[Advaita-l] A Question on Sundara Pandya

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 17 04:29:37 CDT 2010

On Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 5:28 AM, Antharyami <sathvatha at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hari OM~
> Sri Subramaniam ji,
> Pranam-s,
> From the references cited we get the impression that Sundarapandya was a
> prolific promulgator of Advaita doctrine. He makes explicit mention of the
> term ‘mithya’ and advocates the illusoriness of the conventional world. He
> seems to accept six means of valid pramanas as contended by the Bhatta-s
> and
> the Advaitin-s.

It is pertinent to note from the above (and the verses quoted at the end of
तत्तु समन्वयात् bhashyam)  that the terms 'मिथ्यात्मा and गौणात्मा’ are
extant even before Shankaracharya. They are not the concoction of later

In the commentary to the Taittiriya Aranyakam (Upanishad), Sri
SaayanaachArya gives a lucid explanation for the three 'Atma's:
मिथ्यात्मा,गौणात्मा and मुख्यात्मा.  Accordingly, 'mithyAtmaa' is the false
self; one's taking the body-mind complex to be oneself.  This is born of
ignorance.  'gauNAtmA' is considering those belonging to oneself like wife,
son, house, etc. as oneself notionally, with full knowledge that they are
distinct from oneself.  There is ignorance here too since when something
good or evil happens to these people/objects, one thinks, by superimposed
association, that such good or evil has happened to oneself.

However, 'mukhyAtmA' is the real self, taught by the scripture.  It is
ignorance pertaining to this self that results in taking oneself to be the
body-mind अहमिदम् and thru that associating with the others as one's own, मम
इदम्.  One could read this commentary for a fine explanation, with examples.

Thus, the terms used to denote the three 'types' of Atma have been in vogue
prior to Shankaracharya.


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