[Advaita-l] SSS, avidyA, shrI Ramakrishnan

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed May 23 04:52:27 CDT 2007

-- 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.

praNAms Sri SiddhArtha prabhuji
Hare Krishna

This  is indeed a good observation...As far as my limited knowledge goes, I
dont  think anywhere in his works  Sri SSS says mind is a third ontological
entity which is sitting pretty in a separate place aloof from real & unreal
&   doing   this   superimposition   business...Since  there  wont  be  any
transactions such as vidyA & avidyA in brahman, Sri SSS insists that avidyA
vyavahAra  can possible only in our day to day affairs & his interpretation
of  avidyA  & its three aspects are *strictly* from this empirical point of
view  where  we  have already taken it for granted that we are boby, mind &

More  importantly,  it  may  be noted that the fundamental avidyA i.e. jIva
bhAva  (notion  of finiteness of chaitanya) does not come into picture here
at  all  coz.  if  you  realize  that jIva bhAva itself is avidyA & you are
secondless  brahman,  then  there  is  no  avidyA  at  all!!!  This is what
shankara exactly says in sUtra bhAshya...

The question that desparately needs answer is if avidyA does not pertain to
antaHkaraNa,  what would be the ashraya (locus) of avidyA then??  We cannot
say  jIva has this avidyA coz. jIva without the association of upAdhi (name
&  forms)  is  brahman  himself.  So strictly speaking,  if avidyA does not
pertains  to  upAdhi  then it should have the locus in brahman itself...The
later  commentators  to  maintain  the  logical  consistency with regard to
definition  of  avidyA,   finally  invented a new revolutionery theory that
both  avidyA's  vishaya  &  ashraya  are brahman only...This means brahman,
before  assuming  jIva  bhAva, in its pure nature, has this avidyA in him &
through  this  avidyA  he  has  become jIva & this same avidyA (avidyA bIja
shakti  in  avyAkruta  rUpa)  which caused the whole world & it is also the
material  cause (upAdAna kAraNa)  for jIva's antaHkaraNa dOsha i.e. adhyAsa
!!!!   Anyway  this is a different issue...Let us come to the subject, what
exactly  this ignorance ?  and where can we find it?? whether it belongs to
third  ontological  entity called mind ??  Since this ignorance what we are
talking  about  is  the  *ignorance*  concerning  Atman  or self of us all,
strictly  speaking  it cannot be obviously a function of mind!!!  Only some
biased characters can claim that Sri SSS has not realized this simple truth
in  morethan  six  decades of dedicated study of shankara bhAshya  & he has
unknowingly  attributed  avidyA  to  antaHkaraNa/mind  !!!..Sri SSS clearly
observes  in  his  vEdAntArtha  sAra saNgraha that the function of the mind
which  consists of not knowing (agrahaNa) or misconceiving (anyaThAgrahaNa)
an external object.  Since the Atman is witnessing consciousness in each of
us  (sarvabhutAntarAtma)  and  there  is  nothing  of  which  it is not the
witness, the Atma tattva can never be the object of this intellect which is
itself  one of the objects (vishaya) of that consciousness!!!  But Sri SSS,
holding  the  empirical  view  point with common sense promptly admits that
since we have NO OTHER INSTRUMENT of knowledge associated with which we can
talk  of  ourselves  as  ignorant  of or knowing anything..mind is the only
instrument through which  we can do this vidyA - avidyA vyavahAra.

>From  this it can be said that the mind is the instrument (karaNa)  that we
readily  have  to realize the self. But this mind should be purified by the
sAdhana-s  of  shama,  dama  etc.  and  endowed  with  the teachings of the
scriptures  &  shrOtrIya,  brahmanishTa guru.  At this point, if we, out of
context,  conclude  illogically   that  this mind is itself adhyAsa then we
donot  have  any  karaNa to do brahmajignAsa!!  Ofcourse nobody agrees that
with  the  help of *adhyAsa* (considering the case that mind=adhyAsa) we do
brahma  jignAsa  :-))   There  is  an objection in gIta bhAshya (2-21) that
there  is  no  possibility  of  the  self knowledge coz. the self is not an
objectifiable  one  by  any  means  i.e. instruments such as senses and the
antaHkaraNa.    For  this  Shankara  answers,  no  it  is  not  like  that,
shAstrAchAryOpadEsha   janita   shamadamAdi  saMskrutaM  mana  Atmadarshane

Mind as it is, should be understood when it turns towards the self the mind
loses  its  mindness  (manastva)  and appears as the self..(Sri RamaNa says
when   we  turn  our  mind  to  find  out  mind  it  disappears  within  no
time)...shruti  gives  the  example  of *burning wood* The mind will become
Atman  when  one  is  realized  his  true  nature  of  self.   This type of
appearance is called as jnAnAvrutti by Shankara in gIta bhAshya (13-34).

So,  IMHO,  it  is  totally  incongruous  &  immaturity on the part of some
characters   to  assume  that  Sri  SSS without knowing these simple issues
attributing avidyA to antaHkaraNa...

Let  me conclude this with a bruhadAraNyaka upanishad bhAshya quote from my
parama guruji Sri SSS's work :

// quote //

If  it  is argued that being the locus or not being the locus of avidyA, it
certainly  a specific feature of Atman just as blindness due to cataract or
freedom from that blindness is a specific feature of a person, we say " No;
for being ignorant by himself has been expresly denied in the case of Atman
by the shruti 'he thinks as it were, He moves as it were' "

// unquote //

It  is  stated here that vidyA and avidyA both belong to the non-self since
they  can  be  objectified  and that the fact of Atman appearing to possess
them as properties is only a false appearance.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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