[Advaita-l] Saakshii-jiiva-Iswara Analysis - I

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 17 06:19:26 CDT 2013

Analysis of Saakshii,
Jiiva And Iswara
Based on Vichaarasaagara
of Nischaladaasa - I
extensive write up is based primarily on the notes that I have taken when I
attended recently the ongoing classes of Swami Paramarthanandaji at Asthika
samaj in Chennai.  My humble PraNAms to Swamiji
for imparting this knowledge. Any misconceptions and errors, therefore, are
mine. CDs of Swamiji’s talks are generally become available for those who are
interested and can be procured in Chennai. 
following discussion is based on the topics #55 to #60 of the Vichaarasaagara
text by Nischaladaasa. 
discussion starts with purpapaksha or an objection by an objector. 
says the jiiva-Iswara aikyam or identity of jiiva and Iswara as interpreted by an
advaitin is not possible. 
Why? - The objector says:
I. The nature of Jiiva and Iswara are
completely different.
Jiiva suffers as consequence of his limitations,
while Iswara has no such limitations. The limitations are classified as five
essential entities called panca kleshaH. Patanjali yoga sutras also subscribe
to these five limitations for a jiiva.
They are 1. Ignorance or avidya 2. Ego or
ahankaara 3. Attachments or raaga 4. Aversions or dwesha 5. abhiniveSha or fear
of the second or fear of death. 
Of these, ignorance is the main one and is
called moola avidya or ignorance of oneself; and the others are essentially
by-products of the first one. Since ignorance is the cause for subsequent
errors, moola avidya is also called kaaraNa avidya or causal ignorance while
the by-products are called kaarya avidya or products of the ignorance. Error of
superimposition or misapprehension or adhyaasa arises due to non-apprehension
or moola avidya or causal ignorance. For example, non-apprehension of a rope
causes the misapprehension of a snake, where the rope is. Similarly,
non-apprehension of oneself causes the misapprehension of oneself as I am this,
where subject I is identified with the diagonally opposite inert entity – this.
Ahankaara or ego involves taking the conscious entity that I am as inert entity
- this – where this stands for Body, mind and intellect or BMI. 
Here Nischaladasa provides an interesting
definition for avidya or ignorance.  A popular
meaning of avidya is the lack of knowledge. Here Nischaladaasa interprets – vid
- as existence. Since everybody feels ignorant of oneself, avidya therefore is
defined as that which appears to exist but does not really exist at absolute
level. It means it is mithyaa. Hence there is no ignorance at absolute level or
paaramaarthika level. What is the locus for ignorance, if one asks, it can only
be Brahman since there is nothing other than Brahman; and yet from Brahman
point there is no ignorance. This apparent contradiction is resolved by
recognizing that ontologically Brahman and ignorance belong to two different orders
of reality. Hence moola avidya is also at the vyaavahaarika level and hence it is
mithyaa.  Many objections of Sri Ramanuja
follow by not appreciating the ontological aspect of avidya in advaita, since
he does not accept mithyaa as a category. For him sat and asat are
anyonyaabhaava or mutually exclusive. (There are seven untenables discussed in
his introduction to Shree BhaaShya on Brahmasutras by Bhagavan Ramanuja about
advaita-avidya. While criticizing avidya, he also subscribes to avidya as the
cause for suffering or samasaara of a jiiva; but his avidya is slightly
different and it refers to jiiva’s ignorance of his dependence on Paramaatma –
ignorance of aswatantra-swatantra or shiSha-sheShii bhaava).  
The second limitation, klesha, which is
born out of avidya (kaarya avidya) is ahankaara or ego. Ex. aham dehaH – gRihasthaH
– sanyaasi, vidyaarthii etc. I am this body, mind and intellect or BMI, or I am
a doer – an enjoyer, I am house-holder, I am a sanyaasi, I am a student, etc.
all these are manifestations of ahankaara of jiiva. All our bio-data refers to
kaarya avidya – by-product of muula avidya where we describe ourselves as I am
this, this and this. The error or adhyaasa is obvious since the subject I am is
a conscious entity, and this that is being referred to is an inert entity.  Hence I am this is a false identity. Krishna
says in Geeta 3rd Ch. ahankaara vimuuDhaatmaa karthaaram iti manyate, one who
is deluded by the notion of ego thinks that I am a doer.  Thus the delusion is by product of the self-ignorance
or moola avidya.
The third limitation or klesha is raaga –
or attachment. Likes are those that we consider as favorable; and I am happy
only when things are favorable otherwise I am not. The fourth klesha is dvesha
or dislike of unfavorable objects or situations. I become unhappy when I face
things that are not favorable or things that I dislike.
The fifth klesha is abhinevesha – fear of
the second or fear of the death. Intense desire for security – instinctive
survival instinct - Reflective action due to survival instincts all arise due
to this limitation. All this comes from the struggle for survival – saamaanya
deha abhimaana –common possessiveness of one’s body is caused by praarabda. Here,
as a passing note, some of the instinctive or reflective actions at the body
level will be there even for a jnaani. Body pains and resulting sleep-ness, etc
are body related problems and these are natural responses that are provided by
the Lord to protect the body. Hence as long as praarabda keeps the body going,
these will also be there as natural defense systems. Objector says jiiva
suffers due to these five limitations.
Iswara does not have these five limitations,
since He is Iswara. 
The objector says due to these five
limitations the identity relation between Jiivaatma and parmaatma proposed by
advaita Vedanta in interpreting tat tvam asi statement is impossible. 
Continued in next part 
Hari Om!

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list