[Advaita-l] FW: Avidya, Jnanis and SSS' views

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sun May 2 15:26:28 CDT 2010

> Sri Vidyasankar ji, Pranam-s,
> I place Mandana in the post-Sankara period. Mandana’s treatment of Prarabdha
> in his interpretation of the term with ‘Ksiprata’ in the light of Changodya
> in my view completes the metaphysical scheme in a sense that it fills in the
> soetiological process without giving scope to lacuna left over by Sankara.

Actually, there is no lacuna left over by Sankara, but room for the infinite
variety of prArabdha karma that is possible.

> Your argument that the issue has an ‘uneasy relationship’ with time is not
> very strong point here; for the very notion of Prarabdha is innately
> conceived and tied to the concept of time relatively with Sancita and Agami

The uneasy relationship with time does not have to do with time per se, but
the suggested "quickness". To say that a jIvanmukta lives in a functioning
body so long as the prArabdha karma phala bhoga lasts is not problematic
at all, except to those who say that the jnAnI's body is imagined by ignorant
onlookers. To say that this is "quick" (in all cases) puts an expectation of
boundedness upon it, which is, in my opinion, unnecessary and so I term it
an uneasy relationship with time.

>  He also points out that the ‘ksaya’ of deha ‘immediately’ after Jnanotpatti
> is regarded only as an apparent process of exhaustion and not the operation
> of prarabdha phala in the sense of being functional. Thus Jivanmukti atmost

Meaning? Could you provide an exact quote from brahmasiddhi here?

> can be held figurative of Videha which in proper metaphysical assessment
> speaks for Sadyomukti alone. The fact that none of the preSankaran Advaitins
> have used the term ‘Jivanmukti’ and that Sankara himself makes no explicit
> mention on the term ‘Jivanmukti’ nowhere in the prasthana traya bhasya

It is the not the absence of the term that a scholar should talk about really,
but about whether the concept is present or absent in the tradition and how
it has been understood or misunderstood. Your comment about jIvanmukti
being at most figurative of videhamukti, with only sadyomukti being the proper
metaphysical assessment of mukti is quite unclear to me.

> (except for one place in the Gita Bhasya), (even in the best possible place
> ie., sutra – IV.i.15) I would argue that the Jivanmukti’ is constructed as a
> mere ‘polemic category’ in the post- Sankaran genesis of Advaita Vedanta
> that is highly misunderstood by scholars and seekers.  ‘The entire
> post-Sankaran dialiects upon the concept of ‘Jivanmukti’ has been heavily
>  misrepresented  and that the conceptual bifurcation of Jivanmukti and
> Videhamukti / Sadyomukti in my opinion is an apparent process of change that
> happened through the ages.

I am not sure about the 'mere polemic category' but it is clear that there
were a lot of different opinions about it, which is why vidyAraNya had to
write a separate text called jIvanmukti-viveka. 

>  Further I do not see Mandana – Sankara contradiction with regard to the
> state of Sthitaprajna as a sadhaka and not as a mukta in the former’s view.
> Observing Acarya’s definition of Sthitaprajna ‘sthitA pratiSThitA ‘ahaM asmi
> paraM brahma’ iti prajnA yasya sa sthitaprajnaH’. if Sthitaprajna is taken
> as one who has already accomplished ‘aham Brahma pratiti’ , for him
> ‘sthiratva’ buddhi does not make any sense whatsoever; for a mukta –
> stability of mind becomes ‘vaiyartha’ – irrelevant. The term Prajna – as

This is the same scenario as the one where Sankara affirms that the
Atma-vijnAna-smRti-saMtati is svayaMsiddha and still admits a niyama
vidhi regarding it after the rise of samyag-jnAna. The discussion for a
scholar should then turn around what exactly is meant by the term
samyag-jnAna in various places in the bhAshya-s and how it stands in
relation to jnAna-nishThA and sthiratva of the buddhi in jnAna. Still,
this does not make the differences in views between maNDana and
Sankara go away. For Sankara, the sAdhaka has to cultivate, with
good effort, those qualities that are natural to the jnAnI. He says so
in many places in the gItAbhAshya. Now, what exactly are those
natural qualities of the jnAnI would never be known unless there were
jnAnIs living amongst us. For maNDana, on the other hand, it seems 
like the emphasis on the kshipratA oh physical death post-jnAna makes
him consider that no one alive for long is a true jnAnI, only an advanced
sAdhaka at best.

All of this is in keeping with Sankara's uncompromising rejection of karmA
as a direct means to liberation, whereas maNDana seems to favor the
prasaMkhyAna vAda, if not jnAna-karma-samuccaya. 

> done, the sthitaprajna’s avidya nivrtti is fulfilled and he finally becomes
> ‘kRta-kRtyavAn’. In my opinion, Sankara must be read in the light of Brahma
> Siddhi, as Mandana is best glossator ever in the tradition whom Vacaspati
> takes cue from.

But this is certainly a most novel view, which would have to be proved
with extraordinary evidence. maNDana does not ever say that brahmasiddhi
is a gloss on Sankara's bhAshya, while sureSvara (and padmapAda too), 
clearly takes on maNDana's views independently (not as an interpretation
of Sankara) for consideration and refutation. To hold that Sankara should
be understood in the light of maNDana's brahmasiddhi would be acceptable
to very few knowledgeable people indeed, whether they are traditional
pundits or academic scholars!


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