[Advaita-l] GYAnimAtra and the sthitapraGYa (was Re: FW: Avidya, Jnanis and SSS' views)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed May 5 01:45:41 CDT 2010

On Wed, May 5, 2010 at 7:42 AM, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I have dealt with this in detail in my postings on the jIvanmuktiviveka
> (JMV). I'm mostly quoting from the past postings here.
> Thanks Kartik for the information.  I wish to have / make some

> Now, as to whether or not the JMV is referring to the first-person
> viewpoint of someone who has attained to saMyagGYAna or the third-person
> viewpoint has been clarified repeatedly in the JMV itself, e.g.:
>   bhagavadgItAsu dvitIyAdhyAye sthitapraGYaH paThyate .
>   arjuna uvAcha:
>   sthitapraGYasya kA bhAshhA samAdhisthasya keshava .
>   sthitadhIH kiM prabhAshheta kimAsIta vrajeta kim.h .. (GItA 2.54)
>   praGYA tattvaGYAnam.h . tad dvividhaM sthitamasthitaM cheti .
>   In the second chapter of the BhagavadgItA, the sthitapraGYa has
>   been mentioned thus.
>   Arjuna said: "What is the definition of him who is steady
>   in the supreme knowledge and in profound meditation (sthitapraGYa)?
>   O Keshava! How does he, whose intelligence is stable,
>   speak and sit and walk?" (GItA 2.54)
>   Supreme knowledge - praGYA, means the knowledge of
>   Reality. That is of two kinds - Steady and Unsteady.
> It is clear from the above that VidyAraNya takes "praGYA" to be of two
> kinds - sthitaM and asthitaM. The context of the Bhagavad GItA leaves no
> room for doubt as to the that this is Atma-GYAna.
> VidyAraNya continues in the same strain:
>   uktaguNarahitasya kenApi
>   puNyavisheshheNa kadAchidutpanne.api tattvaGYAne
>   gRRihakarmavattatraiva tattvaM vismaryate
>   tadidamasthitaM GYAnam.h .
>   Someone without such qualities as mentioned, but by the
>   force of some merit, sometime may realize the Truth,
>   but soon forgets it as the lover forgets the housework,
>   and this is 'Unsteady Knowledge'.
> Note especially the word "vismarya" - how can this possibly be interpreted
> as a third-person viewpoint?! Unless one can "forget" something in the third
> person, this makes sense only in the first-person viewpoint.

> Besides, Ramana Maharshi has commented on more than one instance on this
> unsteady knowledge. A couple of instances are:
>  "The seekers fall into two classes; kritopasaka and
>  akritopasaka. The former having already overcome his
>  predisposition by steady devotion, his mind thus made pure,
>  has had some kind of experience but does not comprehend it;
>  as soon as instructed by a competent master, permanent
>  experience results.
>  The other class of seeker needs great effort to
>  achieve this end."
In the JMV is this mention about the KRtopAsti and akRtopAsti:

तथा हि विद्याधिकारी द्विविधः - कृतोपास्तिः अकृतोपास्तिश्च इति ।  तत्र
उपास्तिसाक्षात्कारपर्यन्तां उपास्तिं कृत्वा यदि ज्ञाने प्रवर्तेत तदा
वासनाक्ष्य-मनोनाशयोः दृढतरत्वेन ज्ञानादूर्ध्वं विद्वत्संन्यास-जीवन्मुक्ती
स्वत एव सिध्यतः । *तादृश एव शास्त्राभिमतो मुख्यो विद्याधिकारी* ।

The student fit for the acquisition of Jnana is of two kinds:  he who has
passed through the prescribed course of devotion (upasana, bhakti), and he
who has not yet done so.  *If he enters upon Jnana (sadhana), having gone
through upasana to the extent of actually realizing the object of upasana
(dhyeya devataa)*, owing to the firm hold of the obliteration of vasana and
the dissolution of the mind, on him, the Renunciation of the Knower as well
as Jivanmukti will follow Jnana (sAkShAtkAra) of their own accord.  *Such is
the real student spoken of in the shAstra.
इदानीन्तनास्तु प्रायेण अकृतोपास्तय एव औत्सुक्यमात्रात् सहसा विद्यायां
प्रवर्तन्ते । वासनाक्ष्य-मनोनाशौ च तात्कालिकौ सम्पादयन्ति । तावता
श्रवणमनननिध्यासनानि निष्पाद्यन्ते ।  तैश्च
दृढाभ्यस्तैरज्ञान-संशय-विपर्ययनिरासात् *तत्त्वज्ञानं सम्यगुदेति *।  उदितस्य
ज्ञानस्य बाधकप्रमाणाभावात् निवृत्ताया अविद्यायाः पुनसुत्पत्तिकारणाभाच्च *नास्ति
तस्य शथिल्यम्* ।  *वासनाक्ष्य-मनोनाशौ तु दृढाभ्यासाभावात् भोगप्रदेन
प्रारब्धेन तदा तदा बाध्यमानत्वाच्च सवातप्रदेशदीपवत्सहसा निवर्तते *।

