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

Antharyami sathvatha at gmail.com
Fri Apr 30 22:57:30 CDT 2010


Sri Vidyasankar ji, Pranam-s,

I place Mandana in the post-Sankara period. Mandana’s treatment of Prarabdha
in his interpretation of the term with ‘Ksiprata’ in the light of Changodya
in my view completes the metaphysical scheme in a sense that it fills in the
soetiological process without giving scope to lacuna left over by Sankara.
Your argument that the issue has an ‘uneasy relationship’ with time is not
very strong point here; for the very notion of Prarabdha is innately
conceived and tied to the concept of time relatively with Sancita and Agami
particularly in the post-jnana scenario for a seeker. It is indeed
‘unreasonable’ not to expect an interpretation that is not concerned with
‘time’ factor in this issue. In fact, Chandogya Sruti itself is centrally
concerned with time for it speaks about ‘delay’ and ‘longetivity’ which
Mandana gives due weightage in his interpretation. The ontological quotient
of Karma stated in Chandogya for the possessor of remnant prarabdha needs to
be tallied in accordance with the Mundaka Sruti, and I see there can be no
other alternative interpretation possible as forwarded by Mandana
considering the validity of Sadyomukti. As a part of reconciliation, the
best one can do here is to equate Jivanmukti with Videha where ‘dehapata’
begins at the time when ‘avidya astamaya’ takes place and that it begins ‘at
once’ at the onset of knowledge which is sadyomukti as advocated by Mandana.
 He also points out that the ‘ksaya’ of deha ‘immediately’ after Jnanotpatti
is regarded only as an apparent process of exhaustion and not the operation
of prarabdha phala in the sense of being functional. Thus Jivanmukti atmost
can be held figurative of Videha which in proper metaphysical assessment
speaks for Sadyomukti alone. The fact that none of the preSankaran Advaitins
have used the term ‘Jivanmukti’ and that Sankara himself makes no explicit
mention on the term ‘Jivanmukti’ nowhere in the prasthana traya bhasya
(except for one place in the Gita Bhasya), (even in the best possible place
ie., sutra – IV.i.15) I would argue that the Jivanmukti’ is constructed as a
mere ‘polemic category’ in the post- Sankaran genesis of Advaita Vedanta
that is highly misunderstood by scholars and seekers.  ‘The entire
post-Sankaran dialiects upon the concept of ‘Jivanmukti’ has been heavily
 misrepresented  and that the conceptual bifurcation of Jivanmukti and
Videhamukti / Sadyomukti in my opinion is an apparent process of change that
happened through the ages.

 Further I do not see Mandana – Sankara contradiction with regard to the
state of Sthitaprajna as a sadhaka and not as a mukta in the former’s view.
Observing Acarya’s definition of Sthitaprajna ‘sthitA pratiSThitA ‘ahaM asmi
paraM brahma’ iti prajnA yasya sa sthitaprajnaH’. if Sthitaprajna is taken
as one who has already accomplished ‘aham Brahma pratiti’ , for him
‘sthiratva’ buddhi does not make any sense whatsoever; for a mukta –
stability of mind becomes ‘vaiyartha’ – irrelevant. The term Prajna – as
Madhusadana takes it to be state of Samadhi and not Mukti, and relates to
Niscalatmaka buddhi, which implies that the akandakara vrtti is yet to be
accomplished. On the other hand Mandana’s opinion as I see it, is in tune
with the Sankara’s definition, where Sthitaprajna is taken to be the seeker
of highest order, for he is pursuing the process of Nidhidhyasana – which
speaks for continuous contemplation of ‘aham brahmasmi’ expression, which
extends to the point where the all the three asambhavana-s gets annihilated
one by one. Acharya himself in the verse II.55 clarifies the term
sthitaprajna once again as ‘atma-anatma vivekaja prAjna’ – to say that he is
a Sampanna Sadhaka who in the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi rejoices the sarva
vrtti sunyatva and yet awaits mukti.  I could relate this to Sankara’s
expression ‘samAna pratyaya pravAhena dIrgakAlan …’ in chp XII to SthitA
prAjnA, who can be taken only as a Sadhaka and not otherwise. Once this is
done, the sthitaprajna’s avidya nivrtti is fulfilled and he finally becomes
‘kRta-kRtyavAn’. In my opinion, Sankara must be read in the light of Brahma
Siddhi, as Mandana is best glossator ever in the tradition whom Vacaspati
takes cue from.

With Narayana Smrti,


10th VaishAka / VikRti
Doctoral Student,
Centre for the Study of Religion,
Jackman Humanities Building,
170 St. George Street, floor 3,
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8.

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