Advaita Vedanta and Leibnizian Metaphysics
This is a huge, daunting subject which I can only scratch the surface of. A
book or PhD thesis could easily be written on
it and do a much better job than I can here. Keep in mind also that I am not an
expert on Advaita.
A brief summary of the Advaita Vedanta is given at
' "Advaita" (Sanskrit: not-two) refers to the identity of the true Self, Atman,
which is pure consciousness and the highest Reality, Brahman,
which is also pure consciousness. Followers seek liberation/release by
acquiring vidya (knowledge) of the identity of Atman and Brahman.
Attaining this liberation takes a long preparation and training under the
guidance of a guru. '
Here we will only roughly compare the metaphysics of Leibniz with that of the
Advaita, not the religious aspects of Advaita.
Both are essentially Idealist. In general, Brahman, being the highest Reality,
corresponds to Plato's One, the Creator, but
Brahman has many more aspects than Plato's One, which I leave to other scholars
Atman corresponds roughly to Leibniz's monad for a person. The relation of a
person's monad (which I will call Self,
which is what Leibniz calls a person's spirit,l meaning the conventional soul)
) to Plato's One (Leibniz's rough correspondence
to Brahman) is similar to Advaita's goal of unity or Advaita between Atman and
Brahman, but this is not a fixed goal in Leibniz,
it happens at a rapid pace in rapid sequential steps in Leibniz in everyday
perception and action, in which the Self is a passive
slave to the One, its master. So in Leibniz there is never a complete fusion of
Self and the One as desired in Advaita, The One is the
active agent in periodic communion with the One much like a shepherd with his
In Leibniz there is imperfect communion of the Self with other selves, which
Christianity calls the
'communion of the saints'. By imperfect is meant that as in all human
perception, there is some distortion
to various degrees, depending on the person, which limits the range of
inter-communion with other saints and the environment.
Salvation is not clearly defined in Leibniz, as far asI have been able to find
out, but certainly communion of the
Self and the One is found pleasurable and enlightening.
Dr. Roger B Clough NIST (ret.) [1/1/2000]
See my Leibniz site at
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