[Advaita-l] Meet on Advaita Vedanta in Bangalore - May 7 to 8. 2013

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu May 9 07:23:32 CDT 2013

I am sorry that some of the jijnAsus who went to the venue today, Thursday,
were disappointed.  There was not enough time for me to convey the calling
off of the program on Thursday on the List as I was busy with other things

On the topics of avidyA persisting in suShupti there indeed was a
vociferous debate, as it could be expected.  At one occasion Vidwan Mani
Dravid SastriNaH (MDS) read out a brahmasutra bhashya portion for the sutra
'sa eva tu karmAnusmRtiushabdavidhibhyaH' 3.2.9, the highlights of which is:

// Here, the question discussed is whether the one who has attained union
with the Sat during deep sleep rises from sleep or a different one.  The
objection is that there is no rule that the same jIva who went to sleep
emerges therefrom.  Just as when in a reservoir a drop of water is put it
becomes one with the water there.  When one takes out a drop of water from
there, it is impossible that it is the same drop which was put there.

To this the siddhAntin says: it is the same jIva that comes out from
After a fairly fine discussion on this, the objector's example is taken up
for settlement:  In the drop-water analogy it is quite alright that there
is no way of differentiating it is not possible to take out the 'same'
drop.  But in the case of the jiva, however, there is this* differentiating
factor called: karma and avidyA.  *//

When this highlighted sentence of the bhAShyam which explicitly says that
there is avidyA that is the differentiating factor for the jIva, the party
that does not accept this made a protest saying that:

1. Sri SSS had given a footnote to that bhashya (as usual) to give it a
different interpretation.

2. The above bhAShya has to be seen as gauNa, the mukhya being the ones in
the Br.up. Bhashya which forms the basis for them to conclude that there is
no avidyA for the jiva in suShupti.

In any case, the visiting scholars put their point in perspective whether
the hosts agreed to it or not.

Another point that occupied a good deal of time and debating is the term
'avidyA' in the bhashya: avidyAkalpite nAmarUpe.....in the context of
Ishwara's mAyA, shakti, etc.   The hosts' view was that Ishwara, shruti,
etc. is avidyA kalpita   When MDS presented the extremely significant point
that 'we know that Ishwara is the jagatkAraNam ONLY from the shruti pramANa
and that such knowledge is not an effect   of adhyAsa, the contending party
literally cited the portions from the adhyAsabhAShya : 'tametam
evamlakShaNamadhyAsam paNDitAH avidyeti manyante' and that the term avidyA
in the above sutra bhashya was indeed this adhyAsa of the jIva, and that
the adhyAsa bhashya itself says: all pramANa prameya vyavahAra including
the vidhi-pratiShedha shAstra and even mokSha shAstra operated in the realm
of avidyA,  MDS felt extremely sorry for them.

On the sidelines I had a brief discussion with him where it could be
appreciated that: The above adhyAsa bhAShya vAkyam does not say that the
shruti, Ishwara, etc. are jIva adhyAsa kalpita.  What it says is only the
adhyAsakalpita kartRtva-bhoktRtva bhAva makes the jIva a candidate for
karma/mokSha.  And therefore the avidyAkalpite nAmarUpe...term means only
another term for mAyA, shakti, avyakta, etc.

Both parties agreed to disagree, sticking to their guns.  The hosting
Swamiji said that he hoped to see agreement, aikamatyam, on the various
contentious issues  through such meets.

When the topic of yoga abhyAsa like samAdhi for Advaita jnana in addition
to vedanta vichAra came up, I pointed out the 'gItAshAstrArtha vivekaH'
book where Sri SSS had admitted that the sixth chapter of the BG has a
great content of Patanjali yoga where he has enumerated the very sutras
from there, including samadhi but at the same time bringing out the
difference between yoga and vedanta in the content of the samadhi, one or
two from the hosting party made a note of it while some did not appear to
be knowing it.  When I stated this, then the hosts made the observation
that the practices like yama, niyama, etc. were not alien to vedanta and
that their utility is admitted.  Then the question of nididhyAsanam came up
and I brought out the bhashyam for the br.up.
'shrotavyo....nididhyAsitavyaH' " sa nishchayena dhyAtavyaH' and the
dhyAnam itself being elaborated by Shankara in the Chandogya bhashya
beginning: vijAtiya pratyaya anantarita sajatIya pratyaya pravAhaH' which
MDS presented for everyone to hear.

