[Advaita-l] jnAna-vijnAna, gradations in Atma jnAna, superior-inferior jnAna nishTa etc. etc. PART-I

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Tue Feb 27 05:08:07 CST 2007

Hare Krishna

Shruti smruti purANAnAM AlayaM karuNAlayaM
NamAmi bhagavatpAdaM shankaraM lOka shankaraM

Srimachhankara bhagavadpAda sadgurubhyo namaH

vandE taM sacchidAnandaM yativaryaM mahAmatiM
vEdavEdAnta sArajnaM sadguruM praNatOsmyahaM
SadAhaM saMpradAyajnaM saMyamIndraM sadAshrayaM

Sri SatchidAnandEndra Saraswati parama gurubhyo namaH

ajnAna timirAndhasya jnAnAnjana shalakaya
chakshurunmilitaM yEna tasmai shree guravE namaH

My  humble prostrations to my beloved guruji-s Sri Mattur Ashvatha Narayana
AvadhAni & Sri Chandramouli Avadhani.

In this mail, by the grace of my Acharya,  I shall humbly try to address
issues regarding (a) gradations in Atma jnAna, (b) bruhadaaraNyaka 3.5.1
quote which our Sri Kartick prabhuji holding passionately to prove his
theory of  *effort* after Atma jnAna and finally (c) what is jnAna  & its
different interpretation according to shankara and what are the means
recommended by him to achieve *Atma jnAna or paripUrNa jnAna*  & how brahma
jnAni is *free* from all sorts of vidhi-s.  But befofe doing I earnestly
request prabhuji-s here to not to drag the *individual names* of some
exalted personalities & try to compare them & say who's superior to who &
who's knowledgeable than who... etc. etc.

Firstly, it is better to start with baNdha (bondage)  & mOksha (release)
in advaita...coz. I think the realization/mOksha  closely related to jnAna
in advaita...Advaita says fundamental problem for not realizing brahman
i.e. our svarUpa is due to our ignorance (avidyA)  about it...Shankara says
*brahma bhAvascha mOkshaH* (the nature of brahman is mOksha), When we
become THAT, there is no meaning in telling that *I get the
realization*...It is proper to say, when I was in avidyA, inspite of my
real nature i.e. nitya, shuddha, buddha mukta svarUpa, I was thinking that
I am a *saMsAri*, and now, since I realized my real nature & established in
my *svarUpa* I can say this state as *mOksha.  Shankara says in kArikA
bhAshya "svarUpAvasThAnAM shrEyaH*.    Here problem is ignorance/avidyA and
this avidyA  is about  our own svarUpa & it is not an outside object....The
jnAna which *removes* ajnAna does not do anything special to create a new
thing & present it afresh by sometimes saying *see this is the glimpse of
your Atman & this is the *permanents vision of your Atman etc.  jnAna can
only reveal the ever existing thing (bhUta vastu) and helps us to realize
that there was/is/will be no ajnAna whatsoever in us &  we are always
THAT...Shankara calls this as *paramArtha jnAna*...a person who gets this
paramArtha jnAna is krutakrutya forever & he'll realize that his true
nature is yEkamEvAdvitIya brahman & in that state of realization there is
absolutely no diversity whatsoever. And he is called parAjnAna nishTa.

But interestingly  if  we see shankara bhAshya, the term jnAna has been
contextually interpreted differently.  whoever studies shankara bhAshya in
detail will definitely come to know *jnAna* cannot be always refers to
thebrahmajnAna alone  in absolute sense but sometime  it may refer to
shAstra pAnditya (mere intellectual scriptural knowledge) sometimes it is
upAsana associated with karma etc. etc. For example,  in bruhadAraNyaka
(introduction to 1-3-1) bhAshya shankara says *karmaNAM jnAna sahitAnAM
paragatiH uktA* Here it is quite clear that jnAna is used to denote
*upAsana*, it cannot be interpreted as shAstra vAkya jnAna which shankara
recommends for *paramArtha jnAna*...Likewise instead of jnAna shankara uses
the term *vidyA* also to give the meaning of *upAsanA*.  In
IshavAsyOpanishat 9th maNtra shankara says * vidyAyAMEva dEvatA jnAnE yEva
ratAH..Here also it is evident that jnAna/vidyA has been interpreted as
*upAsaNa* which is closely associated to karma and purusha taNtra

