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QUESTION: Dear Brother William,

What is the role of Ishwara as Satguna Brahman? How can we benefit from him in attaining salvation?

ANSWER: Dear Bijoy,

Thank you for your question.

Saguna Brahman or Ishwara/i helps devotees transcend ego and merge with the divine Self. When we view Brahman through the prism of our body-mind prism, That appears personal. As long as we identify ourselves as persons, having a personal God/dess to help and guide us is a practical way of learning to see the divinity within.

Through meditation and devotion on God/dess with form we come to identify with the divine and shed our identification with the limited body-mind of the merely human. The next step is moving beyond form entirely into the formless.

Much has been written about devotion and ways to cultivate it, such as the Narada Bhatki Sutras. The rituals of Tantra utilize the forms and personality of God/dess to lead us beyond them.

Best wishes,

Brother William

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Brother William,

Is there any redemption possible after the death of the physical body or does the astral body has to be reborn to satisfy unfulfilled desires? What happens to the 5 senses after death?

Answer
Dear Bijoy,

Thank you for your question.

The subtle body, sukshma śarira, usually has to assume a physical body to progress. However, some rare souls with high spiritual attainment in this life, but still short of full liberation, progress to Brahma-loka after the death of the body, and they are not reborn in physical bodies. They progress from there in subtle bodies until the final desires are burned away, and they are ready for liberation.

Best wishes,

Brother William

Hindus

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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William

Expertise

I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.

Experience

I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

Organizations
I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.

Publications
I have three books in print: GAY TANTRA, ESSAYS ON GAY TANTRA, BLOOD OF THE GODDESS.

Education/Credentials
I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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