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  1. Hemalatha
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. 19 July 2019
I have listened to the discourses and Q&A sessions but still need clarification about Brahman and Ishwara. We were told Brahman and Ishwara are same. But the definition of Ishwara is Brahman + Maya and it seems like he is different than Brahman. But Maya is also power of Brahman which makes Ishwara and Brahman same. Was Ishwara created by Brahman when creation started? Or they are just different names? When we do karma yoga we are told develop 'Ishwararpana buddhi' and Ishwara is 'karma phala data'. All Yajnas are offered to Brahman. Before we eat we say 'Brahmarpanam' not 'Ishwararpanam'.
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  1. Nandini
  2. 1 month ago
  3. #141
Hari Om!
Namaste Hemalathaji!

I am neither a scholar nor claim even an iota of Vedantic knowledge. But as a Chinmaya family member, let me venture an answer. In a very simplistic way, I have understood Brahman-as THE ALL PERVADING, INDIVISIBLE reality which is both manifest and unmanifest. Isvara is that aspect of Brahman which we human beings can atleast try to comprehend as that which rules this entire Creation and which is the Chaitanya behind all living and inert things.
I can comprehend this galaxy, our solar system , our earth , the nature and all of us. That force which is driving all this is Isvara. But there is a larger super Consciousness, which we do not comprehend yet. Either we are limited by our own faculties of comprehension,- it is so "BRUHAT" that we simply can not even envisage it. Or most aspects of THAT are still avyakta-unmanifest. But when we see the glowing Sun,moon, oceans, rivers, all the creatures that dwell upon this earth, at least we can know that there is a Supreme Force that enlivens and guides it all. As the part and whole are one and the same, so are Isvara and Brahman. When Prakriti is involved there is MAYA.Thus Brahman associated with Prakriti which we can comprehend is called ISVARA. It is the sum total Consciousness of all the living beings in this world.
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Hari Om!
Tattvabodha is the introductory text where this definition is explained i.e. Ishwara is Brahman conditioned by total Maya. Now, this book also says Jiva and Ishware are same from the viewpoint of consciousness, not with conditioning. It talks about literal meaning v/s implied meaning of the statement "Tat Tvam Asi" (That thou art) to explain how the two are but one-- More importantly, however, Tattvabodha also explains student must possess the qualification of sadhana chatustayam i.e. vivek, vairagya, shamadi shatka sampatti and mumukshutvam -- Swamiji explained in the discourse that sadhana chatustayam only comes through Karma Yoga.

So, Ishwara is worshipped by sadhaka in progressively more subtle ways as the sadhaka becomes a siddha (realizes Oneness with Brahman).
For one who is not on the spiritual path, there is no Ishwara.
For one starting on spiritual path, Ishwara helps that Jiva move away from ego centric thinking/actions towards the totality of actions. Here Ishwara is worshipped as karma phala dhata i.e. bestowere of fruits of actions of joys/sorrows
For one who has gained the fruits of karma yoga - Ishwara is worshipped as the bestower of happiness through self-knowledge and qualifications necessary to gain that knowledge
For one who has gained knowledge, Jiva, Ishwara and Brahman are all One - there is no difference.

The story of creation is told to say that Brahman is not created nor does Brahman create. Avatar rahasya in chapter 4 tells Ishwara is Brahman in that Ishwara is not born or dies like Jiva nor is He a "doer" but simply appears as "doing" something like Jiva "does"

About "Brahmarpanam" vs "Ishwararpanam", they are for sadhakas at two different points -- Ishwararpanam is how a Karmya Yogi thinks since he/she is doing action and sees Ishwara as as other than himself/herself.
"Brahmarpanam" (also from chapter 4) is for a sadhaka who has understanding of oneself to be non-doer but is striving to to resolve the names and forms of universe also into the one self (Brahman)

Pranaams,
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Hari om
Brahman is the substratum for this entire universe.The nature of the Brahman is Existence,Consciousness and Bliss.SAt Chit Ananda.Brahman will not create Ishwara." Neither does He act nor does He cause others to act". 5th chapter 14 th verse.Brahman and Ishwara are both one and the same and yet different.It is like sea and a wave.Sea will not create wave.it is another form of expression of the sea.Tatvabodha says Truth endowed with maya is called Ishwara. It is like Prime minister having his cabinet.defence.,etc.........
To create is something new which did not exist before.ex. He created a file.Here file and the person are different.For Brahman there is no begining or end.
Ishwara is karmaphaladata.That is why we dedicate all our actions to Ishwara.
before taking food we say Brahmarpanam because Brahman is the Life principle in us The indweller.He is the one who digests the food.Because of Him we are able to 'enjoy' the food.He is the one who gives us hunger.By remembering Him we will be careful not to indulge or over eat..
please read gurudev's commentary on this sloka.
Read tatvabodha chapter 'Maya" for creation and Ishwara.
Pranams
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