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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon May 24 16:20:08 CDT 2010


Bhaskar,m I will keep my response brief and pertinent to only a couple of points.
The rest has already been said and all that remains to be done is to read the
bhAshya-s carefully.

> Sri Vidya prabhuji :
> But what you stated was that the "other brahma-vits" were saguNa brahma-
> vidaH only, on the path of krama mukti, not nirguNa brahma-vidaH. This is
> what I describe as an over-interpretation of the bhAshya according to 
> one's
> own predilections. 
> bhaskar :
> but as I said earlier, for my predilectins I believe, I've the valid 
> inference. Since saguNa brahma jnAna is purusha tantra attained through 
> upAsana, dhyAna etc. there is every chance of gradations in this jnAna 
> according to adhikAra bedha. Whereas absolute brahma jnAna is kevala 
> vastu tantra it is neither chOdanA tantra nor purusha tantra there cannot 
> be any 'difference in this jnAna and there cannot be gradations in the 
> custodians of this SAME paramArtha jnAna. 

That is one of the reasons why I pointed to bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya 4.4.1
onwards. Please read the bhAshya on the vAkya "vijnAya prajnAM kurvIta" to
see how dhyAna etc are sAdhana for nirguNa brahma jnAna also. Also see
numerous references in the gItAbhAshya where dhyAna-yoga is described as
samyag-darSanasya antaranga.

As such, your inference about jnAna of saguNa brahman is quite unwarranted
in the muNDaka reference to brahmavid-varishTha.


> Sri Vidya prabhuji :
> As long as there is SAstra-janita brahmajnAna, there is a pramAtA with a
> mind and an intellect in which this pramANa based knowledge has arisen.
> Is the SAstra-janita pramA-jnAna paroksha or aparoksha? If the former,
> at least initially, how does it get converted to the latter?
> bhaskar :
> Here jnAnOtpatti is nothing but ajnAna nivrutti only prabhuji...till we 
> get that ajnAna nivrutti we have to follow the shAstra & AchAryOpadesha 
> prabhuji...As you know, to get parOksha jnAna also shAstra is the 
> pramANa...and certain sAdhana mArga prescribed for this. So, the 
> conversion here is realizing what is already there. 

I can only suggest more careful reading of bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya and
gItAbhAshya here, with particular reference to what one is supposed to do
between SAstra-janita pramA jnAna and what you call as jnAnotpatti. It is
Sankara bhagavatpAda himself who talks of jnAna-pravRtti-daurbalya after
jnAnotpatti. Inasmuch as you cannot conceive of jnAna-pravRtti-daurbalya
without talking of jnAna-daurbalya and so long as you hold that there is only
either jnAna (once its utpatti has happened) or ajnAna, you are at best
misunderstanding his stand on jnAna-pravRtti-daurbalya after samyag-jnAna-
prApti or you are at worst holding that he is self-contradictory. You can take
your pick.


Finally, pray where does this happen, the realization of what is already there?
In the self or in the mind? You hold further on that the mind has only figuratively
become one with the Atman. To what does "figurative" apply? To the mind or to
the becoming? If it applies to the mind, then there are still two - self and mind,
because the mind still persists as a second vastu. If it applies to the becoming,
either there are still two, self and mind, because the becoming is only figurative
or there is only the mind, which itself sees itself as having always been the self.
Are you sure that is what the real self is - the purified mind? How can this be
brahman, the sarvajna, sarvavyApaka, sarvAntaryAmI, sarvAtmA?


> Sri Vidya prabhuji :
> In the case of the bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya 1.4.7, where the
> steady recollection of Atma-vijnAna is accepted (abhyupagata) as leading
> to citta vRtti nirodha, pray where is the succeeding argument where this
> position is then given up?
> bhaskar :
> I think we have already extensively discussed this yOga sUtra : chitta 
> vrutti nirOdha when we are discussing the role of yOga shAstra in 
> shankara's advaita vedAnta. In short with regard to bhAshya vAkya in 1.4.7 

Yes, we did, but it seems clear to me that you have completely missed the
point of that discussion.


