[Advaita-l] Athato Brahma Jijnasa

Venkatesh Murthy vmurthy36 at gmail.com
Wed May 4 22:50:44 CDT 2011

Namaste Sri Subrahmanian


But the important question how can we have Jijnasa the desire to know
Nirvisesha Brahman before start of the study of Vedanta?  The student
has to study something. If he has no desire to know the subject matter
he cannot study it. How can there be desire to know? He may know
something about it but not enough. Samanyataha Vedite Viseshataha
Veditavye.  If he knows something generally but not Viseshataha
particular details he can have the desire to know it. But Nirguna
Brahman does not have any Visesha. How can there be desire to know it
for the student starting his studies?

But the Advaiti position can say the desire to know will be there
because the lower Apara Brahman is the meaning of Brahman in Athato
Brahma Jijnasa. But this lower Brahman gets superseded by Nirguna
Brahman.  Here also there cannot be desire to know because the student
will think I have to study this but it is not Ultimate. Why study?

The Advaiti position can say the desire to know will be there because
the Adhyasa has to be removed. The student must have desire to know
how to remove this Adhyasa. If this Adhyasa is removed there will be
Brahma Jnana. But the Advaiti also has said Adhyasa is Maya only but
not true. How can the student have desire to know a false Adhyasa?

The Advaiti position can say the desire to know how to get Moksha will
definitely be there in the student. He must study the Vedanta to get
Moksha. Take Moksha as Brahman.  But the Advaiti has said Moksha and
Bandha are not finally true also. How can the desire to know how to
get Moksha be there in the student?

On Thu, May 5, 2011 at 12:06 AM, V Subrahmanian
<v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 9:38 AM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>wrote:
>> In Satadusani Vedanta Desika has criticised the Nirguna Brahma theory in
>> the Vedanta Sutras. In the first Vedanta Sutra Athato Brahma Jijnasa enquiry
>> about Brahman has to be done. About what is the enquiry to be done? If it is
>> Nirguna Brahma it is not correct because the Advaiti has said Nirguna Brahma
>> cannot be Jnana Vishaya at all. We
>> cannnot know it like some object. If it is known like object it is not
>> Nirguna at all.  Yato Vacho Nivartante says words and mind cannot reach
>> Brahman.
> In Advaita 'knowing/realizing Brahman' is not 'objectifying' Brahman.  It is
> rather 'dispelling the avidya that envelops Brahman, as it were.' The
> prayojana of all shravana-manana-nididhyasana is the generating of that
> vRtti that dispels avidya. 'siddham tu nivartakatvaat' is a sutra of
> DraviDAchArya that Shankara quotes in the Mandukya bhashyam. This results in
> Brahman being 'known' not as an object but revealed as the very subject.
> 'Avidyaa dispelling' is the knowledge that there exists none other than
> Brahman, the realization that a-brahman or an-Atman is mithyA.
> (This point was emphatically made by Vidwan Vishwanatha Sastry during the
> recent 'न्यायाम्त-अद्वैतसिद्धिकार्यशाला’ meet in response to a remark made
> by a Dvaita scholar from the audience.)
> Thus Brahman is 'jneyam' (ज्ञेयं यत् तत् प्रवक्ष्यामि’ Bh.Gita 13th chapter)
> विज्ञेयः as per the Mandukya Up.7th mantra, and yet is not jnana-viShaya
> like any created object.
>> Then what is the enquiry? This Brahman is explained in Sruti by using
>> Brhati and Brmhayati. It grows and causes to grow. This becomes meaningless
>> if Nirguna Brahma is the object of enquiry. It cannot grow and cause to grow
>> because it cannot have any qualities like growing
>> and causing to grow. Na Hi Nirviseshataya Abhimate Suddhe Brhati Brmhayati
>> Iti Srutyukta Nimittam Asti.
> In the Taittiriyopanishad bhashya, Anandavalli, for the word 'Brahma', the
> Acharya writes: बृहत्तमत्वात् ब्रह्म’ [That which is Supremely great].  The
> gloss 'vanamAlA' says for the above commentary:
> ब्रह्मपदेन ’बृहि बृद्धौ’ इति व्युत्पत्तिबलात् वृद्धिमद्वस्तु कथ्यते ; सा च
> वृद्धिः संकोचकाभावात् निरतिशयमहत्त्वे पर्यवस्यति; तच्च निरतिशमहत्त्वं
> वक्ष्यमाणलक्षण एव ब्रह्मणि सम्भवति नान्यत्रेति भावः ।
> // By the word 'Brahman', through the etymological derivatives 'great,
> growth', an entity that is endowed with growth is meant.  This growth,
> however, owing to the absence of reduction, culminates in the
> unhindered/absolute Greatness.  Such an absolute greatness is possible only
> in that entity, Brahman, that is taught as 'satyam, jnanam, anantam' in the
> sequel and not in any other entity.  This is the purport of the Bhashyam.//
> Thus, if 'growth' is understood in a literal sense, it would only mean that
> Brahman is also one of the created things that is subject to the `ShaDbhAva
> vikAras' where growth leading to decay and destruction/death is inevitable.
> It is to be noted that Brahman is not something that has 'grown' to the
> present size having not had such a size before.  It is ever
> desha-kaala-vastu pariccheda rahitam.  Brahman's causing something else to
> grow is also not difficult for advaitins to admit/accept and explain: by
> mAyA-association Brahman can be the creator-sustainer of the universe and
> its products.  This will come under savishesha brahman and therefore not the
> 'jneyam brahma'.  This aspect we have already discussed elaborately in
> another thread.
>> If Advaiti Nirguna Brahma is accepted the first Vedanta Sutra becomes
>> meaningless.
> One is recommended to read the Ratnaprabha vyAkhyAnam for the adhyAsa
> bhashya for many of the questions raised by non-advaitins.
> This verse is very useful in understanding the a-viShyatva nature of
> Brahman:
> शिव इत्यहमित्युभौ न भिन्नौ शिव एवाहं अहं शिवः स एव ।
> यदि नैवं अनात्मता शिवस्य प्रसरेत् अशिवत्वमात्मनोऽपि ॥
> [The two, Shiva and I, are not different. 'Shiva' is 'I' alone and 'I' is/am
> 'Shiva' indeed.  If such were not the case then 'Shiva' will end up as
> 'anAtmA' (since anything other than the Atman, aham, is anAtma. And
> therefore jaDa, anitya.) And not just that, Atman will become a-shiva,
> amangala. This is because if aham, atman, is not admitted to be Shiva, it is
> only 'ashiva', amangala, inauspicious. Surely, none would like the prospect
> of being inauspicious.]
> It may be remembered that here 'Shiva' is not the saguNa Ishwara, but the
> Supreme Brahman.  And 'aham' is not the paricchinna jIva but the shodhita
> tvam padArtha.
> Regards.
> subrahmanian.v
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