[Advaita-l] A note on ‘Avidya lesha’ 'अविद्यालेशः’ (Part 3) Concluded

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 2 13:54:10 CDT 2010

Thanks to Subrahmanian for yet another series. Here is a summary of various 

viewpoints from the siddhAntaleshasaMgraha of Appayya Dikshita (chaturtha 

parichchheda). The dominant view is, of course, that avidyAlesha is needed for 

the exhaustion of the prArabdha-karma. But there is also a view by SarvajnAtman that

no such avidyAlesha can exist! In fact, jIvanmukti is only an arthavAda for the vidhi

that prescribes shravaNa, etc. 

अथ कोऽयमविद्यालेशः, यदनुवृत्त्या जीवन्मुक्तिः ? आवरणविक्षेपशक्तिमत्या मूलाविद्याः प्रारब्धकर्मवर्तमानदेहाद्यनुवृत्तिप्रयोजको विक्षेपशक्त्यंश इति केचित् ॥

What is this avidyAlesha that continues for the jIvanmukta? It is a part (aMsha) of the

viKshepa-shakti of the mUlAvidya (primal avidyA) that consists of AvaraNa shakti and 

vikShepa shakti. The avidyalesha is necessary for the continuation of prArabdha 

karma, the present body, etc. This is the view of some.

Here the AvaraNa shakti is that aspect of avidyA that conceals Reality. The VikShepa

shakti aspect of avidyA projects something other than Reality. A standard example is

the rope that is seen as a snake under illusion. The AvaraNa shakti acting here 

conceals the rope, while the vikShepa shakti projects the illusory snake where the 

rope is supposed to be seen. 

क्षालितलशुनभाण्डानुवृत्तलशुनवासनाकल्पोऽविद्यासंस्कार इत्यन्ये ॥

Just as even after washing a utensil that contains garlic, the smell of garlic lingers, the

impression (saMskAra) of avidyA remains (in jIvanmukti). This is the view of others. 

दग्धपटन्यायेनानुवृत्ता मूलाविद्यैवेत्यपरे ॥

Just as even after a cloth is burnt, the ash retains the shape of the cloth, the remnants

of the burnt mUlAvidyA continue in the jIvanmukti state. This is the view of still others.

सर्वज्ञात्मगुरवस्तु - विरोधिसाक्षात्कारोदये लेशतोऽप्यविद्याऽनुवृत्यसंभवाज् जीवन्मुक्तिशास्त्रं श्रवणादिविध्यर्थवादमात्रम् । शास्त्रस्य जीवन्मुक्तिप्रतिपादने प्रयोजनाभावात् । अतः कृतनिदिध्यासनस्य ब्रह्मसाक्षात्कारोदयमात्रेण सविलासवासनाऽविद्यानिवृत्तिरित्यपि कञ्चित् पक्षमाहुः ॥

The Guru SarvajnAtman provides another view: It is impossible for even a little bit

(lesha) of avidyA to continue after the dawn of realizaton of Reality (Brahman), 

which is opposed to avidyA. Therefore, the shAstra of jIvanmukti is only an arthavAda

(eulogy or praise) relating to the injunction (vidhi) regarding shravaNa, etc., for example 

 in the upaniShad statement "आत्मा वारे द्रष्टव्यः श्रोतव्यो मन्तव्यो निदिध्यासितव्यः" Br. Up.

There is no purpose in explaining jIvanmukti by the shAstra. Therefore, for one who 

does nididhyAsana, just by the dawn of realization of Brahman there is the 

disappearance of avidyA with its effects and impressions. 


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