saguNa and nirguNa are the same

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Dec 15 13:26:44 CST 1999

On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan wrote:

> What I understand from the above is that something that is within the
> realm of avidyaa cannot counteract avidyaa.

It can negate some aspects of it but cannot go one step further and tell
you the "big picture."

> [..]
> But if shruti were in the realm of avidyaa, how can it remove ignorance?

Because the ignorant Jiva thinks it can! :-)

As Brahman is not a "thing" that can be inferred or perceived, only the
Shabdapramana--Shruti and Smrti can be the valid means of knowledge of it.
But in order to be able to unsderstand words one must first have a prior
understanding of their meaning.  Shankaracharya gives as an example, the
phrase "Devadatta is a lion."  Now this doesn't mean Devadatta is actually
a lion.  It's a metaphor meaning "Devadatta is strong, brave, fierce etc."
to be able to be able to understand this, one must first understand what a
lion is and how it can be compared to a person.  In the same way by
hearing and understanding mahavakyas like Tatvamasi, an association is
made with something you always "knew" but somehow forgot or failed to
recognize.  A while back there was a story in the newspaper about the
discovery of a prehistoric man who had been frozen alive in some glacier
in Canada (or maybe it was Alaska.)  He had lain there forgotten for
thousands of years when suddenly an avalanche revealed his existence.
The avalanche did not "purposefully" reveal the hidden man but it brought
about the conditions where he could be seen.  In the same way the shastras
cannot "cause" jnana, but they bring about the conditions in which jnana

Shwetaketu complains to his father that he has learned the 14 vidyas (4
vedas, 4 upaveda, and 6 vedangas) but still doesn't understand the Highest
but it was due to his earlier learning he later was able to grasp it.
Also in the chandogyopanishad is given the example of Indra and Virochana
the kings of the Devas and Danavas respectively.  Both heard the teaching
of the Highest self but Virochana lacked the context to grasp it so he
misinterpreted it to mean only his own individual self mattered.  Indra
was better prepared so he understood its true meaning.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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