[Advaita-l] Is the Acharya's remark correct

venkata subramanian venkat_advaita at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 9 01:55:54 CDT 2004

I Agree with your remark on the meaning of the term Sarvajna.   In fact in the same Upanishad, two different words are ascribed to God; One is Sarvajna - Samanyena Sarvan Janathi and the other is Sarvavid - Viseshataya sarvam vethi ithi.  The Acharya himself says that the former is "knower behind everything' and the latter is "the knowing everything", (which only Eshwara can be).   i remember this topic has also been discussed in the Sutra Bhashya.
Ya, it is also reasonable to accept that these works teach us the Subject and not the objects; so it is not proper to take in physical laws from them.
anyway thanks for the answer.

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com> wrote:
Sarvaj~na does not mean knowledge of all things empirical. It means
that he has attained the supreme state of j~naana, or identity with
brahman who is the witness of everything. sarva + j~nah is not one who
has knowledge *of* everything. It is interpreted as the one who is the
knower behind everything or the pratyagaatman.

The point of the bhaa.sya is that brahman is the efficient cause of
the univerese apart from being the material cause. To illustrate that
he takes the example of what was considered true at that time - namely
the earth is in the center. We can change it to earth rotating around
the sun without any problem. It's pointless to look into the
commentaries and derive physical laws from them.

Another phrase "sarva-tantra-svatantra" is used to describe knowledge
of various subjects other than attama j~naana. The term is indeed
traditionally used to describe both Sankara and Vacaspati Misra. But
remember, science as we know it was not of much interest to these
thinkers. Science as we know it is quite different from what these
thinkers were interested in. Refer "The Character of Physical Law" by
Feynman and contrast it with what was accepted as the accepted way of
reasoning in Sankaras works.


On Mon, 6 Sep 2004 06:31:32 -0700 (PDT), venkata subramanian
> Then can anyone clarify this point straight:-
> in the Mundaka Bhashya, the Acharya mentions that it is in fear of Him that the Sun revolves round the earth like a Chakra......
> is He not aware of the heliocentric theory ?
> if he is not aware, how can he be a Sarvajna ? If he is aware, how has he made such a erroneous point ?
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