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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon May 3 10:46:47 CDT 2010

> > prabhuji, if you assure me that you are not going to fire me again, I 
> dare to write something...

Bhaskar, it is a pity that you choose to characterize my responses as
'firing', when all I am doing is trying to be as patient and reasonable as
possible in showing where errors are being made. If I remember right, it
was you who used a metaphor of firing a pistol, a month or so ago!
Anyway, here is a brief response.


> May I reiterate (at least for the third time on this list) that the term
> "brahmavidAM varishTha" is from the muNDakopanishat? 
> > who said this is not from muNDakOpanishat prabhuji?? Problem here is 
> (atleast for me), since saguNa brahmOpAsana or upAsya brahma and 
> resultant krama-mukti also are there in advaita and those who get this 
> jnAna also called brama vetta-s and shankara accepts the gradations in 
> this type of mukti, shankara in the above bhAshya 'compares' these type 
> of brahmavidas (saguNOpAsaka-s) with that of absolute (paramOtkrushta) 
> brahma jnAni and says this jnAni (when compared to saguNa brahma jnAni-s) 
> among brahmavidAM is 'varishThaH'..Point to be noted here is he never 
> accepted any gradation in absolute brahma jnAna which can be undoubtedly 
> called real muktyAvastha, because shankara clarifies it is always eka 
> rUpa: muktyAvasthA hi sarva vedAnteshu ekarUpaiva avadhAryate, brahmaiva 
> cha muktyavasthA...reference vide sUtra bhAshya. Moreover, IMO, it is 
> appropriate to think there exists The best brahma jnAni if, ONLY if there 
> is different levels in brahma jnAna..but I donot think shruti or shankara 
> telling us here that there are gradations in absolute brahma jnAna. 

I would ask you to re-read a couple of my previous posts, where I
have reiterated that there are no different levels of true brahma-
jnAna and that I have never said that Sankara bhagavatpAda admits
of gradations in AtmaikatvajnAna, but that there can be different
levels of nishThA in that jnAna. I have drawn attention previously
to the fact that the bhagavatpAda talks of relative jnAna-pravRtti-
daurbalya (NOT jnAna-daurbalya) in bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya. The
situation in the muNDaka bhAshya with respect to the varishTha
among brahmavit-s is similar.


Under the circumstances, please let me know the following. Is it your
own view and interpretation about krama-mukti, saguNopAsana and
holding that the comparison here is with saguNa-brahma-vit-s? Or
does Sankara bhagavatpAda himself say so in the muNDaka bhAshya? 
If the former, instead of understanding the passage according to what
seems appropriate to your own mind, isn't it better to understand with
respect to what Sankara has himself written elsewhere? Specifically,
in the muNDaka bhAshya passage under consideration, isn't it more
appropriate to view this tAratamya as relating to dur-bala, su-bala,
balatara and balatama in jnAna-pravRtti? 

To repeat that brahmajnAna is ekarUpa, as if I were denying that point,
is to wilfully misunderstand and misrepresent what I have said. It is 
even more ironic, given how just last week, you used the term jnAna-
daurbalya with respect to the bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya and talked of
protecting the jnAna and the intensity of the jnAna. If you think that
Sankara bhagavatpAda actually says so in bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya,
while emphasizing the ekarUpatA of brahma-jnAna in the sUtrabhAshya,
you are effectively accusing him of contradicting himself, at least
apparently, and you are choosing your own way of resolving the said

This, to your mind, can only come by supposedly privileging the sUtra-
bhAshya and then explaining away the perceived contradiction in the
upanishad bhAshya. That is exactly what you have chosen to do with
the muNDaka bhAshya passage too. You are privileging what you have
understood from the sUtra bhAshya quotation and you are trying to
explain away the muNDaka bhAshya, because you think that this is
what is necessary so as to not "cause harm to the mUla siddhAnta".
So long as you make it clear that your interpretation is, "this is what
Sankara MUST have meant", you are free to interpret, but please do
not claim that this is the ONLY correct way of understanding what
Sankara bhagavatpAda actually DID say.

On the other hand, I am pointing out to you that there is clearly no
contradiction within Sankara bhagavatpAda's works, so long as you
are open to reading them together, as a whole, and understanding 
them together, as a whole. All the talk of intensity and protection
and harm have to do with jnAna-pravRtti (not jnAna per se), after
samyag-jnAna-prApti, which may be compromised by the avaSyaM
bhAvinI-pravRtti of vAk, manas and kAya. The brahmavid-varishTha
is he in whom this jnAna-pravRtti is balishTha. As far as I can see,
there is an ekavAkyatA on this and related topics across the sUtra
bhAshya, upanishad bhAshya-s and gItA bhAshya. And I arrive at
this ekavAkyatA naturally. I don't see apparent contradictions and
then constantly try to resolve them by subordinating every reference
to some quotation from the sUtra bhAshya by either stretching or
limiting its meaning and intent as I please.


> > Kindly let me know the different lakshaNa-s of these different types of 
> brahma jnAni-s..In what way brahmavidvara's brahma jnAna differs from 
> virIyas!! In what sense varishTa-s are superior to vara and varIyas. you 

The lakshaNas of these different types of jnAnI-s follows from the last
paragraph above. To make it more explicit, they have to do with how
durbala or balatama the jnAna-pravRtti-lakshaNa is. More details are in

such texts as jIvanmukti-viveka, in the context of how sthiratva and
dRDhatva in samyag-jnAna are manifested. But wait, vidyAraNya and 
his texts are a major no-no, for fear of compromising the mUla siddhAnta
with dualistic yoga or the dreaded mUlAvidyA, right? So, to restate only
the bare basics, this characterization has not to do with the content of
the jnAna, which is ekarUpa only (to repeat, nobody is saying anything
different, unlike how they are being misunderstood), but in the ability of
a particular jnAnI's mind to be established undisturbed in that jnAna -
the state of brahmaNyeva avasthAnam.


> can ignore these questions if these brahmavits are the custodians of 
> different type of brahma jnAna than what we normally understood as 
> absoulte Atmaikatva jnAna.

Has been answered above with respect to jnAna-nishThA.


I think this will be my last on this set of related threads. You may want
to say that I am sampradAya-baddha and am therefore deliberately not
granting you the rightness of your position. Your views about whether
the sampradAya has it correct or not are a matter of public record. As
for me, there is room within the sampradAya for variant views on one or
the other issue, so there is room for different vyAkhyAna kartA-s to say
different things without fundamentally contradicting Sankara. That is 
not how you would have it, so it is clear to me that you have become
a nUtana-sampradAya-baddha and are refusing to think logically on a
topic where it may be possible that it is the nUtana-sampradAya that
has it wrong. I find myself repeating the same things, so any further
discussion seems quite pointless. yad yad vaktavyam AsIt, tat sarvam

uktam. I will finish up the promised remaining discussion of the yAvad
AdhikAra sUtra in the near future, but will not continue responding on
other threads. And lest anybody protest that I am thereby unilaterally
cutting off the discussion on the list, let me be explicit - I am only
withdrawing voluntarily from contributing to this discussion; others
are welcome to continue it as they see fit. 




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