V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Apr 14 02:13:58 CDT 2010

On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 1:16 AM, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

> -
> > This would raise a question: The very Absolute can be
> > known only with the help of the Veda. And if the Veda
> > itself negates
> > its existence in Brahman, during all three periods of time,
> > how is valid
> > knowledge of the Absolute secured at all? How can the
> > unreal produce the
> > knowledge of the Real?
> It cannot. H.H. Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal of Sringeri says quite
> emphatically that the Absolute cannot "become realized" - because IT is
> ALWAYS KNOWN. The Self is always shining with true Wisdom, so only Avidya
> can be removed.
> (Extract of a Talk from "The Saint of Sringeri", page 236)
> ---
> Disciple: If the Self is this ever existing and ever shining, where is the
> need for any effort to realise it?
> H.H.: Certainly there is no need at all.
> Disciple: But we do not perceive the Self now. How can it be said that no
> effort is required?
> H.H.: If it is not perceived, effort is required to get rid of that
> non-perception. No effort is necessary for perceiving the Self but effort is
> necessary to get over the non-perception of it.
> Disciple: Does this not mean virtually that effort is necessary for
> perceiving the Self?
> H.H.: No. The destruction of Avidya is alone the result of effort. ALL
> ---
> Note that H.H. firmly takes the stand that the Self is ***EVER-SHINING AND
> Besides, the subject line is not correct. The correction is that an unreal
> cause CANNOT bring about a real effect. Here's a line from Sankara's
> Upadeshasaashrii:
> AtmA hyAtmiiya ityeSha bhAvo.avidyAprakalpitaH .
> Atmaikatve hyasau nAsti bIjAbhAve kutaH phalam.h ..
> Swami Jagadananda's translation:
> "For the ideas 'me' and 'mine' are superimposed on the Self due to
> Ignorance. They do not exist when the Self is known to be one only. HOW CAN
> Sankara's phrase "bIja-abhAve kutaH phalam.h" is translated (rightly) by
> Swami Jagadananda as "How can there be an effect without a cause?".
> If anything, Sankara's statement above actually proves that the "cause" of
> bhAva-rUpa-avidyA alone explains the "effect" of saMsAra! In other words,
> the effect of saMsAra *requires* a cause, which is bhAva-rUpa-avidyA!
> Regards,
> Kartik

Dear Karthik,

Namaste.  Thank you for your very pertinent question.  Actually there is no
conflict between what Bhagavatpada has said (regarding 'unreal cause'...)
and what the revered Acharya of Sringeri has explained.  Both these are
perfectly valid in their own contexts.

 Veda is the pramANa.  प्रमाकरणं प्रमाणम्  That which generates a knowledge,
pramA, is pramANam.  प्रमाणं प्रमेयविषयकप्रमां जनयि.  A pramANa generates
knowledge pertaining to that which is to be known.  Brahman is not known to
us.  The Upanishad says: स आत्मा  स विज्ञेयः, तद्विजिज्ञासस्व, आत्मा वा अरे
द्ष्टव्यः  etc.  All these statements ask us to 'know' the Atman.  What the
Veda does, as a pramANa is: to tell us what Atman, Brahman is; how to look
for It, what to look for when we have all the sAdhana chatuShTaya, etc.  In
short, the Veda is the only pramANa that can tell us anything 'about'
Brahman.  This is the context of Bhagavatpada's discussion in the Sutra
Bhashya quote provided by me.  This Veda belongs to the vyAvahArika realm
and therefore not absolutely Satyam as Brahman is.  Hence the question
comes: how can this ultimately mithya Veda teach us anything valid about
Brahman, which teaching is a sine qua non for Brahma jnAna and moksha?  This
is the subject matter of the article under consideration.

What the Acharya of Sringeri is saying is something different -  Atman is
our very Self and we are not aware of It 'as our very Self'.  Due to
mUlAvidyA, as confirmed by Narada to Sanatkumara:  मन्त्रविदेवास्मि, न
आत्मवित्  I am a knower of the mantras alone; I am not a knower of Atman, we
do not know the Atman as our Self.  To remedy this situation, we approach
the Veda which instructs us about the nature of Brahman and all the other
sadhanas for its 'realization'; really its recognition.  While all one has
to do is to only give up avidya, one will have to be equipped with the
knowledge about Brahman/Atman so that when we are face to face with it, we
should be able to recognize It as 'This is my Atman, me'  आत्मानं चेत्
विजानीयात् अयं अस्मि इति पूरुषः....This is a must.  This knowledge 'about'
Brahman/Atman is extremely essential because there is every possibility of
an aspirant ending up concluding something else as Atman.  The other
candidates that compete with the real Atman are: the mind, the intellect,
the ego, blankness. (ref. to the 5th verse of the SrIdakshinamurti
stotram).  To take care that one does not end up knowing the non-Atman as
the Atman, the Veda as a pramANa is essential to inform us what in truth is
the Atman.   When the Acharya speaks about 'the endeavour to eradicate
Avidya', this instruction includes the possession of the knowledge of what
is Atman/Brahman in unmistakable terms.

Thus, we see the synthesis, not conflict, between what Bhagavatpada says and
what the Sringeri Acharya says.

In this light, when the header is viewed, it can be appreciated that it is
in tune with what Bhagavatpada has established in that Sutra Bhashya, and
also as borne out by the various examples we have cited.

Your identifying the BhAvarUpa Avidya in the UpadeshasAhasri verse is a very
pertinent exercise indeed.  Thank you for bringing this to our light.

With best regards,

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