[Advaita-l] BhAvarUpa ajnAna/avidya Part 3

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 24 05:27:41 CDT 2010

In the bhashyam for the Brahma Sutra 1.1.5 ईक्षतेः न अशब्दम् we have an
interesting question-answer: Brahman 'saw/deliberated/desired' and therefore
we conclude that It is chetana vastu.  Now, this Brahman is the subject,
ईक्षणकर्ता.  What is the object, karma, that is 'seen' by the kartA
Brahman?  Says the bhashyam:

किं पुनः तत्कर्म, यत्प्रागुत्पत्तेः ईश्वरज्ञानस्य विषयो भवति ? इति ।
What is the object, karma, that is 'seen' by the kartA Brahman, prior to

तत्त्वान्यत्वाभ्यां अनिर्वचनीये नामरूपे अव्याकृते व्याचिकीर्षते इति ब्रूमः ।
//Name and form, we reply, which can be defined neither as being identical
with Brahman nor as different from it, unevolved but about to be evolved.//

This 'object' vishaya, for Brahman, the kartA, prior to creation, is:
avidyA/mAyA/mUlAvidyA.  It is with this basic material that Ishwara/Brahman
creates the world which is the manifest form of the unmanifest.

Thus, in the analysis done by Shankaracharya, we have a neat
subject-object-predicate tool involved.

The subject is: Brahman.

The Object: is the

The predicate: is the ईक्षणक्रिया the act of
'seeing/deliberating/desiring'.  It is this predicate that became the vital
ground for the Vedantin to refute the saankhyan proposition and clinch the
issue in favour of the Brahman of the Upanishads.  And that clinching
reasoning is: BECAUSE 'seeing' can be a property of only a sentient being.

Now, four important corollaries stem from the above Bhashyam:

1.  Shankara teaches that there is a विषय-विषयि realtionship between avidyA
and Brahman.

2. Avidya is the viShaya and Brahman, the viShayI.  Therefore, the viShaya,
AvidyA/ajnAna/mAya has to be a bhavarUpa vastu.

3. This bhAvarUpa avidyA is the upAdaana kAraNam for the world.  It is with
this shakti Brahman becomes the Creator.

4. This bhAvarUpa avidyA is viShaya for Brahman 'before' creation.  In other
words, prior to adhyAsa, there is a cause and this cause is avidyA.

This bhashya vAkyam is another proof, a very explicit one, for avidyA being
bhAvarUpa.  Shankara uses the word 'viShaya' in respect of avidyA.

In the case of avidyA-kArya like icchA, dveSha, etc. the kShetrajna is the
viShayi and these are the viShayas.  In the case of prapancha kAraNa-avidyA,
Brahman itself is the viShayi.

Om Tat Sat

On Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 6:36 AM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> Anubhava pramANa:  Shankaracharya initiates an interesting discussion in
> the Bhagavadgita BhAshya 13.2:
> //Objection: The very fact that Kshetrajna is possessed of avidya makes him
> a samsarin, and the effect thereof – happiness and misery and so on – is
> directly perceived.
> Answer: No; for what is perceived is an attribute of kshetra and kshetrajna
> the cognizer cannot be vitiated by the blemish due to it.  ...whatever
> blemish, not inhering in kshetrajna, you ascribe to him, *it comes under
> the cognized*, and therefore forms a property of kshetra, and not the
> property of kshetrajna.  Nor is kshetrajna affected by it, ...//
> It is easy to recall the opening sentence of the AdhyAsa Bhashya where the
> viShaya – viShayi distinction is stated.  Avidya, in the form of its
> effects, like sukha, duhkha, dvesha, etc. are *cognized* by the Saakshi,
> the viShayI.  This shows that the cognized entity is not an abhAva vastu;
> it is definitely bhAvarUpa, since an abhAva-vastu can never be an object of
> cognition.  Also in this very chapter the Lord details what constitutes
> prakRti, avidya, maya, ajnana:
> महाभूतान्यहङ्कारो बुद्धिरव्यक्तमेव च ।
> इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः ॥ 5
> इच्छा द्वेषः सुखं दु:खं सङ्घातश्चेतना धृतिः ।
> एतत्क्षेत्रं समासेन सविकारमुदाहृतम् ॥ 6
> //The Great elements, egoism, reason, as also the unmanifested, the ten
> senses and the mind, and the five objects of the senses, desire, hatred,  pleasure,
> pain, the aggregate, intelligence, courage – the kshetra has been thus
> briefly described with its modifications.//
> Thus, the above list names the *products* of avidya/ajnana proving that
> these are all bhAvarUpa since they are experienced.  Even the mahAbhUta-s,
> not experienced by ordinary humans, are essentially bhAvarUpa since they are
> taught by the Scripture.  Scripture cannot teach what is abhAvarUpa.
> The verses 13.7 to 13.11 are the teaching of the exercise, abhyAsa, an
> aspirant has to undertake in order to manage the effects of avidya.  अमानित्वं,
> अदम्भित्वं, etc are the counters to tackle their opposites that are
> clearly bhAvarUpa.  In His commentary to the verse 24 Shankaracharya gives
> a graphic explanation of how the jnAnaabhyAsa is undertaken:
> //sAnkhya consists in thinking thus: ‘these, sattva, rajas and tamas, are
> guNas, Atman is the witness of their acts, eternal, and distinct from the
> guNas.’ //
> This is another proof of avidyA/ajnAna being bhAvarUpa.  If they are
> abhAvarUpa, how can Shankara teach them as vishaya, dRshya for the Atman?
> Remember Shankara had defined avidyA in 13.2 as ‘taamasa pratyaya’ and now
> here He says this tamas itself, in the form of its effects, is a dRshya to
> Atman, again proving that avidyA is bhAvarUpa.

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