[Advaita-l] On avidyA being anirvachanIya etc

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Nov 15 17:55:30 CST 2011

On Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 12:57 PM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste,
> The tradition consistently maintains that avidyA is sat-asat-vilakShaNa,
> anirvachanIya, etc. The term "bhAvarUpa" is only used to emphasize that
> aj~nAna/avidyA is not the same as j~nAna-abhAva. aj~nAna is certainly
> j~nAna-virodha as it is destroyed when j~nAna arises, and in that sense
> aj~nAna is "correlated" to j~nAna-abhAva. However, it must still be
> distinguished from pure j~nAna abhAva or absence of knowledge. There of
> course various reasons why the tradition says so. This post only focuses on
> one of them.


Reproduced below is an extract from the book 'sridakshinamurtistotram'
vol.1 p.668/9:

6.14.3: Experience, Ignorance and its removal by knowledge: basically
accepted by all schools:

Just as this eternal experience is perforce accepted, so also is accepted
ignorance that is sought to be removed, this being the aim of every
school.  The removal of ignorance is also accepted.  Sri Sri
SureshwaracharyapAdAH shows that this triad - viz., experience, ignorance
and its removal by knowledge - is accepted basically by all schools.  There
is no contradiction in respect of the acceptance of these though
contradictions are seen in respect of detailed formulations.  This is
tantamount to the acceptance of the Vedanta system by all schools, as this
basic formulation is all that the Vedanta starts with.  In accepting these,
therefore, every school has been subscribing necessarily to this Vedantic
point of view.  Again, the very acceptance of this basic position shows
that the detailed formulations which are in the realm of ignorance and are
sublated along with it are necessarily illusory, which subtlety is openly
declared by the Vedanta but not by these schools which affirm the reality
of the world.  Says the bRhadvArtika (1-4):

सर्ववादिविरोधेऽपि संवादोऽनुभवे यथा ।
वादिनामविसंवादः तथाऽज्ञानेऽप्यसंशयः ॥ 1365

तद्वद्बाधोऽप्यबोधस्य बोधेनाभ्युपगम्यते ।
एतावतैव पर्याप्तमस्मद्राद्धान्तसिद्दये ॥ 1366

अस्मद्राद्धान्तसंसिद्धौ नान्यराद्धान्तसिद्धता ।
तत्सिद्धावस्य संसिद्धिर्न कथञ्चिन्निवार्यते ॥ 1367

End of the extract.

The significant verse in the above triad is the one numbered 1366.  Here we
see Sureshwara referring to ignorance by the word 'abodhaH'.  In the
previous verse he refers to it as 'ajnAna'.  And in 1366 he says that the
'bAdhaH', contradiction or dispelling or negating or sublation of 'abodhaH'
is through 'bodhaH', knowledge.  Thus the 'jnAnanivartyatvam' of
ajnAnam/abodha is admitted by Sureshwara.  This is what proves the
'bhAvarUpatva' of abodha/ajnAna.  For only that which has some level of
existence can undergo sublation/bAdha.  A totally non-existent entity
cannot be said to be sublated by knowledge.  A hare's horn is not first of
all a candidate for error.  But a snake superimposed is sublated owing to
the right knowledge of the substratum rope.  In another popular verse of
the Vartika Sureshwara talks of the sublation of the avidyA (ajnAna/abodha)
along with its kArya, effect on the dawn of jnana:
तत्त्वमस्यादिवाक्योत्थ....अविद्या सह कार्येण नासीदस्ति भविष्यति ।



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