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

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Fri May 11 08:01:20 CDT 2007

sarvebhyo namah.

This is being sent to the list as a matter of record, with no expectation that any member would read this long post below, and my responses to that. I replied till now as I find the exercise of finding my way out of mis-interpretations stengthens my understanding. Now, we (Sri Bhaskar and I) have reached a point where the cost of doing it (deconstructing English sentences and making their meaning clear syllable by syllable etc.) is not worth the benefit (as the same misinterpretations repeat), and so in interaction with Sri Bhaskar, I shall generally not bother to respond in future.


(my responses below start with an asterisk)

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

That is fine prabhuji, you are welcome to disagree with me & I am happy to
learn from you if there is any problem with my understanding of the
siddhAnta.  But for that rectification work you can stick to the *wrong
assumptions* that you can find in my mail...IMHO there is no necessity to
compare something else with my mail..

* As a gentleman of great learning had earlier posted on this list, when there is no agreement on the pramANas, proving that the invalidated point of view's assumption  results in an absurd situation, or to circular logic is the method. And proofs of this method have already been offered on this very list, in the form of a very erudite Paper.

The reason behind drafting my mail under a separate subject heading &
asking for separate treatment for my mail without any comparision is a well
known fact to you prabhuji...I am not able to understand inspite of my
clarificatin, you are still dragging this issue beyond limits..is it so
painful for you prabhuji if I ask you that favour from you??

* We should see the funny side of this. Sri Bhaskar thinks I understand the reason why he does not want a comparison; my mails reject his "framework" / "rules" barring a comparison. Wow! we should do a reality TV show about how long two people can speak in a language allegedly understood by both, and yet not exchange the most basic of information. Anyways, request for a favour, is an altogether different thing from a rule: requests are to be complied with or ignored; rules, questioned.

I am not able to get it!!  I think I have clarified in that mail what is
*individual experience* and what is *universal experience* & how shankara
treats *individual experiences as against universal experience & how brahma
jnAna is anubhavAtmaka Atma jnAna.

* The realtiy show PseudoCommunication continues...

If you accept my words that intuition & scriptural verdicts go hand in hand
then there is no hierarchical stages in it!!!  Having said this, I once
again insist that shAstra is_not_a_pramANa *directly* revealing the nature
of brahman.  Because brahman which we are *talking* here cannot be
expressed by words or sentences, for it has no genus, no quality, no action
or any other specific feature that we can attribute him in an effort to
objectify it.  Under these circumstances, at no stretch of our imagination
we can say *shAstra* can directly *reveal* the nature of brahman as such
and such a thing!!... This is what shankara precisely says in
samanvayAdhikaraNa sUtra bhAshya.  The knowledge of Atman as enshrined in
shruti-s has to culminate in experience. Hence shankara says in
bruhadAraNyaka bhAshya : A doubt may possibly be entertained regarding the
fruit of a religious rite as to whether or not it would accrue, since the
result is not expected to be within the doer's direct experience.  But the
fruit of knowledge of Atman is quite within one's immediate intuition, in
as much as shruti says brahman is *sAkshAt aparOkshAt*..So, it is quite
obvious that noway can shruti *reveal the real nature of brahman* but we do
accept it as a valid pramANa since it eradicates avidyA..& It is further
elevated to antya pramANa (ultimate means) because it shows how the
distinction of pramANa and pramEya accepted in lOka vyavahAra is really due
to avidyA.  And there cannot be any trace of pramANa and pramEya after the
knowledge of Atman is dawned & even vEdA-s which are *antya* pramANa are no
vEda-s (atra vEda avEda - bruhadAraNyaka shruti)in that non-dual absolute

