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An Atraita God


In my old age God gave me the grace to coin a new Sanskrit word ATRAITA to explain the mystery of Holy Trinity.

The Hindu Trimurthi, The Muslim Compassionate Allah and the Christian Holy Trinity are united as called Atraita God. Sree Sankara’s Advaita, St. Basil Holy Trinity and his question what is number in the God head as answered by St. John’s GOD IS LOVE. Sri. Sankaracharya of Kalady is the greatest exponent of Indian philosophy. Kevala Advaita does not mean monism but non-dualism. Like Sankara, St. Basil, the greatest Trinitarian theologian asks the question ‘what is number in God-head?’ in his treatise on Holy Spirit. Christian theologians in the west almost ignore incarnation Trinity as a mystery, which cannot be explained.

Schleiermacher, Rudolf Bultman and many others consider incarnation of Trinity as myth. Bultman’s demythologization is an effort to present Jesus Christ as the greatest man who alone was sinless Schleiermacher taught that Christ’s uniqueness was in his absolute dependence on God. The Eastern Churches however still cling on to the doctrine of Incarnation and Trinity as the only Christian theology. If western theologians have studied Indian philosophy, they would have agreed with Sankara that the conceptualization of God is an impossibility. The Church Fathers would have agreed with Sankara who taught “Neti Neti” as god is neither this nor that.

I crave the indulgence of readers for coining the word Atraita as patristic doctrine of Trinity of Tri unity of God-head including singularity and plurality in himself. The central theme of this paper is, “God is love and God as love is more than Advaita but is Atraita”.

Part I

Religion is centered on God. But ‘Philosophy’ is centered on concepts. Where religion trends to become philosophy it shifts away from the reality of God and engages in conceptualizing God. This is what has happened to certain systems of Indian philosophy especially to Sri Sankara’s advaita philosophy. Sri Sankara has formulated a Philosophy of Advaita centered on a concept of God who is beyond all qualities (nirguna). Conceptually the Advaita Philosophy is logical and impressive. But can it satisfy the religio-philosophical thirst to approach God as unity and plurality in one?

(a) “Love”: The paramount expression of the reality of God. When Sankara developed Kevaladvaita on the foundation of the Upanishads. Ramanuja developed Visistadvaita and Madhava developed Dvaita on the same foundation viz. Upanishads. This means that the difference in conceptualization depends on the person of the philosopher. The person is prior to and determines the nature of the philosophy. Similarly the person of God is prior to the idea of God in Philosophies and writers. According to Paul Tillich personality is individualization by participation. Are not the rishies more important than Vedas? This is true of the western philosophies too. Whether that of Socraties, Plato, Aristotle, David Hume, Frederic Hegel or of Immanuel Kant. Even in theology, the pre-occupation of the theologians determines the nature of theology as illustrated in the scholastic theology of Thomas Acquinas and the neo-orthodox faith dominated theology of Karl Barth. This phenomenon of the philosopher’s or theologian’s preoccupation has put a veil on the whole process of philosophy and theology. My plea in this paper is that instead of beginning with the person and preoccupation of the philosopher or the theologian, let us begin with the reality of God. Any concept of God will remain veiled without encountering the reality of God. The reality of God is love in the absolute and most perfect sense. According to the Church Fathers holy Trinity is co- eternal, co-equal, co-essential God. Of course as in the Bible the fathers believed in the incarnation of God as the incarnation of God’s Infinite Love. There is no term other than infinite love to denote the reality of God. No concept of God will be meaningful without acknowledging the reality of God as love in essence and energeia.

(b) Love in essence and energeia implies God as trinity. God who is Love in essence cannot be a monad, because in a monad there is no possibility of the energeia or exercise of love. God who is love in essence and energeia cannot be only a duality because there is no possibility of the outpouring and full sharing of love in the duality. God who is love in essence and energeia can be a trio because there is only mutuality in a dio but sharing in a tri- unity. Only when God who is love, is a Trinity (tri-unity). i.e. one God in three person there is the possibility of sharing, outpouring and mutuality. A Trinitarian God who is love in essence and energeia is neither ‘one’ nor ‘many’ in a mathematical way. In Advaita there is only unity and no plurality, in Atraita there is unity and plurality.

(c) A Trinitarian philosophy beyond oneness, threeness, and manyness is Atraita philosophy. The Advaita philosophy dialectically denied oneness and manyness in a mathematical sense and denoted the absolute reality only in negative categories of advaita. The atraita philosophy also presents a philosophy of negative categories. (the term Atraita literally means ‘not in three’). Just as Advaita is a denotation of the absolute reality beyond oneness and manyness, Atraita is also a denotation of the absolute reality beyond oneness, manyness and threeness. But in atraita there is an emphasis on the dialectic of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. Traita denotes that the absolute reality is the Trinitarian God who is love in essense and sharing energeia.

