[Advaita-l] bimba - pratibimba vAda

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 13:44:58 CDT 2010

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 1:22 PM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> praNAms
> Hare Krishna
> I've written this in advaitin list long back..Here it is :
> // quote //
> We've seen here prabhuji-s constructing comfortable theories around
> jnAni's vyavahAra by attributing him localized indriya-s and reflective
> consciousness...In the traditional circle it is called *pratibimba vAda*
> and this vAda is something different from avaccheda vAda...In pratibimba
> vAda, normally they take two analogies to explain their stand... one is
> sun's reflection in the water & another one is face reflection in
> mirror...Without making the smart statements about vyAvahArika &
> pAramArthika satyatvas (empirical & transcedental realities) let us see
> how this pratibimba vAda works...Point tobe noted here that prabhuji-s who
> are after jnAni's body & consciousness, conveniently telling that jnAni,
> even after realization, can *still* has the reflective consciousness &
> through the set of his indriya-s he can operate this jagat...
> First of all let us see what shankara says on this pratibimba vAda...In
> amshAdhikaraNa, 'AbhAsa eva cha' (2-3-50) sUtra commentary shankara says :
> AbhAsa eva cha eSha jeevaH parasya AtmanaH, jala sUryAdikAdivat
> pratipattavyaH..(a rough translation : one should understand that the
> jeeva (individual soul) stands to the supreme self just like little image
> of the sun reflected in water stands to the real sun)..Shankara continues
> his commentary & says this individual self as such is not identical with
> the Self, yet it is not a separate entity either...One may think after
> reading this, the concept of jIva is anirvachaneeya according to
> shankara!!? No shankara concludes his bhAshya : AbhAsasya cha
> avidyAkrutatvAt tadAshrayasya saMsArasya
> avidyAkrutatvOpapattiriti...tadvyudAsena cha pAramArthikasya
> brahmAtmabhAvasya upadeshOpapattihi..(English : Because a refelection is a
> product of ignorance it is intelligible that the saMsAra that rests on it
> should also be a product of ignorance.
> From the above it is evident that Shankara saying that reflection of Self
> as a jeeva is a product of ignorance...But what we are doing here in this
> list?? We are comfortably saying jnAni, even after paramArtha jnAna, has a
> reflective consciousness...This is what I've been saying going against
> advaita vedanta as taught by shankara...
> If we see this pratibimba vAda from logical point, we can make out some
> flaws in it :
> (a) If the jeeva is a pratibimba of the original, it would not be able to
> know that it is original...Because pratibimba is mere non-conscious entity
> (anAtma vastu)..A non-conscious entity can never ever become a conscious
> entity...


It (jiva) will be able to know that it is the original thru shAstra pramANam
Guru Upadesham followed by sadhana. The pratibimba is not 'jaDa,
non-conscious'; only the medium the antaHkaraNa in which the pratibimba
is jaDa. The Taittiriya Upanishad says: yo veda nihitam guhAyAm parame
vyoman'..[He who realizes That which resides in the buddhi-guha, the cave of
intellect..] The Kathopanishad also has this teaching: guhAhitam
purANam. The Upanishad is not asking us to realize a jaDa (pratibimba) and
attain liberation!! The pratibimba of the all pervading Brahman is available
everyone's intellect. In fact the pravesha shruti: tat sRShTvA tadevaanu
praavishat' means just this: It, Brahman, created the world including the
body-mind apparatus and 'entered' it. Why? Only with a view to enable the
to find It in his buddhi guhA, mind, and realize It (as his real nature) and
become liberated. All the bhashyams in all the Upanishads are proclaiming
Brahman is ever available to one and all as 'kartA, bhoktaa, draShTaa,
mantA'. Shankara (His favourite expressions) shows these as the doorways for
one to 'find' Brahman in oneself and proceed with the vichara and end in
realizing it sans the kartRtuva, etc.upAdhis. Because, in each of these
upAdhis, Brahman, the chaitanyam alone is showing forth. The task of the
sadhaka is to do the viveka: separate the upAdhi and retain the chaitanya.
it is wrong to think that the pratibimba is jaDa. To reiterate, only the
reflecting medium is jaDa and not the reflected consciousness there. One has
negate the paricchinna mana-upAdhi and realize the aparicchinna Atma/Brahman

Also, the jiva is NOT a non-conscious entity. If that were the truth, the
Upanishads would never have addressed the teaching to this jaDa entity. Only
because the jiva is a sentient, conscious entity but only wrongly thinks
that he
is the body-mind which are actually the anAtma, jaDa, the Upanishads see the
definite possibility of the jiva, chaitanya, paying heed to the upadesha,
separating himself by Atma-anAtma viveka and shed his identification with
body-mind and come out 'clean'.

(b) As we know from our day to day experience, to get the reflection of
> anything in anything we need a object with certain form..Where is the form
> of the Atman to get the reflection ?? Is the reflection of 'formless'
> possible ?? Since Atman is formless, this reflection theory has the basic
> flaw in its system.


In the bhashya for the sutra 'ambuvadagrahaNaattu na tathaatvam' BSB 3.2.19
Acharya raises the above objection. And gives a fine reply in the next
'vRddhi-hrAsabhaak.....' 3.2.20: The Bhashya virtually slaps on the face of
questioner: It is wrong to leave out the similarities in a dArShTAntika and
demand a complete compliance to the dRShTAnta. When one does so the very
purpose of the example is lost. And this example of pratibimba is NOT A
Shankara, to the chagrin of the purvapakshin.

And He proceeds to give out the similarities between the analogy and the
case on
hand. One can read the bhashyam for this sutra and the next one:
'darshanaaccha' 3.2.21 which is a very lengthy, detailed exposition of the
efficacy and eminence of the pratibimba concept which is inalienable from
Upanishad prasthAna.

> (c) Reflection is not a genuine example to illustrate the nature of the
> soul (individual jeeva)..There is nothing on this objective world that can
> illustrate the relation of pure consciousness with the individual soul
> because pure consciousness is intrinsically transcedent & relationless in
> its very nature.


All these objections are simply trashed by the Sutra kara and the
Bhashyakara in
the above quoted sutras.

> So, those who are holding the reflection theory of consciousness to
> explain jnAni's vyavahAra should know that *this reflection theory* is a
> product of ignorance..


The Bhashyakara has sufficiently established that it is sheer ignorance to
holes in the Upanishadic pratibimba theory which is an invaluable method to
impart the Truth.

Best regards,

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