* Bhaskarji, the above is a classic example of "proof by repetition" and lack of consistency. Most of the above material is repeated (not intentionally I understand; I guess you just get irritated that others don't understand you, and just let go from first prinicples all over again - while that is understandable, it hampers any useful discussion and just increases the entropy in the world) to which the proper response is to reproduce the eight quotes from the same samanvayAdhikaraNa saying quite the opposite, which I do at the end of the mail. Now to the charge of lack of consistency: In the first sentence you say "intuition & scriptural verdicts go hand in hand then there is no hierarchical stages in it!!!" (this necessity to quote in full is another irritating aspect; normally one summarises; in our interaction the moment one does it, starts hair-splitting that an article 'a' was not used but 'an' was used, or some such thing.) and claim it to be your contention. If an
 hierarchy was introduced, it is from Sri Gangolli's translation of Sri SSS's statement that "anubhava is the kingpin among pramANas". Since Sri Gangolli has not yet been proven to have mis-translated, we need to assume that he was faithful, and that is the source of the hierarchy. Even so, conceding that such is indeed your contention, what does the very next sentence say? Again, quoting in full: "Having said this, I once again insist that shAstra is_not_a_pramANa *directly* revealing the nature of brahman." This assertion begs a question as to what is the pramANa that directly reveals the nature of Brahman. The answer, the reader is expected to supply, is of course, "intuit" / sArvatrikAnubhava etc. according to the followers of Sri SSS, brahmAnubhUti, advaitasiddhi etc. for those not associated. This is a very strong suggestion; and yet it is in direct contradiction of the first statement of stated contention of there being no hierarchies (again I am summarising, but the
 full quote may be supplied without harming the intent.)

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??

SSN prabhuji :
* 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.

bhaskar :
Kindly pardon me..I am more interested in knowing what shankara offers for
this question...not other schools...shankara himself says in sUtra bhAshya
*Ishvara* & his ishitavya are valid only in vyAvahArika satya...so what is
vyAvahAra then??

* The four posts above show another technique. I start off asking where Sri Sankara says that avidyA is natural to the mind, as opposed to being merely natural. The discussion is veered off to something altogether different, with neither the quote being supplied nor it being admitted that Sri Sankara does not say that "avidyA is natural to the mind".

nobody asks pramAna for one's own anubhava....do we ask what is pramANa for
our ignorance??  dont we say it is there in our *anubhava*!!!  It is very
strange that you are asking pramANa for anubhava...it is as good as asking
pramAna for pramAnatva of accepted pramANa-s :-))

* The "accepted" pramANas are three: Sruti, pratyaksha, and anumAna. anubhava as defined by Sri SSS is not one of them, and is much beyond pratyaksha, and hence the question. 

(a) Shankara does not accept *second* chaitanya to attribute it to the
Jiva...(see bruhadAraNyaka bhAshya 1-4-10)

SSN prabhuji :
* 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.

bhaskar :
>From pAramArthika view point there is no *second* like jIva & mind
etc...brahman & brahman alone is yEkamEva advitIya satya..so there is no
vidyA & avidyA vyavahAra in brahman& in vyavahAra kindly clarify what is
jIva apart from BMI to attribute avidyA to him??

* The reality show continues...

(b) Shankara does not agree that avidyA pertains to *Self* since it is
always nirguNa & nirvishEsha.

SSN prabhuji:
* 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?

bhaskar :
when the process of removal of *avidyA* is over, one would realize that
there was/is/will be  NO avidyA at all at any point of time !!  when one is
in avidyA questions like above will come..how do these questions arise &
where do they arise?? without identification with upAdhi-s  ??

* We are going round in circles here... and can continue till one of us attains moksha.

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

SSN prabhuji:
* 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.

bhaskar :
you have ignored by first sentence i.e. vidyA & avidyA is *upAdhi*
vyavahAra...if not I request you to come out with a better logical
explanation which is in line with anubhava. We shall take from there
on...Until then it is better to accept what is offered by shankara with
regard to avidyA without inventing new thories.

