[Advaita-l] Creation ex nihilo (was Re: Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (27))

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Thu May 3 22:33:53 CDT 2007

Dear Sri Kartik,

You wrote 

" To recap what you said before in Unit 25:

  abhAvarUpa aGYAna (Cause) --> bhAvarUpa adhyAsa (Effect)

The above is glaringly defective, because it essentially says:.... "

My Response:

It was already shown in Unit 25, that the cause /effect is not of the
upAdAna or nimitta kAraNa, but a pretext, which is repeated below;
 "How does bhAvarUpa adhyAsa come from abhAvarUpa ajnyAna? This is resolved
when one notes that the ajnyAna as kArana of adhyAsa is a pretext, and not a
nimitta or upAdAna.
An example of an abandoned house was given to illustrate the point.

Now let us review the following statements of Shankara bhAShya from
shruti/brahma sUtra.

(1) "na cha avidyA kEvala vaiShamyasya kAraNam Eka-rUpatvAt rAgAdi klESha
vAsanAkShipta karmApEkShA tu avidyA vaiShamyakarI syAt - ajnyAna (ignorance)
by itself is not a source of the inequality (differences in happiness and
miseries among people), nor is ajnyAna, by itself is a source of this, it
being homogeneous. ajnyAna can at best become the creator of inequality in
consequence of the fruits of work, which are acquired as a result of the
influence of the past impressions of the three infatuations - love, hatred
and delusion." - sUtra bhAShya (2.1.16)
What this tells us is that the adhyAsa which is the kAraNa for the samsAsra
- cycle of births and deaths - is of the bhAvarUpa ("IS") - a behavior trait
in the antahkaraNa. Cognizance in wrong knowledge (adhyAsa) is of course
bhAvarUpa. But ajnyAna - lack of jnyAna is of the abhAvarUpa, like the
non-existent pot. This establishes that Atman does not support (or associate
with) kAraNa sharIra called ajnyAna.

(2) " yadi jnyAna abhAvah yadi samshaya jnyAnam yadi viparIta jnyAnam vA
uchyate ajnyAnam-iti  sarvam hi jnyAnEnaiva nivartyatE - absence of jnyAna,
suspected jnyAna or viparIta jnyAna (opposed to jnyAna) - which ever is
called ajnyAna, they are all removed by jnyAna only" - Br. upanishad bhASya
This establishes that ajnyAna, which is abhAvarUpa, cannot be a direct
kAraNa for bhAvarUpa dUkha (misery).

Now let us look at what is bhAvarUpa and abhAvarUpa - Brahman is described
by bhAvarUpa vishEShaNa like sarvajnyAtva (omniscience), sarvashaktitva
(omnipotency) etc. These are the "IS" type of vishEShaNas. Brahman is also
described by abhAvarUpa vishEshaNas like vijara(ageless) vimrutyu,
(deathless), vishOka etc. These vishEshaNas are not bhAvarUpa, but
describing lack of (abhAva) characteristics. These are shabda vikalpa - only
sounda that create cognizance, even in the absence of an entity -
shabda-jnyAnAnupAtI vastushUnyO vikalpah - yOgasUtra 1.9

(3) " lOkO hi avidyayA svAtmanyadhyastayA kAmakarmOdbhavam dukham anubhavati
na tu sA paramArthatah svAtmani - People experience dukha (samsAra) caused
by desire oriented actions by the adhyAsa caused by avidya; but the avidyA
is not in Atman - kaTha upanishat bhAShya 2.2.11.

I hope the foregoing discussion will help you to understand that ajnyAna is
abhAvarUpa, adhyAsa is bhAvarUpa. AjnyAna is the pretext (not nimitta or
upAdAna) as stated earlier.

As a counter argument, if ajnyAna were to be bhAvarUpa, the ajnyAna has to
be sublated, just as the sense organs, mind etc. are sublated in Brahman in
deep sleep. The sense organs or organs of action, being a Brahma kArya and
is of the nature of Brahman, there is no objection to sublate the kArya in
the kAraNa. However, if bhAvarUpa ajnyAna is similarly sublated(be it a
behavior or material), one has to establish that ajnyAna is of the nature of
Brahman. So what use is that Brahman, which is not opposed to ajnyAna???
This debate about ajnyAna is nothing new. You and I are not going to resolve
this one way or the other. If you still hold that ajnyAna is bhAvarUpa, I
don't make a debate with you.

By the by, your reference to Catholic standpoint and the reference to their
web site are irrelevant to the discussion here.

Thank you for the discussion.

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list