[Advaita-l] (Alleged) Internal Inconsistencies in the Advaita Tradition

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Wed Jun 29 12:06:45 CDT 2011

Yup - agree.

On 29/06/2011, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:
> It is clear that all explanations within advaita on jIva and Ishvara have
> the following common approach. All the AchAryas agree that the Undivided
> Brahman-Atman, One with a second and the Self of all, is the only reality
> there is and realization of that Atman is liberation. Now, what needs to be
> explained are jIva, Ishvara, and the world. Who is Ishvara? Who is jIva? How
> did this world come into being? Is there one jIva or many jIvas? In
> explaining these, mAyA has to enter the picture, because mAyA makes the
> Undivided Brahman appear as many. It is not possible to explain these
> concepts without reference to mAyA. In explaining them, the AchAryas have
> chosen different methodologies (prakriyA's), based on the shruti, of course.
> Does this mean there is inconsistency within the tradition? No.
> The very first verse of the siddhAntaleshasangraha is relevant here.
> adhigatabhidA pUrvAchAryAnupetya sahasradhA saridiva mahIbhedAn.h saMprApya
> shauripadodgatA | jayati bhagavatpAdashrImanmukhAMbujanirgatA jananaharaNI
> sUktirbrahmAdvayaikaparAyaNA ||
> The teachings that have emanated from the mouth of Shankara BhagavatpAda are
> like the gaN^ga that springs from the foot of ViShNu. Just as the same river
> branches out into tributaries due to variations in the characteristics of
> the land where the water flows, so also, due to variations in the learning
> (background) of the AchAryas earlier (than myself), there are many prakriyAs
> within the advaita system. (The conclusion of every prakriyA is the same as
> every AchArya has accepted the conclusion of Shankara's teachings.) This
> advaita teaching, which destroys birth (saMsAra) and which has the
> attainment of the nondual Brahman as its objective, is  victorious.
> Here, I would like to reproduce the quote, which I originally posted in this
> list in August 2005:
> We should view shankara's school with more magnanimity. Here is what Shri
> Bharati Tirtha Svami has to say, in his foreword blessing the publication of
> Appayya Dikshita's siddhAnta-lesha-saMgraha by Vedanta Bharati,
> Krishnarajanagar, Mysore District, 2001:
> paramashivAvatArAH shrimachchhaMkarabhagavatpAdAchAryAH
> prasthAnatrayabhAShyANi virachayya advaitAtmaGYAnameva kaivalyasAdhanamiti
> spaShTaM pratyapIpadan.h | tadanantarakAlikA advaitAchAryAH **
> siddhAntamimaM AikakaNThyena pratipAdayanto .pi  pratipAdanaprakAreShu
> vaividhyaM anvasaran.h ** | tadidaM vaividhyaM siddhAntasya na kShatikaraM
> kintu puMsAM pratyak-prAvaNya-saMpAdanAyaiveti
> yayA yayA bhavetpuMso vyutpattiH pratyagAtmani |
> sA sAiva prakriyA GYeyA sAdhvI sA chAnavasthitA |
> iti vArtikakArapAdAH abhidadhuH |
> Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada, an avatara of Parama Shiva, authored the
> bhAShyas on the prasthAnatraya (Brahma sUtras, upaniShads, gItA) and clearly
> established that the means to liberation is the knowledge of the nondual
> Self. AchAryas of later times, while **unanimously propounding the same
> conclusion, followed a variety of methods in explaining it**. This variety
> (of methods) is not damaging to the siddhAnta, rather it is meant for
> achieving inclination (becoming absorbed) in the Self by people.
> In the siddhAnta-bindu, Madhusudana Sarasvati has shown how various
> views in advaita, such as those of
> the vArtika, saMkShepa-shArIraka, avachchheda-vAda, pratibiMbavAda,
> AbhAsa-vAda, and ekajIva-vAda or dR^iShTi-sR^iShTi-vAda, can all be
> reconciled. He cites the vArtikakAra:
> yayA yayA bhavetpuMso vyutpattiH pratyagAtmani |
> sA sAiva prakriyA GYeyA sAdhvI sA chAnavasthitA |
> By whatever (approach) one attains the knowledge of the Inner Self, that
> itself is to be understood as *a* (not *the*) right method. It is not fixed
> (to a particular approach).
> Going by this definition, we can talk about *a* right method but not *the*
> right method.
> In May 2007, I also wrote, regarding the introductory verse in the
> siddhAntaleshasangraha:
> Appayya Dikshita outlines the reason for the diversity of methods in advaita
> vedAnta and for the perceived mutual contradictions among them.
> prAchInair-vyavahArasiddha-viShayeShvAtmaikyasiddhau paraM
> sannahyadbhiranAdarAt.h saraNayo nAnAvidhA darshitAH |
> The ancient AchAryas (of vedAnta) were completely intent on establishing the
> One Atman, (but) provided different explanations owing to their indifference
> shown to things that can be established in vyavahAra (bhrAntimAtrasiddha -
> valid only in the illusory world).
> There is no doubt that all AchAryas of Shankara's lineage were intent upon
> establishing the Non-dual Atman as the only reality (tattva). There was not
> the same intent and emphasis on establishing conclusions that pertain to the
> illusory world, conclusions that have relevance or validity only in
> vyavahAra. Therefore, owing to the indifference of the AchAryas to such
> matters, there resulted a diversity of explanations in advaita works.
> In summary, any perceived contradictions among AchAryas are not relevant in
> the final analysis, and hence can be safely ignored.
> It is important to note the PanchadashI verse (Chitradeepa):
> मायाख्यायाः कामधेनोर्वत्सौ जीवेश्वरावुभौ।
> यथेच्छं पिबतां द्वैतं तत्त्वं त्वद्वैतमेव हि॥६-२३६॥
> jIva and Ishvara are the two calves of the Kamadhenu cow called mAyA. Let
> them drink (the milk) of duality as much as they desire, but nonduality
> alone is the truth.
> And we have the VivekachUDAmaNi verse, where it is stated that the limiting
> adjuncts (upAdhi's), again due to mAyA, are responsible for forming the jIva
> and Ishvara:
> एतावुपाधी परजीवयोस्तयोः सम्यङ्निरासे न परो न जीवः|
> राज्यं नरेन्द्रस्य भटस्य खेटकस्तयोरपोहे न भटो न राजा ॥ २४४॥
> When these two limiting adjuncts (upAdhis) of Ishvara and the Jiva are
> completely eliminated, there is no Ishvara, no Jiva. The limiting adjunct of
> the King is his kingdom, while that of the soldier is his shield. When these
> two (limiting adjuncts) are removed, there is neither King nor soldier. In
> other words, the essence or substratum of Ishvara and Jiva is the same.
> The siddhAntaleshasangraha says (prathamapariccheda 11.2):
> एवं च स्वाविद्यया जीवभावमापन्नस्यैव ब्रह्मणः सर्वप्रपञ्चकल्पकत्वात्
> ईश्वरोऽपि सह सर्वज्ञत्वादिर्मैः स्वप्नोपलब्धदेवतावज्जीवकल्पित इत्याचक्षते ।
> Thus, by His ignorance alone, Brahman obtains the jIva status and creates
> the whole world. Ishvara too is imagined by the jIva, just as a God
> appearing in a dream. The attributes of Ishvara, such as Omniscience, etc.,
> are imagined by the jIva.
> Anand
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