[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (33)

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Tue May 29 13:05:59 CDT 2007

In Unit 28, we studied turIya
In Unit 29 and 30 we reviewed the pancha kOsha - the five sheaths
surrounding the jIva; arrived at jIva as a sAkShi in the vyaShTi realm.
In Unit 30, we arrived at who jIva is - He is none other than Brahman.
In Unit 31, we looked at samAdhi.
In this last unit, we will try to understand samnyAsa and mukti; we will
wrap up this study with this unit.


Formal samnyAsa (renunciation of worldly life), may not be required for
mOkSha, but it helps advance the pace of discipline required for attainment
of mOkSha. The samnyAsa isolates the seeker from the hassles of the worldly
life and strengthens his upAsana; upAsana is focusing the mind on a support
and holding it stay there, such that the mind does not waver from that
entity, isolating the mind from wandering towards undesirable entities. Such
upAsana leads to achieving chitta shuddhi (cleansing of the mind), paving
the way for realization of non-dual knowledge. Such support is generally
Iswara. With the attainment of chitta shuddhi, the seeker graduates to the
steps 2 thru 4 above.

Generally two levels of liberation are described; jIvan mukti and vidEha
mukti. With the attainment of nirvikalpa samAdhi through coming off (or
removal) of the ajnyAna, if the prArabdha karma that has given rise to the
current life is exhausted, the body will drop off and the jIva attains
liberation at the same time. However, if the prArabdha is not exhausted, the
body has to survive until the jIva has to complete the prArabdha. So with
the attainment of mukti, while the body still survives, the jIva enters the
state of jIvan mukti.

In the state of jIvan mukti, the jIva drops its sanchita and AgAmi karma;
his ego is destroyed. He goes through the rest of the life until the
prArabdha exhausts. During this period, though his body and mind are
interacting with the outside world, he has no idenitity with those
transactions. If he sees an ornament, he cognizes gold; if he sees a pot, he
cognizes clay. When he sees jagat, he cognizes Brahman; everything around
him is Brahman; he is experiencing Brahman, the pure consciousness - he is
Brahman. Though he has to carryout certain actions to maintain the body and
mind, he will have per se no association with those actions. He experiences
no reality in those transactions; he will not be bound by those transactions
like the ajnyAnis. When the prArabdha karma exhausts, he will shed the body.
The kAraNa sharIra that leaves the body when a person dies has no existence
in the case of a jIvan mukta. Since there is no re-birth for him; the
constituents of the kAraNa sharIra gets dissipated here and absorbed with
Brahman (into the five elements) and the body drops off. 

For a viDeha mukta, the body drops off at the same time as the attainment of
jnyAna. As in the case of a jIvan mukta, for a vidEha mukta also, the
constituents of the kAraNa sharIra gets dissipated here and absorbed with
Brahman (into the five elements) and the body drops off.

iti sri Shankara bhagavatpAda pratipAdita advaita siddhAntah parisamAptam -
Thus ends the advaita philosophy expounded by sri Shankara bhagavatpAda.

kAruNya sAgarAya vidmahE sadgurudEvAya dhImahi
tannah shankarah prachOdayAt -  We perceive the ocean of compassion; let us
meditate upon the greatest Teacher. May that Shankara (who is glorified as
kAruNya sAgara and sadgurudEva) inspire us.

With this, we are concluding this study. It has been a great experience for
me in discussing the advaita vEdAnta in this group. I thank the Moderators
of this group, Sri Jaldhar Vyas in particular, for inviting me to present
this series. I also thank the list members for their support.

All the material presented in this study, is drawn from the sources listed
in the first unit. I have not presented any of my personal opinion in this
presentation. I believe I have faithfully maintained the Shankara sampradAya
in the material presented; because, to the best of my knowledge, the sources
listed in Unit 1, all have followed Shankara sampradAya -  their logic and
analysis are based on the statements of Shankara bhagavatpAda in the
bhAShyas of prastAna trayi. Again, I have not intentionally offered any of
my thoughts or personal opinions in the material presented. If there are any
errors in the presentation, it is my ignorance in either understanding the
material or the challenge in translating some of the difficult concepts to
English. I hope you will pardon me, if you come across such errors.

Before I close this message, I would like to add some additional thoughts to
the subject of abhAvarUpa ajnyAna and bhAvarUpa adhyAsa, which generated
some serious discussions.

