[Advaita-l] Sringeri AchAryas on the vivaraNa - the cause ofadhyAsa (3)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 5 19:21:46 CDT 2007

>but why??  is it so necessary that we have to give some name & form to
>ajnAna to do brahma jignAsa??  If this positive aspect of avidyA is so
>important why shankar in his preamble to sUtra bhAshya where he deals with
>this exclusively did not mention a single word about it?? The
>vyAkhyAnakAra-s' split of the compound word as mithya-ajnAna is totally out
>of context if we understand the purpose of definition of adhyAsa/ajnAna by

Look, to do brahma jijnAsA, we don't have to even study bhAshya-s. All we 
need is to study the upanishads. Why should Sankara even write about 
something called adhyAsa and why should he even use terms like 
tattvAnyatvAbhyAm anirvacanIya to describe mAyA, when none of the major 
upanishad texts use these terms? This question is as valid as the one that 
asks why should post-Sankaran authors talk of mUlAvidyA when Sankara has 
just said "naisargika". The objections raised in this vein are certainly 
issues of textual comparison and criticism, but they do not primarily 
pertain to philosophical issues.

Frankly, I don't see why so much emphasis is being laid upon only the 
brahmasUtra bhAshya and particularly on the adhyAsa bhAshya, so much so as 
to make it pivotal to all of Sankara's thought. Taking the whole corpus of 
the bhAshyas, it is quite evident that Sankara himself has many other things 
to say in addition to what he says in the brahmasUtra bhAshya. The 
post-Sankaran authors are well within their rights to explore the route of 
mithyA + ajnAna when they comment upon his works. Indeed, there are very 
many instances where Sankara offers two or more alternative parsings of 
words (padaccheda) in the upanishads and the gItA, and proceeds to explain 
each. If you were to hold that only one kind of padaccheda is right and that 
it completely excludes the other, you would have to start finding fault with 
Sankara himself, otherwise you will be applying double standards to Sankara 
vs. later authors.

>This is again the problem of unwarranted equation of mAya with
>avidyA...shankara explicitly says avidyA is natural to human mind & is of
>three types such as agrahaNa, anyathAgrahaNa & saMshaya...nowhere he says

This is where I start having problems with this line of argument, especially 
when it is pitched so vehemently against the vivaraNa and later works. If 
avidyA is intrinsic and natural to the mind, you will have to answer,

i. does a jIvanmukta have a mind, so long as he enlivens a physical body?
ii. if yes, avidyA intrinsic and natural to the jIvanmukta's mind too?
iii. if yes, does not a jIvanmukta continue to have avidyAleSa?
iv. if not, how is it that although avidyA is natural to a mind, yet there 
can be a mind devoid of avidyA? In what sense is avidyA merely natural to 
the mind then? What has happened to the jIvanmukta's mind that it has got 
rid of something that is intrinsic and natural to it?
v. what is the difference between a jIvanmukta and a sadyomukta then? is 
there one, or are these just different words used to describe the same 

Given all the arguments emanating from your side against the concepts of 
vAsanAkshaya and manonASa in the context of jIvanmukti, how do you put all 
these and other related issues into a consistent framework? Anything that 
smells even remotely of yoga gets derided as being alien to Sankara. On the 
other hand, I find Sankara to be far more accommodative of yoga than you 

Reminds me of a phrase "holier than the pope" ...


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