What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapters?

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Sombra
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What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapters?

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What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapters can they be found?
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Nicholas »

Here are a couple of pdf versions, pick one and then word search:

http://libgen.rs/search.php?req=BRAHMA+ ... lumn=title
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

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Nicholas wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:30 am Here are a couple of pdf versions, pick one and then word search:
Thanks, and as luck would have it, Amazon has a free kindle edition which includes the commentary by Ramanuja, really excellent find!

That said, I took your suggestion and did word searches, but I am still having trouble finding what I'm looking for. Specifically, I'm trying to find what the Brahma sutras say about eternal damnation, or, more likely, lack of such a thing. Any suggestions on how to find that? Also, side note, Ramanuja is brilliant and elucidates the Brahma sutras exceedingly well. I'm thrilled to have found this, and free on Amazon no less!
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Nicholas »

Not sure why you are fixing your attention so much on Brahma Sutra. Found this in Radhakrishna's Introduction (pp 64-5) to his translation, with his comments based on the major commentators and other Hindu scriptures. He had great and deep understanding of Western & Indian philosophies.
The eternally liberated and those cursed in hell are not subject to birth and rebirth. There is no hope for the wicked in hell. Only in Madhva's [dualist] system do we have the doctrine of eternal damnation.
Swami Sivananda's version is good with little Intros & summaries before each major section. Suggest you go in your version to CHAPTER III - SADHANA ADHYAYA the first subsection, verses 12-21. They deal with results of evil karma & seven hells.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

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Nicholas wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:35 pm Not sure why you are fixing your attention so much on Brahma Sutra. Found this in Radhakrishna's Introduction (pp 64-5) to his translation, with his comments based on the major commentators and other Hindu scriptures. He had great and deep understanding of Western & Indian philosophies.
The eternally liberated and those cursed in hell are not subject to birth and rebirth. There is no hope for the wicked in hell. Only in Madhva's [dualist] system do we have the doctrine of eternal damnation.
Swami Sivananda's version is good with little Intros & summaries before each major section. Suggest you go in your version to CHAPTER III - SADHANA ADHYAYA the first subsection, verses 12-21. They deal with results of evil karma & seven hells.
Do you have a better suggestion as to a good source for understanding the teachings on this topic, rather than the Brahma sutra?

And thank you so much for the suggestions and chapter/verses to read.
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Nicholas »

Sombra wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:07 am
Do you have a better suggestion as to a good source for understanding the teachings on this topic, rather than the Brahma sutra?
And thank you so much for the suggestions and chapter/verses to read.
Start with Internet search like:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=heaven+hell+a ... ght&ia=web

Then books on Indian Philosophy, like the old Source Book in Indian Philosophy; classics like Bhagavad Gita, Laws of Manu, Mahabharata, Upanishads, all with commentaries if possible.

[Going away from computer for tonight now, good luck.]
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Sombra »

Nicholas wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:47 am
Sombra wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:07 am
Do you have a better suggestion as to a good source for understanding the teachings on this topic, rather than the Brahma sutra?
And thank you so much for the suggestions and chapter/verses to read.
Start with Internet search like:

...

Then books on Indian Philosophy, like the old Source Book in Indian Philosophy; classics like Bhagavad Gita, Laws of Manu, Mahabharata, Upanishads, all with commentaries if possible.

[Going away from computer for tonight now, good luck.]
Nicholas wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:35 pm Not sure why you are fixing your attention so much on Brahma Sutra. Found this in Radhakrishna's Introduction (pp 64-5) to his translation, with his comments based on the major commentators and other Hindu scriptures. He had great and deep understanding of Western & Indian philosophies.
The eternally liberated and those cursed in hell are not subject to birth and rebirth. There is no hope for the wicked in hell. Only in Madhva's [dualist] system do we have the doctrine of eternal damnation.
Swami Sivananda's version is good with little Intros & summaries before each major section. Suggest you go in your version to CHAPTER III - SADHANA ADHYAYA the first subsection, verses 12-21. They deal with results of evil karma & seven hells.
Okay, looked it up. Seems pretty conclusive that hell is temporary:
13. But of others, (i.e., those who have not performed sacrifices, etc.) the ascent is to the abode of Yama and after having experienced (the results of their evil deeds) they come down to the earth; as such a course is declared by the Sruti.
-Brahma Sutra 111.1.13, Swami Sivananda version
13. But of the others having enjoyed in Samyamana, there is ascent and descent; as such a course is declared.

