[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 1, Issue 32

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 1 20:34:50 CDT 2003

>To interpret  IkshatyadhikaraNa as the refutation
>of SAnkhyas' view that jada-prakrti is jagat-kAraNa is not relevant to
>the theme of samanvaya-adhyAya.

No, you seem to miss the point. Addressing the sAMkhya view is extremely 
relevant to the samanvaya-adhyAya. Why is it necessary to explicitly deal 
with sAMkhya first? Because, the term SAstra in the sUtra "SAstra-yonitvAt" 
includes not only Sruti, but also smRti. Among all the smRti-s, sAMkhya 
holds a predominant pride of place. In the gItA, the smRti-prasthAna, and 
its parent text, the mahAbhArata, there are many well-known mentions of 
sAMkhya, too numerous to pick just one. samanvaya has to address the smRti 
also, which is part of SAstra.

The purpose of the Ikshaty adhikaraNa is therefore not to merely refute the 
sAMkhya. Rather, the primary purpose is to elucidate the nature of brahman 
as the one cause, and part of this elucidation includes saying what it 
should not be mistaken to be. Part of samanvaya is to arrive at the CORRECT 
meaning of the vedAntic texts and to steer clear of false conclusions.

Sruti uses words such as mahat, avyakta etc to describe brahman. The same 
terms are also used in sAMkhya as names for evolutes of prakRti. Taken along 
with the important position of sAMkhya as a smRti-SAstra, a student may get 
misled or confused about what exactly brahman is. The sUtrakAra wishes to 
prevent an erroneous conclusion that brahman taught in the vedAnta might be 
like the prakRti inferred in sAMkhya. Noting that this inference is a 
non-Vedic conclusion, and therefore "aSabdam", the sUtrakAra says, "na 
aSabdaM" and gives us a reason, "IkshateH".

> >
> > Your interpretation would leave "heyatva" without a referent at all. If,
>Not at all.   In the previous sootra "Om GouNaschEt na AtmashabdAt"
>nothing that is GouNa is established as the subject matter of jignyAsA.
>But it is well known that Atma shabda is also used for jeeva, as jeevAtman.
>But Sruti says, "tamEvaikam jAnatha AtmAnam anyAvAcho vimunchatha"
>where,  there is a possibility for someone to take Atma to be jeevAtman,
>then  "anyAvAcho vimunchatha" may be construed as anything that is not
>jeevAtman,  which brings about "hEyatva" on Parabrahman itself.  One may
>conclude enquiry into something other than Brahman is Brahma-jignyAsa,
>as upanishat itself  by saying "anyAvAchO vimunchatha"  is advising
>"hEyatva" on Brahman.

No. Firstly, there is no reason to introduce the muNDaka quote here as a 
vishaya vAkya at all. The sUtrakAra's discussion is still about the sentence 
"tad aikshata" from the chAndogya. The succeeding sUtra, "svApyayAt", shows 
this clearly. There is no reason for him to have jumped from chAndogya to 
muNDaka and then back to chAndogya. It makes infinitely more sense to 
examine the chAndogya properly before going to another text.

Even conceding that you might want to introduce muNDaka at this juncture, 
for whatever reason, such a doubt about its meaning cannot even arise in the 
first place. The said quotation immediately follows from the instruction to 
be absorbed in brahman - "tanmayo bhavet". The question of heyatva of 
brahman doesn't arise at all, for it is logically impossible to discard 
anything in which one is totally absorbed.

Moreover, the verb "vimuncatha" applies to nothing other than the term "anyA 
vAchaH", i.e. "other words". What are the "other words" that are to be left 
aside? The upanishad itself tells us, immediately prior to and after this 
quotation - "praNavo dhanuH ..." and "aum ity evaM dhyAyatha AtmAnam". The 
instruction is to leave all WORDS aside other than praNava, the one 
syllable, auM. So, textually speaking, muNDaka only tells us to leave aside 
all other words and advises us to do dhyAna only on the auM-kAra. For this 
reason too, the heyatva of brahman does not arise at all.

As you can see, it would be totally inappropriate to introduce the sentence 
"anyA vAco vimuncatha" as the text under discussion in this sUtra.

As for vedAntin-s who don't accept brahman as material cause of the 
universe, one needs to look no farther than scholars of the dvaita school of 
AnandatIrtha. They do not.


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