[Advaita-l] SSS, avidyA, shrI Ramakrishnan

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Sat May 19 03:35:29 CDT 2007

praNAm shrI Ramakrishnan,
         This mail is with regard to your paper (which I could not get
to earlier because of other commitments). Some caveats before I point
out the issues. I have not followed the discussion between shrI Siva
Senani and shrI Bhaskar in any detail, and if there is something
already discussed, please feel free to point it out (although, I feel
the issues being discussed are different). Also, I read only till the
end of section 2 (but going by your rules file, I presume that is just
fine). On to the issue:

You stated the position of SSS to be "avidyA is the mutual
superimposition of the real and unreal by the mind" (Pg. 8 of your
paper, just before the summary on avidyA). I feel this is not the case
at all. I feel SSS said "avidyA is the mutual superimposition of the
real and the unreal (unreal also includes the mind btw)", which you
also hold to be a tenable position. Let me point out the reasons why:

-- If the superimposition is done by the mind, there would be three
"ontological" categories, namely brahma (the real), the jagat (the
unreal), and the mind which superimposes the real and the unreal. But
I have not yet come across any statements of SSS which so much as
discuss the nature of such a mind. What's its status in paramArtha? It
cannot be real (as nirguNa brahma would not be advitIya then) or
unreal (because we claimed it to be different from the jagat which
comprises the unreal). Thus, it should be something like
anirvachanIya, and I have not seen such an exposition from SSS (yet).
Also, given the number of debates on this issue, I would be highly
surprised if this issue was not pointed out earlier and if SSS did not
have a position on it.

-- SSS always talks of two "entities" - Self and not-Self (Method of
Vedanta, translation by A.J.Alston ch.3, sec. 23, pg. 47). Nowhere
does mind figure as a separate entity (mind, notion of jIva etc. are
subsumed under anAtma, non-Self). And the third quote in this section
above explicitly refers to the notion of jIva being a product of this
superimposition. I can give you other quotes from svAmi
GYAnaprasUnEndraji's refutation of Martha Doherty's paper, but let me
know your position first before we can proceed.

-- I have read the relevant parts of the method of vEdAnta
(translation by A.J.Alston) before your paper came out, and I
understood avidyA to be a superimposition of the real and the unreal
(where unreal also includes the notion of aham as jIva). Thus, this
idea (of superimposition being done by the mind) is either presented
in the other books you quoted, or is entirely your own
(mis-)understanding of SSS. Since I only have access to the method of
vEdAnta, it would be great if you could give references from this book
to substantiate your position.



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