Commentary: Of the others, i.e. those who do not perform sacrifices, and so on, there is ascent to the moon and descent from there, only after they have in the kingdom of Yama suffered their punishments due to their actions.
-Brahma Sutra 111.1.13, commentary by Ramanuja
I'm stuck on this question though, and keep returning to it due to not having some kind of consensus or at least majority position from all major texts. Where does Madhva's system get the eternal damnation thing? And how did it end up in a lot of understandings of the Baghavad Gita, including the Hare Krishna position (although it must be mentioned that this view is contradicted by the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is somehow also agreed upon by Hare Krishna position)? One states that those who end up in lower states never get out, the other clearly states that they absolutely do. Both are from the exact same tradition, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, and both of these texts in particular are being commented on by the same person, A C Bhaktivedanta Swami. I do not understand.

As to your suggestions about what to read, I find that the sheer volume of texts is daunting. I sincerely, literally do not have the time to read thousands of pages of texts to find one idea. The most conclusive thing would be a study of just this issue, where some author holds many different quotes about this issue from the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, etc. up to each other and demonstrates what is the consensus between them. Such a work must exist, as many have surely asked this same question, and come to conclusions, just as your quote above by Radhakrishna makes clear implicitly that that author was addressing this issue. I just have no idea where to look. Yet this seems like the only realistic option to solve this question of mine that I keep returning to here.

Thanks, and I'd appreciate any further suggestions.
Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.

PURPORT
It is known that God is all-merciful, but here we find that God is never merciful to the demoniac. It is clearly stated that the demoniac people, life after life, are put into the wombs of similar demons, and, not achieving the mercy of the Supreme Lord, they go down and down, so that at last they achieve bodies like those of cats, dogs and hogs. It is clearly stated that such demons have practically no chance of receiving the mercy of God at any stage of later life. In the Vedas also it is stated that such persons gradually sink to become dogs and hogs. It may be then argued in this connection that God should not be advertised as all-merciful if He is not merciful to such demons. In answer to this question, in the Vedanta-sutra we find that the Supreme Lord has no hatred for anyone. The placing of the asuras, the demons, in the lowest status of life is simply another feature of His mercy. Sometimes the asuras are killed by the Supreme Lord, but this killing is also good for them, for in Vedic literature we find that anyone who is killed by the Supreme Lord becomes liberated. There are instances in history of many asuras-Ravana, Kamsa, Hiranyakasipu-to whom the Lord appeared in various incarnations just to kill. Therefore God's mercy is shown to the asuras if they are fortunate enough to be killed by Him.
Gita as it is 16.20
Having gone through all the miserable, hellish conditions and having passed in a regular order through the lowest forms of animal life prior to human birth, and having thus been purged of his sins, one is reborn again as a human being on this earth.

PURPORT

Just as a prisoner, who has undergone troublesome prison life, is set free again, the person who has always engaged in impious and mischievous activities is put into hellish conditions, and when he has undergone different hellish lives, namely those of lower animals like cats, dogs and hogs, by the gradual process of evolution he again comes back as a human being. In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that even though a person engaged in the practice of the yoga system may not finish perfectly and may fall down for some reason or other, his next life as a human being is guaranteed. It is stated that such a person, who has fallen from the path of yoga practice, is given a chance in his next life to take birth in a very rich family or in a very pious family. It is interpreted that "rich family" refers to a big mercantile family because generally people who engage in trades and mercantile business are very rich. One who engaged in the process of self-realization, or connecting with the Supreme Absolute Truth, but fell short is allowed to take birth in such a rich family, or he is allowed to take birth in the family of pious brāhmaṇas; either way, he is guaranteed to appear in human society in his next life. It can be concluded that if someone is not willing to enter into hellish life, as in Tāmisra or Andha-tāmisra, then he must take to the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is the first-class yoga system, because even if one is unable to attain complete Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this life, he is guaranteed at least to take his next birth in a human family. He cannot be sent into a hellish condition. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the purest life, and it protects all human beings from gliding down to hell to take birth in a family of dogs or hogs.
-Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.30.34
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