Elsewhere the same term jnAna has been interpreted as *shAstra pAnditya*
(mere intellectual scriptural knowledge).  Shankara says in gIta bhAshya
(Chapter VI verse 46) *jnAnam atra shAstrArtha pAndityaM*  that knowledge
(vidyA/jnAna) which is gained through regular study of scriptures.  Here
according to shankara, jnAna is contextually *mere shAstra pAnditya* and
nothing else...Point to be noted here is *jnAna* that is used in this
context can noway be connected to that of Atma jnAna or paramArtha jnAna*.

Finally, the same terminology *jnAna* used by shankara to denote to what it
is usually meant for...i.e. Atma vijnAna, Atma jnAna nishTa, parajnAna
nishTA etc. etc. Shankara emphasizes here this jnAna is the ONLY means to
mOksha and in this jnAna there is not even iota of kriya (karma /
upAsana)...Shankara declares * tasmAT jnAnamEkaM muktvA kriyAyA
gandhamAtrasyApi anupravEshaM iha na upapadyatE*.  Here it is quite evident
that jnAna mentioned by shankara here is nothing but *paramArtha jnAna*
which is simultaneously comes with vijnAna of Atman (I've dealt with
jnAna-vijnAna below).   Shankara's words also reminds us shruti vAkya (kaTa
) that *tamEva viditvA atimrutyumEti nAnyaH paNTha vidyatEyanAya*...Through
this knowledge only one will cross/overcome death and there is no other way
to go!!

Despite  shruti & shankara emphasizing  that jnAna is the ultimate means
for mOkshA why divisions like jnAna, vijnAna, jnAna nishTe, parAjnAna
nishTe etc. etc in advaita vEdAnta??   what is their role in shankara's
advaita??  .  Is there really any tAratamya in jnAna nishTa?? are there
really something shaky & something firm jnAna in Atma jnAna??  is there any
necessity for repetition of this jnAna to make it firm & establish in it
permanently?? As we've seen most of the later advaita vedAntins have agreed
to this *repetitive sustained *effort* even after absoulte Atma jnAna &
declared that even jnAni has avidyA lEsha due to prArabhda karma and hence
he has to observe some vidhi-s (niyama) to protect his Atma jnAna*....I'll
come to this issue later...but now, let us see if there  is any difference
in the  usage of both  jnAna & vijnAna when they are used in the same
sentence...yes, there is a difference, if both jnAna & vijnAna used in the
same sentence, jnAna stands for mere *shAstra pAnditya* and vijnAna stands
for knowledge of intuitive realization (svAnubhAvAtmaka jnAna)..shankara
uses jnAna & vijnAna in gIta bhAshya at couple of places.  In chapter 7,
2nd verse, shankara says : jnAnaM tE tubhyaM ahaM savijnAnaM vijnAna
sahitaM *svAnubhava yuktaM* idaM vakshyAme...and in Chapter 9, Verse No. 1,
* jnAnaM kim vishistaM??  vijnAna sahitaM *anubhavayuktaM*...(kindly see
any English translation for its meaning) Here *real* jnAna means *vijnAna
sahita svAnubhavAtmaka jnAna*  that which fetch us Atma jnAna in its
entireity...and shurti says in this jnAna there is absolutely no
duality...nEha nAnAsti kiNchana...When an able shrOtrIya brahma nishTa
jnAni teaches this jnAna to an uttama adhikAri, during shravaNa itself both
jnAna & vijnAna automatically happens...Whereas  those who have not been
taught by brahmanishTa can only have shastra pAnditya which is exclusion of
anubhavAtmaka vijnAna.  So, whenever the term jnAna used & subsequently
recommended some vidhi-s it should be understood that it is mere jnAna
without vijnAna...This subtle difference is very important & should always
be kept in mind to understand why *effort* is required after jnAna.
Obviously it is not vijnAna that is referred here and it is after mere
jnAna , some injuctions in the form of niyama recommended...

