[Advaita-l] The Treatment of Avidya in Advaita - Part 1

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed Apr 28 04:18:33 CDT 2010

sAshtAnga praNAms Sri Vidya prabhuji
Hare Krishna

I think this line  of argument is getting really ridiculous. Bhaskar, 
you requested me to ignore your postings and although Sri Subrahmanian
can answer your comments directly, let me make some observations here,
beginning with stating my admiration of your penchant to argue everything
with such enthusiasm too!

>  Thanks for your kind compliments prabhuji...As you know, if at all I am 
able to speak face to face today on advaita vedAnta with the professional 
vedAntins like Sri Subbu prabhuji, it is only yours & Sri Jaldhar vyas 
prabhuji's 'krupAkatAksha'...there is nothing that can be claimed as 
'mine' (OK, but I own the responsibility of misunderstanding of shankara 
vedAnta, since you are saying that :-))Thus, when it comes to debating 
issues, normally I donot want to engage myself in arguments with both of 
you...Below, prabhuji, you can just see my blunt observations on your 
mail. Once again, I may sound argumentative here but that is not my 
intention prabhuji, it is like that simply because I donot know better way 
to express my thoughts.  Anyway, whatever you say in reply, is the final 
word prabhuji, there will be no more mails to you in this thread from me. 

When someone examines any topic in advaita and makes an observation
or conclusion different from yours (by this I mean not you alone 
but many people wedded to the particular interpretation of Sri SSS), the
response is, (a) one should look only at the adhyAsa-bhAshya, either in
exclusion to everything else or as a yardstick to measure everything else,

>  No prabhuji, we the followers of Sri SSS, in this particular thread on 
avidyA (kindly see the subject heading 'TREATMENT OF AVIDYA IN ADVAITA') 
saying for any clarification on avidyA/adhyAsa, shankara's adhyAsa bhAshya 
is the right source because as you know, shankara has exclusively written 
about this very concept.

(b) why read so many other commentators?, or 

>  yes, because, commentators are not at all unanimous in their opinion & 
shankara's bhAshya is self sufficient.

(c) why spend so much time on avidyA, rather than on vidyA?, or 

> I've not said this prabhuji How can I??!! when I love 'avidyA' topic 
somuch :-))

(d) how is this relevant for a jignAsu who is not interested in 
hair-splitting arguments?

>  Yes, for a sincere seeker (mumukshu) these hair splitting arguments 
based on mUlabhAshya, vArtika-s, vyAkhyAna-s, prakaraNa grantha-s etc. 
etc. not at all necessary, it rather confuses & complicates his mOksha 
sAdhana way!! But for the loquacious characters like me these hair 
splitting arguments is a worthy pastime at office:-))


However, when you want to examine the same topic in advaita and get
into hair-splitting arguments over whether the adhyAsa-bhAshya should
be privileged over all other texts, or when you want to dismiss other sub-
commentators as having fundamentally misunderstood everything, or
when you want to examine avidyA in order to debunk what others say
about it, the answer to others is that they are taking things "out of

>  I am not able to get your point prabhuji..I am not saying adhyAsa 
bhAshya is the source material to understand whole of shankara bhAshya...I 
am just saying to understand particular topic adhyAsa/avidya, shankara's 
introduction to sUtra bhAshya is right source, if it is not kindly let me 
know the other source..And with regard to my slogan 'out of context' :-)) 
I think I have clarified why I am thinking so and Smt. Savitri mAtAji also 
confirmed how the bhAshya quoted on liberation is totally irrelevant to 
the present context of the discussion.

Sorry, it doesn't work this way on a discussion list. The context doesn't
get to be decided unilaterally by any one party in a debate or 
discussion.The context is established initially by the first poster in any 
given thread; it gets refined as others post their own thoughts and may 
even change
to a completely different emphasis as the discussion progresses. That is
why we use the device of changing the subject line every so often.

