[Advaita-l] Do not bring Sankhya into Suddha Sankara Advaita

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed May 15 07:07:07 CDT 2013

On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 10:24 AM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste
> Holenarsipur Swamiji has written in Suddha Sankara Prakriya Bhaskara in
> Page 2 -
> Tatha Hi Bhagavatpaadaaha Sveeyabhaashyeshu Saankhyaadeeneva Dvaitinaha
> Prativaaditvena Sveekrutya Niraakarshuhu
>  Adi Sankara has rejected the Purva Paksha Dvaiti Sankhya theory in his
> Bhashya.
> Kimca Bhagavatpaadeeya Bhaashye Vedantavaakyaanaam Aidamparye Nishcetavye
> 'Ikshater Naa Sabdam' 1 -1 - 5 ityaarabhya Aparisamaptehe
> Pratipakshareetyaa Vedaantavaakya Vyaakhyaatrushu Madhye Saankhyaa Eva
> Praadhaanyena Upaattaaha.
> In Adi Sankara Sutra Bhashya when he is explaining Vedanta Vakyas from
> Ikshater Na Sabdam 1 - 1 - 5 till the end he is accepting only Sankhya as
> Chief Purva Paksha. Sankhyas are the Chief Opponents for him.
> But Post Sankara Advaitis have tried to bring that Chief Purva Paksha
> Sankhya into Advaita. This is unfortunate.
> Sankhya is Dvaita only because it has two Chief Factors. Purusha and
> Prakruti. Sankhya is Dualistic Doctrine. Kindly see Notes below.
> Post Sankara Advaitis like Padmapada and Vacaspati have tried to make
> Advaita like Sankhya. They say Brahman and Mula Avidya are both necessary
> for Advaita. They cannot explain Advaita without the Two Factors.

Let us note that even the Veda,   Veda Vyasa and Adi Shankara cannot
explain Advaita without 'two' factors.  We say 'two' in quotes because the
'other', prakRti, is mithyA, being paratantra, that is something having
only a dependent existence/reality, like a rope-snake,  and therefore not
countable as the second to the advitIya PuruSha.  In the BSB 1.4.3 Shankara

तदधीनत्वादर्थवत् । ब्रह्मसूत्रम् १,४.३  ।

यदि वयं स्वतन्त्रां काञ्चित्प्रागवस्थां जगतः कारणत्वेनाभ्युपगच्छेम, प्रसञ्ज्येम
तदा प्रधानकारणवादम्  ।परमेश्वराधीना त्वियमस्माभिः प्रागवस्था
जगतोऽभ्युपगम्यते न स्वतन्त्रा   । सा चावश्याभ्युपगन्तव्या , अर्थवती हि सा

नहि तया विना परमेश्वरस्य स्रष्टृत्वं सिद्धयति   ।  शक्तिरहितस्य तस्य
प्रवृत्त्यनुपपत्तेः   ।

मुक्तानां च पुनरनुत्पत्तिः   । कुतः   । विद्यया तस्या बीजशक्तेर्दाहात् ।

अविद्यात्मिका हि बीजशक्तिरव्यक्तशब्दनिर्देश्या परमेश्वराश्रया मायामयी
महासुप्तिः, यस्यां स्वरूपप्रतिबोधरहिताः शेरते संसारिणो जीवाः   ।

तदेतदव्यक्तं क्वचिदाकाशशब्दनिर्दिष्टम् ’एतस्मिन्नु खल्वक्षरे गार्ग्याकाश
ओतश्च प्रोतश्च’ (बृ. ३.८.११) इति श्रुतेः   ।

क्वचिदक्षरशब्दोदितम् ’अक्षरात्परतः परः’ (मु. २.१.२) इति श्रुतेः   ।

क्वचिन्मायेति सूचितम् ’मायां तु प्रकृतिं विद्यान्मायिनं तु महेश्वरम” (श्वे.
४.१०) इति मन्त्रवर्णात् ।

अव्यक्ता हि सा माया, तत्त्वान्यत्वनिरूपणस्याशक्यत्वात् ।

तदिदंऽमहतः परमव्यक्तम्ऽ इत्युक्तमव्यक्तप्रभवत्वान्महतः, यदा हैरण्यगर्भी
बुद्धिर्महान्  । यदा तु जीवो महांस्तदाप्यव्यक्ताधीनत्वाज्जीवभावस्य महतः
परमव्यक्तमित्युक्तम्  । अविद्या ह्यव्यक्तम्  । अविद्यावत्त्वेनैव जीवस्य
सर्वः संव्यवहारः संततो वर्तते   ।

The gist of the above quote is: But this primordial state is held by us to
be subject to the supreme Lord, but not as an independent thing. [This is
the crucial difference between sAnkhya and Vedanta where in the former this
Shakti is independent in its activity while in vedanta it is only dependent
on the Purusha/Brahman/Atman.] Continues Shankara: That state (the
bIjashakti avasthA) has to be admitted because it serves a purpose.
Without that latent state, the creatorship of Ishwara cannot have any
meaning, inasmuch as Ishwara cannot act without His power of Maya, and
without that latent state the absence of birth for the freed sould cannot
be explained.  Why? Because liberation comes when the potential power of
Maya is burnt away by knowledge.  That potential power, constituted by
avidyA is mentioned by the word 'avyaktam'.  ...

