[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 2, Issue 29

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 11 19:04:11 CDT 2003

--- "Kotekal, Srinivas [Non-Employee/0200]"
<srinivas.kotekal at pharmacia.com> wrote:

> >The reason is that in advaita, the role of shAstra
> is
> >not to present Brahman as an entity that is to be
> >known, since Brahman is ever-revealed as the Self.
> >Rather, the role of shAstra is to *remove* avidyaa
> or
> >ignorance, and the Self shines of its own accord. 
> OK.... but why do you think so revealed Brahmn
> (after removing avidya) is of
> pAramArthika in nature ? what makes you think so ? 

Now, are you asking how it is that Brahma-vidyA can
sublate knowledge of the world, but why brahma-vidyA
itself cannot be sublated by some-other-vidyA? Because
for brahma-vidyA to be sublated, there ought to be
"some-other-vidyA" to sublate it, but when it is known
that there is nothing else but Brahman -- what can
sublate it? 

pAramArthika satya simply mean truth-as-is. That is
Brahman, which is partless, and is always revealed as
the Self. But we perceive a world of men, animals,
inanimate objects etc. -- which advaita says is not
real at all. Such a world is said to be "vyAvahArika"
or conventional and perceived due to avidyA. Once
avidyA is removed, vyAvahArika satya is sublated, and
what remains is simply the paramArtha. 

> why can't so realized
> **Brahmn** be also of vyavahAric reality ? 

Simply because Brahman is what REALLY IS. 

> Another thing is, if role of shAstra is only "to
> *remove* avidyaa or
> ignorance" ; it does not address the question how
> that avidyA came in to
> picture in the first place ?

avidyA is said to be anAdi or beginningless. 

> and that too **on**
> Brahmn ??

advaita as taught by Shankara does not declare the
locus of avidyA. If Brahman is taken as the locus,
then it is sacrilegious, violating shruti statements
that state Brahman to be omniscient or sarvaGYa. If
the locus is not Brahman but the Self, then the Self
is different from Brahman, thereby discrediting
advaita's basic teaching that Self=Brahman. 

The only way to handle this problem has been to
postulate a third category to place avidyA in, called
"anirvachanIya" or "cannot be described as either real
(paramArtha) or unreal (vyavahAra)". This of course
invites a lot of criticism from non-advaita schools
(to put it mildly!).

There are two schools in advaita branching two
different ways due to this problem, called bhAmatI and
vivaraNa. You can read more about them at

> - Srinivas.


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