[Advaita-l] Fw: Presupposition of an agent of action and errors thereof

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed May 9 04:44:09 CDT 2007

I am forwarding this again as the first post does not seem to have been picked up by the list. In case of a repeat, my sincere apologies.


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com

praNAm to Sri Bhaskar.
Other members of the list be forewarned that this is a lengthy mail with point by point response to Sri Bhaskar's earlier response regarding "On the deliberation on vidyA - avidyA in Advaita." The sum and substance is that I try to establish that Sri Bhaskar's post consists of "a confusion of frame-works, presupposition of an agent of action, and conclusions based on unsound reasoning." 

----- Original Message ----
From: "bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com" bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com

Again, I reiterate that let us not highlight the differences based on
comparisions...It is better to discuss the matter in issue within the frame
work of my mail..Hope you would agree with me.

* Sir, with due respect, I have not yet agreed to subscribe to the framework of your mail, because there is a difference about your assumptions, and I have restricted myself to discussion of those assumptions. As to comparison, who are we kidding here? You had persistently requested Sri Ramakrishnan to publish the Paper; and after he published the paper, you had come up with a lengthly mail dealing with one of the topics presented in the Paper, and, now exhort members of the list "not to compare". Not done, Bhaskarji.

SSN prabhuji:

1. You insist that knowledge must be consistent with lokAnubhava.

bhaskar :

In otherwords, I've just tried to explain in my mail how avidyA is *quite
natural* in our lOkAnubhava.  With regard to term *anubhava*, I think I've
explained what is anubhava??  what does it mean when we say sArvatrika
pUrNAnubhava and vaiyuktika anubhava?? and why individual experiences
cannot be a pramANa in brahman jignAsa etc. etc. in my forwarded private
mail to you.

* If the special terminology of SSS differentiates between anubhva and lokAnubhava, my question remains the same: Sruti is the fount; the sArvatrika anubhava by definition has to be what is granted by Sruti.
SSN prabhuji:

2. You maintain avidyA is 'natural to the mind', whereas Sanakra
bhagavtpAda only said it is 'naisargika', that is natural - he did not say
it is natural to the mind.

bhaskar :

If the innate avidyA does not pertains to antaHkaraNa (mind) then question
invariably follows for whom this avidyA pertains to?? 
* Interesting. I think this is a valid point of discussion. The answers given by various schools are that ISvara is the locus of avidyA and that ISvara is the content of avidyA.
It appears according to lOkAnubhava
* let us first establish the prAmANyata of lokAnubhava, as opposed to pratyaksha, and then admit it as a pramANa
& shankara's bhAshya vAkya, ignorance pertains to our
instruments (antaHkaraNa ) only.  Because :

(a) Shankara does not accept *second* chaitanya to attribute it to the
Jiva...(see bruhadAraNyaka bhAshya 1-4-10)
* Just like jIva is the second from the pAramArthika point of view, mind also is a second. There is no second to Brahman - neither jIva nor mind.

(b) Shankara does not agree that avidyA pertains to *Self* since it is
always nirguNa & nirvishEsha.
* We need to be careful about the point of reference; let us see how: avidyA does not pertain to self, except from a vyAvahArika point of view. If not, then who is obtaining moksha? whose avidyA is being removed? 

(c) Since vidyA & avidyA is *upAdhi* vyavahAra and there is NO vidyAvidya
vyavahAra in brahman

* the lack of vidyAvidyavyvavahAra in Brahman does not lead to the conclusion that avidyA is natural to the mind; it only means that there is no avidyA from the absolute point of view.

(d)since shankara while explaining adhyAsa gives the examples of *wrong
cognition* (seeing two moons due to eye defect) *wrong perception* (seeing
silver in place of nacre)& explains adhyAsa as *smruti rUpa* (like memory)
* Examples are only that: they illustrate a point, but do not form the core thesis. Let me elaborate. If you are saying that since the Acharya illustrated adhyAsa by wrong cognition and perception, and by memory, such an illustration presupposes an antahkaraNa to do the cognizing, perceiving and memorizing, then that conclusion is incorrect. If you impose a pAramArthika point of view on every statement, language is meaningless. The basic blocks of the grammar of a language, or the assumptions underlying language, are that there is an agent of action, action, and object of action; now if you deny differences of karta, karma, and kriyA language does not operate.

(e) And in gIta bhAshya shankara clearly says igorance pertains to
*instruments* and NOT to the *user* of instruments & in taitirIya bhAshya
shankara clearly says both vidya & avidyA can be cognized as vishya-s like
colour etc..
* Who is the instrument? The antahkaraNa? But going by your previous logic, there is no dvitIya to Brahman to act as an instrument, right? (Note: this is denial by sarcasm, not my view. I do not intend to use the same technique of imposing an irrelevant frame of reference.) Let us discuss both the gitA and taittirIyA quotes properly in their context to see how those quotes do not lead to the conclusion that avidyA is natural to the mind.