Shankara goes on to give a number of shruti passages for the 'existence' of
the power.  One can see several verses in the Bh.Gita too to this effect,
one sample being:

प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव विद्धयनादी उभावपि । विकारांश्च गुणांश्चैव विद्धि
प्रकृतिसम्भवान् ॥13. 19 ॥

Here Veda Vyasa, the Lord, says that 'two' - prakRti and puruSha are anAdi
and all the transformations have come up due to prakRti.

To show that this prakRti is mithyA, that is does not enjoy absolute
existence but only a paratantra satya, we can see the last verse of the
13th chapter and its bhashya.

Thus the vedanta shAstra happily accepts 'two' for the
prapancha/samsAra/bandha-mokSha vyavasthA.  Without the 'two' it is
impossible for anyone, even for Sri SSS, to explain this.  His blaming the
commentators is only because he has himself not understood the Vedanta
method of explaining samsara, etc.  One can clearly see from the above
presentation that Sri SSS's pointing to 'virodha' to the Bhashya from the
commentators is ill-founded and from even the bhashya vAkyams one can prove
his theories wrong.  I recently pointed out to the case of a scholar
viewing Sri SSS's book saying this very thing that I have said above.

In that Post Sankara Advaita Brahman = Sankhya Purusha and Mula Avidya =
> Sankhya Prakruti.
> This is wrong. Then Advaita becomes Dvaita like Sankhya.
> Holenarsipur Swamiji is saying in Page 32 Sankara Vedanta Meemamsa Bhashya
> -
> 'So far we have seen that there is no reason why the original Bhashya
> beginning with Mithya Jnana Nimittaha' should not be taken to mean what it
> literally amounts to, - that all human procedure is due to a misconception
> and that the forced interpretation of the statement as referring to a
> hypothetical Avidya Shakti which is the material cause for all false
> appearances is far fetched'.
> [[ If you are seeing Snake in a Rope Padmapada and other Post Sankara
> Advaitis will say the Material Cause of the Snake is a strange Avidya
> Shakti. That Avidya Shakti has become the Snake and you are seeing it.
> Padmapada says Mithyajnana is actually Mithya Ajnana = False Ignorance. Adi
> Sankara has not said this. He has said the Snake is because of a
> Misconception = Mithya Jnana only. The seeing person has made a Simple
> Mistake only.  He did not say Snake is because of Mithya Ajnana and that is
> the Material Cause for Snake. ]]

This vAkyam from the bhashyam cited above calls the lie of Sri SSS's
statement above:  //Why? Because liberation comes when the potential power
of Maya is burnt away by knowledge.  That potential power, constituted by
avidyA is mentioned by the word 'avyaktam'.  ...//

Here Shankara is admitting a bAdha for the avidyA by vidyA.  It is
vidyAvirodhi that is avidyA.  Anything that is set right by knowledge has
to be mithyA.  Here the power of Maya is burnt by knowledge.  Therefore
that power and its kAryam has to be mithyA.  Thus there is nothing wrong in
parsing the compound word 'mithyAjnAnam' as 'mithyA cha tadajnAnam cha' as
Shankara is very clearly saying in the above cited passage.  In fact the
very first sutra, brahma jijnAsA, was founded on this principle: since
Atma-vit, the knower of Atman, goes beyond shoka, it is concluded that
shoka is mithyAjnAnakAryam (because it needs 'knowledge of Atman' for its



> 'Moreover that the Avidya Shakti which is taken here to be what is meant by
> the Mithyajnana - be it an invention of the author of the Tika himself or
> borrowed from some foreign tradition and adapted here to propound his
> theory is altogether opposed to the spirit of the Bhashya, is also seen
> from the circumstance that this sub commentator attempts to prove the
> feasibility of its acceptance on the authority of the Pramana Arthapatti
> (presumption)'.
> 'For Sankara here expressly declares that all Pramanas or means to valid
> knowledge in empirical life are based on Adhyasa itself. This is also
> obvious from the fact that this writer identifies his 'Avidya Sakti' with
> 'Maya' in direct opposition to the teaching of the Bhashya'.
> [[ All Pramanas like Pratyaksha are based on Adhyasa. If you are seeing
> something you are seeing because there is Adhyasa of Body Mind and Sense
> Organs on Atma. Same for other Pramanas. ]]

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