[Advaita-l] Jnana and ajnana (Bhakti vs. Jnana)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 06:00:01 CDT 2011

On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 2:28 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> None of the answers hit the mark. The answer is not partial knowledge,
> co-existence of knowledge and ignorance, objective knowledge of brahman,
> error in percpeption, total ignorance or about avidya being eyong time and
> space. The question is very straightforward and simple and has been
> answered
> by advaitins but not in the ways listed above. Let me rephrase the question
> and give an example to make the question clearer if it was not already
> clear.
> As ajnana is always with respect to an object, jnana of the object of
> ajnana
> is a pre-requisite for ajnana. I say, "I do not know the cost of travel to
> Tiruvannamalai". When I say this I have knowledge that there is a cost to
> travel to Tiruvannamalai. So there is knowledge prior to ignorance. Now, I
> may be ignorant of the actual cost but this is not known to me through
> direct perception. I will never have perceptive knowledge of ignorance of
> the type, "I do not know the cost of travel to Tiruvannamalai is 100Rs."
>  We
> see that knowledge of the object is a pre-requisite for direct knowledge
> of ignorance of the object. If "I do not know the cost of travel to
> Tiruvannamalai is 100Rs.", then I know the cost of travel to Tiruvannamalai
> is 100Rs. Then, how can there arise knowledge that the cost of travel to
> Tiruvannamal is 100Rs? It is pre-existent. This is what is meant by how can
> ajnana arise at all in the face of jnana with respect to the same object?
> If
> ajnana does not exist, then there is no question of jnana arising with
> respect to that object. But we cannot say that ajnana with respect to
> particular object does not exist at all because we have the experience of
> ignorance. Otherwise, we wont say, "I am ignorant" or such a statement
> would
> be meaningless.

Even though almost all of what you have said by way of
clarifying/elucidating does not give  me any understanding, I am trying to
know whoever stated the following position that you have characterized as

And a position that "I have general ignorance but knowledge
> of all particular objects" is illogical because it is like saying "I know
> every one but I dont know any one".
> The position, from the Shankara bhashya, that I had stated was:

// even though there is a generalized, hazy, aspaShTa knowledge about any
object initially, there coexists ajnAna too about that very object with
respect to the particularities. //

I think the contrast between the position stated by me and the one
annotated/paraphrased by you is quite obvious.

There is a Panchadashi verse where Vidyaranya gives an example for the
phenomenon of 'knowledge and ignorance co-existing':

अध्येतृवर्गमध्यस्थपुत्राध्ययनशब्दवत् ।
*भानेऽप्यभानं* भानस्य प्रतिबन्धेन युज्यते ॥१२॥ (प्रयक्तत्त्वविवेकः)
A father has left his boy in a gurukula.  He comes on a visit to the place.
>From a distance he is able to hear the boys there chanting the veda.  He is
aware that his boy too is in the group; yet he is not able to discern his
boy's voice from the group's chanting sound.  The authoritative commentary
of Sri Ramakrishna concludes: भानेऽप्यभानम् -  *सामान्यतः* प्रतीतावपि *
विशेषाकारेणा*प्रतीतिर्युज्यते उपपद्यते इत्यर्थ: ।  One can see the close
similarity between the Shankara bhashya passage and the above


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