* Very well, let us consider the word upAdhi as well. Even with vidyA and avidyA being upAdhi vyavahAra, it does not follow that avidyA is natrual to the mind. As to theories, if I am inventing a new theory, please let me know what that is, as to my knowledge I am not.

bhaskar :
(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)

SSN prabhuji:
* Examples are only that: they illustrate a point, but do not form the core

bhaskar :
The core thesis what you are (or somebody who are trying to find a material
cause for this adhyAsa) assuming here did not get an entry into the
shankara's definition of adhyAsa. does it?? . The examples given to drive
home a point should have some relevance otherwise it will be completely
meaningless & irrelevant...do you mean to say shankara giving here totally
irrelevant examples to define adhyAsa theory??  What is that core thesis
you are referring here??  where shankara did exactly discuss this *core
thesis* of adhyAsa?? where he has given analogies to explain this *core
thesis* of adhyAsa?? kindly point out with appropriate reference.

* The core thesis mentioned by you is not what I had in mind in saying what I did. The examples cited by the acharya are perfectly valid without assuming that avidyA is natural to the mind, which is clear in my elaboration quoted below.

SSN prabhuji:
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.

bhaskar :
So you are telling shankara without bothering about all these
inconsistencies has given the wrong examples with respect to adhyAsa!!!

* Please read my original sentence carefully. All that I am saying is that Sri Sankara does not presuppose an atahkaraNa to do the cognizing, perceiving and memorizing. He has merely stated the types of adhyAsa - and they are valid irrespective of whether avidyA is natural to the mind, or merely natural, especially because mind itself is one such ahdyAsa.

please note, whatever examples I have given is shankara's own examples when
specifically asked *what is adhyAsa*??  in adhyAsabhAshya.

* Yes, even I am saying that the achary had listed the types of adhyAsa.

  It is but clear
that according to shankara one thing which appears as if it is another is
itself adhyAsa. Kindly note, in this context & in series of examples, the
*vastu tattva* or the essential nature of being of the entity is not
relevant at all..adhyAsa itarEtarAvivEkEna mithAjnAnanimittA

* the first impulse is to understand the above sentence assuming there is a real kartA, but when the kartA himself / itself is also such an adhyAsa, the situation needs is a bit more abstract and some effort needs to go into, to understand it properly.

having misconceived and as result of that unable to
distinguish one from the other, the general tendency of people are carrying
their trasactions like 'I am this' and 'this is mine' etc. in this manner
the subject matter jnAna alone is mentioned here & NOT second chandra
(moon) or silver literally!! If you need further clarification with regard
to this jnAnAdhyAsa,  kindly refer Shankara's gIta bhAshya on
kshEtra-kshEtrajna yOga...

* where is it my contention that a second chandra or the silver are mentioned or that such a mentioning or not makes any difference to what I am saying?

SSN prabhuji:
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.

bhaskar :
Since we are in vyavahAra we have to keep this distinctions intact for our
regular transactions...but it does not mean that we should forget the
pAramArthik satya as embedded in shruti-s & AchArya vAkya (i.e. pramAtru,
prmANa & pramEya vyavahAra is avidyAtmaka ) especially when we are
discussing pramANa-pramEya vyavahAra.

* I can't understand the relevance of the response.

bhaskar :
(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..

SSN prabhuji:
* 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

bhaskar :
please do that first prabhuji, instead of wasting time on sarcasm :-))  You
know after all we are here to learn & not to find fault with others &
making fun out of it!!!  Anyway, I shall try to share by understanding with
regard to role of antaHkaraNa in brahma jignAsa in a separate post.

* Once you state what are the quotes that you have in mind, we can discuss them. Or at least that is the proper order of discussion that is the person who cites something should give the quotation and then the respondent's response starts. In the particular case, given the huge amounts of energy wasted, I do not want a discussion. As you said, we are here to learn, not play the reality show of PseudoCommunication. As to the sarcasm, it is a valid way of discussion, nothing wrong with it. Given the previous experience wherein sarcastic quotes are turned around and said to be mine, I thought it fit to insert the definition tag in paranthesis.

bhaskar :
(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.

SSN prabhuji:
* 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.

bhaskar :
instead of passing judgement on my observation...would it not be fair on
your part to share what is your understanding on it??

* Sharing my understanding is what I have been doing, aren't I?

