[Advaita-l] svAmI satchidAnandEndra sarasvatI (SSS)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 5 22:56:21 CST 2007

--- Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy at gmail.com> wrote:

> praNAm.h shrI Jayanarayanan,
>        You mentioned that SSS does not admit of gradations in
> establishment
> of AtmaGYAna. Could you provide some quotes from the works of SSS
> regarding
> this?

I believe it is the other way around. Since a couple of the followers
of SSS (e.g. Bhaskar YR, Venkat Subramanian) in this list have argued
against the difference between steady and unsteady AtmaGYAna, I would
like to see some proof of the assertion that SSS did comprehend this
in his writings.

> Below, I will provide some quotes which show that SSS did recognize
> differences in establishment of AtmaGYAna. There is no difference
> in the
> different grades of brahmaniShThas in that there would be no

I've not used the term "BrahmaniShTha" in any of my postings so far.
I'm not sure if you take it to refer to the GYAnimAtra or the
sthitapraGYa, or a BrahmaGYAnI (who can be either).

> rebirth for any
> of them. But from an empirical viewpoint, they still need to
> counteract the
> pUrva vAsanas, and some amount of discipline is required for that
> (which is
> exactly what svAmI vidyAraNya's point is in JMV).

If I understand you correctly, that is exactly what the JMV does NOT

I must stress that using terminology like "empirical viewpoint" and
"transcendental viewpoint" like black-and-white is not the correct
way to interpret the JMV. The most problematic in such a
black-and-white view would be the GYAnimAtra, who knows the Brahman
in the transcendental level, and is yet troubled by vAsanAs at the
empirical level, and therefore makes EFFORT to be rid of vAsanAs.

Whereas the sthitapraGYa knows Brahman and remains completely
EFFORTLESS (i.e. does not require any "discipline" as you've stated

> The quotes are all from "The Method of Vedanta", A.J.Alston's
> translation of
> SSS's "vEdAnta prakriya pratyAbhiGYA".
> Pg. 144, ch. 3, sec. 55, last paragraph of SSS notes
> On the other hand inner and outer control and the rest, along with
> absence
> of pride and other qualities (prescribed at Gita XIII.7), are mere
> auxiliaries, and there is no set limit to their observation. They
> are
> intended for carrying knowledge to perfection, and whatever has
> that for its
> purpose is itself an aspect of being established in knowledge
> (GYAna
> niShTha). Hence, when we speak of resort to the means of knowledge
> coming to
> an end when knowledge is acquired, it does not mean that these
> auxiliaries
> also come to an end.

The above is irrelevant in the GYAnimAtra-sthitapraGYa distinction.

The context that SSS mentions the above is the case of sthitapraGYa,
where the "auxiliaries" mentioned are the natural characteristics of
the sthitapraGYa. This is not a reference to effort made by the

> Pg. 159, ch. 3, sec. 59, quote 15
> SSS refers to BSB 4.1.15

The BSB 4.1.15 does not speak of the GYAnimAtra, but of the
sthitapraGYa. Even Sankara himself says so, even using the term
"sthitapraGYa" in his commentary.

> Pg. 160, ch.3, sec. 59, quote 16
> SSS refers to Br.Bh. 1.4.10

This again is a reference to the state of the sthitapraGYa and not
the GYAnimAtra. As SSS says in page 156:

"It is simply a matter of knowing one's own true nature through the
removal of the metaphysical ignorance that obscures it...There is no
break in the knowledge of the Self of such a knower, even when he
conforms to the erroneous vision of the world, for he is merely
conforming to what he knows to be an error."

The very title of the section refers to a "firm establishment in the

> Pg. 145, ch. 3, sec. 55, quote 10:
> The duty laid down for his order (**wandering monk**) is in fact
> establishment in (firm adherence to) a steadfast absorption in the
> Absolute,
> fortified by inner and outer control and other such disciplines.

I don't see how the distinction between steady and unsteady
BrahmaGYAna follows from the above.

