[Advaita-l] jnAna-nishtha and jnAni (Was Re:A matter for Adjudication)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 15 18:15:49 CDT 2010

> One more attempt before I rest my case.
> There is no process for jnAnotpatti, there is process for sAdhana cAthusthaya sampatti, and seeking eligibility for jnAna - this is purusha-tantra as you know. The rest is vastu-tantra. There are no stages of jnAna, or stages beyond the rise of samyag-jnAna (quotes below as requested). 
> "Process" is a misnomer for realization - we are already knowledge/bliss all the time; process implies a sequence which implies time, and time is an offspring of avidya, it cannot be required for jnAna. So, it is a rather silly question to ask "when does realization happen?" This is why sruti says moksha is here and now, not after the fall of the body, or someother event. If you believe in a "process", how can you say vedanta vAkya is the absolute pramANa for jnAna, you still need kAla to rescue you. Also, how would you reconcile "moksha here and now"?

At the outset, thanks a million for changing the subject line to a very apt
one. However, as I could have predicted, you misinterpret my words.
Please point out to me where I say that jnAnotpatti is a process. I said
that it is a stage and you have very appropriately, if inadvertantly, used
the term jnAna-nishThA here. As I understand Sankara bhagavatpAda,
samyag-jnAna-prApti is the starting point of jnAna-nishThA.

Let me ask this. What exactly do you mean by jnAna-nishThA? Is nishThA
in jnAna something that happens prior to the attainment of jnAna or after?
Can an ajnAnI be in jnAna-nishThA? Or is it a jnAnI who is in that state? If
you now tell me that the attainment of samyag-jnAna is not an event in time,
and that we should not even talk of a before and an after in this context,
then why should one even use the term jnAna-nishThA at all? The word jnAna
would suffice. So long as you think there is something called jnAna-niShThA,
don't you need kAla to rescue you too? And let us stop with the ad nauseum
usage of the purusha-tantra and vastu-tantra distinction. I would like to
know, what do you think is jnAna-tantra or jnAnI-tantra or jnAna-nishThA-

I quote your statement, "brahmavidya destroys avidya by terminating in brahman-
experience; resulting in moksha and its results can be experienced right away."
Does this brahman-experience happen in time? Is the termination a something in
space and/or in time? Is it at the end of jnAna-nishThA or at its beginning or
somewhere along the way? Is moksha a result? What are its results, how are
they experienced and who experiences them right away? Does the experience
happen in time? If not, why not? And pray, what is this "right away" exactly -
is it a moment in time or is it a period in time or is it beyond time? In the last
case, why even say "right away" at all? Again, don't you need kAla to rescue
you too?!! Finally, how is your idea of brahman-experience different from what
your opposite paksha describes as sAkshAtkAra? Does brahmavidyA take any
time at all, before it terminates in brahman-experience, according to you?

Why does Sankara say "SarIrAbdhakasya karmaNo niyata-phalatvAt, samyag-
jnAna prAptAv apy avaSyam bhAvinI pravRttir vA^N-manaH-kAyAnAM?"
(bR. bhAshya 1.4.7)? If this is not a statement that situates samyag-jnAna-
prApti in space and time, what is it? Isn't this entire sentence, nay the entire
passage in which it occurs, totally contradictory of how you understand samyag-
jnAna, its rise and what ensues? Why should the jnAnI care about this bhAvinI
pravRtti? In your account, the pravRtti pertains to the vAk, manas and kAya,
which go by their own destined routes according to their physical laws and the
jnAnI has nothing to do with them. If some person does care, then she is not
a jnAnI, right? In that case, why does Sankara go on to say much more in the
same text (br bhAshya 1.4.7)? I quote,

"labdha vRtteH karmaNo balIyastvAt, mukta-ishvAdi pravRttivat. tena pakshe
prAptaM jnAna-pravRtti daurbalyam. tasmAt tyAga-vairAgyAdi sAdhana-bala-
avalamena Atma-vijnAna-smRti-saMtatir niyantavyA bhavati. prApta-vijnAna-
smRti-saMtAna niyama vidhy arthAni 'vijnAya prajnAM kurvIta' ityAdi vAkyani"

Pray, provide a translation/commentary for the above without compromising your
view that there are no more stages after the rise of samyag-jnAna and your
views about the radical rupture of avidyA-based identification that is supposed
to happen with brahmavidya terminating in brahman-experience.

Is the Atma-vijnAna and the samyag-jnAna-prApti that Sankara bhagavatpAda
refers to here the vAkya janita jnAna or sAkshAtkAra or both or neither? For any
of these alternatives, why is a smRti necessary? When, where and in whom will
that smRti take place? Why doesn't Sankara just say what you say (in Sanskrit
of course), and why does he say something entirely different here instead?
>If you say that the body should drop away with jnAna, that would seem ghastly, as though jnAna were a terrible disease. The physical body continues to its destiny following the causal and physical laws thru' which it came, while the jnAni is completely free from its sting. BTW, this prarabdha is not anything to do with avidya of any sort - avidya of what and to who?
So you are claiming that as long as the body follows its destiny, there is a
a physical body on one side and a jnAnI on another. Does the jnAnI see the
body at all, even if he doesn't identify with it? If yes, isn't there a duality
here again? If no, because you think this would violate brahmavit brahmaiva
bhavati, where did the body and the causal and physical laws governing it
come from? And why should they continue to operate? Why should there be
any laws in the first place to govern this?
It is heartening to note that prArabdha has nothing to do with avidyA? So it
is random chance then, that caused the present birth? So there is really no
reason to talk of avidyA-kAma-karma, right?
> By these quotes (and many others), I say you clearly part company with Shankara. 