(f) Since shankara used synonyms like viparyaya, viparyAsa, adhyArOpa,
bhrAnti, mOha etc.etc. in place of adhyAsa we have to reckon that this
adhyAsa pertains to mind only.
* You are saying something has to be agent of the action called adhyAsa, whatever the synonym, and that agent is the antahkaraNa. As I pointed out in d) above, such reasoning is incorrect.

(g) Since the question *to whom is avidyA*?? has to rise its hood ONLY in
dvaita & dvaita is in vyavahAra & vyavahAra we do through upAdhi-s, the
avidyA which we are talking here in dvaita too pertains to upAdhi-s i.e.

* You are simply presupposing the existence of the antahkaraNa and therefore end up with a view that avidyA is epistemic; somebody else presupposes the existence of the jagat and they end up with an ontic avidyA. 

(h) To a question *to whom this ajnAna*?? In sUtra bhAshya shankara answers
"to you who is asking the question" (see sUtra bhAshya 4-1-3) who is this
*you* shankara referring here??  the person who is wrongly identifying
himself with BMI is it not?? & *asking* the question implies that there is
antaHkaraNa saMbaNdha in the enquirer...Shankara does not cross question
him here like asking "dear one, which avidyA you are asking?? whether it is
epistemic avidyA or ontic avidyA, if it is epistemic then it pertains to
antaHkaraNa & note antaHkaraNa, in turn is the product of mUlAvidyA which
has the ashraya of brahman itself  etc. etc. His answer is simple &
straight forward, if you are realized that you are Ishwara, then there is
no avidyA to anybody..(note here shankara says *no avidyA to anybody* in
the normal case the answer should have been "if you are realized that you
are Ishwara, then there is no avidyA to "YOU" )
* The Acharya's answer is consistent with his system, but does not imply the conclusion drawn by you, as noted in b) above. That the Acharya did not say that avidyA is neither epistemic nor ontic, or both, or one of them is irrelevant. It is nobody's claim that the mUla-avidyA theory is explicitly stated by Sri Sankara, and the mUla-avidyA theory does not result in an answer different from what the Acharya has given.

>From the above references we can easily say that avidyA pertains to
antaHkara & it has nothing to do with socalled jIva which is in reality
non-dual self according to advaita vEdAnta.

* Actually, we see that all the above is a confusion of frame-works, presupposition of an agent of action, and conclusions based on unsound reasoning.

SSN prabhuji :

3. You use the terminologies of nyAya and mImAmsA freely and yet do not
want them to be used in the discussion; if we note both the darSanas were
used freely by the bhagavatpAda, it is strange as to why you don't want to
admist them to the discussion.

bhaskar :

Using terminologies which are being used in pUrvapaxa schools is not a big
* I did not imply that it is so.
for that matter Sri GaudapAdAcharya used plenty of words that we can
find in buddhistic texts...that does not mean Sri gaudapAdAchArya is a
buddhist!!  vEdAntic terms like jIva, brahma, jagat, avidyA etc. etc. have
equally been used by other dualistic Astika schools too but that does not
mean they are talking advaita...Likewise using terminologies of nyAya &
pUrva mImAmsa to refute those schools or substantiate vEdic school quite
normal & its a regular practice.
* And hence, my question: why do you want to bar those terms in the discussion?

BTW, we are not against tarka but our insistence is that this tarka should
be shrauta tarka or upanishadic reasoning 
* No problems till here.
which is also in consonance with intuitive experience.
* Here starts the difference. If we can agree on what can be used a pramANa, then a discussion can happen. Let us say, one person says the Quran is the ultimate authority, and the other says Vedas are; those two can exchange mails any number of years, without agreeing on anything.
  The tarka *without* the support of shruti & anubhava
is shushka (dry), vain or empty logic for which the *intellect* alone is
predominant one.  Whereas in shrauta tarka (shrutyanugruhIta anubhavAtmaka
tarka)attaches all the importance to intuitive experience. See mAndukya for
example, see, how shruti through detailed analysis of our three states
*experiences* establishes the *turIya* nature of ours...

* SrutyanugrihIta tarka is fine; anubhavAtmaka tarka is a new imposition, and I am sure you understand that the whole burden of the analysis of differences is that.

SSN prabhuji :

There might be others (I had not tried a focussed analysis), but to start
with if you can show the pramANa for the above positions either from Sruti
or bhAshyavAkya, it would be easier to accept the rules you set for
discussion and discuss your Mail.

bhaskar :

If your time permits kindly do the focussed analysis of my mail & let me
know where exactly I strayed from *lOkAnubhava* & bhAshya vAkya siddhAnta.
* Thanks, Bhaskarji, that you attach importance to my analysis. You perhaps have overlooked that the original context of my comment about focussed analysis is to show the differences in assumption between your Mail and Sri Ramakrishnan's Paper, which I thought, you do not want. Never mind that and needless to say, I do not consider lokAnubhava / anubhava / sArvatrika anubhava / a-vyAktika anubhava, as different from pratyaksha as a pramANa.

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