V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 15 02:18:40 CDT 2010

On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 11:47 PM, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

>   In > short, the Veda is the only pramANa that can tell us
> > anything 'about'  Brahman.  This is the context of Bhagavatpada's
> > discussion in the Sutra
> > Bhashya quote provided by me.  This Veda belongs to
> > the vyAvahArika realm
> > and therefore not absolutely Satyam as Brahman is.
> > Hence the question
> > comes: how can this ultimately mithya Veda teach us
> > anything valid about
> > Brahman, which teaching is a sine qua non for Brahma jnAna
> > and moksha?  This
> > is the subject matter of the article under consideration.
> >
> > What the Acharya of Sringeri is saying is something
> > different -  Atman is
> > our very Self and we are not aware of It 'as our very
> > Self'.  Due to
> > mUlAvidyA, as confirmed by Narada to Sanatkumara:
> > मन्त्रविदेवास्मि, न
> > आत्मवित्  I am a knower of the mantras
> > alone; I am not a knower of Atman, we
> > do not know the Atman as our Self.  To remedy this
> > situation, we approach
> > the Veda which instructs us about the nature of Brahman and
> > all the other
> > sadhanas for its 'realization'; really its
> > recognition.  While all one has
> > to do is to only give up avidya, one will have to be
> > equipped with the
> > knowledge about Brahman/Atman so that when we are face to
> > face with it, we
> > should be able to recognize It as 'This is my Atman,
> > me'  आत्मानं चेत्
> > विजानीयात् अयं अस्मि
> > इति पूरुषः....This is a must.  This
> > knowledge 'about'
> > Brahman/Atman is extremely essential because there is every
> > possibility of
> > an aspirant ending up concluding something else as
> > Atman.  The other
> > candidates that compete with the real Atman are: the mind,
> > the intellect,
> > the ego, blankness. (ref. to the 5th verse of the
> > SrIdakshinamurti
> > stotram).  To take care that one does not end up
> > knowing the non-Atman as
> > the Atman, the Veda as a pramANa is essential to inform us
> > what in truth is
> > the Atman.   When the Acharya speaks about
> > 'the endeavour to eradicate
> > Avidya', this instruction includes the possession of the
> > knowledge of what
> > is Atman/Brahman in unmistakable terms.
> >
> > Thus, we see the synthesis, not conflict, between what
> > Bhagavatpada says and
> > what the Sringeri Acharya says.
> >
> There is however a definite conflict between what you say and the Sringeri
> Acharya says. In your previous post you said:
> "The very Absolute can be known only with the help of the Veda. And if the
> Veda itself negates its existence in Brahman, during all three periods of
> time, how is valid knowledge of the Absolute secured at all? How can the
> unreal produce the knowledge of the Real?"
> The implication what you say is obvious: The Veda "produces" knowledge of
> the Absolute.

Dear Karthik,

My statements do not imply that the Veda 'produces' knowledge of the
Absolute; rather what I have specifically stated is:  //  In  short, the
Veda is the only pramANa that can tell us
 anything *'about'*  Brahman.   //

Pl. see the 'about' here.  The Upanishad says: सत्यं ज्ञानं अनन्तं ब्रह्म
This is a teaching 'about' Brahman.  This statement does not 'produce'
Brahman.  It however definitely produces knowledge about Brahman.  Equipped
with this knowledge one engages in Brahma jijnAsA and the required
nididhyAsanam and ends up getting the sAkShAtkAra of Brahman which is ever
present.  The Veda is like a city-guide that helps me reach my destination;
it does not produce the destination.  It gives me knowledge about the
destination, the landmarks, etc. and helps me reach my destination.

> This is not considered correct, since the knowledge of the Absolute (Self)
> CANNOT be produced by anything, as it is Self-shining and EVER-REALISED.

The self-shining and ever realized Atman is thus revealed by the Veda by
producing the required knowledge that helps in negating the not-self and
pinning down on the real Self.  The Vedic knowledge is crucial in this
negating all that is the not-self.  This is possible only when we are able
to know what the Self is.  This knowledge is given by the Veda.   To be
specific, the Veda teaches us 'what Brahman/Atman is not'; this knowledge is
indispensable in Brahma jijnAsA.  If anyone says the Veda 'produces/brings
about/causes' this knowledge, it is definitely not incorrect and does not
contradict what the Sringeri Acharya has said.

> Also, the very subject line is not acceptable as true, as Sankara asks
> (upadeshasaahasrii 2.14.19), "bIja-abhAve kutaH phalam.h?", which is a
> pleading to the disciple as to how there can possibly an effect without a
> cause?! The meaning is clear: there cannot be an effect without a cause.
> (In fact, Sankara raises the same question in the BSB 2.1.36, where he
> speaks of the problem of effects arising from unreal causes).
> I would appreciate it if you can kindly quote from the AchAryas, and then
> draw conclusions based on the quotes. This would make the AchAryas' position
> immensely clear to all of us.

In the Sutra bhashya we have taken up in this article, 2.1.14, the Acharya
raises the question:

कथं तु असत्येन वेदान्तवाक्येन सत्यस्य ब्रह्मात्मत्वस्य प्रतिपत्तिरुपपद्येत ?

[ How is it possible that from the unreal Vedantic passage the knowledge of
the real Brahman-Atman arises? ]

Note the word 'asatyena' as the adjective for 'Vedantavaakya',
In the course of answering this question, the Acharya says, by way of an
analogy, ...इति असत्येन स्वप्नदर्शनेन सत्यायाः समृद्धेः प्रतिपत्तिं दर्शयति
। [ The Chandogyopanishad 5.2.1 teaches that from the unreal
dream-perception, the attainment of the real prosperity..]  Note the
adjective 'asatyena' 'unreal' for the word 'svapnadarshana'.

>From this discussion it becomes clear that the Acharya is teaching the
possibility of a real effect emerging from an unreal cause.  Hence the
infallibility of the subject header:
words in support of the header.  It must be particularly noted, for the
purposes of answering your doubt / objection about -

//as to how there can possibly an effect without a cause?! The meaning is
clear: there cannot be an effect without a cause.//

The sutrabhashya we have taken up for discussion is not about an effect
arising without a case, but it is precisely about ' the possibility of a *real
effec*t arising from an *unreal cause*.'

An unreal cause is not a no-cause.  It is a bhAvarUpa kaaraNam; it is not an
abhAva like the hare's horn.  If such were the case, definitely it would not
have the approval of Shankaracharya.

To reiterate, in conclusion, असत्यकारणम् is not कारणाभावः; it is only
mithyAkAraNam (producing a satya kAryam).

I think there is no room for any anupapatti here as the statements of the
Bhashya taken up for scrutiny are clear.

I could not see how this information of yours: (In fact, Sankara raises the
same question in the BSB 2.1.36, where he speaks of the problem of effects
arising from unreal causes) is particularly connected to the topic we have

Thank you once again for raising the questions.


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