When I quote from Sankara's numerous bhAshya-s, I part company with him.
When you quote selectively from only the brahmasUtra bhAshya and fail to
see the larger picture that he presents in this text and other texts, you are
perfectly in tune with him. Great! Thank you for placing me in very illustrious
company, with all the 20 or more commentators over the centuries, whose
works are beneath your scrutiny. 
But do you study the bhAshya-s of Sankara bhagavatpAda fully? You have
still not addressed, very conveniently, I may add, the muNDAka reference
and the bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya references in my earlier post. You have not
cared to investigate what I quoted about jnAna-paripAka in the gItA bhAshya.
Please do not think that labeling these as irrelevant or as being out of context,
the way Bhaskar likes to do, is a valid answer. They go directly to the root of
the issue, namely how does one describe the jnAnI and what is jnAna-nishThA.

The only way I can see your position about samyag-jnAna and moksha and
the jnAnI making any kind of consistently logical sense is the following. A
sAdhaka strives to acquire sAdhana-sampat. This striving is obviously an action,
but because it is directed towards the sAdhana-sampat, it is what is also called
jnAna-nishThA. This ends with samyag-jnAna and then there is nothing after
that. Therefore, the person who is jnAna-nishTha (situated in jnAna), is actually
an ajnAnI who is still afflicted by avidyA and is still striving for jnAna. If you
want the standard dictionary meaning of the word, type in niSThA on
http://webapps.uni-koeln.de/tamil/. If you don't care for dictionary meanings
and want validation only from a bhAshya of Sankara, open gItAbhAshya 3.3
and read ... AtmAnAtma-vishaya-viveka-vijnAnavatAM ... brahmaNy eva
avasthitAnAM nishThA prokttA, when describing jnAna yoga. 
Thus, you have saved your definition of a jnAnI from being "afflicted", as you
call it, by avidyA-leSa, but you have now ended up elevating an ajnAnI to the
position of being nishTha in jnAna! And you have not understood gItAbhAshya
3.3 correctly. Again, pray who is parting company with Sankara here? I submit
that you have not even begun to understand what Sankara bhagavatpAda is
describing as samyag-jnAna. Consequently, your ideas about jnAna-nishThA and
your refusal to constructively address the Sruti and bhAshya sentences on the
topic are so wrong. Now, I could be completely mistaking your intent. So, if 
you have any other logically consistent way of explaining how you can even
use the term jnAna-nishThA when you hold steadfastly that there is nothing
beyond the rise of samyag-jnAna, please enlighten us.
> No, not to ban these discussions, but time and experience indicates there is no use. The only use is that I get clearer as I write my thoughts down, and I have to thank you for that. Each party takes the same quotes and interprets it to their advantage. I find that using quotes on this list has done more harm than help to those new to advaita, they are quoted out of context, with subtle twists to make them work for the situation, etc. The latest misadventure was equating Sri Satchidanandendra Saraswathi Swamiji's baaditha anuvritti to avidya-lesha in a jnAni. As has been explained above, Shankara and Swamiji clearly affirm there can be no avidya after samyag-jnAna for a jnAni.

Yes, I get clearer as I write things down too, so there we are agreed. That 
this is most probably of no use when it comes to discussing with you, I would
also agree. But you and I do not the whole list make. And please don't decry
the use of quotations. The technique of citing from commentaries is not unique
to one side of this debate. Except that some quote extensively and from various
texts, while some quote very selectively from only one text.

And let me tell you, bAdhita anuvRtti is not a term of Sri SSS. It is a restatement
of the bhAshya vAkya. Sankara himself says, bAdhitam api mithyAjnAnam ...
anuvartate - this is with respect to a jnAnI only, not an ajnAnI. And the question
was - on what basis can anyone hold that this is different from what sampradAya
authors call avidyA-leSa? I have not seen a half-way convincing answer to this.
All I have seen so far is, "I don't need to read 20 commentators (I just know they
are all wrong); your quotes are irrelevant and out of context; I understand Sankara
better than you do; how dare you raise a question?" Sorry, these are non-answers
to the core of the problem.

If a quote is claimed to be irrelevant, you need to explain why so. If it is out of
context, you need to explain what you think the proper context is. If you claim
they are being twisted, you need to show how that is being done and untwist it.
Let us get a bit more specific and take it in small pieces. If you can show me how
the br. bhAshya passage I quote earlier in this post is irrelevant to jnAna and
jnAna-nishThA, or how it does not apply to this context, now that would be a
useful discussion. I'm afraid you cannot accuse me of twisting anything, because
I have left the translation and comments of the said passage open to you.
I think it should be clear to any impartial reader what it is that Sankara clearly
affirms and how different it is from what it is that you clearly affirm. I am not
an expert on what Sri SSS clearly affirms, so I can't provide an answer to the
question raised in this thread, but I am sorely disappointed in not finding better
answers from those who claim to represent the views of Sri SSS here.

What does real harm to those new to advaita on this list is to read sarcastic
remarks about sampradAyavAdin-s, who for a thousand years or more have failed
to understand the true SAnkara sampradAya. What does harm to novice members
of the list is to read sneaky comments about the moderators of the list being
bound by sampradAya and therefore not being impartial enough.

Enough said. I won't say anything more on this, till I see a constructive response
from you or anyone else to the specific points I've raised from the bhAshya-s on
the gItA, bRhadAraNyaka and muNDaka upanishad-s.




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