[Advaita-l] j~nAna, aj~nAna and sarvaj~natvam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Aug 9 12:56:51 CDT 2011

On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 4:07 PM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com
> >wrote:
> >
> > sarvaj~natva does not mean knowledge of all specific things in vyavahAra.
> RV: I am sorry but it only means that. If it is undifferentiated knowledge
> or non-dual knowledge, it is called jnapti or advaya jnanam.

The word 'sarvajnaH' is very specially parsed in the Mandukya kaarikA 4.89
bhashyam by Shankara thus:

स्थानत्रयाभावेन परमार्थसत्ये तुर्येऽद्वयेऽजेऽभये विदिते स्वयमेवात्मस्वरूपमेव
सर्वज्ञता *सर्वश्चासौ ज्ञश्च सर्वज्ञस्*तद्भावः सर्वज्ञता,

The meaning/translation (Sw.Gambhirananda ji) is:
// ..for such a knower here emerges here, in this world, savajnatA, the
state of being All and enlightened, for ever, since his realization relates
to what transcends the whole universe; that is to say if one's true nature
is realized once, it never leaves him.//

A karmadhAraya samAsa is present there for the word sarvajnaH in the
bhashyam:  This means: the jnani is 'All' and at the same time 'jnaH':
enlightened.  This is exactly the purport of the Br.Up.1.4.10 mantra where
the 'aham brahma asmi' occurs and the discussion about 'sarvAtmabhAva' is
found elaborately.  And this jnana makes the jnani attain the sarvAtmabhAva.
And this is what the attainment of jnana in Advaita Vedanta is: एकविज्ञानेन
सर्वविज्ञानम् - by knowing the material/upAdaana, essence, of the entire
creation, one comes to know 'everything'.  The three examples of clay, gold
and iron are taken up to elucidate this in the Chandogya upanishad 6th
chapter.  By knowing one lump of clay as made of clay one gets the
'knowledge' of all clay products in the universe. This is because for every
product of clay, what goes into the making is the lump of clay. So, by
merely knowing the causal lump of clay as none other than clay, one gets
this sarva-mRNmaya jnAnam.  The Upanishad DOES NOT expect one to have the
vishesha jnana of each and every clay-product.  How do we know this?  The
upanishad itself says: वाचारम्भणं विकारो नामधेयं *मृत्तिकेत्येव सत्यम्*. By
the upanishad 'discarding' all vishesha padaarthas as mere speech and
holding just the material clay as Satyam we conclude that for the
sarvajnatvam the upanishad is aiming at there is no apekshA, need, for the
knowledge of the mithyA vishesha vastu-s.  He is not expected to go to every
clay product existing everywhere in the world to get this knowledge.  In
other words, the name and form of every clay product is not needed to gain
the sarvajnatva pertaining to the entirety of clay products of all the three
periods of time in the universe.   It is this 'saamAnya-sarva-jnAnam' alone
that is expected to become a sarvajnaH as per the Vedanta.  The vishesha
jnana of every thing is not a requirement for moksha.  The Mundakopanishat
too begins with this proclamation of  yasmin vijnAte idam sarvam vijnAtam


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