> Pg. 152, ch. 3, sec. 57, quote 2:
> In Sri Sankara's Brahma Sutra commentary it is said that even the
> enlightened person, insofar as he conforms in life to the empirical
> standpoint, may appear to be overpowered by vision of difference,
> and that
> the life of contemplative sagehood is prescribed to counteract
> this. The
> quotation in the previous sentence (omitted above) 'having known
> the Self'
> shows that it is the truly enlightened person who is in question.

The key phrase here is "appear to be overpowered" -- meaning that SSS
takes the enlightened person to be NOT overpowered (otherwise "appear
to be" doesn't make sense).

Whereas the JMV says that the GYAnimAtra, who certainly qualifies as
an "enlightened person" inasmuch as he knows Brahman, IS overpowered
by vAsanAs (not merely "appears to be" overpowered by vAsanAs to a
third person).

> ---------------------
> And as regards the paJNchapAdika, you reasoning was essentially,
> H.H.
> supports JMV which supports paJNchapAdika, and since H.H. is
> jIvanmukta,
> paJNchapAdika is authoritative (by the above chain of "supports").

Not so.

Re-read my posting:

"As I've pointed out, the VivekachUDAmaNi actually follows the JMV
quite closely, and H.H. even quotes the JMV as an authority in his

I'm basing the relationship between the VivekachUDAmaNi and the JMV
on the following primary fact-

Primary Fact: "VivekachUDAmaNi follows the JMV closely (i.e.

The primary fact has not yet been fully established fully, but I will
do so in a future posting. As a support for the primary fact, we

Secondary fact: "even H.H. quotes from the JMV when commenting on the

Therefore, H.H.'s quote is NOT the primary fact to establish the
relationship between the VivekachUDAmaNi and the JMV.

However, you are partly correct in that I take the pa~nchapAdikA to
be in line with the tradition because it is quoted by the JMV.

> The point is that jIvanmukti is no guarantee of shrOtriyatva, and
> claims that prior advaitins have erred in their interpretation of
> the vEda
> (and not necessarily that they were not jIvanmuktas).

This is all very interesting -- are you saying that advaitins like
VidyaraNya were NOT shrotriyas? Do you have any proof for such a tall

> In other
> words, again
> AFAIK, SSS makes the case that mUlAvidyA is a deux ex machina for a
> consistent interpretation of the vEda. And even assuming that SSS
> did
> consider H.H. a jIvanmukta (I am not sure if he does/does not),
> unless H.H.
> explicitly affirmed such a mUlAvidyA in his own perception (clearly
> not the
> normal sensory perception, but probably some kind of meditative
> perception),
> SSS's objections still stand.

The objections, IMHO, are valid if and only if SSS gives conclusive
proof that the doctrine of the pa~nchapAdikA CANNOT IN ANY WAY be
interpreted as being in line with Sankara's works. As I've pointed
out, the JMV *appears* to contradict Sanakra's works, but is actually
perfectly in line not only with Sankara's works, but all of shAstra.
To dismiss the JMV merely because it propounds a difference between
AtmaGYAna and mukti is quite meaningless, just as it is meaningless
to dismiss the pa~nchapAdikA because it speaks of such a thing as

> To paraphrase the argument, mUlAvidyA is either perceptible or not.
> If not
> perceptible, it's at best a theoretical tool which might as well be
> done
> away with (per SSS).

I'd like to know what is meant by "might as well be done away with".

I can argue that curly-brackets {} can be "done away with" in
Mathematics, because it is perfectly possible to prove all theorems
using only round brackets () and square brackets [].

But does my contention invalidate the proof of a mathematician that
utilizes curly brackets?

> If it's perceptible (through meditation
> presumably),
> then that would seriously challenge SSS's claims. Could someone
> maybe point
> out if any jIvanmukta made any such claims about the perceptibility
> of
> mUlAvidyA?

I don't think I'm in any position to take up a discussion on the
above topic now.

As far as I'm concerned, there is still not an iota of evidence to
show that SSS did indeed comprehend the difference between steady and
unsteady AtmaGYAna.

> Thanks.
> A.Siddhartha.


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