[Advaita-l] Question on Mayavada

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sun Nov 21 10:22:48 CST 2010

Thanks for the elaborate responses to my question. It is difficult to
respond to them individually. The reponsed fall in to three categories:

   1. The padma purana verses are bogus. I am okay to accept it if  one
   is able to prove interpolation. I have heard better arguments from outside
   this forum to support this but none scholarly enough. The strongest one is
   that there are four recensions of Padma Purana andthe said verses appear
   only in the Bengali edition. But when I enquired I realized that such a
   statement was not based on evidence but anti-gaudiya sentiment. None of the
   members on this forum made that argument but tried to prove intterpolation
   on two counts. One, the verse shows misunderstanding of advaitam. But that
   is not the case because the description of total renunciation, jIva brahma
   aikyam etc. are correct. Two, the verse contradicts the upanishadic
   conclusion of advaitam by condemning jIva Brahma Aikyam. jIva Brahma aikyam
   or sayujyam is not unique to advaitam. Gaudiyas also also accept abheda
   bhakti (so'ham and gopalaham) and sublation of the world during maha
   pralaya. The problem is with declaring that Ishwara is sublated on
   mukti. There is no shruti or smrti statement to say that Ishwara is sublated
   on attainment of jnana.
   2. The padma purana verses do not refer to Sankara. Someone on the forum
   supported the stand that it could refer to Ramanujacharya saying that when
   the verse is clear there is no need to look at the following or preceding
   statements. As a smartha brahmin, a son of a staunch advaitins and a devotee
   of Sankara, I am dismayed by such shallow arguments. If some one says,
   "Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, appeared at Sita's svayamvara. He wielded
   the axe in a manner that scared kshatriyas assembled there". If one leaves
   the second sentence, it will not refer to Parasurama.  Another support came
   for this that this is a complex argument that it could refer to but not that
   it does. The point is it could but it does not because the descriptions only
   match Sankara. When what does not is considered as if it could, it is not
   complex but trivial and convoluted. To say that it does not refer to
   Sankara, one has to show how the conclusion of the verses are incorrect and
   then show who it refers. If it refers to more than one, it is still
   necessary to show who it most closely resembles.
   3. The padma purana verses contradict Sruti and Smrti (kshetrajna capi
   mam viddhi). If a puranic verse contradicts sruti or smrti, it should be
   rejected. The kshetrajna verse can equally well be interpreted to show that
   Ishwara is distinct from the kshetrajna (jiva) who knows idam sariram (body
   in singular) because he knows all the bodies (sarva kshetreshu bharatha). If
   the term sariram in singulaar in the previous verse can refer to class of
   bodies, there is no fault in kshetrajna referring to a class of kshetrajnas
   in the next. There are statements in the shruti that declare Ishwara as the
   controller of jiva and prakrti. For one who says that Ishwara is a product
   of Maya, these statements of sastras are ultimately false because Ishwara
   does not exist in the ultimate sense but the statement of Sankara brahma
   satyam jagat mithyam is not.  The Lord who is bestowed with unobstructed
   power of jnana speaks of his prakrti distinct from Himself (ashtada bhinna
   prakrti). Those argue that Ishwara is a product of Maya seem to reach a
   state the Lord never does though one with Him!

Sri Jaladhar Vyas mentioned that jnana is not a subtractive process. If it
is a view supported by what Sankara says, then it is an argument that
Advaitam is not Mayavada. But the rest of the group seems to believe that
Brahman is distinct from Ishwara, Jiva and Jagat, which are results of Maya.
On realizing Brahman, none of these exist. Does the ocean know "I am the
ocean. I am the wave" or does it not. Does clay know I am pot? Does gold
know I am necklace, I am ring? Unless Brahman of Advaitam is jadam like gold
or clay, it should know I am Vishnu. I am Narayana. It is not a knowledge of
an external entity but of itself - advaya jnanam.  But on hearing what
people say on this forum, it seems Brahman does not know or in better terms
have jnapti (undifferentiated knowledge).

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