[Advaita-l] Opinions about Rama and Krishna avataras flying around in this list -- (Part II)

Anand Hudli ahudli at gmail.com
Mon Jul 19 04:34:31 CDT 2010

Sriram Sharma wrote:
>I am not an expert on Swami Vidyaranya, but the Acharya could be meaning
>something different with the words quoted by friends in this forum. I would
>request experts to clarify the Teekas/Vivaranas available for those works
>and clarify those places, if possible.

The context of the discussion in the VivaraNa-prameya-sangraha is this. The
pUrvapaksha or the opponent's view, beginning with the word "nanu" in
polemic texts, is first stated and then VidyAraNya states the siddhAnta
beginning with the word, "uchyate." The opponent argues that mAyA and avidyA
are different. mAyA does not delude its locus (Ashraya) and behaves in
accordance with the wishes of the doer (kartA). In fact, the opponent uses
these characteristics as the definition of mAyA. What does not delude its
Ashraya and follows the desire of the kartA is mAyA. avidyA does not fit the
definition, since it deludes the its locus (the person who has avidyA)
and does not follow his wishes.

To this argument, VidyAraNya replies it is not always the case that mAyA
does not delude its locus and cites the example of rAmAvatara. He uses this
point in arguing that mAyA and avidyA are the same. I saw the reference to
Ramatirtha's comment on the upadeshasAhasrI verse. I will address this in a
separate message.  Please note that VidyAraNya is not implying that mAyA
will always delude Ishvara and keep Him under its spell like an ordinary
jIva. Since Ishvara is also sarvajna, by the very definition of Ishvara, He
cannot be indefinitely kept under the spell of mAyA, like a jIva. Soon, He
will break free from the spell, which happened in the case of shrIrAma when
BrahmA told Him that He was shrIman nArAyaNa Himself. Note that shrIrAma
initially considers Himself to be a mere human (AtmAnaM mAnuShaM manye) but
BrahmA tells shrIrAma, "Your are Narayana Himself", (bhavAn nArAyaNo devaH).
The relevant shlokas from the the rAmAyaNa, yuddhakANDa, taken from the
Kyoto Archive (http://www.cc.kyoto-su.ac.jp/~yanom/sanskrit/ramayana/) are
 mentioned below:










We must also remember that Ishvara and jIva are two different aspects of
Brahman, but essentially both are only Brahman. Brahman with a limiting
adjunct (upAdhi) of samaShTi mAyA, in which shuddha sattva guNa dominates,
is Ishvara, while the same Brahman with a limiting adjunct (upAdhi) of
vyaShTi mAyA, in which sattva is polluted by rajas and tamas guNas,  is jIva
(VedAntasAra of sadAnanda). As a result, the mAyA of Ishvara does not
delude Him while the vyaShTi mAya of the jIva deludes him. The mAyA of
Ishvara is also referred to as collective ignorance while the avidyA of the
jIva is called individual ignorance.

The vivaraNa school agrees that in common parlance mAyA and avidyA are
spoken of as different. For example we find the following text in the
panchapAdikA vivaraNa:
तस्मात् लक्षणैक्यात् वृद्धव्यवहारे चैकत्वावगमात् एकस्मिन्नपि वस्तुनि
विक्षेपप्राधान्येन माया आच्छादनप्राधान्येन अविद्या इति व्यवहारभेदः ।
इच्छाधीनत्वतद्वैपरीत्येन वा व्यवहारभेदः ।

Therefore, as the characteristics of both (mAyA and avidyA) are the same,
and as usage in ancient works indicates that (mAyA and avidyA) are one and
the same, it is customary to use the term "mAyA" when the emphasis is on
projective power (of mAyA), and the term "avidyA" when the emphasis is on
the concealing power (of mAyA). Or, it is customary to use the term "mAyA"
when we mean it is dependent on the will ( of its locus) or "avidyA" when we
mean it is otherwise. Both mAyA and avidyA are the same thing.


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