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What kind of a thing is Krishna?


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What exactly is this thing called Krishna? I try to look at it from a materialist and atheistic viewpoint. I use Advaita Vedanta as a framework for the analysis.

  • When there is nothing called as 'Brahman' but it is known as 'Brahma' and cannot be explained within a page. If you believe in Brahma it is everything that is there in everything and beholds everything in the universe to simply define it, but there's a broader way to visualize it through penance. If one is an atheist, one should see Brahma in their penance and not in the idols where 'astika' or the believers would see the God there. You can't build an opinion without quoting the scripts stating it as a theoretical construct. One should clearly understand that Brahma was visualized by the sages or rishis that is explained everything in Upanishads or the Vedanta. Read Bhagavadgita before concluding on Brahma or talk to people who have read it a few thousand times so you can understand it more clearly if you are willing to understand and then look at the branches of Brahma. But don't give any baseless opinion about anything and especially Brahma. And how did you measure Krishna as a thing? Can you explain what source do you have for that? If you understand Atheism, you should have read and understood Charuvaka Siddhantas, where they talk really clear about the nature and what they see the power as. Basically that power is created by the Lord Krishna according to his famous verses in the 'Song of the Lord' or 'Bhagavadgita'. You are not even an Atheist.
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  • And who is aware of Brahman...?
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What kind of a thing is Krishna?

  1. 1. What kind of a thing is Krishna?<br />An atheistic, materialist analysis of Krishna based on Advaita<br />Arun Nair<br />(<br />
  2. 2. Brahman<br />Definition: the ultimate underlying principle + substance of reality.<br /><ul><li>Model our enquiries about ourselves and the universe as a quest. Brahman is the target.</li></ul>Any knowledge of reality consists of certain known objects, their properties, and their interrelations.<br />Such objects by definition cannot be Brahman, since we could ask what underlies thoseobjects.<br />Hence Brahman is similar to infinity in nature:<br />It is a theoretical construct. <br />It is a limit extrapolated from our experience of reality.<br />
  3. 3. Brahman (contd.)<br />Not much is said about it materially, really.<br />LOTS of hand-waving with regards to its nature.<br />Is not a “creator” or anything; not even conscious.<br />
  4. 4. Brahman (contd.)<br />The metaphorical image that I have:<br />A ether + principle that pervades everywhere and everything, and indeed, is everywhere and everything.<br />Having an image of any sort is useless, of course, since it’d impose a form on Brahman. <br />That form would have component concepts and we could raise questions as to what underlie those concepts. It would therefore be not ultimate.<br />Or, the form might fail to have empirical explanatory power. It could therefore not be the basis of reality.<br />The image is just FWIW.<br />
  5. 5. Brahman (contd.)<br />What is the purpose of creating a concept that is content-less given its intended role?<br />Frankly, beats me.<br />Suggestions:<br />A useful item of vocabulary to denote the ultimate object of knowledge.<br />Perhaps we could use it to consider metaphysical questions about reality?<br />
  6. 6. Brahman (contd.)<br />We can have emotional attachments to both animate and inanimate objects.<br />Animate objects: parents, siblings, pets.<br />Inanimate: cities, countries, earth, sun, moon, ships, books, nature.<br />The spiritually, scientifically and philosophically inclined may feel we have a far deeper and profound attachment to Brahman.<br />Everything we see, including ourselves, is it!<br />
  7. 7. Atman<br />Atman: the ultimate witness of all our experiences.<br />When we have shut off our senses and removed all ideas and thoughts from our mind, whatever remains is Atman (try it!).<br />Atman cannot witness itself, just as a finger cannot touch itself.<br />A unique object: simultaneously both an experience and the experiencer.<br />A limit extrapolated from our experience of the self.<br />
  8. 8. Maya<br />Maya: the phenomenon due to which Brahman appears to us as the universe.<br />Arises due to Atman being situated inside a body.<br />If our biology were different, we would have had a different experience of Brahman.<br />A metaphysical carpet under which we brush all scientific ontologies?<br />
  9. 9. Relation between Atman and Brahman<br />Atman is experience of Brahman unmediated by senses.<br />“Atman is Brahman” – the Vedic mahavakyas.<br />Easy to appreciate intellectually. Supposedly difficult to directly experience.<br />Supposedly the goal in life is to realize the unity of Atman with Brahman.<br />
  10. 10. Ishwara<br />Ishwara: Brahman that is ascribed a human-like personality. The Lord.<br />Process is similar in nature to Mother Earth, Lady Liberty, the Sun God etc.<br />Brahman is the most abstract and “realest” natural entity that can be deified. <br />By definition there’s nothing beyond it to be known (and hence to be worshipped).<br />Hence Ishwara is the logical culmination of nature worship.<br />
  11. 11. Krishna is a form of Ishwara<br />A classic Indian form of deified Brahman.<br />Explicitly constructed: what others do unconsciously (cf. the “desert God(s)”), the Hindus do consciously.<br />Used to express our love, gratitude, awe, wonder and contemplation of Brahman.<br />Is a new kind of subject of art.<br />Basis of an aestheticof existencefor the spiritually inclined.<br />
  12. 12. Depictions of Krishna<br />Can be seen in many roles:<br />Child<br />Close friend<br />Lover<br />Lord of the universe<br />Teacher<br />Pick a role and use it as a mode of devotion, or Bhakti.<br />
  13. 13. Atheism vs. Theism in Hinduism<br />A matter of disposition towards Brahman?<br />Spiritual people get all ‘touchy-feely’ about Brahman.<br />Non-spiritual folks don’t.<br />
  14. 14. Pics!<br />