Those who take birth possessing the demoniac nature are obstructed by their own mentalities from ever approaching the path of righteousness that leads to association of the devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna and thus it is impossible for them to ever attain the mercy of the Supreme Lord or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions except when they are occasionally eradicated. Otherwise the demoniac continue their descent into lower and more degraded life forms such as worms and maggots as a just reward for their abominable and sinful activities.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

The demoniac are hurled into lower and lower degraded wombs that are receptacles for vile, despicable, diabolical activities and abominable conduct. The demoniac are also overtly antagonistic to the ordinances and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures which constitute the absolute truth and are the directives of the Supreme Lord Krishna for the benefit of all creation. The born of the demoniac nature are devoid of any spiritual discrimination whatsoever. Locked in ignorance and nescience they are continuously unable to have the slightest spiritual impulse to even approach the devotees of Lord Krishna and learn from them submissively. Hence without the devotees mercy it is not possible to approach the Supreme Lord and thus the demoniac are forever barred from attaining the Supreme Lord who is the ultimate bestower of all results. Without the mercy of Lord Krishna’s devotees it is not possible to get the spiritual understanding necessary to enable one to approach the Supreme Lord. Thus the demoniac descend deeper and deeper into lower and lower species of degraded life such as reptiles, insects, worms and maggots.
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Nicholas »

Without going to texts, my poor memory says that both Buddhist & Indian scriptures, along with Theosophical ones, agree in teaching that there are many levels of hells. It is only Avichi, the lowest hell, that is inescapable; the rest are impermanent but the deeper ones last longer.

Maybe that will help explain the paradox. Only the rarest & very worst of demons in human form end up in Avichi hell.

https://buddhism.redzambala.com/buddhis ... dhism.html
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

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Nicholas wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:12 pm Without going to texts, my poor memory says that both Buddhist & Indian scriptures, along with Theosophical ones, agree in teaching that there are many levels of hells. It is only Avichi, the lowest hell, that is inescapable; the rest are impermanent but the deeper ones last longer.

Maybe that will help explain the paradox. Only the rarest & very worst of demons in human form end up in Avichi hell.

https://buddhism.redzambala.com/buddhis ... dhism.html
Depends with Buddhism, with Theravada there is no such thing as permanent hell. The Pali Canon makes abundantly clear that all but nibbana is temporary, no exceptions. It makes clear that birth in the human realm is rare for all beings, but there are no beings who are incapable of getting back to the human realm eventually. With Mahayana, some sects believe there are permanently doomed individuals, others do not.
The Nirvana sutra was translated into Chinese twice from two apparently substantially different source texts, with the 421 CE translation of Dharmakṣema being about four times longer than the 416 translation of Faxian (as well as the later Tibetan version).[3] The two versions also differ in their teachings on Buddha-nature: Dharmakṣema's indicates all sentient beings have the potential to attain Buddhahood, but Faxian's states some will never attain Buddhahood. Ultimately, Dharmakṣema's version was far more popular in East Asia and his version of the text had a strong impact on East Asian Buddhism.[4]
-Wikipedia Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra
According to some Mahayana Buddhist scriptures, the icchantika is the most base and spiritually deluded of all types of being. The term implies being given over to total hedonism and greed.[1]

In the Tathagatagarbha sutras, some of which pay particular attention to the icchantikas, the term is frequently used of those persons who do not believe in the Buddha, his eternal Selfhood and his Dharma (Truth) or in karma; who seriously transgress against the Buddhist moral codes and vinaya; and who speak disparagingly and dismissively of the reality of the immortal Buddha-nature (Buddha-dhatu) or Tathagatagarbha present within all beings.[1][note 1]

The two shortest versions of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra - one translated by Fa-xian, and the other a middle-length Tibetan version of the sutra - indicate that the icchantika has so totally severed all his/her roots of goodness that he/she can never attain liberation and nirvana or enlightenment (Buddhahood). The full-length Dharmakshema version of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, in contrast, insists that even the icchantika can eventually find release into nirvana,[2] since no phenomenon is fixed (including this type of allegedly deluded person) and that change for the better and best is always a possibility.

