[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (23)

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Fri Mar 23 20:13:42 CDT 2007

In Unit 20, we discussed sthUla sharIra.

In Units 21 and 22 reviewed sUkShma sharIra (subtle body). 

In this unit, we will look at how other philosophies describe the svarUpa of
jIva: we will then examine them in the light of the shruti.


Various Views about Jiva.

chArvAka view.

chAru - agreeable or pleasing, vAka - speaker; One who speaks agreeably
and/or pleasantly is a chAruvAka. Without dwelling deep into philosophy,
they advance a theory that is pleasant to hear. So this name seems
appropriate. A chArvAka says "AtmA vy putrah - he will be born as son"; "
svasmin iva putrE api prEmadarshanAth putrE puShTE naShTe cha aham Eva
puShTO naShTa-scha ityAdi anubhavAcca putrah AtmA iti vadati - just as a
jIva has love for his son, as he has for himself and as the son progresses
or is dying, the jIva feels that he is progressing or is dying (the jIva
identifies with the emotions of son), the son is the Atman or self". This
line is pleasing for all of us who love our children. So the chArvAka says
his child is self. Other chArvAka statements include the gross body is self
(sa vA ESha puruShO anna rasa mayah), the sense organs are self , the prANAs
are self (anyO antara AtmA prANamayah), the mind is self (anyO antara AtmA
manOmayah) etc.

[ The chArvAkAs and Buddhists don't believe in the shruti; the shruti
statements cited above and below is for the benefit of the vEdAntin to
reconcile an association ].

Buddhist view.

" bouddhastu - anyO antara AtmA vijnyAna mayah ityAdi shrutEh kartuh abhAvE
karaNasya shakti-abhAvAt aham kartA aham bhOktA ityAdi anubhavAccha buddhih
AtmA -  iti vadati" - The Buddhist says Atma is the vijnyAnamaya which is
inside the manOmaya. The Buddhist says, "I am the doer, I am the experiencer
is the general experience of all jIvas": Therefore buddhi is the Atma (the
buddhi here is not the part of anthahkaraNa discussed previously; It is the
waves of knowledge). This is the view of the vijnyAnavAdi Buddhists. The
soutAntrika Buddhists believe the outside jagat as satya or real and so also
the mind. The mAdhyamIka Buddhists declare that there is no "satya" or Real
entity. Every thing is shUnya or void. This Buddhist argues that this jagat
was unreal before creation, nothing exists in deep sleep; so the self is

mImAmsa view.

prAbhAkara tArkitou to "anyO antara AtmA Ananada mayah ityAdi shrutEh
buddhyAdInAm ajnyAnE layadarshanAt aham ajnyah aham jnyAnI ityAdi
anubhavAccha ajnyAnam AtmA iti vadatah".

bhATTastu "prajnyAnaghana EvAnandamayah (ManDukya upanishat -5) ityAdi
shrutEh suShuptou prakAsha-aprakAsha-sadbhAvAt mAm aham na jAnAmi ityAdi
anubhavAccha ajnyAnOpahitam chaitanyam AtmA iti vadati".

shabara muni has written a commentary on Jaimini mImAmsa. prabhAkara misra
and kumArilla bhaTTa have written interpretations on the shabara muni
commentary. Followers of prabhAkara interpretation are prAbhAkaras and
followers of bhaTTa interpretation are bhATTas. 

The prAbhAkara argument goes like this - the taittirIta says vijnyAnamaya
encloses the self Anandamaya; the buddhi merges (lost) in ajnyAna and the
experience of the jIva that I am ignorant (ajnya), I am
knowledgeable(jnyAni); so the prAbhAkaras say "ajnyAna is jIva ".

The bhATTa argument goes like this - The jIva is prajnyAna Ghana and
Anandamaya (mAnDUkya); in deep sleep jnyAna and ajnyAna are both present -
waking from deep sleep, he says "I slept well, did not know a thing"; I did
not know a thing is the ajnyAna; however, even to recall good sleep, there
should be jnyAna; so both jnyAna and ajnyAna are both present in deep sleep.
So the bhATTa argues that Atma is the consciousness having the upAdhi of
ajnyAna; the Atma is neither totally insentient nor totally consciousness;
it is a mix of both.


All the above views contradict each other and therefore none of them
identify the svarUpa of jIva. The above views have already been refuted
(logically) in rejecting the gross body, subtle body and the causal body as
the svarUpa of jIva. The refutation of the above views based on shruti
pramANa follows below.

"kaschit dhIrah pratyagAtmAnamaikShat Avritta chakSkuh amritatvam icchan -
seeking immortality, a wise person withdrew from the sense organs and
focused inwards on the Atman - (kaTha upanishat 4.1)" - this rejects that
the son is the Atman, since son is outside him.

" asthUlah anaNuh. not gross, not atomic (BrihadAraNyaka Upanishat 3.8.8) "
- this rejects that the gross body is Atman.

" aprANO hya manAh shubrah  (munDaka upanishat 2.1.2)" - void of prANa and
manas, He is supreme (or pure) - this rejects that prAna and manas are

" achakShuh-shrOtram tadapANipAdam - (munDaka upanishat 1.1.6) It has no
eyes, eyes or limbs "- this rejects that organs are Atman.

"anantaschAtmA vishwarUpO hyakartA - Atman is limitless, cosmic and non-doer
(shvEtAShwatara upanishat 1.9) - This rejects that buddhi (knowledgeable
doer) is Atman.

" na chAsti vEtta mama chitsadA aham - None know me, I am the permanent
bliss (kaivalya upanishat- 21) - this negates that ajnyAna is Atman.

" chinmAtrO aham sadAshivah - I am ever auspicious pure consciousness
(kaivalya upanishat 18) - This rejects the argument that Atman is a mix or
composite of inert and sentient.

" tat satyam sa AtmA - It is Real, He is Atman (chAndOgya 6.8.7) , sadEva
soumyEdamagra AsIt - soumya!, prior to creation, this jagat was the Reality"
- these statements reject that Atman is shUnya or void.

These statements of shruti negate the views of other philosophies about
Atman. Logically also, it is evident that any object that needs the  the
support of an external source of light (consciousness) to be cognized (like
light coming from a window to cognize an object) is inert; all inert objects
are impermanent and unreal. So the son, gross body, sense organs are all
impermanent and unreal and cannot be Atman.

Until now we discussed what Atman is not. The review is incomplete without
discussing what Atman is!


 We will take up this study of discussing shruti's  declaration of the
svarUpa of  jIva or who jIva is in the next unit.


Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih ( Om peace, peace, peace).


[ Note: I will be on vacation fro the next two weeks. We will resume the
study following my return. ]

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