[Advaita-l] Who is Ishvara? Who is jIva? - 2

Anand Hudli ahudli at gmail.com
Thu Jan 6 12:40:59 CST 2011

Remarks on the previous two views on Ishvara and jIva:
Both views point out that Ishvara and jIva are reflections of pure
consciousness (chit) in mAyA. Although according to advaita, nirguNa Brahman
is indivisible (akhaNDa), and without parts (niShkala), the same cannot be
said about mAyA. mAyA can be viewed as having parts. Both views agree on
this point but differ on how this mAyA can have divisions. One says the
divisions are such that each division has the power to conceal Reality and
the power to project something that is unreal. In other words the avidyA of
the jIva deludes him, but Ishvara's mAyA does not delude Him. Another says
essentially the same thing, maintaining that Ishvara's mAyA has a
preponderance of sattva guNa, implying it does not delude Him, while the
avidyA of the jIva has a preponderance of rajas and tamas guNas, thereby
deluding him.

The concealing power of mAyA is called AvaraNa shakti and the projective
power vikShepa shakti. For example, in the snake-on-rope illusion, where a
rope is mistaken for a snake, the two powers are at work. The AvaraNa shakti
conceals the rope-nature of the thing before us while the vikShepa shakti
projects the snake, something other than the rope, on the thing before us.
The result is the illusion of the snake. What happens if there is no AvaraNa
but only vikShepa? In this case, a person, even though he sees the illusory
snake, knows that it is the rope that is appearing as a snake, i.e. he
perceives both the rope and snake. Obviously, the "bad effects" of illusion
are not felt by him. He is not deluded by the illusion.

appayya dIkShita nows presents another view.

एकैव मूलप्रकृतिर्विक्षेपप्राधान्येन मायाशब्दितेश्वरोपाधिः,
आवरणप्राधान्येनाविद्याऽज्ञानशब्दिता जीवोपाधिः। अत एव तस्या
जीवेश्वरसाधारणचिन्मात्रसम्बन्धित्वेऽपि जीवस्यैव "अज्ञोऽस्मि"
इत्यज्ञानसम्बन्धानुभावः, नेश्वरस्येति जीवेश्वरविभागः क्वचिदुपपादितः ॥

The one and only mUlaprakR^iti, characterized mainly by the projective power
(vikShepa shakti) is called mAyA and is the limiting adjunct (upAdhi,
qualifying term) of Ishvara, while (the same mUlaprakR^iti), characterized
mainly by the concealing power (AvaraNa shakti) is called ignorance (ajnAna)
and is the limiting adjunct of jIva. For this very reason, even though the
relation with pure consciousness (chit) is common to both Ishvara and jIva,
only the jIva is related to ignorance (ajnAna) by the experience, "I am
ignorant", but not Ishvara. This the "difference" between Ishvara and jIva
according to the view described by some.

According to this view, the mUlaprakR^iti which is characterized mainly by
the projective power, but not the concealing power, qualifies Ishvara. This
means, although Ishvara perceives the world of duality just as the jIva, He
is not deluded by mAyA because it does not conceal Reality from Him. Only
the projective power, which is responsible for projecting the world of
duality from Brahman, is active in His case. However, in the case of the
jIva, the concealing power, ajnAna aspect of mUlaprakR^iti is dominant.
Therefore, the jIva has the experience, "I am ignorant." Ishvara never has
this experience, because the concealing power does not affect Him.

(To be continued)


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