[Advaita-l] A note on ‘Avidya lesha’ 'अविद्यालेशः’ (Part 2)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Mar 30 06:45:58 CDT 2010

Continued from Part 1

1.      In the commentary to the Bhagavadgita 2.16, towards the end, says
Bhagavat-pada :  // Therefore, you too, Arjuna, by adopting the vision of
the men of realization and giving up sorrow and delusion, forbear the
dualities, heat, cold, etc.- some of which are definite in their nature, and
others inconstant-, mentally being convinced that this (phenomenal world) is
changeful, verily unreal and appears falsely like water in a mirage. This is
the idea. //

It is to be noted that the Lord and Bhagavatpada know full well that Arjuna
is not an aparoksha Jnani and is only being taught to be a karma yogi.  Yet,
the above advice to him is given to him.  This shows that even on the basis
of hearing the Tattva from the Acharya and the ShAstram it is quite
reasonable to come to the conviction that the world is not ultimately real;
it is mithyA.  This is the point ChitsukhAcharya is making.  Two more
instances are shown below:

2.         In the bhashya for verse 6.26 we find:  // In the beginning, the
yogi who is thus engaged in making the mind established in the Self, etat
vasam nayet, should bring this (mind) under the subjugation; atmani eva, of
the Self Itself; niyamya, by restraining; etat. it; tatah tatah, from all
those causes whatever, viz sound etc.; yatah yatah, due to which, doe to
whatever objects like sound etc.; the cancalam, restless, very restless; and
therefore asthiram, unsteady; manah, mind; niscarati, wanders away, goes out
due to its inherent defects. (It should be restrained) by ascertaining
through discrimination those causes *to be mere appearances,* and with an
attitude of detachment. Thus, through the power of practice of Yoga, the
mind of the yogi merges in the Self Itself.  //

Here again we can see that for a practicing yogi, the means for vairagyam
includes considering the objects as ‘mere appearances’.  Even parokSha
jnAnam can result in getting a conviction as to the mithyaa nature of the

3.      In the commentary to the Mandukya kArikA 3.42 we see the Acharya
advising:  // remembering the fact that everything, all duality that is
created by ignorance, is full of sorrow, one should withdraw the mind from
enjoyment…// Here again, this practice of mithyAtva darshanam is for the
paroksha jnAni.

   - Now, the second ‘aakAra’ of avidyaa mentioned by Chitsukhaacharya is:

           ‘The second gives rise to purposeful activity in the world.  This
is removed by direct realization of Brahman. ‘In support of this a couple of
Scriptural and Bhashyam passages are worth noting:

1.      The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad teaches: आत्मानं चेद्विजानीयात्
अयमस्मीति पूरुषः । किमिच्छन् कस्य कामाय शरीरमनुसञ्ज्वरेत् ॥ (IV.iv.13) [‘If
a man knows the Self as ‘I am this’, then desiring what and for whose sake
will he suffer in the wake of the body?’]

2.      In the Bhagavadgita 3.17 and 18 the Lord says: //. 3.17 But that man
who rejoices only in the Self and is satisfied with the Self, and is
contented only in the Self-for him there is no duty to perform. 3.18 For him
there is no concern here at all with performing action; nor any (concern)
with nonperformance. Moreover, for him there is no dependence on any object
to serve any purpose.

3.      In the Brahmasutra bhashya (  ) the Acharya says:
हि त्रिष्वपि कालेषु अकर्तृत्व-अभोक्तृत्व-स्वरूपं ब्रह्म अहमस्मि ।  न इतः
पूर्वं कर्ता भोक्ता वा अहमासम्, न इदानीं, नापि भविष्यत्काल इति
ब्रह्मविदवगच्छति ।  //Quite contrary to what had been previously regarded as
agent and experiencer, I am verily that Brahman, which, by nature, is
neither agent nor experiencer at all in all the three periods of time.  Even
earlier I was never an agent or experiencer, nor am I so at present; nor
shall I be so in future – such is the realization of the knower of

   - The third ‘AkAra’ of avidyaa is what is actually related to ‘avidyA
   lesha’ (the earlier two are NOT to be confused with ‘avidyA lesha’) -  the
   third ‘aakAra’ that projects a semblance of objects capable of appearing as
   directly perceivable is ‘avidyA-lesha’ or ‘mAyA-lesha.’  This is not
   eradicated in the case of a jivanmukta.

The supporting BhAshya passages, apart from the one that was already quoted
from the Chandogya Upanishad 6.14.2 are:   From the Acharya’s own
experience, in the Brahmasutra bhashya 4.1.15 :

*‘’The knowledge of the Self being essentially non-active destroys all works
by sublating wrong knowledge; but wrong knowledge – comparable to the
appearance of a double moon – lasts for some time even after it has been
sublated, owing to the impression it has made.  Moreover, it is not a matter
for dispute at all whether the body of the Knower of Brahman continues to
exist for sometime or not.* कथं ह्येकस्य  स्वहृदयप्रत्ययं ब्रह्मवेदनं
देहधारणं च अपरेण प्रतिक्षेप्तुं शक्येत ?* **For how can one contest the fact
of another possessing the knowledge of Brahman – vouched for by his heart’s
conviction – and at the same time continuing with the body?’’*

In the Taittiriya Upanishad Bhashyam (II.8), the Acharya says, referring to

//Objection: Because there are many opponents.  You are a monist, since you
follow the Vedic ideas, while the dualists are many who are outside the
Vedic pale and who are opposed to you.  Therefore I apprehend that you will
not be able to determine.

Reply: This itself is a blessing for Me that you brand Me as sworn to monism
and faced by many who are wedded to plurality.  Therefore I shall conquer
all! And so I begin the discussion.// His original words are even more
striking: *एतदेव मे स्वस्त्ययनम् । अतो जेष्यामि सर्वान्, आरभे च चिन्ताम्  //

To be Continued and concluded in Part 3

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