[Advaita-l] jnAna-nishtha and jnAni (Was Re:A matter for Adjudication)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 15 20:21:02 CDT 2010

On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 8:40 AM, savithri devaraj <
savithri_devaraj at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Here are a couple of quotes from Shankara to support these claims
> (translations are mine based on Sri Satchidanandendra Saraswathi Swamiji's
> Kannada writings) -
> yathA loke drashTushckshusha alokena saMyogo yatkAlastatkAla eva
> rUpAbhivyaktiH | evamAtmavishayaM vijnAnaM yatkAlaM, tatkAla eva
> tadvishayAjnAnatirobhAvaH syAt.h Br Bh 1-4-10
> Just as when light touches the eyes of a man the form is discerned right
> away, similarly when knowledge of brahman/atman is attained, the
> ignorance/avidya of atman/brahman is lost right away.
> Attainment of jnAna is simulteneous with the release from ignorance.
> na cAjnAnavyatirekeNa mokshasya vyavadhAnAntaraM kalpayituM shakyam.
> nityatvAnmokshasya, sAdhakasvarUpAvyarirekAshca Br Bh 3-3-1
> Other than ignorance there is no other possible obstruction to moksha,
> because moksha is our eternal state not different from the sAdhaka's being.
> This clearly says that once ignorance is destroyed by jnAna, there is no
> other obstruction (kAla, deSa, lesha) to moksha.
> anubhavAvasAnam ca brahmavijnAnamavidyAyA nivartakam mokshasAdhanaM ca
> dR^ishtaphalatayeshyate Su.Bh 2.1.4
> brahmavidya destroys avidya by terminating in brahman-experience; resulting
> in moksha and its results can be experienced right away.
> This tells us that the destruction of avidya by the veda pramANa results in
> moksha by experience right away, not in due course or in someother place.
> By these quotes (and many others), I say you clearly part company with
> Shankara.
>   The latest misadventure was equating Sri Satchidanandendra Saraswathi
> Swamiji's baaditha anuvritti to avidya-lesha in a jnAni. As has been
> explained above, Shankara and Swamiji clearly affirm there can be no avidya
> after samyag-jnAna for a jnAni.
> Regards,
> Savithri
> Namaste Madam,

Here is a quote from Shankara's Brahmasutra bhashya 2.1.14:

While refuting the stand of bhedAbheda paksha, Shankara says:

न च अस्मिन्दर्शने ज्ञानान्मोक्षह् इत्युपपद्यते, *सम्यग्ज्ञानापनोद्यस्य
कस्यचिन्मिथ्याज्ञानस्य* सम्सारकारणत्वेन अनभ्युपगमात् ।
What is relevant for our present purpose is:  mithyAjnAna is dispelled,
destroyed, eradicated, by samyagjnAna.

>From your several quotations, you seem to be implying that knowledge
destroys avidya and after such destruction, there is no reason for any
avidya to continue, linger.

Now, the above quote made by me also implies that once mithyAjnAna has been
destroyed by samyagjnana, there is no reason for it to continue, linger.

Yet, in the BSB 4.1.15 the Acharya says, as we have become only too familiar
by now, mithyAjnAna, even though dispelled, does, indeed, continue.  He uses
the word: एव to emphasise its continuance.  So, there is every reason to
hold that Shankara intends to say: avidya, even though dispelled, does
indeed, continue for some time.  The double-moon vision example he cites is
applicable to both mithyAjnAna and avidya.

Thus, there is no escape from avidya - lesha when mithyAjnAna anuvRtti is
admitted.  Admitting one is automatically admitting the other.  There is no
choice to accept one and reject the other.  There is no reason to do that in
Shankara's commentaries.

Now, the crucial question is: Why does it continue?  Shankara provides the
answer: संस्कारवशात् - owing to the force, power, of samskara-s.  What is
meant by samskAra?  The double-moon example provides us a definite clue.

The Ratnaprabha commentary says: विक्षेपक-अविद्यालेश एव तत्संस्कारः [ the
projecting aspect of avidyalesha alone is the samskAra, impression, referred
to in the bhashya.]

Now, here is evidence as to what the traditional Acharya-s mean by the term
avidya lesha:  it is nothing but samskAra that holds the sway for the
effects of the once-active and now-dispelled mithyAjnAna (avidya) to
inevitably continue for some time even after the dispelling of

The equation is: avidyalesha =  samskAra.

mithyAjnAna nAsha = AvidyA nAsha

mithyAjnAna anuvRtti = avidyaa anuvRtti

SamskAra is the cause of this anuvRtti and is applicable, adducible to both
the terms: mithyAjnAna and avidya.

There is no reason to divorce avidyA lesha from the language and purport of
the BSB 4.1.15.

I do not know if SSS has any justification in making that contentious remark
in his translation that 'there is no avidya-lesha vAda in the bhAshya'.  It
is contentious because, the avidya-lesha vAdi-s piinpoint to a term:
samskara of this very bhAshya as the meaning of avidyAlesha.  I would like
to know what SSS means by the term samskAra of the bhashya.  This question
of mine is reasonable for, if I reject or deny something as not the
appropriate meaning or concept in a particular context,  I have a duty to
state why I reject it and what according to me is the meaning of the
context.  In the absence of any explanatory note or reference specifically
from SSS for the term 'samskAra' of the bhashya, there is every reason to
reject that remark of SSS that 'this is not avidya lesha'.   If there is any
specific meaning he has given to this BSB 4.1.15 word 'samskAa' I would like
to be informed about that.  I think this whole debate rests on the meaning
of this one crucial word 'samskAra'.  For, we have shown that mithyAjnAna
nAsha and avidyA nAsha thru samyagjnAna is the same, on the authority of
BhAshya vAkyas themselves.  The judgement, I sincerely feel, hangs on the
meaning of the word samskAra.  The sampradAya vAdi-n has a clear meaning for
it: it is the vikshepa-avidya lesha.  If SSS has not given any meaning for
it, for whatever reason, the logical course would be to pass an ex-parte
judgement in favour of holding that the BSB 4.1.15 indeed speaks of avidya

Om Tat Sat

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