Ishvara


Ishvara

Ishvara (Sanskrit: "IAST|Īśvara" _sa. ईश्वर, Malay: "Iswara", Thai: "Phra Isuan") is a philosophical concept in Hinduism, meaning "controller" or the "Supreme controller" [ [http://hinduism.iskcon.com/concepts/107.htm Heart of Hinduism - Concepts] "Ishvara – "controller" often used of God"] (i.e. 'God') in a monotheistic sense or as an Ishta-deva of monistic thought. Ishvara is also used to denote a "lord" in a temporal sense, as any master or king (a dual usage also found in English).

The term is also used in Buddhism, e.g. in Avalokiteśvara, here meaning a powerful (but not omnipotent) being. When referring to Divine as female, particularly in Shaktism, the feminine "IAST|Īśvarī" is sometimes used.

chools of thought

Among the six systems of Hindu philosophy, Samkhya and Mimamsa do not believe in the concept of "Ishvara". The four monotheistic schools: Yoga, Vaisheshika, Vedanta and Nyaya believe in the existence of an Ishvara.

In Vedanta:

Ishvara (God) is a transcendent and immanent entity best described in the last chapter of the Shukla Yajur Veda Samhita, known as the Ishavasya Upanishad. It states "ishavasyam idam sarvam" which means whatever there is in this world is covered and filled with Ishvara. God not only creates the world, but then also enters into everything there is.

He created all this, whatever is here. Having created it, into it, indeed, he entered. Having entered it, he became both the actual and the beyond, the defined and the undefined, both the founded and the unfounded, the intelligent and the unintelligent, the true and the untrue. (Taittiriya Upanishad 2.6.1)

The conception of Ishvara in Hinduism is very much dependent on the particular school of thought. While any one of five forms of a personal God can embody the concept of Ishvara in Advaita Vedanta (citation needed), schools of Vaishnavism consider only Vishnu and His incarnations as the omnipotent Ishvara and all other forms of God as merely expansions or aspects of the Supreme Being.

Advaita Vedanta

Advaitism holds that when human beings think of Brahman, the Supreme Cosmic Spirit is projected upon the limited, finite human mind and appears as "Ishvara".See generally, Sinha, H.P. (1993), "Bhāratīya Darshan kī rūprekhā" (Features of Indian Philosophy). Motilal Banarasidas Publ. ISBN 81-208-2144-0.] Therefore, the mind projects human attributes, such as personality, motherhood, and fatherhood on the Supreme Being. An interesting metaphor is that when the "reflection" of the Cosmic Spirit falls upon the mirror of "Maya" ("IAST|Māyā"; the principle of illusion, which binds the mind), it appears as the Supreme Lord. God (as in "Brahman") is not thought to have such attributes in the true sense.See generally, Swami Bhaskarananda, "The Essentials of Hinduism" (Viveka Press 1994) ISBN 1-884852-02-5] However it may be helpful to project such attributes onto God.

Vishishta Advaita Vedanta

In Vishishtadvaita, "Ishvara" is the Supreme Cosmic Spirit who maintains complete control over the Universe and all the sentient beings, which together also form the pan-organistic body of "Ishvara". The triad of "Ishvara" along with the universe and the sentient beings is "Brahman", which signifies the completeness of existence. "Ishvara" is "Para Brahman" endowed with innumerable auspicious qualities ("Kalyana Gunas"). Ishvara is perfect, omniscient, omnipresent, incorporeal, [White Yajurveda 32.3] independent, creator of the world, its active ruler and also the eventual destroyer. He is causeless, eternal and unchangeable — and is yet the material and the efficient cause of the world. He is both immanent (like whiteness in milk) and transcendent (like a watch-maker independent of a watch). He is the subject of worship. He is the basis of morality and giver of the fruits of one's "Karma". He rules the world with His "Māyā" — His divine power.

Dvaita Vedanta

According to the Dvaita school, "Ishvara" possesses all the qualities seen in Vishishtadvaita. "Ishvara" is the efficient and material cause of the universe and the sentient beings and yet exists independently. Thus, "Dvaitism" does not separate "Ishvara" and "Brahman", and does not believe that the highest form of "Brahman" is attributeless, or that "Ishvara" is incorporeal. Instead, "Ishvara" is the highest form of truth and worship of God involves belief in God as an infinite and yet personal and loving being.

