[Advaita-l] Eka jiva vada and nanajiva vada.

vinayaka ns brahmavadin at gmail.com
Wed Mar 20 01:23:42 CDT 2013

On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 3:06 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> A few days ago I had said:
> //That is the reason Eka jiva prakriyA is admitted as the preeminent one in
> Vedanta.  The siddhAntaleshasangraha, the vedantasiddhAntamuktavaLi, the
> Mandukya kArikA and bhAShya, the kaivalyopanishat and the sUtasamhitA that
> comments on it are valuable sources for the study of Ekajiva vAda
> prakriyA.  A fine account of this prakriyA is given in the English book:
> sridakshinAmurtistotram Vol.I in pages 217 to 268 with copious
> notes/citations from the aforesaid vedantic works.  //

Actually the question in the ekajIvavAda is -  *In the waking state* is
there only one jIva and are the other jIvAs are just bodies moving around?
While dealing with this we have to look at it from the perspective waking
state alone because from the pAramArthik standpoint we can very well say
that all are nothing but vibrations of the mind/imagination of the mind. If
these two perspectives gets mixed up then there will problems.

The shruti and bhyAshas do accept the multiplicity of jIvas in samsAra from
the perspective of different upAdhis. The following quote from katha and
muNdaka bhAshya can be quoted in this regard:

Katha 2.2.8:

Some souls enter the womb of acquiring bodies and others follow the
motionless, in accordance with their work and in confirmity with their

bhAshya: anyE dEhinaH, some souls, some embodied ones - some ignorant
fools; yonim prapadyante, enter into the womb; sharIratvAya, for assuming
bodies. anyE, others - the extremely inferior ones; after death,
anusamyanti, follow; sthAnum, the state of motionless things like tress
etc; yathAkarma, in accordance as each ones work is.....

Mundaka bhAshya introduction to 1.2.1:

tatra aparavidyAvishyaH kartrAdisAdhanakriyAphalabhEda rUpaH samsAraH,
anAdH anantaH, dukhaswarUpatvAt hyAtavyaH **pratyekam sharIribhiH**
sAmsthyEna nadIsrOtavadvicchEdarUpasambandaH........

Of these, the sphere of the lower knowledge is the state of transmigration
which involves a distinction of accessories like agent etc., and actions
and results. This state has no beginning and no end; it has to be
eradicated wholly and individually by ** every embodied being** because it
consists of sorrow; and its interrelation is like the unbroken current of
the river.....

While commenting on this SSS says ( rough translation form his note in
kannada page 30) :

The vyAkhyAnakAra (Anandagiri) has written that ekajIvavAdaH is opposed to
this bhAshya. Though this is true, during the times of bhAshyakAra there
was no ekajIvavAda-nAnAjIvavada. If the bondage is true and if a single
person gets liberation, then there will be no samsAra for others to cross
over. Since samsAra is mithyA, whoever gets knowledge it will cease for
those enlightened ones - this is the heart of the commentator. He also
cites other bhAshyavAkyas - ekEna chAdimuktena.... BSB 3-2-21;
pratipurusham parisamAptam shAstram and opines that these utterances should
also bear the same meaning.

> Given below are some references to the shAnkara bhAShyam and mANDUkya
> kArikA-s (MK):
> , 4.68, 69, 70 and bhashya which says:
>    //jivas such as human beings, etc. seen in the waking state, though
> really
>    non-existent, are merely the imagination of the mind -  तथा
> मनुष्यादिलक्षणा
>    अविद्यमाना एव चित्तव्कल्पनामात्रा इत्यर्थः.

This is ok, but what is the perspective here? It is said from the
pAramArthik standpoint, Is it not? Here Shankara is not saying that there
is only soul in the waking state and that the other jIvas are just nIrjIva
jivas. All that he is saying is - from the standpoint of the absolute there
is no difference between the waking and the dream states and jIvas are
mayic only and not real.

When shruti pramANa and pratyaksha are tallying, why should we bring in
some other view/interpretation?

As far as pre-eminence of this view is concerned, I feel that some
preceptors of advaita prefer this because it asks the aspirant to
concentrate on the reality not bothering much about the world/jIvas etc.

Thanks for the references; in fact I was looking for  the pointers from the
shruti & bhAshya since the issue is a complicated one.

Interestingly/incidentally(?) most of the quotes are from the mAdUkya
kArikas/bhAshya. If you have some more references from other bhAshyas
please do share and I shall refer to them when time permits.

Best Wishes,


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