Other scriptures (such as the Lankavatara Sutra) indicate that the icchantikas will be saved through the liberational power of the Buddha - who, it is claimed, will never abandon any being.

Buswell notes: "With the prominent exception of the Faxian-School [...], East Asian Buddhists rejected the icchantica-doctrine in favor of the notion that all beings, even the denizens of hell, retained the capacity to attain enlightenment."[3]
Wikipedia Icchantika
Considering Hinduism seems to be similar to Mahayana as to confirming eternal hell in one school, and denying it in another, perhaps it is a situation where there are contradictory texts, and so impossible to have a conclusive answer. The only "answer" then may have to be from one individual's school, where their word is considered authoritative. For example, if Ramanuja says there is no such thing as eternal hell, then there is no such thing within the Vishishtadvaita school, ditto for Shankara, and then we know Madhvacharya confirms eternal hell for some, so with that school there is.

In other words, the actual ancient sacred scriptures might be indeterminate due to contradictions, and it might be unresolvable, unless one wants to assume a later interpreter as authoritative.
Last edited by Sombra on Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Nicholas »

Curious subject to ponder on... hells.

Of course, if spending millions or trillions of earth years in an "impermanent" Avici hell does not faze you -- so be it.

Resolution of difficult problems is not reliably done with only worldly study & thought. That is done by Arhat, Bodhisattva or Jivanmukta or Buddha awareness.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

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Nicholas wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:10 pm Curious subject to ponder on... hells.

Of course, if spending millions or trillions of earth years in an "impermanent" Avici hell does not faze you -- so be it.

Resolution of difficult problems is not reliably done with only worldly study & thought. That is done by Arhat, Bodhisattva or Jivanmukta or Buddha awareness.
I didn't say anything about this idea not fazing me. In fact, I haven't put my feelings nor opinion into any of this. I'm doing comparative study between Abrahamic religions and Buddhism and Hinduism, and looking for conclusive facts in order to make valid comparisons.

That said, I'm not sure what you're trying to say with that. Would you please clarify?
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Nicholas »

Sombra wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:06 pm
Nicholas wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:10 pm Curious subject to ponder on... hells.

Of course, if spending millions or trillions of earth years in an "impermanent" Avici hell does not faze you -- so be it.

Resolution of difficult problems is not reliably done with only worldly study & thought. That is done by Arhat, Bodhisattva or Jivanmukta or Buddha awareness.
I didn't say anything about this idea not fazing me. In fact, I haven't put my feelings nor opinion into any of this. I'm doing comparative study between Abrahamic religions and Buddhism and Hinduism, and looking for conclusive facts in order to make valid comparisons.

That said, I'm not sure what you're trying to say with that. Would you please clarify?
Just suggesting that "looking for conclusive facts in order to make valid comparisons" may not produce clarity or certainty you seek. Our conceptual mind has limits.

For example, living in Avici hell for countless kalpas or eons seems close enough to 'permanent' even if technically not so.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

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Nicholas wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:18 pm
Sombra wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:06 pm
Nicholas wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:10 pm Curious subject to ponder on... hells.

Of course, if spending millions or trillions of earth years in an "impermanent" Avici hell does not faze you -- so be it.

Resolution of difficult problems is not reliably done with only worldly study & thought. That is done by Arhat, Bodhisattva or Jivanmukta or Buddha awareness.
I didn't say anything about this idea not fazing me. In fact, I haven't put my feelings nor opinion into any of this. I'm doing comparative study between Abrahamic religions and Buddhism and Hinduism, and looking for conclusive facts in order to make valid comparisons.

That said, I'm not sure what you're trying to say with that. Would you please clarify?
Just suggesting that "looking for conclusive facts in order to make valid comparisons" may not produce clarity or certainty you seek. Our conceptual mind has limits.