Achintya-Bheda-Abheda

IAST|Acintya bhedābheda is a school of Vedanta representing the philosophy of "inconceivable one-ness and difference", in relation to the power creation and creator, Ishvara, (Krishna), svayam bhagavan.cite book
author = Kaviraja, K.G.
year =
title = Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. Bengali text, translation, and commentary by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
publisher = Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
isbn =
[http://vedabase.net/cc/madhya/20/108-109/en1 "Madhya" 20.108-109] "It is the living entity's constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire."] [IAST|Kṛṣṇa Upaniṣad 1.25: "IAST|...na bhinnam. nā bhinnamābhirbhinno na vai vibhuḥ"] and also between God and his energiescite book
author = Prabhupada, A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami
year = 1972
title = Bhagavad-gita as it is
publisher = Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Los Angeles, Calif
isbn =
[http://vedabase.net/bg/7/8/en1 7.8] ] within the Gaudiya Vaishnava religious tradition. In Sanskrit "achintya" means 'inconceivable', "bheda" translates as 'difference', and "abheda" translates as 'one-ness'. It is believed that this philosophy was taught by the movement's theological founder Chaitanya MahaprabhuCite web|url=http://www.krishna.com/printarticles/Lord_Chaitanya.html|title=Additional information|accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=April 16|publisher=Krishna.com|language=English "Lord Chaitanya taught that as spirit souls we are part of God and thus we are one with Him in quality, and yet at the same time we are also different from Him in quantity. This is called acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva, inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference."] and differentiates the Gaudiya tradition from the other Vaishnava Sampradayas.

"Caitanya's philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva completed the progression to devotional theism. Rāmānuja had agreed with IAST|Śaṅkara that the Absolute is one only, but he had disagreed by affirming individual variety within that oneness. Madhva had underscored the eternal duality of the Supreme and the Jīva: he had maintained that this duality endures even after liberation. Caitanya, in turn, specified that the Supreme and the jīvas are "inconceivably, simultaneously one and different" (acintya-bheda-abheda). He strongly opposed IAST|Śaṅkara's philosophy for its defiance of Vyāsadeva's siddhānta". (See Satsvarupa dasa Goswami)Citation
first = dasa Goswami
last = Satsvarupa
author-link = Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
title =Readings in Vedit Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself
publisher = | date = 1976| pages = 240 pages | isbn = 0912776889
]

Ishvara is simultaneously "one with and different from His creation". In this sense Vaishnava theology is not pantheistic as in no way does it deny the separate existence of God (Vishnu) in His own personal form. However, at the same time, creation (or what is termed in Vaishnava theology as the 'cosmic manifestation') is never separated from God. He always exercises supreme control over his creation. Sometimes directly, but most of the time indirectly through his different potencies or energies (Prakrti).

Worship

Thus, in addition to their belief in the abstract principle of Brahman, most Hindus worship God on a day-to-day basis in one of God's less abstract personal forms, such as Vishnu, Krishna, Rama, Shiva, or Devi. Some Hindus worship these personal forms of God for a practical reason: it is easier to cultivate devotion to a personal being than to an abstract principle. Other Hindus believe the personal form of God which they worship is Brahman's Supreme form and that the unmanifest (Nirguna Brahman) is a less complete aspect of the Personal God. Therefore, the Hindu scriptures depict God not only as an abstract principle or concept, but also as a personal being and this is understood differently by different schools and different Hindus.

ee also

*Para Brahman
*Conceptions of God
*Absolute (philosophy)

Notes


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  • Ishvara —   [ ʃ ; Sanskrit »Herr des Universums«], Hinduismus: die Vorstellung eines höchsten und persönlichen Gottes als Schöpfer der Welt und aller Wesen. Brahman in Verbindung mit der Welt und als Ziel der Verehrung ist Ishvara, wohingegen alle anderen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ishvara — /eesh weuhr euh/, n. Hinduism. a personal and supreme god, supposed in dvaita Vedantism to be included with the world and Atman within Brahman. * * * ▪ Hinduism Sanskrit“Lord”       in Hinduism, God understood as a person, contrasting with the… …   Universalium

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