[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.12 : part 2
Amuthan Arunkumar R
aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Mon Nov 28 22:47:39 CST 2005
in the previous post, we studied BP's and MS's bhAShyam-s on 2.12. it was mentioned that shrI rAmAnuja's commentary is unusually long for this shloka (2.12).in this post, we will go through shrI rAmAnuja's refutation of advaita based on this shloka.
summary of shrI rAmAnuja's objections
shrI rAmAnuja stresses on the ultimate difference between the individual selves and also their difference from the one supreme self, taking support from the usage of words like 'aham', 'tvam', 'vayam' etc. which clearly indicate multiplicity of selves . he asserts that multiplicity of selves is certain since kR^iShNa refers to multiple beings while giving the gItopadesha, which is the science of the self . the proof for the multiplicity of the selves is also given elsewhere by kR^iShNa where he states 'arjuna, I know all beings of the past, present and those to come, but no one knows me' (gItA 7.26).
shrI rAmAnuja first takes up advaita's stand that duality is perceived only because of ignorance. this view of the advaitin-s - aj~nAnakR^ita bheda darshanam - is not correct. for, if it were true, kR^iShNa, being the supreme lord, must have a direct perception of His real self and hence, there can be neither something to teach or someone to teach since all these notions arise only due to ignorance. it cannot be said that the perception of duality can occur even after one gets Atma j~nAna since the former can occur only through ignorance and the latter is realized upon the complete destruction of ignorance. even if this is accepted, the observed activities of kR^iShNa cannot be explained. just as one who knows the water seen in a mirage to be unreal will not make any attempt to fetch that water, so also, the supreme lord, being established in His own self, cannot have any activities like teaching etc.
thus, there arises the question as to whom the lord or the various teachers of advaita would teach. if they engage in teaching, they perceive duality and hence, they themselves are ignorant. if they don't perceive duality, they cannot engage in activities like teaching. the bottom line is that, if advaita is true, one who has Atma j~nAna cannot engage himself in any activity. since the lord, who knows the supreme truth, is seen to engage Himself in activities such as teaching, it can be concluded that the aj~nAnakR^ita bhedadarshana view of the advaitin-s is not correct.
if it is argued that the teacher and the knowledge imparted exist only in the mind of the student, the same should hold true for the teacher also. in the present context, that would lead to kR^iShNa superimposing Ishvaratva on His own self and imagining an ignorant disciple called arjuna and then, teaching him AtmavidyA, all of which are absurd since the lord is by His own nature beyond any trace of ignorance.
to put it in a nutshell, according to advaita, Atma j~nAna and bheda darshana are mutually incompatible. hence, within the scheme of advaita, the notion of an Ishvara (or a 'realized' guru, i.e. a jIvanmukta) is not possible. 
a discussion of shrI rAmAnuja's objections will be taken up in the next post.
footnotes and references
 this is in sharp contrast to the advaitic interpretation which says that the plural terms are used only with reference to the bodies (see previous post for references).
 evaM bhagavataH sarveshvarAdAtmAnAM parasparaM cha bhedaH pAramArthika iti bhagavatA evoktamiti pratIyate. aj~nAnamohitaM prati tannivR^ittaye pAramArthikanityatva upadeshasamaye ahaM tvaM ime sarve vayam iti vyapadeshAt. (R.G.B.2.12)
 vedAhaM samtItAni vartamAni chArjuna.
bhaviShyAni cha bhUtAni mAM tu veda na kashchana..7.26
 all arguments are taken from shrI rAmAnuja's gItA bhAShyam on 2.12. i have provided the original bhAShyam in a previous mail (in february 2005) and hence, will not rewrite it here.
Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.
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