[Advaita-l] Re: Questions on Isavasya
svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 5 11:07:55 CDT 2006
Continuing with the ISAvAsya bhAshya questions:
"-- shaN^kara (in verses 9-12) uses the word avidya to mean karma and vidya
to mean upAsanas. Isn't this a non-standard use of the word vidya? Is there
an etymological justification (or some other
justification) for employing the word vidya in this sense?"
The word vidyA being used to indicate upAsana-s is age-old practice in
vedAntic texts. For example, we have references to madhu vidyA, dahara
vidyA, pancAgni vidyA etc. All of these refer to specific upAsana-s taught
in the upanishads.
"-- In the third verse, shaN^kara interprets all worlds like the dEvalOka to
be andham.h tamas.h, because people are bound to suffer ultimately in these
lOkas. But later in the bhAShya (verses 9-12)
where the word "amR^itamashnutE" is used in the upaniShat.h, shaN^kara still
interprets it to mean the result of upAsanas. How could the two
contradictory words, namely andham.h tamas.h and amR^itam.h, be employed to
refer to the same result?"
The worlds that are said to be andhaM tamas are attained as a result of
performing karma-s. On the other hand, amRta refers not to the devaloka-s,
but to attaining brahmaloka in stages (krama-mukti), as a result of
following the upAsana-s leading to brahmaloka. Nowhere does Sankara refer to
the same result once as darkness and once as immortality.
"-- Another question is with regard to the word IshA in the first verse
(which is in the tR^itIya vibhakti). It seems there is a verse in both in
the bhAgavata purANa and the brahmAnDa purANa (quoted by madhva) where the
same verse occurs except the beginning is "AtmavAsyamidam
sarvaM", AtmA being used instead of IshA. Now AtmA is in the ShaShThI
vibhakti, so should not IshAvAsyamidam be split as Ishasya AvAsyamidam?"
Another grammar excursus:
ISAvAsya can be rendered as follows:
ISA + vAsya (simple parsing as two separate words);
ISa + AvAsya (tritIyA tatpurusha samAsa, i.e. a compound of two words, with
the first word in the instrumental case);
ISA + AvAsya (shashTI tatpurusha samAsa, a compound of two words, with the
first word in possessive case).
In the dictionary AvAsya has the meaning of "to be inhabited by," while
vAsya is explained as "to be (or being) covered, enveloped."
Note especially the dictionary usage of the preposition "by" in the meaning
of AvAsya. In Sanskrit, this would translate to instrumental case, because
the preposition with the possessive case would be "of".
Returning to interpretation,
ISA (instrumental case of root ISa) is a special grammar case, as explained
in the SAnkara bhAshya. The more familiar form would be ISena, which if you
note, also occurs in the very next sentence in the bhAshya. If we take
ISAvAsya as a compound word, it can be interpreted as ISena AvAsya or as
Just out of curiosity, in the bhAgavata and brahmANDa purAna-s, is the word
clearly AtmavAsya (short a-vowel before vAsya) or is it AtmAvAsya (long
A-vowel before vAsya)? If it were AtmAvAsya, the only way to parse it would
be as a compound word, Atma + AvAsya (AtmanaH AvAsya or AtmanA AvAsya, i.e.
shashThI or tritIyA tatpurusha samAsa). As far as I am aware, AtmA is not a
shashThI (possessive case) form of Atman and therefore, it is not correct to
split the word as AtmA + vAsya.
If the word is AtmavAsya, the only way to parse it would be Atma + vAsya
(AtmanaH vAsya or AtmanA vAsya, again a tatpurusha samAsa). Unlike ISA +
vAsya, AtmavAsya can never be simply parsed as two separate words standing
next to each other in the sentence.
Asssuming it is AtmavAsya, as quoted, it makes better sense to parse the
compound as a tritIyA tatpurusha than as a shashTI tatpurusha, because the
referent of vAsya, in all cases, is "idaM sarvaM" = all this. i.e. AtmanA
vAsyam idaM sarvam (all this is covered/enveloped by the Atman), makes much
more sense than AtmanaH vAsyam/AvAsyam idaM sarvam (all this is the
cover/envelop of the Atman). Similarly, it makes better sense to say ISA +
vAsya or ISena AvAsya rather than ISasya AvAsya.
I will post one final mail on this topic.
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