> of bruhad bhAshya Sankara hereitself refutes the argument of pUrva_pakSha 
> that nirOdha is required after vAkya janya jnAna. Shankara argues here 
> that in vedAnta nothing other than brahmAtma vijnAna is determined to be 



> the sAdhana for mOksha. Then he goes on to say: ananya sAdhanatvAccha 
> nirOdhasya. Na hi Atma vijnAna tatsmRti santAna vyatirekeNa chitta vrutti 
> nirOdhasya sAdhanamasti. abhyupagamya idamuktam. Na tu brahma vijnAna 
> vyatirekeNa anyanmoksha sAdhanam avagamyate. Here Shankara is saying that: 
> other than Atma_vijnAna and its smruti santAna there is no other way for 
> chitta_vrutti_nirOdha (therefore with Atma vijnAna, chitta vrutti nirodha 
> is automatic). We say this by ‘accepting’ or ‘assuming’ -abhyupagamya 
> (that nirodha is moksha_sAdhana). Ultimately shankara categorically 

How do you come to this conclusion about the usage of abhyupagamana? Where
does Sankara bhagavatpAda even tentatively assume that citta vRtti nirodha is a
sAdhana for moksha? If he has, where is the rest of the argument that shows why
it is not?

Rather, he has categorically denied that anything other than Atma-vijnAna and its
smRti-saMtAna is mukti-sAdhana. This Atma-vijnAna is what he calls samyag-jnAna-
prApti. Then, he goes on to accept (abhyupagamya) that the smRti-saMtAna of
Atma-vijnAna is itself the sAdhana for citta-vRtti-nirodha.

In other words,

aupanishada brahmAtmaikatva-jnAna = Atma-vijnAna = mukti-sAdhana

smRti-saMtAna of this Atma-vijnAna = citta-vRtti-nirodha sAdhana
citta-vRtti-nirodha without brahmAtmaikatva-jnAna = NOT mukti-sAdhana.
Atma-vijnAna-tat-smRti-saMtati = niyantavyA, jnAna-pravRtti-daurbalyatvAt.

Therefore, vijnAya prajnAM kurvIta = niyama vidhi, not apUrva vidhi.

> concludes that there is no mOksha sAdhana other than brahma vijnAna. Prior 
> to the above passage, Sankara has already stated that 
> Atma vijnAna smRti santati, steady recollection of Atma vijnAna, is 
> natural after vAkya janya jnAna and no vidhi is required for that smruti 
> santati. In essence, abhyupagama, acceptance or assumption, of nirodha as 
> sAdhana for
> moksha is only for argument sake and this has been given up by saying that 

Again, WHERE, OH WHERE, does Sankara bhagavatpAda say that he accepts
even for a second that citta-vRtti-nirodha is independently a moksha sAdhana?
I repeat, in the entire bhAshya passage under consideration, THERE IS NOT 
EVEN A GANDHA-MATRA of an abhyupagamana that citta-vRtti-nirodha is a
sAdhana for moksha. WHAT IS ACCEPTED as an abhyupagamana is that smRti-
saMtAna of Atma-vijnAna is sAdhana for citta-vRtti-nirodha. The difference
between what the bhAshya actually says and what you think (or have been
taught to think) that it says could not be greater.


You have understood the entire passage completely backwards. And you have
not even begun to appreciate Sankara bhagavatpAda's positions on vidhi here.
What he is arguing against is the idea that there is an apUrva vidhi for jnAna.
That follows straight from the fact that jnAna per se is not a result of any
action. It is the same bhAshyakAra who then goes on to say that there IS a
niyama vidhi for Atma-vijnAna-smRti-saMtati. It is the same bhAshyakAra who
writes in the chAndogya bhAshya - anveshTavya vijijnAsitavya ity eshA niyama
vidhir eva, nApurvA.

Unless you take this bhAshya-vacana seriously, you can talk yourself endlessly
into circles with purusha-tantra karmA/dhyAna and vastu-tantra jnAna. And 
you can make all sorts of unwarranted conclusions about what the bhAshyas
mean. However, please do NOT think that these are what the bhAshyas say!


Moreover, if you accept that with Atma-vijnAna, citta vRtti nirodha is automatic,
what exactly DO you mean by this statement? Is this mere lip service to the 
notion of  citta-vRtti-nirodha? If not, aren't you in effect accepting that for one
who has true Atma-vijnAna, the citta never undergoes any vRtti-s? How can any
vyavahAra of any kind take place in the absence of citta-vRtti? In other words,
aren't you effectively privileging the one who is in "nirvikalpa samAdhi" as the only
one who has true Atma-vijnAna? This is your position, although you possibly don't
see that this is where you eventually end up. The only difference is that in your
analysis, only this citta-vRtti-niruddha Atma-vijnAnavAn is truly the aparoksha
jnAnI and everyone else is an ajnAnI. So although you don't like to use the term
nirvikalpa samAdhi, you are effectively saying that only such a one is a jnAnI. For
us, on the other hand, the citta-vRtti-niruddha Atma-vijnAnavAn is -varishTha,
while others who have Atma-vijnAna and still function through citta-vRtti-s and
are able to control their citta,  are -vara and -varIya. 

