[Advaita-l] BhAvarUpa ajnAna/avidya Part 2

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Mar 18 19:47:54 CDT 2010

 Scriptural proof for the above conclusion:

In the Bhagavadgita, for instance, we have several verses that show that
this power called ajnAna/avidyA/Maya is ‘connected’ with some or the other
sentient entity:

·        दैवी ह्येषा गुणमयी मम माया दुरत्यया 7.14 ( This My  ‘mAyA’ that is
divine and is attributed is extremely difficult to transcend).  Here mAyA is
related to the Lord, for He says: it is ‘My’ mAyA.  We can see this षष्ठी
सम्बन्ध between the Lord and mAyA.  It is impossible to have a sambandha
with a non-existent entity.  Thus Maya is bhAvarUpa.

·        ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः .....(Whosever ignorance has
been dispelled by knowledge....) Here too, as in the previous case, ajnAna
is related to a sentient entity, a jiva.  The word आत्मनः is denotive
of a  षष्ठी
सम्बन्ध between ajnana and the jiva.  And, ‘ajnAnam’ of /pertaining to the
Atman.  It is ‘his’ ajnana that has been now destroyed owing to his gaining
atma jnAna.  This ‘sambandha’ is impossible to even refer to, even in the
avidyA-kRuta bandha avasthA, if the ajnAna were to be a ‘abhAva’ vastu just
as a hare’s horn.  We cannot say ‘This man is the proud owner of a very
expensive hare’s horn’.  On the other hand we can say with all validity
‘this lady is the owner of a huge coffee plantation’.

·        In the 14th Chapter of the Bhagavadgita it is said:

सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणाः प्रकृतिसंभवाः (14.5) (sattva, rajas and tamas are
guNa-s born of PrakRti)  This shows that ‘tamas’ is an effect, kAryam, of
PrakRti, the kAraNam.  From this we can easily conclude that since a kAryam,
effect, cannot be an abhAvarUpa entity, tamas is essentially a bhAvarUpa
vastu.  Shankaracharya has said in the definition of avidya that it is
‘taamasa pratyaya’, a transformation of tamas.  Equally forcefully this Gita
verse teaches us that a kAraNam, cause, cannot be an abhAva vastu, a
non-existent entity.  Since PrakRti/mAya is taught as the kAraNam of tamas,
it has to be a bhAva vastu.  We cannot say: ‘this vandhyA putra has sired
three children’.  Nor can we say ‘this offspring is a vandhyAputra’.  Thus
from this study we conclude that ‘tamas’, that avidya/ajnana is, has to be a
bhAva  padArtha and never an abhAva padartha.

·        The Gita 14.16 specifically teaches: अज्ञानं तमसः फलम् ( ignorance
is the effect of tamas.

·        By the same logic we have to conclude that since Shankaracharya has
said that avidya, a taamasa pratyaya, manifests itself as vipareeta grahaNa,
otherwise called adhyAsa (atasmin tad buddhiH), it has to be a bhAva vastu.
For, an abhAva vastu cannot be admitted to manifest/bring forth/cause
various effects such as adhyAsa, samshaya.  Thus, according to Shankara, it
is beyond doubt, that avidyA, a तामसप्रत्ययः, is the भावरूपकारणं of

·        Now, the Acharya has also taught that this adhyAsa born or
avidya/ajnana is the cause of samsara.  Therefore we further conclude that
adhyAsa is a bhAvarUpa vastu.  Its cause, avidya/ajnana is already
determined to be a bhAva vastu.

·        Thus, the kAraNa avidya and its kArya adhyasa/samshaya have to be
bhAva vastu-s alone and their being an abhava vastu is totally beyond reason
and scriptural evidence.  To reiterate, any kAraNa and any kArya cannot be a
abhAva vastu; they have to be bhAvarUpa alone.

(To be continued in Part 3)

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