[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 2, Issue 18

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Tue Jun 10 04:12:40 CDT 2003

Dear bhAskar Prabhu-jI,

>  praNAm Sri Jay prabhuji
>  Hare Krishna

>  First of all, kindly pardon me, I inadvertently skipped this mail from
you among the flood of your mails.  Hence delay in reply.

prabhuji you wrote :

It is not "my own" interpretation.   It is my understanding of the
interpretation given by my school. It is an interpretation which is
consistent in the context  of that upanishat, consistent with sootras, and
consistent with Geetha.

>  For that matter each & every schools of thought claims that prabhuji.
Nobody dared to say that they are advocating new stream of thoughts which
are not enshrined in prasthana trayi. True followers of bonafide sampradaya
have N number of theories to prove that they are following the *true
teachings* of scriptures.

When we learn those upanishats,  we don't learn them along with their
numbers.   So it is lot easier for me  if you type the shruti vAkya along
with the numbers.    Ex : Ka Up. - 2-4-5 does not ring a bell at all.
Similarly,  Geetha 13-13 does not ring a bell ( of course I can look up)
if you give me first few words, the rest of the shlOka,  the next few
shlOkas, the previous shlOka all become vivid, and so its proper context

>  Prabhuji, kindly excuse me for that, I was in a hurry & rushing home
(week end!!) when I typed that mail.  I think main topic behind this mail
was *avidya / adhyasa.  At the end of my mail, I had even asked for your
understading about the terms avidya / adhyAsa.  Here are the verses from
the quoted upaniShads :

>  ChandOgya upaniShad 7-25-2 starts with : athAt AtmadESha .....AtmauvEdam

>  Now, therefore, the teaching concerning Atman alone is begun, Atman
alone is below, Atman above, Atman behind, Atman in front, Atman on the
right, Atman on the left.  All this is Atman alone (sarvamiti).

>  From the above it is clear that atman is everything (ofcourse, if you
donot restrict its meaning giving some contextual explanations!!)  Now the
question is though atman is all pervading, how can we see the multi
dimensional universe in which we live with different individuality with
swarupendriya (??-still not clear for me), karmendriya, jnAnEdriya etc.etc.
& each individual thinks that he is limited & entangled in full of desires
& identifying himself as a separate entity from omnipresent Atman!!
Upanishad to clear this puzzle gives us the reason it is coz. of *avidya*
or ignorance (ajnAna) one will suffer from samsAra.

>  Katha upaniShad 2-4-5 further clarifies when nachikEta asked yama to
reveal the nature of Atman, yama replied : avidhyAmantatE vartamAnaH
swayam........niyamAnA paShyandaH!!

>  These two are wide apart, running in opposite directions, AvidyA & that
which is known as vidyA.  I consider thee nachikEtas, as longing for vidyA
for the numerous desires have not weaned you away from the right path.
Resting in the midst of ignorance, but considering themselves
discriminative & wise, deluded persons go round & round through crooked
ways like blind men led by one who is himself blind.

>  It is evident that avidya is the main cause behind not realising our
true nature.  How to get rid of this problem, how to unveil the
ignorance...shruti provides the answer to this also : Mundaka (2-1-10): All
this karma & tapas is puruSha, the highest immortal brahman alone.
Whosoever knows this as hidden in the cave of the heart (yEtadO vEda
nihitam guhAyam), cuts the knot of ignorance.

>  prabhuji this *ignorance*/avidya is clearly explained by Sri Shankara in
sUtra bhAShya that since it is the avidya relating all pervading brahman
which is the self of us all, it cannot be a function of the mind, which
consists in not knowing or misconceiving an object.  Since the Atman is
sAkShi chEtah (witnessing consciousness) in us & there is nothing of which
it is not the witness.  It can never be the object of the intellect, since
intellect itself an object (viShaya) of consciousness.  But jay prabhuji,
it is to be noted that since we donot have any other instrument of
knowledge, associated with from which we can talk of igonrance or knowing
anything from swarUpendriya etc.etc. we need to deal with the subject
through BMI only.  What then can the upaniShads mean when it say ignorance
of Atman?? (There was a recent discussion in Advaita-L list prabhuji on Sri
GaudapAdA's kArikAs wherein it has been discussed in length *the atman
deluded* Sri KalyAn Chakravarthy has raised some valid points, & Sri
Jaldhar prabhuji & Sri Vidya prabhuji addressed those points.  I request
you to kindly go through those postings.)

>  Shankara categorically says that this avidya is *naisargika* of the
non-self (anAtman) which is made up of the body, senses & mind.  Human
intellect has an instinctive tendency to perceive the non-real & mixing the
identity of the real & the unreal (satyAnruta mithunIkarNatvam) whenever it
functions.  This mixing up of the real & the unreal and the delusion which
prompts human mind to project itself to a mistaken transference of the
mutual properties of the self & non self is what is called avidya.  This is
quite natural to all mankind no one doubts it & thinks that he is under the
influence of this ignorance due to want of discrimination when he talks
I-ness, Mine-ness (ahankAra-mamakAra).  Finally he will come out of this
delusion by doing nityAnitya vastu vivEka.

>  So, shankara's position on avidya can be summarised as follows:  The
subject (Atman) & object (anAtman) are of quite opposite nature as being
objects of the I-concept (asmat pratyaya) & the you-concept (yuShmat
pratyaya) respectively can never be possibly mutually convertible in
*essence* as you are stating in all your adhyAsa mails.  It is not
appropriate to suppose that there can be no superimposition of the object
which is in the sphere of the concept *you* and its properties upon the
subject which is in the sphere of the concept *I*, and which is the subject
of the nature of consciousness.  Neither conversely can there be the
superimposition of the subject & its properties on the object.  BUT it is a
natural procedure of human intellect to mix up the real & the unreal owing
to wrong knowledge due to non-discrimination of the two absoultely distinct
properties and possessors of properties, to superimpose the mutual identity
& mutual transference of their properties & to think in terms of ahankAra &

> Prabhuji, this is what advaita offers on avidyA, based on this advaitins
understand the multifarious nature of universe.  In your series of mails on
adhyasa this fundamental thing is conspicuously absent & you keep on
repeating the same thing i.e. superposition of Atman-anAtman, which is in
REALITY NOT THERE.  Avidya is not a positive entity which others claim that
it has AvaraNa & vikShEpa Sakti.

>  Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
>  bhaskar

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list