divine ornaments Crown etc.,, , etc., armed with the divine weapons
- Who is enjoyed by the “Eternals”: Ananta, Garuḍa, Viṣvaksena etc., ever chanting forth the Hymns of Sāma, and by other Liberated Souls ( )
- and Who is the Home of all the countless Wisdom, Power etc.:
the Grouped) is the fourfold aspect (of God) viz.,(
(3) Pradyumna, and
designed for purposes of worship, creation of the worlds etc.
has Wisdom and Strength;
has Wealth and Power; and
- Energy and Lustre;
Thus are the (Six) Qualities distributed.
Each one of these (aspects) hypostatize (avatarati) into .
They (thus) : Keśava etc.;
They are the Presiding Deities of the 12 Suns of the 12 months.
Their locations by vertical markings (on the body of the devotee) are fixed.
Amongst them (twelve),
(1) is gold-coloured and wears four Discuses;
(2) , dark- coloured, wears four Conches;
(3) , gem- coloured, wears four Clubs;
(4) , moon- coloured, wears four Bows;
(5) , lotus- blossom-coloured, wears four Ploughs;
(6) , lotus-coloured, wears four Maces;
(7) , fire-coloured, wears four Swords;
(8) , young-Sun-coloured, wears four Vajras;
(9) , lotus-coloured, wears four Shields;
(10) , lightning-coloured, wears four Maces;
(11) , sun-coloured, wears the Five Weapons;
(12) , Indragopa-coloured bears four Cords.
or Incarnate Manifestation (or objectification) is the assumption (by God) of Forms resembling those of the Order (of Creation, in which He wills to appear).
10 of them are reckoned as by far the most renowned. They are the unique incarnations: the Matsya, the Kurma etc. Of these:
Fish Incarnation was undertaken in order to overcome the Daityas who stole the Vedas, and restore than (viz., the Authority) to Brahma.or
amṛta), (from the Milk Sea), calculated to bestow (lasting) health and immortality on beings.Incarnation was undertaken in order to extract ambrosia (
Incarnation was undertaken in order to raise His Consort (Earth from the ocean) that He may (thus) exemplify his power to) lift creatures drowned in the Ocean of worldliness (samsāra).
Lion-Faced Incarnation was undertaken -with a view to protect his protégé ( ) and kill the Āsura (Hiraṇyakaśipu), - by springing out of a pillar.or
Trivikrama.Incarnation was undertaken in order to cleanse the worlds by means of water issuing from his lotus-feet (i.e. Gaṅgā), by the transfigured (from Vāmana)
Incarnation was taken for the purpose of exterminating the wicked Kshatriyas.
Incarnation was undertaken in order to establish the Law of Righteousness (Dharma).
Pralamba etc.( Incarnations Were Assumed hi Order to overthrow
Incarnation was donned with the object of pointing to men the Final Way (to blessedness).
Incarnation is intended to put an end to the irreligious, and establish Righteousness in all its plenitude.'*4 Ih this way, each one of these Ten Incarnations has countless varieties.
Dadhibhakta, Hayagrīva, Nara- Nārāyaṇa etc.., have also 36 ramifications; Again are there (varieties of manifestations) such as
Likewise there are such other modal diversities as the:
(4) (Amśa), and
Amongst these, the distinction ofand must be borne in mind.
The reason for incarnating, is (
As for the motif (for incarnating), it is to protect the good, by destroying the wicked.
Antaryāmī) form is that, of abidance in the regions of the heart of the Soul through all its states of experience in heavens, hells etc., as the Souls’ (constant) Friend, and realisable by Yogis.(
Though co-dwelling with the Soul, He is free of taints affecting it.
The Arcā) is the species of Forms presented (for worship), in homes, hamlets, cities, selected hills etc., devoid of distances interposed by space and time;(
deigning to descend with His immaterial (i.e., spiritual) Person into any material substance as may lovingly be chosen by the votary;
lending Himself to the sweet will of His worshipper in all details (of worship such as) bath, food, place and rest; All-forgiving; the All-sufficient God!
of this (aspect) exist viz.,
(1) Self-manifest (Svayam-Vyakta),
(2) Superhuman or Celestial (Daiva),
(3) Saint-made (Saiddha) and
(4) Man-made (Mānusha).
In all the 5 manifested forms aforesaid, God is ever present with or Grace, His Consort). So Śruti and other Authorities declare. And therefore the view of those one-sided partisans who contend for Śrī-lessness, is exploded.(
(The Category of) God has thus been propounded.
Thus ends Chapter IX,
The treatment of God (Īśvara) in the
“Light of the School of Rāmānuja.”