For example, living in Avici hell for countless kalpas or eons seems close enough to 'permanent' even if technically not so.
Thanks for clarifying. It makes all the difference when some traditions make firm declaration that it is completely eternal, and others that it is not eternal, and you are making a chart categorizing which is which.

Further, if your logic is to be followed that temporary hell that is kalpas long is "close enough to permanent", then the temporary heavens that last for kalpas would be considered close enough to eternal heaven.

Since this is generally not considered as correct, might we assume that the usual assumption is that eternity dwarfs all else?
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

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Sombra wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:24 pm Thanks for clarifying. It makes all the difference when some traditions make firm declaration that it is completely eternal, and others that it is not eternal, and you are making a chart categorizing which is which.

Further, if your logic is to be followed that temporary hell that is kalpas long is "close enough to permanent", then the temporary heavens that last for kalpas would be considered close enough to eternal heaven.

Since this is generally not considered as correct, might we assume that the usual assumption is that eternity dwarfs all else?
Not "correct" according to present understanding of time. However, conceptual "time" may not exist at all. Perhaps the eternal Now is timeless?

Do you think that mind or awareness or consciousness have varied aspects or levels? If so, then "Reality" appears quite different depending on which medium is being used.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Sombra »

Nicholas wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:58 pm
Sombra wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:24 pm Thanks for clarifying. It makes all the difference when some traditions make firm declaration that it is completely eternal, and others that it is not eternal, and you are making a chart categorizing which is which.

Further, if your logic is to be followed that temporary hell that is kalpas long is "close enough to permanent", then the temporary heavens that last for kalpas would be considered close enough to eternal heaven.

Since this is generally not considered as correct, might we assume that the usual assumption is that eternity dwarfs all else?
Not "correct" according to present understanding of time. However, conceptual "time" may not exist at all. Perhaps the eternal Now is timeless?

Do you think that mind or awareness or consciousness have varied aspects or levels? If so, then "Reality" appears quite different depending on which medium is being used.
I'm talking about the common understanding of time, as well as how these things are presented by certain teachers and teachings that consider time in a way analogous enough to the common understanding. The Buddha, for example, considered time this way, and, in the Pali Canon made the point that people shouldn't just seek heaven, because despite being kalpas long, it is temporary, and suffering will happen again after rebirth in lower realms. Instead, he taught that people should seek nibbana, which is permanent.

Regardless, a moment ago, you were talking in normal terms about time, saying that kalpas and eons were close enough to permanent, but now you're on some kind of unusual, personal interpretation of what time is and means. Unfortunately, I am speaking about time in the common sense, and, as such, have no reply to your personal interpretation of what time is. Thank you so much for all your help!
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Re: What are the teachings on reincarnation, heaven and hell in the Brahma (Vedanta) sutras by Vyasa, and in which chapt

Post by Nicholas »

Sombra wrote: Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:24 am
I'm talking about the common understanding of time, as well as how these things are presented by certain teachers and teachings that consider time in a way analogous enough to the common understanding....

Regardless, a moment ago, you were talking in normal terms about time, saying that kalpas and eons were close enough to permanent, but now you're on some kind of unusual, personal interpretation of what time is and means. Unfortunately, I am speaking about time in the common sense, and, as such, have no reply to your personal interpretation of what time is. Thank you so much for all your help!
I responded with "the common understanding of time" because that is where you are comfortable. I have no "personal personal interpretation of what Time is". That is beyond me.

The Vedic Rishis also had some uncommon views of Time, such as this:
Atharva-veda XIX.53.1-3

Time drives like a horse with seven reins,
a thousand-eyed unaging stallion.
Him the inspired poets mount.
All beings are his chariot wheels.
Time draws this chariot with seven wheels
Seven are the hubs; its axle is non-death.
At the head of all beings Time proceeds
unceasingly, the first among the Gods.
Above Time is set a brimful vessel.
Simultaneously we see Time here, there, everywhere.
Set face to face with all existences,
Time is throned, men say, in the loftiest realm.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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