>  if the context itself is a debatable issue where is the question of 
discussion & debates prabhuji?? we should keep on getting clarification 
from both the parties every time we hear from them..:-)) If you say 
context itself is not static & emphasization changes from mail to mail 
then there will be no concrete 'vishaya' to discuss..is it not prabhuji?? 
Anyway, even if we agree with your above observation, in the present 
thread those developments have yet to take place and context is yet to 
change from 'avidya' & its svarUpa to 'mukti' and its means. 

If a discussion of avidyA and adhyAsa in the prasthAna trayI bhAshyas is 
not intimately tied to a vicAra of bandha-moksha and does not directly 
lead to a discussion of bandha and moksha, I fail to see what will. And if 
one cannot quote a sentence about moksha when analyzing the cause for 
bandha, when indeed can that sentence be

>  IMO, though adhyAsa/avidyA vichAra has the intimate relationship with 
bandha-mOksha vichAra, the discussion here is still at the stage of 
avidyA, its svarUpa, its lakshaNa, the usage of the term etc.  So, that is 
the reason why I said the discussion is ALL ABOUT avidyA vichAra & its 
intricacies & implications in advaita..We are yet to take the topic of 
mOksha that annihilates the bandha completely..Without understanding this 
simple issue,  Sri subbu prabhuji, all of a sudden come out with a bhAshya 
quote on 'mOksha' vichAra..As you know,  bandha & mOksha vichAra are 
mutually different issues altogether.  This is the reason why I reiterated 
quoting the bhAshya vAkya in support of mOksha when bandha is the issue 
for discussion is totally out of context.. 

FYI, Sankara bhagavatpAda does not give any title to his introduction to 
the sUtrabhAshya. The "adhyAsa bhAshya" is a title given by others to this 
small portion of his vast writings. 

>  Through your krupa, I know this simple vichAra prabhuji..But I dont 
know how this fact has any bearing on our ongoing discussion !!??

Almost every upanishad bhAshya also has an introduction; it is just part 
of Sankara bhagavatpAda's style
of writing commentaries. His introduction to the bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya is 
a highly important one too. He has provided an even longer introduction to 
the gItA bhAshya and has not provided any commentary on the entire
first chapter of the gItA. 

>  Yes, shankara has written introduction to even each & every chapter in 
geeta & adhikaraNa in sUtra and we do study those introductions in our 
bhAshya shAnti..

One could well hold that everything in the prasthAna trayI bhAshyas needs 
to be understood with respect to the
introduction on the gItAbhAshya or the bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya. This kind of 
argument ultimately goes nowhere and it would be better if we drop it and 
move on to more constructive studies of the texts. 

>  again, I am failed to grasp your line of argument here...prabhuji, do 
you think adhyAsa bhAshya is not the right source to understand shankara's 
position on adhyAsa/avidyA?? When shankara dedicated this introduction 
exclusively to explain this very topic, why there is any need to search 
for some special & superficial  meaning to this term?? If at all the term 
avidyA needs more stretched meaning like upAdAna kAraNa, mUlAvidyA, 
brahmAbhinna, jadAtmika, jnAna virOdhi, positive entity etc. shankara 
would have incorporated those meanings in this very introduction 
itself..is it not??  because, this is exactly where he is clearly & 
categorically clarifying his position on avidyA OR adhyAsa.

>  This is my last mail to you on this thread prabhuji...As I said above, 
I donot want to be argumentative with you anymore. 



Your humble servant
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

ps. In previous posts, I have provided ample material clarifying my 
and my problems with your positions. I have not merely given you a 
and I don't think it is right for you to claim so. 

>  I accept my fault prabhuji..pls. forgive me.

Re: the yAvad adhikAra sUtra, I have not found the time yet to discuss it 
with the detail that it needs. I
had hoped to start over the weekend, but couldn't.

>  Kindly take your time prabhuji, I am not in a hurry..I know how 
difficult it is to concentrate on vedAnta being a samsAri..saMsAra ghOra 
gahana jagadeesha raksha, prays advaitAchArya.

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