28 September 2005

The Jiva question

A purported representative of Sai Baba recently stated the following:

God had a desire to create us else we wouldn't be here!!!!

I replied very briefly in response:

This is theologically incorrect. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna (God) says:

mamaivAMzo jIva-loke jIva-bhUtaH sanAtanaH - "The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts." [Bhagavad-gita 15.7]

The presence of the word 'sanAtanaH' indicates the eternality of the soul (jIva). The word 'aMza' is also noteworthy, as it shows that the jIva is a fragment/portion of God Himself. Therefore the eternality of both cannot be denied. the jIvas were never "created", they have always been.

This got me thinking about how Sai Baba devotees often confuse these concepts. It is a common concept in Abrahamic religions to think that the soul has been 'created' at a particular point in time vis-a-vis the story of Creation, and of Adam, etc. I'm not sure exactly what the Judaeo-Christian position on the soul is, but the Vedantic position has been referenced above with due quotation from the Bhagavad-gita. I'll admit that it is rather striking and sometimes surprising when you sit and think about it, the fact that we have always been.

I don't think that the concept of the soul's eternality is something that is hard to grasp for the average Sai devotee, as they seem to be preoccupied more with their quantitative identity woth God. Indeed it is true that SB preaches that we are all God, which is really more of a pseudo-intellectual neo-Advaita rather than the actual orthodox Advaita philosophy that was presented by Adi Sankara. In fact, this is also an issue that has preoccupied my own mind, as it is very difficult to get Sai devotees to see how utterly wrong they are in the face of India's ancient Vedic/Vedantic tradition. It is something that I spent a few years doing private research into, and it is likely to be a topic that I'll return to for years. I seriously doubt that one would be able to find a single place where the identity of the soul as one with God is irrevocably established on a quantitative basis. Those that do seem to be saying just that are likely to be mistranslations or subject to mistaken interpretations.

On the other hand, it is unarguable that God and the jIva are one, but on a qualitative basis. You will also find plenty of quotes from the Vedic scriptures to support this premise. In fact, this is just what Krishna is saying in the Gita verse quoted above; that the souls are mama eva aMzaH, 'certainly My parts' if you want to get literal. 'AMzaH' would be the operative word here, and some of the following definitions are given for it in the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary: 'a share , portion , part , party ; partition.' It becomes abundantly clear what Sri Krishna is getting at. Criticisms about literalism will not get very far since the Gita speaks for itself.

So this is basically another foolish idea that Sai Baba preaches quite irresponsibly, which has led to many of his devotees thinking about and aspiring for the wrong things. Which leads me to think of much more material for future blogs...



Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

Return To Main Page


Post a Comment

<< Home