Next we shall see what is the meaning of suffix *nishTa* to jnAna according
to shankara.  In gIta 18th Chapter, 50th verse bhAshya shankara says
*nishTA paryavasAnaM pari samAptiH*.  Here nishTa means ultimate full
fledged establishment in jnAna, the supreme culmination of steadfastness in
knowledge.  However, we can also say, nishTa to a person who is persuing
this path obediently with all dedication...So, the mumukshu who is putting
effort to achieve this apex knowledge can also be called as *nishTa*...This
nishTa is  explained as karaNArthA nishTa by shankara...For example in gIta
bhAshya on samaH sarvEshu bhutEshu, shankara does not propagate the
absolute Atma jnAna, he simply says here the mumukshu feels here that the
same pain & pleasure is applicable to one and all...but here in samaH
sarvEshu bhutEshu is not about yEkamEva advitIya jnAna of jnAni that jnAna
shankara says will be explained subsequently..shankara clarifies here " na
AtmadarshanaM iha tasya vakshyAmANatvAt" ....Interested reader may please
refer to shankara bhAshya on 18th chapter 50 verse to 55th verse..it will
be interesting reading to know the difference between two types of
nishTa-s....For the second type of nishTa-s (mumukshu-s) shankara suggests
a process of realization.  He says in gIta bhAshya (18-55)
*shAstrAchAryOpadEshEna jnAnOtpatti paripAka hEtuM sahakAri kAraNaM
buddhivishuddhatvaadi cha apEkshya janitasya kshEtrajna paramAtma yEkatva
jnAnasya, katrutvAdikAraka bhEdabuddhi nibaNdhana sarva karma saNyAsa
sahitasya, * sva Atma anubhava nishchaya rUpENa yat avasThAnaM sA *parA
jnAnanishTA* ityuchyatE....it is really a big process is it not??
interestingly here *kshEtrajna paramAtma yEkatva jnAna* which is supposed
to be the ultimate nondual  knowledge has come among one of many sAdhana-s
prescribed by shankara..it is quite clear that after this *yEkatva jnAna*
shankara recommends bedha buddhi nibhaNdhna, sarva karma saNyAsa & then
parA jnAnanishTA. Here the word *jnAnOtpatti* is very important in this
context we should not interpret this vyutpatti of jnAna as Atmaikatwa
paramArtha vijnAna.  What is said here is sAdhaka should listen (shravaNa)
to the shAstra & AchAryOpadEsha, do *manana* and nidhidhyAsana to establish
himself in *parA jnAnanishTa*..Hence, here jnAnOtpatti is preliminary stage
which should be gained through Agama & gurUpadEsha which comes under the
*shravaNa* category of sAdhana..As we all know, shankara categorically says
shravaNa, manana & nidhidhyAsana are the direct means (sAkshAt sAdhana-s)
for the ultimate Atma jnAna. (ref. sAkshAdyEvacha kAraNatvAt shravaNa,
manana, nidhidhyAsanAnAM....shankara in taitirIya upanishad bhAshya). So,
shankara in this bhAshya vAkya says first we should get shAstra jnAna
(jnAnOtpatti) finally to establish oneself in parAjnAna nishTa.

Sofar we have seen :

(a) jnAna & its origination have been interpreted contextually with
different meaning.
(b) There is a difference between jnAna & vijnAna when they are used in a
same sentence.
(c) there are two types of nishTa-s, one is mumukshu in sAdhana path &
another one is jnAni.
(d) Mere jnAna can be shAstra pAnditya (intellectual knowledge of
scriptures) which is devoid of svanubhavAtmaka vijnAna.

With the backdrop of all these points, in the Part-II, let us see if there
is any gradations in this parAjnAna nishTa or jnAni who has the ultimate
knowledge/realization of brahman.

sadguru pAdAraviNdArpaNamastu.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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