[Advaita-l] Pancikarana vs. Trvrtkarana (Analysis)

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Fri Jul 24 09:19:33 CDT 2009

I am consolidating comments from two different posters:

Micheal Sherman wrote,
>I'm with Deussen, 1912, in taking it that this creative process could
>take place without akasha and vayu already being in place to permit
>that's why reducing it to some '5 v 3' seems to me to demean the

In some respects, reducing it to 5 vs 3 does demean the discussion, but
other difficulties do not just go away. That AkASa and vAyu have to be
already in
place to permit trivRtkaraNa is something that the reader/thinker has to
into the chAndogya reference. Some may be content to base it upon an
or an assumption, but for the vedAnta tradition, any such interpretation
has to
be Sruti based - which is why the sUtra and the bhAshya refer to the
taittirIya text.

If you read the chAndogya carefully, even after talking of the
intermixing of tejas,
ApaH and annam, the text only gives examples for the quality of rUpa or
form, not
for those of taste (rasa) and smell (gandha). And if you read the
carefully, you will see that Sankara already characterizes earth with
the quality of
not only gandha, but of all five elements (AkASa-nAma-AkRtI saMvRtte ...
bhAvam Apadyate, tato'pyagni-bhAvam, agner ab-bhAvaM, tatAH pRthvIbhAvam
iti ... tasmAt pancamahAbhUtaguNa-viSishTA pRthvI). In this account, all
realities already exhibit the qualities of all five constituent elements
simply because
of the sequential order of origin. There is no particular reference to
any intermixing
here, whether of three elements or of five. So, there are legitimate
questions that
arise about the nature of knowledge and how it relates to observed

Bhaskar wrote:
>whether it is intermixing of 5 elements or it is only intermixing of
>3 elements hardly matters for a sAdhaka especially when shruti itself
>turning a blind eye on these meticulous details.

This is not the case. Sruti does not turn a blind eye to these details,
but it opens
up multiple eyes to them. The entire dialog between uddAlaka and
Svetaketu in one
upanishat text and the entire dialog between bhRgu and varuNa in another
show a
lot of attention to precisely these sorts of detail, which we would do
well to
understand properly. It is one thing to say that there is no one unique
or especially
privileged account of creation and quite another to say that Sruti does
not give any
account of creation at all.

Best regards,

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