[Advaita-l] Advaita Vedanta not Buddhism

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Apr 24 02:31:14 CDT 2012

In the Kathopanishad Bhashyam for the mantra 2.1.13 'anguShThamAtraH

*अङ्गुष्ठमात्रः पुरुषो* मध्य आत्मनि तिष्ठति ।
 ईशानो भूतभव्यस्य न ततो विजुगुप्सते । एतद्वै तत् ॥ २.१.१३ ॥

//    The Purusha, of the size of a thumb, dwells in the body. *He is the
Lord of the past and the future.* After knowing Him, one does not conceal
oneself any more. This, verily, is That. //

Shankara concludes saying:

// anena 'naayamastIti chaike'  ityayaM pakSho nyaayato'prApto'pi
svavachanena shrutyA pratyuktaH tathA kShaNabhangavAdashcha.//  [Thous one
of the alternatives, viz 'Some say that He does not exist (after death)'
(ka.Up. 1.1.20) cannot logically arise, yet hereby it is refuted by the
Upanishad itself in its own words, and so also is dismissed the *theory of
momentary existence*.]

The Upanishad by specifying that 'the Self/Brahman which has been the cause
of the past and (will be) the cause of the future, is the same for ever'
teaches that a state/situation when there is no entity that is the
Self/Atman/Brahman/Support/Cause can never be conceived of.  Nor can such
an entity be held to be of a momentary nature for the Shruti teaches that
it is the Lord of the past and the future.  That which existed in the past
for a moment cannot be said to be the 'same' that is there in another
moment in the future.  Since the 'same' entity alone is admitted to be ever
present, the Atman/Brahman of Vedanta is not the momentary consciousness
spoken of by the Bauddha (kShaNika vijnAna vAda).

Apart from this Upanishadic mantra, the ShAnkara bhAShyam too is
significant in the wake of the misconceived idea of non-Advaitic schools
that Advaita is no different from Buddhism.  Of course, there are several
other places where the Bhashyam brings out the specific nature of the
Vedantic Brahman which sets it apart from the Buddhistic schools.


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