[Advaita-l] SSS, avidyA, shrI Ramakrishnan

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Tue May 22 07:09:32 CDT 2007

I did read the quotes. But given the lack of context for those quotes,
I could not conclude much from them. And I have come across enough
instances in literature where statements taken at face value
contradict each other, but samanvaya sets them in the proper context
and brings out a coherent opinion of the author. And I feel the same
could be true with SSS. If he made two apparently contradictory
statements, I would try and find out what he intended, before
concluding that his philosophy is incoherent.

praNAms Sri SiddhArtha prabhujij
Hare Krishna

Since you have asked for the context of swamiji's assertion that avidyA is
epistemic in nature in the book...I think it is my duty to clarify the
context of this observation by Sri SSS...

In the book *How to Recognize the Method of Vedanta*  (it is a
comprehensive English introduction to his magnum opus Sanskrit work
*vEdAntaprakriya pratyabhigna*) Sri SSS talks about all the post shankara
Acharya-s who have contributed to the cause of propagation of shankara
siddhAnta.  Under the title *Padmapada* Sri SSS discusses the position of
paNchapAdika with regard to avidyA. And those who read this chapter (from
page No.92 to 100) will definitely come to know that  Sri SSS rigorously
analysing & refuting the views of paNchapAdika & NOT propagating *his* own
pet theory of avidyA..

First in Page-93, Sri SSS quotes shankara's adhyAsa bhAshya vAkya :
mithyAjnAnanimittaH satyAnrutE miThunIkrutya ahamidaM mamEdamiti
naisargikOyaM lOkavyavahAraH...gives the English translation as follows :

// quote //

It is a natural procedure on the part of men due to wrong knowledge to mix
up the real and the unreal and to think 'I am that', 'This is mine'.

// unquote//

And now Sri SSS takes the interpretation of paNchapAdika & observes in
continution to above English translation : (name within brackets  is mine)

// quote //

This commentator (padmapAda) however, stretches the meaning of the word
*mithyAjnAna* to mean something which squares with the creed peculiar to
his own school :

// unquote //

After quoting panchapAdika's Sanskrit interpretation of avidyA like '
mithyAjnAnanimittaA iti, mithyA cha tadjnAnaM cha mithyAjnAnaM *mithyA* iti
anirvachanIyata uchyatE........................upAdAna ityarthaH..Sri SSS
translates this Sanskrit explanation of panchapAdika in English as :
(Sanskrit words within brackets are mine)

//quote //

The compound word mithyAjnAna is made up of the words mithyA and ajnAna.
mithyA means anivachanIya and ajnAna means the insentient potentiality of
avidyA (jadAtmikA avidyAshaktiH), as opposed to jnAna or sentiency.
adhyAsa has this avidyAshakti for its 'nimitta' i.e. upAdAna or material
cause.  This is the meaning.  (PP...page 4)

// unquote //

After quoting this extra-ordinary interpretation of avidyA Sri SSS bluntly
says : COMMENT IS NEEDLESS.  Then comes the whole para where Sri SSS talks
about avidyA....Here is the full quote of that para (Page 94) :

// quote //

Further on, the author enumerates a number of terms as synonymous : nAma
rUpa (name & form), avyAkrutaM (undifferentiated state), avidyA
(nescience), mAyA (false appearance), prakriti (original cause), agrahaNaM
(non-apprehension), avyAktaM (unmanifested), tamaha (darkness), kAraNam (
cause), layaha (dissolution), Saktihi (potency), mahAsuptihi (the long
sleep or dream), nidra (sleep), aksharaM (imperishable), AkAshaM (ether).
It is clear that the word avidyA which, derived as it is from the root vid
- to know, can primarily express only something epistemic, is here
requisitioned to denote a causative something.  Most of its synonyms here
shown, indeed, are uniformly used by vEdAntins for the subtle state of the
manifested world.  And shankara not only never mixes up this avyAkruta or
mAya with avidyA,  as is here done, but expressly says that it is really a
figment of avidyA.

// unquote //

>From the above it is quite evident that Sri SSS mainly dealing here with
the treatment & interpretation of avidyA given by paNchapAdika & its
totally unwarranted mixing of words avidyA & mAya out of context...

I hope now  the context of Sri Swamiji's observation is clear....

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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