Nowadays men rush in quest of Jnana,  out of sheer curiosity, in most cases
even without going through the preliminary stage of upasana.  *They even
reach the stage of obliteration of vasana and the dissolution of the mind
for the time being*, and in consequence, study, contemplation and
assimilation (of the VEdanta) are also fully accomplished by repeated
application to these three; ignorance, doubt and false perception are
demolished; *and real Jnana is achieved*.  In the absence of a more powerful
means to counteract it and of any cause which can resuscitate the ignorance
dispelled by it, *the resultatnt Jnana does not fade.*  *But then the
obliteration of vasana and the dissolution of the mind are easily
extinguished*, like a lamp exposed to the breeze, for want of steady
application and in consequence of being influenced, from time to time, by
the fruit-bearing previous karma.

[translation complete]

From the above the is clear :

   1. The KRtopAsti and akRtopAsti of JMV is slightly different from
   Bhagavan Ramana's view.
   2. Accordingly, the second type, according to JMV, is an aparoksha jnani,
   a mukta, not to return to samsara, but as per Bhagavan he is not; he is
   'likely to forget it'.  At least, that is the impression I get from the
   excerpt provided by you below.

I doubt if anyone else has gone into the practical part of the advaita
sadhana, pre and post Jnana, in so much detail and concern and imagination
as Swami Vidyaranya has done in this most unique book. Humble Pranams to
that great Brahmavidya Acharya.

Recently Sri Vidyashankar Sundaresan hinted about the concept of 'videha
mukti' as per the JMV.  I have identified it in the 'vAsanA kshaya
prakaraNam'.  This, fairly lengthy discussion appears just before the above
quotes I have provided.  If you can, will you pl. present that portion, at
least the salient points, in translated form?  In case you have already
covered them in your earlier posts, you could cull out this portion and
present it again. In the Adyar Library Edition of JMV, it is in the pages 46
- 49 (Sanskrit) and 246-252 (English).

Best regards,

>  Q: There is a statement in the book Vichara Sangraha that though a
>  person realises the Self once, he cannot, for that simple reason
>  alone, become a mukta. He continues to remain a victim of vasanas
>  (latencies). Sri Bhagavan was asked whether the realisation referred
>  to was the same as the jnani's, and if so why there should be a
>  difference in their effects.
>  M.: The experience is the same. Every person experiences the Self
>  consciously or unconsciously. The ajnani's experience is clouded by
>  his latencies whereas the jnani's is not so. The jnani's experience
>  of the Self is therefore distinct and permanent. A practiser may by
>                                                  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  long practice gain a glimpse of the Reality. This experience may be
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  vivid for the time being. And yet he will be distracted by the old
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  vasanas and so his experience will not avail him. Such a man must
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  continue his manana and nididhyasana so that all the obstacles may
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  be destroyed. He will then be able to remain permanently in the Real
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  State.
>  ^^^^^^
>  D.: What is the difference between a man who makes no attempts and
>  remains an ajnani, and another who gains a glimpse and returns to
>  ajnana?
>  M.: In the latter case a stimulus is always present to goad him on
>  to further efforts until the realisation is perfect.
>  D.: The Srutis say: Sakrit vibhatoyam brahmaloka (This knowledge of
>  Brahman shines forth once and forever).
>  (Note: Above quote is from Chandogya 8.4.2)
>  M.: They refer to the permanent realisation and not to the glimpse.
>  D.: How is it possible that a man forgets his very experience and
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  falls back into ignorance?
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  Sri Bhagavan illustrated it with the following story: ...
> Ramana Maharshi's stance cannot be misconstrued - he speaks of the
> "experience" of one who has had a "glimpse" of the reality, but yet forgets
> the Truth, as his mind is again clouded by ignorance.
> The terminology needs to be clarified. Typically, the term "GYAnI" is used
> almost interchangeably with "sthitapraGYa" (one who has steady knowledge,
> synonymous with jIvanmukta). Ramana Maharshi's reference to "person who has
> had a glimpse of the reality" is precisely in reference to the "unsteady
> knowledge" of VidyAraNya, who prefers the term "GYAnimAtra" to denote such a
> person.
> Regards,
> Kartik

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