Question regarding Gaudapada Karika

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 29 15:21:51 CDT 2000

>> praNavashcha paraM smR^itaH ........ oN^kAro vidito yena sa munirnetaro
>> janaH  ||' (A. pra. 26-29) iti | OM tad.h brahma  |  OM tadvAyuH  |  OM
>> tadAtmA  |  OM tatsatyam.h  |' ityAdibhyaH shrutibhyaH  |
>> The word shrutibhyaH goes with ityAdibhyaH, which pertains only to the
>> quotation that follows the previous iti, i.e. to the portion beginning
>> OM tad.h brahma. It is at best ambiguous, whether the author of the
>> considers the previously quoted portion to be shruti too.
>The semantic separation between the first set from the Agama-prakaraNa,
>and the rest, that you are suggesting is not there in the material itself.
>In any case, I have not seen Mahadevan, et al. make any such argument.

Well, I am making it. The semantic separation is indeed suggested by the
text. There is an iti after sa munir netaro janaH. OM tad.h brahma etc. are
introduced after this iti, and then we have ityAdibhyaH shrutibhyaH. So long
as the quotation from omityed... to netaro janaH is not directly
characterized as Sruti, the evidence of Vishnusahasranamabhashya is
ambiguous. Note that I'm saying it is ambiguous, not that it absolutely
denies a particular position.

Re: AptakAma in BU -

> 1> The B.U. quote (and other instances where `AptakAma' may have
>    occurred) does not suit the context of the sUtra; under `lokavat.h tu
>    lIlAkaivalyam.h' the interest is in the Creator of the world whose
>    actions are not out of any self-interest.  A look at the B.U. comm.
>    of Shankara shows that he does not regard the `AptakAma' therein
>    to be a referent to the world-Creator's actions.  Certainly,
>   `devaisyaishha svabhAvo.ayaM AptakAmasya kA spR^ihA?' is a much better
>    vishhaya-vAkya than just `AptakAma', leaving aside the wrangling
>    over whether it should be one at all.

Offhand, I don't see why not. In BU, immediately before the reference to
AptakAma, there is a referene to atha yatra rAjeva-devaivAhameva idaM sarvam
asmIti manyate etc., and immediately afterwards is the statement atra pitA
apitA bhavati etc.

As BGBh 13. 13 quotes from an unnamed sampradAyavit - adhyAropApavAdAbhyAM
nishprapancaM prapancyate. If you see that Advaita thought keeps coming to
adhyAropa-apavAda in its scriptural exegesis, the AptakAma statement in BU
would be the apavAda of the previous adhyAropa of creation through the words
so'kAmayata earlier in the same upanishad. And of course, creation is itself
not a real event, precisely because brahman is AptakAma. That is why in BU
bhAshya, Sankara does not refer to the world-Creator in the AptakAma
reference, because well, there is no creation to talk of in the first place.

> 2> One is setting oneself up as a better exponent of Advaita than
>    Appayya, in your style of reasoning.  Although generally one may

No. I'm just pointing out that an alternative is possible. It is rather
typical of Advaita commentators for the same person to give two or three
alternative explanations of the same thing. When you compare two different
commentators, again you can find such alternatives.

>    feel that the commentator's have inserted their own views and
>    ignored or misinterpreted the master's position (this is a sentiment
>    I find only among Advaitins, and it continues to be surprising to me),

That doesn't follow either. What I am saying is simply a textual statement,
without prejudice to the credibility of Appayya Dikshita as an interpreter
of Advaita, and without setting myself up as better than him in any sense.
Sometimes, the commentator has even disagreed with the master's opinion. It
is all part of the flexibility and the freedom of thought built within the
Advaita tradition.

As for the absolute merits of the BU statement as vishaya-vAkya, I would
like to first check other texts such as Anandagiri's nyAyanirNaya and
bhAratItIrtha's adhikaraNaratnamAlA, before debating it, but I will have to
first get the texts, so I won't argue about that aspect right now.

Best wishes,

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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