Fwd: Re: Brahmasuutra-3b

Ravi Mayavaram miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM
Tue Sep 12 17:48:30 CDT 2000

In response to the message

Vidya wrote the following

Here is the text of the message:

--- In advaitin at egroups.com, "Vidyasankar Sundaresan"
<vsundaresan at h...> wrote:

> I see quite clearly that element 2 (jiivahood) is the
> adyaasa part, which should be replaced by Brahman,
> giving place to the corrected statement "I am Brahman",
> in which then there would be no adyaasa.

In discussing the Advaita concept of adhyaasa, it would be useful to
be clear about the following -

1. what is meant by jiiva-hood ?
2. what is meant by Brahman?

Let us begin at the outermost extent, the body. In the sentence, "I
am fat", an attribute of the physical body (fatness) is superimposed
on the "I", and an attribute of "I"-ness is superimposed on the
physical body. The fat person can go on a diet and become thin, which
shows that fatness and thinness are not intrinsic to the "I". The
person can die, and then there is only the body, there is no more "I"
associated with it. To cremate or bury a corpse is a funeral. To burn
or bury a person alive is a crime. Therefore, the superimposition is
mutual (itaretara), not just one way.

Nevertheless, we see that people make these kinds of statements (I am
fat/thin, born/dying, happy/unhappy) all the time, attributing
qualities to "I", that do not intrinsically belong to that "I". This
is adhyaasa, plain and simple. Who is it that is doing the adhyaasa?
The question is quite meaningless as such, because adhyaasa is done
by everybody. Asking the question is as fruitless as trying to search
for an entity called "darkness" by lighting a lamp. When we ask, "Who
am I?" AtmavicAra starts, and the adhyaasa begins to disappear.

In the statement "I am jiiva is an adhyaasa", the word jiiva is
shorthand for "suffering, in bondage (saMsAra), unhappy, hating
things that hurt my body and mind, loving things that give pleasure
to my body and mind." This "saMsAritva" is not an intrinsic
characteristic of the real "I" and therefore it is an adhyaasa. Who
is doing this adhyaasa? The jiiva itself. Clearly, it is paradoxical,
but the idea is not to "explain" the paradox, or to assert that the
paradox is impossible. The idea is to find a way out of it. The jiiva
identifying with the mind, body and world feels that it suffers from
bondage, and is in saMsAra. The jiiva has to investigate itself and
find out that it is really Brahman, free from error, change etc.

In all discussion about Brahman, the direction of enquiry should be
from the many to the one. One should not get distracted in an enquiry
directed the other way round. This is covered in the third and fourth
chapters of the brahmasUtras. Hope this clarifies things from the
brahmasUtra perspective.

--- End forwarded message ---

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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