God cannot be attained


Sri Gurubhyo Namaha

These are quick notes for Brahma Sutra Bhaashya (authored by Sri Shankaracharya) classes that were taught by Swami Paramasukhananda, which I was a student of during 2012-2013. What I feel like recording I record. They are not a substitute for live classes, but done as my cogitation.

For other such short notes, check – https://vairaagya.wordpress.com/tag/brahmasutranotes/

  • Prasad.


God cannot be attained

In human life, there are two types of attainments.

  1. Attaining a saadhya vastu : A saadhya vastu is something is not available with you here and now, i.e. there is a physical or mental gap between the person who wants something and the thing that is wanted. You make some efforts to attain it, which can be using mind or body. Here the word “attainment” makes sense, as it means that the gap between the saadhya vastu and the person who desires for it is bridged. Thus, a saadhya vastu can be truly attained.
  2. “Attaining” a siddha vastu : Something is already available with you, but you have not recognized it. This is the nature of a siddha vastu. For example, consider the case of Karna. Karna recognizes himself only as Raadheya, Radha’s son, a charioteer’s son. However he is truly Kunti’s son, the eldest of the Paandavas. He simply does not know this. When Karna is told this fact by Sri Krishna, suddenly he ‘becomes’ Kaunteya, Kunti’s son. However this  ‘attainment’ of a new status by Karna is only in terms of knowledge, not really a new ‘attainment’. Previously also he was Kaunteya, now too he is Kaunteya. But now, he knows. This kind of attainment is not really an attainment; it is a knowledge.

Now, we turn to God.

God, or Ishwara is (naturally) held to be Infinite. What does the word infinite mean? It means unlimited by space, time, causation. That means that Ishwara should be available everywhere, and at all times, and irrespective of any cause.

But this means that Ishwara is a siddha vastu. He must therefore be already here, available now itself. But in our understanding there is a gap. We do not recognize him for what He is.

Further Ishwara cannot also be separate from oneself. If He is separate, then He is not infinite, not Ishwara at all. Therefore the Shaastraic teaching produces the knowledge, “Ishwara is all there is and not different from myself”.

This understanding is given by a study of Vedanta. By the process of Shravanam, mananam and nididhyaasanam under the guidance of a Guru, one understands that Ishwara is all-pervasive, and one need not search for him anywhere.

Therefore Ishwara cannot be “attained”, but understood or known. He is a siddha vastu, because He is present here and now. This knowledge is what we seek, the conviction in this knowledge is what we desire. This knowledge is called Atma-jnaanam, or Brahma-jnaanam, or the knowledge of Jiva-Brahma-aikyam, and for this knowledge, the means is the Vedanta Shaastra.


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