[Advaita-l] mAya and avidyA are not synonyms
bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed Dec 7 02:50:58 CST 2016
If I remember right, I had written about this earlier also in either of the groups but don't remember.
Before equating mAya and avidyA atleast we should first understand what is mAya and avidyA as per bhAshya.
According to shruti, geetAchArya and bhAshyakAra, mAya is some sort of Shakti, which is brahmAnanya, nitya, akshara, anirvachaneeya. And shankara categorically states that we have to accept this mAya Shakti in brahman if not brahma will not be a creator and whole srushti prakriya goes into thin air and shruti which talks extensively on srushti prakriya becomes apramANya. Na hi tayA vinA parameshwarasya srashtutvaM siddhyati, Shakti rahitasya tasya pravruttyanupapatteH. And elsewhere bhAshyakAra further confirms through mAyAshakti only brahman would get the pravrutti to do this creation but in his svarUpa he always nishkriya. paramAtmanastu svarUpavyapAshrayaM audAseenyaM mAyAvyapAshrayaM cha pravartakatvaM. Like this between kAraNa brahma and kArya jagat there exist a Shakti and that Shakti is the reason for the vyAkruta jagat of nAma rUpa. Though it has been said that this Shakti is in between kAraNa and kArya, this Shakti belongs to brahman (kAraNa) only and not a separate force. This has been clearly stated by geetAchArya mama svarUpabhUtA madeeya mAyA and bhAshyakAra confirms this by stating : kAraNasya AtmabhUtA shaktiH shakteshcha AtmabhUtaM kAryaM, sA shaktiH brahmaiva ahaM Shakti Shakti matOH ananyatvAt. And the paryAya pada-s for this Shakti / mAyA is prakruti, vaishNavi mAya, mUla prakruti, akshara, avyaktA etc. This Shakti is divine not dOsha or anishta like jeevAshrita avidyA. Hence geetAchArya affectionately says it is mine (mama mAyA) : daivee hyeshA guNamayee mama mAyA duratyayA. This mAyA has been ulogised as parameshwari in some purANa-s as well, that is the reason why we have the names like mAyAdevi, mAyAvati, yOga mAya etc. not avidyAvati, avidyA devi etc. :) And again this mAya, as per geetAchArya has two prakruti-s i.e. para and apara. As we all know aparA prakruti is paNcha tanmAtra-s and samashti BMI of hiraNyagarbha (ashta vidhA prakruti) and para prakruti is jeeva who is ultimately nothing but brahman. Since for this aparA prakruti brahman is the only abhinna nimittOpadAna kAraNa this aparA prakruti is nothing different from brahman. Hence shruti says AtmanaH AkAsha saMbhUtaH, akAshAt vAyuH, vAyOragniH, agnerApaH, ApaH pruthivi etc. And this mAyA is anirvachaneeya as well since from the kArya drushti it is not brahman since there is no bhinnatva in brahman no variety in brahman (neha nAnAsti kiMchana) but at the same time this bhinnatva does not have any independent existence apart from that ekaM. Shankara gives foam, water example for this and this anirvachaneeya mAyA is avyakta. avyaktA hi sA mAyA tattvAnyatva nirUpaNasya ashakyatvAt. And this avyAkruta /avyakta Shakti of brahman before creation called mUla prakruti which has been categorically addressed as brahman only. yA mUlaprakrutiH abhyupagamyate tadeva cha nO brahma. Now, if we replace these vaishNavi mAya, avyakta, avyAkruta, mUla prakruti, akshara words with the avidyA, the arthahAni is quite conspicuous. Because avidyA which has been defined in Advaita is entirely different from the above divine power i.e. mAya.
So, what is avidyA ?? We don't get better place other than adhyAsa bhAshya to know what is avidyA according to bhAshyakAra. The point to be noted that in this comprehensive analysis of adhyAsa shankara nowhere equates avidyA with mAya and say avidyA is anirvachaneeya and this avidyA is tattvAnyatva nirUpaNasya ashakyaM. OTOH, by taking the example of day to day activities shankara explains the nature of avidyA which results in adhyAsa. Those who have studied this in detail know that avidyA is agrahaNa , ajnAna or jnAnAbhAva that jeeva does not know that he is brahman. And this not-knowing the real nature of his results in mis-conception (adhyAsa, anyathA grahaNa, vipareeta buddhi atasmin tat buddhiH) And shankara in general calls this adhyAsa itself as avidyA (vide adhyAsa bhAshya). And elsewhere shankara confirms that unlike mAyA Shakti which is brahmAnanya, avidyA does not have any existence in brahman / Atman...sA cha avidyA nAtmanaH svAbhAvikO dharmaH because Atman is ever shuddhaM, nirmalaM, avidyAmala rahitaM, mukta svarUpaM. And this has been further clarified by shankara kAtaka shruti bhAshya that avidyA is only jeeva's mess in reality it does not pertains to him. lOkO hi avidyayA sva Atmana adhyastayA kAma karmOdbhavaM duHkhaM anubhavati na tu sA paramArthataH svAtmani. Since this avidyA is abhAva rUpa it can be effaced completely after the dawn of jnana if avidyA is a vastu, a thing or bhAva then it cannot be eradicated by any dosage of jnana. Na hi bhAvAnAM niranvayO nirupAkhyO vinAshaH saMbhavati it is just because nabhAvO vidyate sataH says geetAchArya. By giving the cataract example, shankara explains this avidyA / adhyAsa is karaNa dOsha not relating to kshetrajnA, and jeeva's samsara is because of this anishta avidyA.
Underthese circumstance, when mAyA is denoted as brahma Shakti and avidyA is explained as jeeva's weakness, when one has the ashraya in brahman and another has the Ashraya of mAyA kArya, when one is anirvachaneeya and another one is nirvachaneeya ( an entire chapter has been dedicated to explain avidyA /adhyAsa I don't know where it has been said that avidyA is anirvachaneeya). And when one is compared to divine power and another one is compared to tAmasa pratyaya and when one is compared to 'anna' and another one is compared to 'visha', and when one is the kAraNa for the srushti lAya and another one is the kAraNa for ahaMkAra mamakAra, bhOktrutva, kartrutva...etc. etc. One cannot illogically compare these different aspect as one and the same just going by eka vAkya of bhAshyakAra where he assers : avidyAtmikA hi beeja shaktiH avyakta pada nirdeshya.
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
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