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

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Tue Aug 9 20:57:41 CDT 2011

Let us be clear about a few things. Conveniently, I can recall a class where
some of these things were discussed.

The AtmA/brahman is j~nAnasvarUpa (j~nAnam per se or chit per se). The AtmA
is not a knower in the strict sense of the term, and does not say "aham
brahmAsmi". It is a pramAtA (either jIva or Ishvara) which can be a
brahmaj~nAni and can say "aham brahmAsmi".

The term "sarvaj~na" implies a brahmaj~nAnI, and can therefore be used for a
liberated jIva as well as for Ishvara. It should be clear now why
sarvaj~natvam of Ishvara is an attribute due to mAyA. This is because
nirvisheSha brahman is not a j~nAtA, it is j~nAnasvarUpa.

As Sri Subrahmanian has already explained, sarvaj~natvam is used in the
sense of ekavij~nAnena sarvavij~nAnam

There is another term, sarvavid, which implies knowledge of all things in
vyavahAra. Ishvara in the sense of the samaShTi is said to be a sarvavid. In
fact, one often finds both descriptions (sarvaj~na and sarvavid) applied to
Ishvara in the same verse/sentence. If sarvaj~na itself meant knowledge of
all things in vyavahAra, the use of 'sarvavid' would be redundant.

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