[Advaita-l] Re: Vivekachudamani vs Bhashyas

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 19 19:14:17 CDT 2003

--- Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> called brahmajnAnI as a term of praise (the technical Sanskrit word
> used 
> would be upacAra) and is quite different from the brahmanjnAnI that 
> Sankaracarya typically has in mind in the commentaries.

They're both using the term to denote one who has obtained aparoksha
BrahmavidyA. Shankara generally makes the assumption that the world has
been sublated aparoksha brahmaGYAna has dawned, but there seem to be
rare cases when due to infirmity in the means, the world remains
unsublated (e.g. YAGYavalkya).

> Sankaracarya says about maintaining a steady remembrance of
> Atma-vijnAna in 
> bRhad-bhAshya 1.4.7 is the process of perfecting brahmajnAna. 

Shankara merely gives it a passing glance. The works of later advaitins
are needed to fill in the details. 

> >But terms like "shAstra-vAsana" (attachment to scripture) are to be
> >found only in the JMV and VC (not in Shankara-BhAshhyas), which is
> >definitely revealing. Note also HH's commentary on the above VC
> verse
> >is close to the JMV in its purport (as HH takes a BrahmaGYAnI to
> >practise vAsanAkshaya).
> It is one thing to discuss authorship issues by looking at language
> and 
> terminology usage. All that this requires is a study of language as
> used by 
> the various texts. It is quite another to look for doctrinal
> variations 
> between commentaries on the prasthAna trayI and independent texts.
> It is in 
> the second venture that I think one has to be careful before saying,
> "this 
> and this much only is what Sankaracarya teaches, the rest is not his 
> doctrine, therefore such-and-such book is not by him."

"Doctrinal variations" needs clarification. For the record: I never
ever claimed that the VC was espousing doctrines opposed to
Shankara-BhAshhyas, and I even explained this carefully. 

However, we cannot expect later advaita texts to be carbon copies of
Shankara's works, but we can certainly expect that they complement and
not contradict Shankara.

In this respect, the term *and* doctrine of "shAstra-vAsana" is a case
in point. Both the JMV and VC caution the disciple against "addiction
to shAstra that can be an impediment to mukti", which cannot be found
in Shankara BhAshhyas except in a VERY tangential manner (such as
"there are no Vedas after GYAna" or "the Atman cannot be expressed in
words" etc.). The explicit cautionary note on shAstra in the JMV/VC is
simply absent in Shankara's works. My guess: during the time of JMV/VC,
scriptural scholarship came to be held at such a high esteem that the
practical aspect of Self-realization was neglected, so the advaitins of
that period exhorted the scholars to not rest contented on the words of
the shAstra, but to seek the Self. 


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