(d) Why Atraita is an advance over Advaita ? Sri Sankara’s great and unique contribution is in the exposition of Avidya in relation to the self-manifesting power(maya) of Brahman. Avidya is the pluralistic dimension of maya, causing the feeling of difference (Dvaitha Bhava). Advaita is the epistemological attitude of seeing the absolute reality as neither one nor many. Being an epistemological tool advaita is well reccognised as the foundation of a dialectical philosophy. But Sankara’s exposition does not move beyond a dialectical approach to the absolute reality. It does not make clear whether it acknowledges the reality of the absolute one and many.

In Sankara’s vedic truth “Brahmasathya Jagathmithya”, God alone is truth,world is maya. In Atraita philosophy God himself includes and transcends singularity and plurality. It is here that we humbly present the relevance of an Atraita philosophy. Atraita philosophy at the outset acknowledges the reality of God as Love. Secondly, it is founded on a dialectical approach of transcending the mathematical ‘oneness, manyness or even threeness’, in God, by affirming a Trinitarian reality of Love is God. By affirming God as a Trinitarian reality, we, in line with the Biblical Revelation and Patristic Testimony, underline the Mystery of God in three eternal persons, integrating aspects of perfect communion within God on the one hand and with the creation on the other hand. There is a special significance to the term ‘mystery’ here. The Trinitarian Mystery transcends the western notion of a social Trinity of being simply a model for social sharing. It has parallel connotations to the use of ‘neti-neti’ in Indian philosophy and the use of apophatism in the eastern theology. Reality of God is a mystery beyond human comprehension and transcends even the human notions of communion or sharing.

In brief, atraita philosophy is a dialectical attempt to combine the Unknowability and the communion aspects of God. It is an advance over advaita philosophy because;

1. The Advaita has no scope for a communion or sharing aspect of God.
The Advaita does not pre suppose the reality of God as love in essence and energeia.


What are the benefits of the Philosophy of Atraita God over the Philosophy of Advaitha Brahman?

The unity of essence can be explained in three existentially ,eg. Time is essentially one but existentially past, present and future. Again matter is essentially one but existentially proton, neutron and electrons. Water is essentially one but existentially solid ice, liquid water and in gaseous state it is vapor. Again home is essentially one and essentially father, mother and children. Thus duality is imperfect and trinity is perfect, similarly advaita is imperfect and Atraita is perfect. In Advaita there is only mutuality and reciprocity. In Atraita there is sharing also. The writer is the author of a small book entitled One religion of Love (CSS Thiruvalla). In my humble opinion Christianity must understand the global cosmic and infinite love of God. Within him all religions can be one kingdom of God. God is not faith nor hope which are charismata but God is love essentially and existentially. The Incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was the incarnation of love which is Infinite and Global. When Christ said “I am the way, the truth and the life” {Jn. 14:6}. He meant the divine love of God is the way from God to man. Ecclesiology includes not only the visible baptized church, but the infinite kingdom of God.

The only criterion in the last judgment (Mathew 25:31-)is love, as the sheep on the right side whose flesh, milk and wool are all for the shepherd. God is the judge and all nations are before the Judgment Throne as the loving sheep on the right side and the fighting goats in the left. Hence all religious people must love each other without the selfish aims, with the freedom of voluntary conversion to any religion without external force. The image of God in human species is the freedom and love. May I call upon all my brothers and sisters in all religions and no religions to love each other personally, socially and in a cosmic measure. God is love in 1 John 4:8,16 is the definition of Atraita personal God,one ousia and three hypostases ie, one essence of love and three persons. So let us practise infinite love which loves the enemies also as friends. The Atraita God is the source and end of all people of all time created as the image of God. The Christian churches must repent for the fanatic and fundamentalistic martyrdom of saints and so called heretics in the first millennium. The divisions and the forceful conversions of the second millennium. The third millennium must equate ecclesia and the un baptized loving people of all the world.

Salvation is the free gift of God and love in historyis compared to the burning candle of self denial ofsri Rama who left the throne and suffered for others for fourteen years in the wilderness the prophet Muhammed whose flight to Madeena from Macca in great suffering is the beginning of Muslim era. Jesus Christ the cosmic Incarnation of divine love in the centre of history between B.C and A.D beckoning all of us to follow Him to taking our own crosses as crowns. God so loved the world {J 3:16 } for the expiation of sin of the whole world{1 john 2:2}. If faith in God is the only means of salvation, demons also will be saved, they believe in God and shiver {James 2:19}in Roman 2nd chapter circumcision or baptism is an internal sacrament and not external. St. Paul concluded the song of love saying, now ‘remain faith hope and love but the greatest is Love’ {1 Cor:13.13}. In the New Testament it is very clear that God of Old Testament was Jehovah, the communal God of Jews alone with only fragmentary revelation through prophets {Heb1:1-3}. But Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God’s own son. This may seem a radical philosophy of atraita God comprehending and going beyond advaitha Brahman. According to atraita, evil is not the creation of God who is goodness. In Gen.1:1-3 darkness or evil was pre-existent negativity and God said “let there be light” God alone is positive. In the consummation of time devil is burned out in the fire and the children of God are in the new heaven and new earth where “he will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying no pain any more for the former things have passed away.” {Rev.21: 4}