Thank you very much, Shyamji. I am still having great difficulty with the
concept. I realize that all analogies are limited when applied to Brahman
but in the Ocean-wave analogy, I get the sense that the water (Paramaatma)
is not deluded, but the wave (Jivaatma) is. If the two are essentially the
same, how can we talk about one being deluded (by Maya) but not the other? A few points/examples may help in this regard.
First of all when we say the two are essentially the same, we are not talking about two identical entities.
We talk about a identity of two things - jivatma and paramatma - which are seemingly different.
It is like saying energy and mass are essentially the same, when they are seemingly different.
So let us not lose sight of the very key words - "essentially" or "in essence".
What Vedanta says is that there is the Whole, the Infinite and there is a something that is (taken to be) infinitesmally small, but which is in essence swallowed up in the Infinite, the Whole, and its small-ness is purely notional, and disappears when subject to proper enquiry or atma-vichara.
I shall try to explain this with a second "stock-example" (- my apologies for my complete lack of creativity!) - the dream example.
I see a dream. Two friends in this dream go on a hike. It starts raining. They rush into a hut they see along the way. They are glad to see an old man with a long beard in the hut. He is kind enough to give them food and water. They then sit to talk with him, and they talk about how fortunate they were to find his abode, whereupon he tells them - listen, do you know something - the two of you, me, this hut, this forest, are all nothing but brahman. And who or what is brahman? - he/she/that which is pervading the entire dream. Now the two friends look very surprised - with due respect dear sir, how can it be - they claim! You are doing the talking, we are listening, we just had warm rotis, our clothes were drenched in the rain - and all this was nothing but brahman? who is this brahman?
He is both the efficient and material cause of that dream.
He is the sleeper "I"
As far as that dream Universe is concerned I lent both satta - existence - and sfurti - consciousness - to the dream. The hill, the trees, the rain clouds, the rain, the water, the food, my friend, the old man, everything in and through was me and me alone.
And yet, did I for a second become old to become the old man. Did a particle of me get wet in that rain? Did i develop both the two friends' hunger and again its lack of on eating the dream food which was again only me? no. Now let us reverse the question - was the old man me> ? yes. were the two friends me? yes. Once i resorb the dream unto me, and the old man, the friends, even that mountain, all are destroyed - will i still continue. yes. So the dream friends and the "real" sleeper me are in essence the same - yet he the dream "jiva" was as though created and i, the sleeper, am as though the creator - the vishwanatha for that dream vishwa.
I pervade the dream, i am immanent in the dream, i transcend the dream, and yet i remain unsullied, unattached, pure, auspicious - shivoham shivoham.
How did i do this? Using my power called maya.
Where is maya? It is my intrinsic power.
So there are two things - me and maya?
No ..no..there is only one, thing,
I cannot distill or separate out this power of mine called maya - you can perceive it by its effect - in having successfully given an appearance consisting of this universe of plurality that was perceived.
When there was the dream I was, when there is no dream or rather when the next dream is in potential form, i still am. In fact i alone am.
Now what prevents the dream people from recognizing their innate oneness with me? ignorance or avidya alone - about what? their true nature.
[of course one crucial difference between this example and with Brahman is - Brahman is in complete control over his Maya - our maya in "creating" a dream is so-called "borrowed maya".]
There is no question of Brahman coming under the influence of maya or a part of Brahman being susceptible this or any such conceptualization.
Strictly speaking omnipotence, omniscience are all never applicable to Brahman - Brahman is the Whole, One, without a second. These adjectives apply to Brahman only from the standpoint of the jiva, - the jiva regards himself as an entity with limited power - so he has to look to Brahman as all-powerful, he regards himself as being a mortal - so Brahman is Omniscient - he regards himself as being a karta-bhokta - so regards Brahman as a karma-phala-daata. And this Brahman, in relation to this jiva, is said to be "saguna" Brahman or maya-sahitam Brahman.
This does not mean there are two Brahmans - or two parts of Brahman - or two levels of Brahman - or two anything - this is precisely what advaita - Non-duality - is all about.
It is simply from the perspective of the ignorant jiva that these terms have any relevance.
So yes, while the wave with a sense of an individual wave-ness and water are in essence one and the same -from the perspective of the water - it is ever water alone.
[It is only to answer meaningless questions like when did brahman become ignorant [- for the benefit of someone at that stage of development -] do some people talk about the fall of man or that man is "brahman that got deluded" or irrational hypotheses of this sort. Ignorance on the part of the jiva is ever-beginingless - if he had a-priori knowledge he would not and could not get ignorant "to begin with".]
The two names of Mother become more clear now "nirmoha" - without moha - Herself being in complete control of Her Maya-shakti and "mohanashini" - the one who, by means of the Shruti words, removes the cause of delusion on the part of the hapless jiva!
Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Bhrantirupena Samsthita
Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha
My prostrations to you Mother.