svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 2 19:07:40 CDT 2010
> I am going to add to an already confused issue.
Shrinivas, the confusion vanishes if we observe the norms of textual
interpretation that Sankara bhagavatpAda follows.
> From 15.16,15.17 we have uttama puruSa distinct from akSara puruSa.
> We call this uttama puruSa - vAsudeva, parameshvara.
> His sakti Adi mAyA is also referred to as akSara. The puruSa that operates
> within mAyA (is limited by mAyA) is akSara puruSa (paramAtmA). Hence
> it makes sense to place uttama puruSa above akSara puruSa.
In the 15th chapter, kshara purusha and akshara purusha are described.
Here, the akshara purusha is further identified as the kUTastha and not
identified with the highest (param) brahman.
> From 8.3 we know that this akSara (Adi mAyA) is what is termed as
> param brahma. Since uttama puruSa is beyond akSara (Adi mAyA),
In 8.3, akshara is used as an adjective to describe the highest (param)
brahman. The reference here is not to the akshara purusha = kUTastha
of chapter 15.
> from view point of uttama puruSa it seems okay to split 13.13 verse as:
> anAdi matparam brahma na sat tat na asat ucyate.
Because the referents of the adjective akshara are different in chapters
8 and 15, this split is not consistent with the sense of the gItA. It is not
just a question of parsing compound words and deciding where one word
ends and another begins in a text. There has to be an internal consistency
within each verse and overall consistency in the text when you interpret
it. In chapter 13, bhagavAn kRshNa says he will reveal ([pravakshyAmi)
that which is to be known (jneyaM yat tat) - this is the pratijnA. What is
the purpose of knowing that? Knowing this one becomes immortal (jnAtva
amRtam aSnute) - this is the phala. This is nothing other than the highest
(param) brahman, i.e. the uttama purusha, not the akshara purusha of
chapter 15. > This split also agrees with 14.3 which says:
> mama yonir mahat brahma tasmin garbham dadhAmi aham
> (my womb is mahat brahma in that I provide the seed for foetus)
Here, prakRti is called mahat and is the yoni. It is also called brahma but
note the absence of the word param here.
The words brahma and AtmA have to be understood very carefully,
according to context, or else one will head into all sorts of contradictions,
e.g. in the taittirIya upanishad, annamaya, prANamaya etc are variously
called AtmA, in stages, and in the bRhadAraNyaka, we have vAg vai
brahma - speech is brahman. We cannot go about thinking that because
advaita takes "ayam AtmA brahma" as the key teaching, we can then
start wondering whether vAk = devI sarasvatI = anna or prANa or manas etc.
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