[Advaita-l] HH Sri SSS on adhyAsa

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Thu May 10 13:55:39 CDT 2007


I didn't get a chance to go through Potters book yesterday (I do have
it), but here are some comments. If I see anything in Potters book,
which make me think I misinterpreted Potter, I'll let you know.

First of all:
realism: a doctrine that universals exist outside the mind;
specifically : the conception that an abstract term names an
independent and unitary reality b : a theory that objects of sense
perception or cognition exist independently of the mind -- compare

>From http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/realism

I have quoted from SSS;'s owm work "Salient Features ...", (no
translation or anything!!) in footnote 18, which I reproduce:

The entire quote from [12] (pp. 80) is: "Avidyaa is an innate,
beginless misconception due to a mental super imposition of the real
and unreal, the self and the non-self as well as their properties on
each other. This superimposition is the primus of all distinctions of
pram¯atr. , pram¯an.a and prameya."

Clearly, if anything, SSS can be characterized as an out-and-out
idealist. I have many more quotes from SSS where it is clear that he
says the mind performs adhyaasa (and being repeated in this list by
his followers even very recently). I can safely claim that SSS accepts
no universals to exist outside the mind (unless you want to
characterize brahman a universal). I think the source of the good
Professors confusion may be the following:

He probably thinks avidyaa being bhaavaruupa and "transforming" into
the world, and also being "cancelled" by j~naana implies that the
world disappears after realization. Obviously that's not the position
of the pa~ncapaadikaa, as apparent from your excellent series. That
quote from Citsukha about bhaavaruupa was especially great, BTW.

It is also a little confusing as to what Potter means by "false
awareness" of them. Hopefully he is not thinking brahman is something
"objective". The problem I see with Hacker and Co is that they stop
with these kind of "false awareness" kind of analysis and do not stop
much to think about where this false awareness is working, or what is
the fundamental cause of this false awareness, unless the text itself
talks about it right there. It seems clear that one has to look at
various statements and see if we can come up with something

Among modern scholars, T M P Mahadevan is the only person (AFAIK) who
has pointed out that the labels of idealsit and realist cannot be
applied to both Gaudapada and Shankara, because they are talking about
something which is beyond these characterizations.

The University of Madras should really reprint all of SS Suryanarayana
Sastri's and Mahadevan's books.


On 5/8/07, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Rama,
> In the book "Advaita Vedanta up to Samkara and His pupils", edited by Karl
> Potter, he makes a statement about Swami Sacchidanandendra Sarasvati on
> pages 79-80:
> "On Sarasvati's showing Samkara is a realist. True knowledge does not remove
> the objects of the world but rather removes our false awareness of them."
> Later on page 80, he says:
> "We may also note that, although Samkara does not have standard terminology
> to regularly reflect the distinction, he does seem to speak of avidya or
> maya as *causing* us to experience (superimpose) things the way we do, which
> is to give it a positive function beyond that or merely veiling or covering
> Brahman." (emphasis on the word causing by the author, not me).
> I have not done a detailed study of SSS's works and so would like to know
> more about the basis of the first statement above. (The fact that I have no
> intimate knowledge of SSS's works does not preclude or disqualify me from
> defending Shankara's  disciples' works or those of other advaitins, since my
> focus is primarily on clarifying such works.)
> The second statement is only cited as another viewpoint that supports the
> cause of adhyAsa principle that was implied in Shankara's own works and the
> possibility of going wrong if one did only a pure textual analysis.

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