If you say otherwise, that the jnAnI has no citta and that it is foisted on him by
others, please point to a specific bhAshya vAkya in support. Or are you saying that
a jnAnI has a citta, which undergoes vRtti-s for normal daily functioning, it is "as if"
there is nirodha of citta-vRtti-s? I ask this because you have earlier talked of the
mind "figuratively" becoming one with the Atman. If so, I can only say that you are
completely missing the point. If this were the case, it would be nonsensical for
Sankara bhagavatpAda to say that Atma-vijnAna and its smRti-saMtAna leads to
citta-vRtti-nirodha in bRhad bhAshya 1.4.7. He could have completely ignored the
issue of citta-vRtti-nirodha or he could have said that any nirodha of citta-vRtti-s
is only an "as if". Of course, if you go back to your false argument about "this is
only abhyupagamana", we are back at square one and there is no purpose in any
further discussion.


> Thanks for the reference prabhuji..but clarify which of the pravrutti that 
> has been enlisted in these verses would become durbalaM in the jnAni and 
> how it happens without disturbing sthitha prajnatha in him. Again, here 
> in this bhAshya shankara does not even remotely suggest that sthitha 
> prajna state is reversable & he would over a period of time get weakness 
> in his pravrutti. Kindly note prabhuji, I am asking this question since 
> it is still not clear to me jnAna pravrutti daurbalya without jnAna 
> daurbalyam.

I will quote the following and ask you to read the full bhAshya passages carefully.

samyag-darSanAtmikAyAH prajnAyAs sthairyaM kartavyam iti - 2.59

indriyANAM hi yasmAt caratAM sva-sva-vishayeshu ... ... harati prajnAM AtmAnAtma-
vivekajAM nASayati - 2.67. 


... and everything in between these two verse.


Here, there has to be the prajnA first, before it can be stabilized. This prajnA is
born out of Atma-anAtmA-viveka and is itself the essence of samyag-darSana.
If one has obtained this prajnA already, but has not yet stabilized it, there is a
dosha (the word used in the bhAshya) and there is a possibility for this viveka-jA
prajnA to be destroyed. So it is possible, according to the bhAshyakAra, that for
some mumukshu-s, samyag-darSana can arise and then get lost because of not
being properly stabilized.

If you object that all this is advice for the mumukshu, and it is impossible for the
jnAnI to have his prajnA destroyed, I will say, quite so, but also look at the bhAshya
on verse 2.54 - sarvatraiva hy adhyAtma-SAstre kRtArtha-lakshaNAni yAni tAny eva
sAdhanAny upadiSyante. In other words, the jnAnI is one who "saMharate ca ayaM
kUrmo 'ngAni iva sarvaSaH, indriyANi indriyArthebhyas tasya prajnA pratishThitA" and
"yasya nigRhItAni indriyANi indriyArthebhyas tasya prajnA pratishThitA." In the state
where all the senses are withdrawn from their objects and the mind is still, where can
there be any vikalpa? It is only this that is called nirvikalpa samAdhi. And please note
that the last verse of gItA chapter 2 talks of the antima-kAla of the sthita-prajna,
while the bhAshya extends it to the one who is brahmaNy eva avasthita throughout
his life (yAvaj-jIvam).


> bhaskar :
> Kindly pardon me prabhuji...I think here you are deliberately avoiding the 
> description of these grades & their linking of peculiar state of 
> nirvikalpa samAdhi which is quite conspicuous from the work quoted. 

Frankly, this is extremely offensive, both to me and to the work to which I think
you refer here. To the contrary, I think you are the one who deliberately avoids
thinking through what it is that you really want to object about. It seems to be
nothing more than an allergy to the term nirvikalpa samAdhi and the sampradAya
that talks of it. I don't know whether this allergy is intrinsic for you or has been
taught to you, but there it is. I have tried to stick to the bhAshya texts as much
as possible, for two reasons. One, I have not studied other texts with even the
small level of detail that I have been able to devote to the bhAshyas. Two, I am
NOT interested in showing exactly how a post-Sankaran author is consistent
with or contradictory of Sankara bhagavatpAda's bhAshya-s. As with the faulty
argument about abhyupagamana that I have pointed out in this email, it is obvious
that there are misunderstandings galore of Sankara that need to be cleared first.

As I said in my earlier post, alam anena. I will only have to keep repeating myself
if I have to answer any fresh questions, and I have no interest in continuing this
vAg-vilApanam beyond this point.



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