Then the question of 'vAkyArtha jnAnam from padArtha jnAnam' was taken up
for discussion.  What would give one brahmajnAnam is the correct knowledge
of the (tattvamasi, etc.) vAkyArtha which itself depends upon the correct
understanding of the words there: tat tvam and asi.  I put a question, in
English, to the scholars, one of whom, Sri GoDA Venkatesha SastriNaH, who
retired from Reserve Bank of India, 'All the senior scholars here can be
definitely said to be quite knowledgeable about the padArtha and the
vAkyaartha; they can even teach this (which ultimately is: tat and tvam
padas are essentially pure consciousness alone) to others too, and could it
be said that they have no brahma jnAnam or that their knowledge is paroksha
and not aparoksha?  To this the eminent scholar said: I am sorry to reply
Sir, that the question you have put is beyond the scope, maryAdA, of this
sadas as it touches the personal aspect of the scholars assembled here.
Jnanam is a matter of one's internal recognition, sva hRdaya pratyayaH (a
bhashya expression in BSB 4.1.15) and no one would say it out.  In any
case, the conclusion from the bhashya is that liberating jnAnam depends on
padArtha/vAkyArtha jnAnam.

There were some twenty, men and women, in the audience who even put
questions and obtained answers.  The event was interesting to me in many
respects as I could get to hear a lot of Sanskrit and bhAShyas.  The entire
set of questions planned to be discussed could not be completed.  Since
some of the scholars had planned to leave on Wednesday itself, the
organizers felt there will not be much discussion on Thursday and hence the
abrupt decision to call it off.

There were heated arguments, spiced with humor too.  Of course no need to
say that we were treated with very tasty upahAra, bhojanam and pAnIyam from
time to time.  The hosts were extremely hospitable.

I am delighted to say that the Advaita vedanta pATha pravachana paddhati is
going on in various places.  In Chennai Sri goDA shastriNaH is conducting
line-by-line bhashya class with Tamil explanation three days a week and
some forty people attend regularly.  Here itself the Swamiji is conducting
some five hours of class every day and some fifteen people attend.  This is
just a sample.

Swamini Svatmabodhananda (nee Smt. Lakshmi Muthuswamy) was present on both
days, though I did not recognize her as I had not seen her before.  I
learned about the identity after she wrote to me today.

(I have not checked the above write up for errors)

warm regards


On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> praNAms Sri Anand Hudli prabhuji
> Hare Krishna
> I went there with my son today morning hoping to listen to finer
> points in advaita, but was told the meeting ended yesterday because some
> of the scholars wanted to leave early.
> >  thanks for the information prabhuji..when I went there around 11 AM,
> nobody was there!!
> Apparently, a summary of the topics discussed was presented by Shri
> Advayananda Saraswati, after the sadas had ended.
> >  I think that must be an interesting summary.. Sri Subbu prabhuji may
> give us more details of it.  No need to mention here that Sri Advayananda
> Saraswati is from Mattur (purvAshrama Sri ChandramouLi Avadhani) younger
> brother of Sri Ashwatha Narayana Avadhani, a direct disciple of Sri SSS.
> I was told the topics discussed included suShupti, the role of Yoga in
> advaita in the context of shravaNa, manana, and nididhyAsana.
> >  Very very interesting topics indeed...suShupti and its treatment in
> shankara bhAshya is always quite interesting, especially when it comes to
> kAraNAvidya in bhAvarUpa.  And the role of yOga as well in jnAna mArga
> sAdhana prakriya.
> >  Infact I went today with a question about jnAni's kAma krOdha
> (vipareeta pratyaya)  due to prArabdha/avidyAlesha which I was planning to
> ask if there is any leisure period or in  question & answer session :-)
> Anyway, I missed the opportunity.
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
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