SSN prabhuji:
* The Acharya's answer is consistent with his system, but does not imply
the conclusion drawn by you, as noted in b) above.

bhaskar :
In (b) I had said : "Shankara does not agree that avidyA pertains to *Self*
since it is
always nirguNa & nirvishEsha"...Now, you are telling it is the conclusion
drawn by me & not shankara...could you please clarify then what is the
conclusion drawn by shankara by answering :"to you who is asking the
question"...who is "you" here shankara referring??
bhaskar :

* Bhaskarji, I sincerely doubt that you do the above sort of misinterpretation unintentionally. What my original sentence, which is properly punctuated, means as per standard English is: I) The Acharya's answer is consistent with his system; II) The Acharya's answer does not imply the conclusion drawn by you; and III) The reason why the Acharya's answer does not imply the conlcusion drawn by you is as noted in that part of the post referred to as "b)" and which is given above. You have intrepeted it to mean that I said that your conclusion is as noted in b) above. This is the reason why I decide to stop the interaction.

bhaskar :
Where did I say we have to *bar those terms* in the discussion...I dont
have any problem with terminologies used in those two schools & usage of
the same in our discussion...I only said since shankara himself refuted
those schools of thought (pUrvamImAmsa & nyAya)let us not bring in those
theories in our discussion...

* You are right, and I was wrong, you had not barred the terms but only said that you have not studied them and do not use hi-funda words.

bhaskar :
prabhuji you mean to say anubhava & shruti are like vEda & Quran & never
meet each other :-))  Kindly share with us the definition of Anubhava that
you have in mind..I've shared what I meant by anubhav in my mail to you...

* Whatever you have said anubhava is a sub-set of what Acharya himself said in his bhAshya. The critical difference is the anubhava mentioned by Acharya is analysed using SrutyanugrihIta tarka; in your case, anubhava is the validating factor, not an aid in analysing. Yes anubhava, not validated by Sruti, and stand-alone is as different from Vedas as Quran is. If you had not noticed the irony of your question, the Quran itself is a compilation of the intuitions (officially what God told Mohammed in a vision) of Prophet Mohammad, and see how anubhava not validated by Sruti can differ from Vedas.

The nature of this anubhava I've explained to the
best of my ability in my private mail to you.  Based on this anubhava
(which is a valid premise I believe since this anubhava is *universal* in
nature) we have to do tarka.

* Sir, I understand what you mean by anubhava; but I do not accept that as a separate pramANa; anubhava is only an aid in understanding Sruti - and the other accepted pramANas are pratyaksha and anumAna.


(Quotations follow below)

Bhashya vAkyas from samanvayAdhikaraNam (1.1.4)
1. That all-knowing, all-powerful Brahman, which is the cause of the origin, subsistence, and dissolution of the world, is known from the Vedanta part of the Scripture. (This is actually what the Sutra establishes).
2. Everything having its Self in Brahman cannot be grasped without the aid of the scriptural passage 'That art thou'.
3. Nor can the authoritativeness of the Veda be proved by inferential reasoning so that it would be dependent on instances observed elsewhere.
4. Veda possess authority as a means of right knowledge of Brahman (summary of the first part of the bhashya of this sutra)
5. The SAstra's purport is not to represent Brahman definitely as this or that object, its purpose is rather to show that Brahman as the eternal subject (pratyagAtmA) is never an object, and thereby to remove the distinction of objects known, konwers, act of knowledge and others, which is fictitiously created by nescience. (This is the proper complete quotation from which Sri Bhaskar chose selectively).
6. .... a person after having, by means of the Veda, comprehended Brahman to be the Self,....
7. With reference again to the assertion that Brahman is not fully determined in its own nature, but stands in complementary relation to injunctions, because the hearing about Brahman is to be followed by manana and nidhidhyAsana, we remark that manana and nidhidhyAsana are themselves merely subservient to the comprehension of Brahman....manana and nidhidhyAsana, no less SravaNa are subservient to comprehension.
8. VyAsa proves indirectly that what the Vedanta texts aim at is the comprehension of Brahman. 

Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

Finding fabulous fares is fun.  
Let Yahoo! FareChase search your favorite travel sites to find flight and hotel bargains.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list