[Advaita-l] FW: Avidya, Jnanis and SSS' views

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 28 19:09:30 CDT 2010

--- On Tue, 4/27/10, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I got the following in a private email from Sri Subhanu
> Saxena, who used to be an active participant
> on our list in its early days. I'm forwarding this to the
> list with his permission. I quite agree with him
> about the irony and limitations that he mentions in the
> first paragraph below! 
> Regards,
> Vidyasankar

I really respect Sri Subhanu, but I cannot help but disagree at least partially with this post.

> ---------------------------------------------------
> Namaste!
> I have been reluctantly dragged in to a discussion on
> another list on Avidya-lesha and SSS’ views on this topic
> particularly as it relates to BUB 1.4.7 and BSB 4.1.15.
> Reluctantly, since I kind of feel that a heated debate
> amongst ajnAni’s as to how a jnAni sees  the world is
> replete with irony and subject to its limits. It’s a bit
> like two people who have just learned to ride a bicycle
> arguing vehemently about how a jet fighter pilot flies using
> brakes and pedals! In any case, I was made aware of some of
> your posts with requests for direct references of Sri
> Swamiji's statements and thought I would send you some
> references in Sri Swamiji’s writings so you can look at
> them directly for yourself. I decided to add a few comments
> of my own based on my understanding also. 
> A couple of general remarks first, with some references to
> SSS’ works, followed by some of Suresvara’s points. You
> will see Sri Swamiji has no problem with Shankara’s
> bhashya:
> ·         Shankara does
> reject degrees of knowledge quite clearly as it relates to
> moksha even though means of knowledge may possibly effect
> degrees of perfection in its own result.  Shankara only
> calls the highest knowledge alone as entitled to be called
> as such and says tasmAt tasyAm
> chirAchirotpattirUpo’tishayo bhavan bhavet. Na tu muktau
> kashchidatishayasambhavo’sti [BUB 3.5.52] , “Therefore
> gradation in knowledge is possible, if at all, only by its
> appearing earlier or later. But there can be no gradations
> whatever in freedom”. In the Salient Features of
> Shankara’s Vedanta page 74 Sri Swamiji goes on to say
> “Freedom therefore has only to be realized through
> knowledge. Rightly viewed, even knowledge does not admit of
> any degrees or grades, for the highest knowledge which is
> incapable of being stultified is the only true knowledge in
> the strict sense of the term.

No one, as far as I know, admits of degrees of saMyak-GYAna.

> Knowledge may arise earlier or
> later according to the difference in degree of the intensity
> of the effort employed to achieve it. So freedom is bound to
> accrue simultaneously with knowledge”
> ·         So is this
> contradicting BUB 1.4.7 which talks of steadying such
> knowledge which may be weak,

BUB 1.4.7 talks of avidyA remaining undestroyed even after saMyak-GYAna.

> or does Sri Swamiji take a more
> rigid view than Shankara, and does Shankara take a “more
> flexible” view of samyag-jnanam in all situations? No, Sri
> Swamiji agrees perfectly with the pragmatic stance of The
> Revered Commentator. Sri Swamiji clarifies his stand as
> clearly consistent with Shankara on this point in Vedanta
> Prakriya Pratyabhijna Ch 4.73 : “tatrodite AtmavijnAne
> tatsmritisantateravshyam bhAvAnnaiSA vidheyetyAchAryaiH
> pratyAkhyAtas teSAm pakshaH. Astu vA vidhirapi niyamArthA
> prAradbdhakarmavashAt prApte jnAnasantatidaurbalye-iti
> prauDHivAdena vidhimangiichakrur bhASyakArAH. 
> apUrva-vidhim tu sarvathA nirAkritam taiH. Alston translates
> as “but (The Revered Commmentator) also offered an
> alternative view, purely as a consession to the ways of
> thinking of other people,

What a convenient (mis)interpretation!

If Sankara's statements seem to be in line with one's own personal view, quote the statement and boldly claim that it is "Sankara's mUla siddhAnta"!

If Sankara's statements are dead against one's personal view, imagine that it must have been meant as a "concession" to someone else's (presumably inferior) "way of thinking"!

Remarkable reasoning indeed!


> Regards
> Subhanu



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