[Advaita-l] A Vichara on the terms 'Avidya' and 'Maya' Part 1

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun May 2 01:57:13 CDT 2010

2010/5/1 Br. Pranipata <pranipata at hotmail.com>:
> --------------------------------------------------
> Hari Om Shri Subrahmanianji, Pranaams!
>> To start with, the brahma sUtra bhAShya 1.3.19 passage as below is taken  up:
>> एक एव परमेश्वरः कूटस्थनित्यो विज्ञानधातुः अविद्यया मायया मायाविवत्  अनेकधा विभाव्यते, नान्यो विज्ञानधातुरस्ति इति ।
>> The bhAShya-ratnaprabhA commentary says:
>> अविद्यामाययोर्भेदं निरसितुं सामानाधिकरण्यं,
>> आवरण-विक्षेपशक्तिरूप-शब्दप्रवृत्तिनिमित्तभेदात् सहप्रयोगः ।
> You are right when you say that Ratnaprabha makes no distinction between  Maya and Avidya.
> This is not valid reason for you to conclude for those who feel that Maya and Avidya are different cannot maintain their stance.

Namaste.  I am not concluding for the others who hold a different
view; they are at liberty to have a view that pleases them.  I am only
presenting a view that appeals to me as valid.
> 1. sahaprayoga itself distinguishes them to imply different meanings and  here Ratnaprabha takes AvaraNa and vikShepa as the difference.
> 2. sAmAnAdhikaraNya when applied makes the denoted as one and not the  denoting words as one and same and more importantly does not rule out the  denoting words having a separate individual meaning of their own.
> satyam-jnAnam-anantam,  praNipAtena - pariprashnena - sevayA, satyena - tapasA - brahmacaryena - samyagjnAnena -- few set of words used in  sAnAdhikaraNa. In case you feel seva and praniprashna have same meaning and  not different; or satya or tapas does not have its own different meanings,
> let know.

Consider the following passage where at once there is 'saha prayoga'
and 'saamAnAdhikaranya':

तस्माद्वा एतस्मादात्मन आकाशः सम्भूतः (Taittiriya Upanishad 2.i.1)

Below is the bhashyam which gives the meaning of the mantra as well:

तस्माद्वा एतस्मादिति ब्रह्मण्येव आत्मशब्दप्रयोगात् वेदितुरात्मा ब्रह्म ।

//Since in the text, 'From that Brahman indeed which is this Self,
(was produced this space), the word 'Atma' is used with regard to
Brahman Itself, it follows that Brahman is the Atma of the knowing

Here, we have two words: तस्मात् and एतस्मात् .  The two words are in
'saha prayoga' (used together) and in 'sAmAnAdhikaraNa', in
apposition.  Both the words have the same meaning: Atma,
अर्थसामानाधिकरण्यम् .

If you read the bhashyam carefully, you will find that even the words
'satyam-jnAnam-anantam' mean nothing different from each other
ultimately.  Only that which is satyam can be jnAnam and anantam.
Only that which is Jnanam can be satyam and anantam and so on.  So,
even here, there is both saha prayoga and  'sAmAnAdhikaraNa' resulting
in arthaikatva.

There are other instances like: आत्मा च ब्रह्म (of the BSB), ब्रह्म
अहम्, अयं आत्मा ब्रह्म, तत् त्वम् , सर्वं ब्रह्म, etc. where there is
both saha prayoga and 'sAmAnAdhikaraNa' resulting in arthaikatva.
>> The second Sutra Bhashya 1.4.3 passage:
>> अविद्यात्मिका हि बीजशक्तिः अव्यक्तशब्दनिर्देश्या परमेश्वराश्रया
>> मायामयी महासुप्तिः, यस्यां स्वरूपप्रतिबोधरहिताः शेरते संसारिणो जीवाः ।
>> तदेतदव्यक्तं क्वचिदाकाशशब्दनिर्दिष्टं, ..क्वचिदक्षरशब्दोदितम्..
>> क्वचिन्मायेति सूचितम् ...अव्यक्ता हि सा माया ..अविद्या हि अव्यक्तम् ।
>> Anandagiri, in the nyAya-nirNaya, alludes to a view held by someone:
>> मायाविद्ययोर्भेदात्, ईश्वरस्य मायाश्रयत्वम्, जीवानामविद्याश्रयता इति
>> वदन्तं प्रत्याह – मायामयीति । यथा मायाविनो माया परतन्त्रा तथैषापि  इत्यर्थ ।
> The simple meaning of above is the avidyA-AshrayatA of jIva do not make him  independent of Ishvara and he is under control of Ishvara only and to denote  mAyAmayI word is used by AcAryaji.

In lighter vein, your above comment is heartily welcome to the
dvaitins; even dream and sleep of the jiva is controlled by Ishwara
for them.

To know more about the meaning of that bhashya passage, you may look
into the article: The PrAjna of the Mandukya Upanishad (in two parts)
posted last month.  There you will find that the Mandukya Upanishad
itself teaches this state without differentiating between the jiva and
Ishwara.  You will appreciate how consistently the Acharya is writing
in the BSB as well.

Regarding the 'control' by Ishwara over the jiva-s, in Vedanta it is
held that the mere presence of Atma, Consciousness, is what is
'yamanam' (antaryAmi) and not any real active control.  The example
given is: Just as those in the service of a King / leader engage in
their respective duties by the mere presence of the King / leader.

I have myself provided for this functional distinction between maya
and avidya in the article.

Best regards,

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