[Advaita-l] Fwd: On avidyA being anirvachanIya etc

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Mon Nov 7 04:10:01 CST 2011

Namaste Subhanu-ji,

Well, the fact is that I haven't actually studied the iShTasiddhi, but am
reasonably familiar with the naiShkarmyasiddhi.

Anyhow, the NS 3.7 saMbandhokti you quoted is actually the pUrvapakShin's
statement. In the previous verse (3.6) there is a sAMkhya context which
brings out the concept of mithyAj~nAna (false knowledge or adhyAsa). In the
sAMkhyan context, mithyAj~nAna pertains to the misidentification of the
puruSha with prakRti, both of which are satya. And this mithyAj~nAna is the
cause of saMsAra.

I was surprised by your quote of the 3.7 intro, as it clearly pertains to
pUrvapakSha, and wonder whether SSS in his kleshApahAriNI also considers
this to be siddhAnta (I have no exposure to SSS' works)

While the general sAMkhya perspective is addressed in 3.6 itself, the
concept of mithyAj~nAna is carried over, and the purvapakShin essentially
says the following:

1) mithyAj~nAna itself is aj~nAna which is the cause of saMsAra

2) Apart from this mithyAj~nAna, there is no other aj~nAna which is the
cause of this mithyAj~nAna

3) If at all, there is an aj~nAna other than mithyAj~nAna, then such an
aj~nAna can only be j~nAna-abhAva, which being abhAvarUpa cannot be the
cause of the mithyAj~nAna and the world appearance.

Now, the advaita stance of course is that there is a mUlAvidyA which is the
cause of mithyAj~nAna (adhyAsa), and this mUlAvidyA is
bhAva-abhAva-vilakShaNa. By extension, the products of mUlAvidyA including
adhyAsa and the world appearance are also bhAva-abhAva-vilakShaNa.

Anyway, sureshvarAchArya in the main shloka (3.7) refers to nirvikalpa
avasthA-s such as sushupti or pralaya. In such avasthA-s, which are prior
to the rise of j~nAna (prAgyato buddhijanmanaH), there is no mithyAj~nAna
and no tripuTi. However, aj~nAna is still available in such states, which
is why looking back at the sushupti experience during the jAgradavasthA, we
say "I slept peacefully and did not know anything". Therefore, in such
avasthA-s, there is aj~nAna. This aj~nAna is non-specific undifferentiated
aj~nAna pertaining to all things or the totality (aj~nAta eva
sarvo'arthaH).  However, as all things in the nirvikalpa avasthA are
resolved into their causal state (nAmarUpa rahita) as kAraNa brahman, this
aj~nAna effectively pertains to brahman which is sanmAtra.

Therefore, in such nirvikalpa avasthA-s, there is aj~nAna pertaining to
sad-brahman which is termed mUlAvidyA and this mUlAvidyA cannot be
abhAvarUpa, as already explained in the earlier post. It can only be

In essence, mUlAvidyA = Atma-aj~nAna or Atma-adarshanam, and this is the
kAraNa for mithyAj~nAna or adhyAsa.

Regarding NS 3.66 also, there is no problem. That avidyA is
avichAritasiddha and sAkShIvedya, and cannot stand the scrutiny of
pramANa-s, is well accepted by all advaitin-s. I had explicitly mentioned
in my earlier post that avidyA is destroyed whenever a pramANa is deployed.

avidyA cannot be probed until a pramANa is deployed, but once a pramANa is
deployed avidyA is destroyed. avidyA is experienced but destroyed upon
inquiry. If at all, this peculiarity only establishes the anirvachanIyatvam
of avidyA.

Your other quotes from the NS (in your mail to Subrahmanian-ji), i.e.
2.105, 2.112, etc do not in any way counter the idea of anirvachanIyatvam.
For example you wrote:

<<To say the result was knowledge of something completely
unknown to us previously is wrong as the self is pure awareness by nature>>

But nobody is saying so. All traditional advaitin-s agree that the self is
self-evident. Indeed if the self were completely unknown, no experience
would be possible, not even the experience of mUlAvidyA in nirvikalpa


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