The adhyAsa is an anthahkaraNa vritti, in the buddhi. This experience is an
experience of duality; therefore this is not a pAramArthika satya; it is
only a vyAvahArika satya. Therefore equating this bhAvarUpa adhyAsa, which
is a vyAvahArika reality, with the Brahman who is pAramArthika satya,
ignores the facts of advaita. As much as this could be intuited, mAnDukya
kArika bhAshya(3-19) can be quoted here.
" ajam, advayam ayam Atma-tatvam mAyAyaiva bhidyatE na paramArthatah; tasmAt
na paramArthasad dvaitam - the svarUpa of Atma, which is unborn and non-dual
appears as many, because of mAyA, not by pAramArtha. So the dvaita
experience is not pAramArtha ".
Elsewhere, bhagavatpAda comments - "Evam ayam anAdih anantO naisargiKO
adhyAsO mithyA pratyaya rUpah kartritva bhOktritva pravartaka sarva-lOka
pratyakShah - This wrong cognizance, adhyAsa - is naturally present in
humans, which is anAdi and ananta. It is the experience of everyone that I
am the doer and I am the enjoyer" - [sUtra bhAShya, adhyAsa prakaraNa].
The adhyAsa is there in all beings. It is destroyed to the one or two who
realize Brahman, but remains "ananta" for others. As much as mAyA is
anirvachanIya, it is causing the adhyasa in ajnyAnis, adhyAsa is present. 

So how does bhAvarUpa adhyAsa come out of abhAvarUpa ajnyAna? It is not a
cause and effect relationship as we discussed in Unit 25. It is already
there, from anAdi; ajnyAna as kArana of adhyAsa is a pretext (almost like
filling a void), and not a nimitta or upAdAna. We will revisit the example
we saw in Unit 25 and expand on it. An abandoned house may invite a homeless
person (tAmasic), a drug dealer (rajasic)or a saint (sAttvic) to occupy the
house. The abhAva of the owner did not create the homeless person, the drug
dealer or the saint (neither nimitta nor upAdAna). When the owner comes back
to claim the house, the homeless person or the drug dealer or the saint
quits the place. In this example, the intellect of the ajnyAni is the
abandoned house, and the jnyAna that he is Brahman is the owner. When the
jnyAna is realized (owner comes back), ajnyAna disappears (homeless person
etc. quits). The empty intellect in the absence of jnyAna, accumulates
thoughts such as he is lazy (tAmasic), or wise (rajasic) or a devotee
(sAtvic). All these thoughts/actions arise in accordance with his prior
samskAras by the mAyA: in other words, such thoughts spring forth from
bhagavAn; we may recall Krishna's teachings in gIta 7.12 -
" yE chaiva sAtvikAh bhAvAh rAjasAh tAmasAh cha yE 
matta EvEti tAn viddi ntavahm tEShu tE mayi  - Those things or objects that
are made of sattva, rajas and tamas, know them to have sprung from me alone;
However I am not in them, they are in me".
Shankara bhAShya - Whatever thoughts occur in beings due to their karma,
know that to be originating from me. However, I am not controlled by them, I
control them. 
This clearly states that adhyAsa has its origin in mAyA, not in the
individual. This dvaita experience is manifested in the ajnyAni, due to
mAyA. Iswara is the controller of mAyA. This is how adhyAsa is caused by
ajnyAna (not a direct upAdAna or nimitta). This is also the basis for
calling the cognizance of wrong knowledge (adhyAsa) as bhAvarUpa. 

shAstra uses two technical terms - dharmi and pratiyOgi -  which could be
used to help understand this argument.
dharmi - Where there is an absence of one, that is the dharmi of the
other(which is absent).
pratiyOgi - that by which the absence is discontinued or brought to an end
is the pratiyOgi.

As another example; consider a catchment area or a tank. Due to persistent
lack of rain, the tank is empty. So because of the absence of water, the
tank is the dharmi. Sufficient rain will cause the tank to fill and the
absence of it in the tank is discontinued. So the water is the pratiyOgi of
the absence.

Realization that I am Brahman is vidya or jnyAna. That cognizance which
removes ajnyAna is vidya - which is the experience of all pervading
(sarvAtma-bhAva). This cognizance is in the buddhi. ajnyAna is the absence
of jnyAna - ajnyAna is the screen which makes unattained, what is actually
attained. buddhi is the dharmi and jnyAna is the pratiyOgi. This ajnyAna is
not the svarUpa of Atma. As the sarvAtma-bhAva increases, the ajnyAna
correspondingly decreases and when the apex of sarvAtma-bhAva is reached,
the ajnyAna is completely destroyed (the screen disappears allowing
cognizance of what is actually attained or the svarUpa). This complete
destruction of ajnyAna is possible only if it is abhAvarUpa. 

[Note: Other descriptions of ajnyAna in the advaita philosophy are bhAvarUpa
and anirvachanIya; there is an argument that when ajnyAna is described as
bhAvarUpa, there is no distinction made between ajnyAna and adhyAsa;
Description of anirvachanIya, of course, means that the nature of ajnyAna
cannot be determined]. 


Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna.

Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih 

( Om peace, peace, peace).

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