[Advaita-l] FW: Avidya, Jnanis and SSS' views

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 30 11:06:04 CDT 2010

> Mandana makes a compelling argument
> with regard to the Prarabdha that according to him Chandogya only insists
> that once the Brahma jnana is accomplished, the Prabdha gets ‘quickly’
> fructified and that after the fall of body the mukta attains absolute
> oneness with Brahman. The longitivity of the term ‘ciram’ as Mandana
> interprets the term to be ‘Ksiprata’ which indicates quickness. ‘tavadeva’
> as Mandanacharya points out is ‘avadhivisesam’ equivalent to the magnitude
> of expression ‘only as long as’ clearly refers to ‘Ksiprata’ and would
> justify immediacy in terms of ‘sadyomukti’ rather than Jivanmukti [§266,
> R.B; 1976]. Thus on the very moment of onset of Brahman knowledge Prarabdha
> gets completely exhausted and through Avidya-astamaya leads to Anubhuti.
> Sankara too makes almost a similar comment in his Sutra Bhasya III.iii.32
> ‘pravRttaphalasya tu KarmAshayasya mukteSoH iva vegakSayAt nivRttiH’ where

Dear Sri Devanathan,


The difference between maNDana and Sankara on this point is this.
While the former puts his own interpretation of kshipratA or quickness
into the issue here, the latter leaves it completely open. Whether the
prArabdha karmA-phala-bhoga that is remaining takes one second or
a hundred years is an unnecessary diversion to the issue. This is how
I see bhagavatpAda Sankara and his followers as treating the problem.

On maNDana's showing, the body of a jnAnI should die soon after the
rise of jnAna, if not at the very moment of the rise of jnAna. That is
a totally unreasonable position, in my opinion. It also has a very uneasy
relationship with time. How soon is soon enough?!! Whereas in Sankara
bhagavatpAda's view, time is irrelevant to this issue. As Anand Hudli has
already pointed out, this view of kshipratA forces maNDana to consider
that the sthitaprajna is an advanced sAdhaka only, not a jnAnI. On the
other hand, Sankara bhagavatpAda only uses a general "kaMcit kAlam"
in sUtrabhAshya 4.1.15. For him, the sthitaprajna is one in whom jnAna
has arisen and who is in that state of jnAna. He does not say anything
about how long that state needs to last, either ideally or in actuality.
The kshaya of the vega of the mukta ishu (expense of momentum of
the released arrow) is only dependent on how much momentum there
was in the first place, along with external factors such as resistance,
added impetus along its flight etc. The only consistent advaitic view
of this would be for a jnAnI to say, "guNA guNeshu vartante" and to
view the prArabdha karma phala bhoga as a disinterested witness, for
however short or long that "kaMcit kAlam" lasts.  It is only Sankara
bhagavatpAda's explanation that makes sense, because according to
maNDana's explanation, no ciranjIvI, including Suka, could be a jnAnI,
only an advanced sAdhaka at best!

The other problem is that maNDana's view intimately ties moksha with
literal disembodiment and thereby considers this moksha as a real result.
This is a faulty view, because jAtasya hi dhruvo mRtyuH - that which is
born is definitely susceptible to death, it is not eternal. On the other
hand, Sankara bhagavatpAda's view is that the disembodiment can be
literal or figurative; it doesn't matter for jnAna. In this view, moksha is
never a result, but jnAna uncovers the ever-existing reality of moksha.


In a sense, the jIvan-mukta is also sadyo-mukta and videha-mukta even
while the deha continues, IF one loosens the definitions of the latter two
terms a little and understands them more figuratively. sadyo-mukta, as
there is no good reason to talk of a delay between the rise of jnAna and
its "result" of moksha and sarvAtmatva. The chAndogya Sruti, tAvad eva
ciram applies to "this" embodiment, not to the ultimate reality of the jnAnI.
vi-deha-mukta, because there is no future embodiment for him (na sa
punar Avartate, na tasya prANA utkrAmanti, ityAdi SrutibhyaH). I believe
the jIvanmuktiviveka has something to say about this view of jIvanmukti
vis-a-vis videhamukti. If I can find the relevant quotes, I will post them
here. Even while in the present deha, the true jnAnI no longer identifies
with it and with tyAga, vairAgya and Atma-vijnAna-smRti-saMtati, the
varishTha jnAnI checks the latent tendency of the deha, its prANa-s
and indriya-s to hanker after their objects and to embark upon further
meaningless karmA. Let me reiterate that this is only a comment based
on a figurative reconfiguration of these terms. I am not claiming that this
is what all the post-Sankaran authors say or intend to say when they
talk of jIvanmukti, videhamukti and sadyomukti.




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