[Advaita-l] adhyAropa - apavAda in the Prashnopanishat

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 27 05:19:20 CDT 2013

In the sixth chapter of the Prashnopanishat the first mantra is about
'where does the entity with 16 kalA-s reside?'  The second mantra is in
reply: 'Here alone, in this body, does the puruSha (with 16 kalA-s)
resides. The third mantra is about:

3     The Purusha reflected: "What is it by whose departure I shall depart
and by whose staying I shall stay?"

This mantra comes to specify(1)  that the sixteen kalA-s (parts) are
created by a sentient being, the Purusha and (2) the order, krama, in which
the 16 are created.

4     He created prana; from prana faith, space, air, fire, water, earth,
the organs, mind, food; from food virility, austerity, the Vedic hymns,
sacrifice, the worlds; and in the worlds He created names.

Here the sixteen parts/components are enumerated:

He created prana (1); from prana faith (shraddhA (2) , space, air, fire,
water, earth, (five elements: 5+2=7) the organs (all sense/motor organs 10
put together 1 (8), mind (9), food (annam 10); from food virility (vIryam
11), austerity (tapas 12), the Vedic hymns (mantra 13), sacrifice (karma 14),
the (worlds 15); and in the worlds He created names (nAma 16).

Having said that the PuruSha 'creates' these sixteen kalA-s, the upanishad
says in the very next mantra:

 5     As these flowing rivers, bound for the ocean, disappear into the
ocean after having reached it, *their names and forms being destroyed and
are called simply the ocean*—*even so, these sixteen parts of the seer,
whose goal is the Purusha, disappear into the Purusha after having reached
Him, their names and forms being destroyed and are called simply the
Purusha. He becomes free of parts and immorta*l. On this there is the
following verse.

Thus, we have the Upanishad itself 'superimposing' the sixteen parts on the
PuruSha and subsequently negating them.  The following is to be appreciated:

   1. The Upanishad uses the word 'षोडषकलं पुरुषं’ in the first mantra and
   goes on to specify the sixteen parts in the 4th mantra. This is the
   2. Subsequently, the Upanishad in the mantra 5 declares that 'for the
   one who is endowed with Self-knowledge, 'परिद्रष्टुः’ the sixteen kalA-s
   cease to be in the state of liberation: The jnAnI comes to be called
   'puruSha' by the Upanishad itself.
   3. The crucial words in this mantra that indicate apavAda, negation:
   षोडषकलाः अस्तं गच्छन्ति’ (the sixteen kalA-s cease to be) and 'अकलः’ =  One
   without kalA-s.  सकलः becomes अकलः.
   4. Thus the adhyAropa word/name 'षोडषकलाः पुरुषः’ is now negated and
   replaced with 'अकलः पुरुषः’.
   5. There is an unmistakable adhyAropa-apavAda nyAya in this Upanishat.
   6. And for the equally unmistakable 'brahmAtmaikyam' we have the
   Upanishat saying the 'PuruSha' is the one that creates all these sixteen
   kalA-s.  And the Upanishat itself declares that the one without the kalA-s,
   that is, the one who has freed himself from the kalA-s through jnAnam, is
   called 'PuruSha'.  Thus the PuruSha creates the kalA-s and the one endowed
   with the kalA-s is 'the षोडषकलाः पुरुषः’ and the one freed of the kalA-s
   owing to Jnanam as 'PuruSha'.  Thus we have the PuruSha as the creator, the
   bearer and the negator of kalA-s.
   7. Here is an example of 'brahmaiva svAvidyayA samsaratIva, svavidyayA
   muchyata iva'.
   8. Since according to the Upanishad it is jnAnam that frees the puruSha
   from the bondage of kalA-s (body-mind complex and all the actions and
   fruits of actions resulting thereof), it is confirmed that such bondage is
   'ज्ञानबाध्य’ (that which is negatable through knowledge.)
   9. Such jnAnabAdhyatvam is found ONLY in places where there is a
   superimposition owing to avidyA, for example: rope-snake, considering the
   pure uncontaminable space as endowed with dirt, etc., dream, etc.  In other
   words, if knowledge, jnAnam, has to remove something, that something must
   be avidyA-born: superimposed due to ignorance of the vastu.
   10. Thus, according to this Upanishad, A. samsAra is Aropita and is
   therefore, jnAnabAdhya, B.there is the teaching of adhyAropa-apavAda.
   11. Another corollary that follows from the teaching of the fifth mantra
   is: the One Conscious(ness) Entity is ever free of the kalA-s (body-mind
   apparatus).  So, even in the liberated state there are no names, body-mind
   apparatus of any make, either prAkRta or aprAkRta, for this entity.
   12. Hence there is no Vedanta pramANa for any difference, bheda, in
   mokSha, for bheda is possible ONLY through admitting names/body/mind/sense
   organs. Here is the Upanishat itself negating the bhedaka-s
   (name/body/mind, etc.).
   13. Thereby the Upanishat is confirming the Advaitic mokSha alone
   without giving room for any difference in mokSha by way of residing in one
   or the other loka with one or the other deity along with several other

Om Tat Sat

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