[Advaita-l] Avidyaa is Subjective not Objective

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Thu May 23 05:54:15 CDT 2013

praNAms Sri Subbu prabhuji
Hare Krishna

Shankara is saying in very clear terms: Ok, let it be that 'Brahman is not
the originator of avidyA or one that is deluded'. * But there is no other
sentient being that is not Brahman that is the subject of avidyA and who 
deluded.  'kintu naiva abrahma avidyAkartA chetano bhrAnto anya iShyate*'.
And He cites a number of upanishad and Gita statements like: na anyo ato
asti vijnAtA', tattvamasi, 'AtmAnameva avet aham brahma asmi, 'ahamAtmA
guDAkesha', etc. All these statements show in clear terms that there is no
such person called jIva apart from Brahman. 

>  Yes, this bhAshya vAkya is there to prove that there is no 'second' 
chaitanya or jeeva apart from brahman, because brahman is the only 
chaitanya.  But do you think this bhAshya can be shown as the proof for 
the 'deluded brahma' in advaita vedAnta  !!??  If your pUrva paxi quotes 
this bhAshya vAkya and says : see, your Acharya himself saying that your 
brahman is deluded, what you are going to do with the realization of this 
'deluded' brahman??  Dont you justify this bhAshya vAkya by saying that it 
does not mean that brahman is deluded, it is there to prove that apart 
from brahman there is no second entity called jeeva etc.  This bhAshya 
vAkya is not there to prove brahmAnanya avidyA, it is there to show us 
jeeva in his svarUpa brahman only and there is no second chaitanya apart 
from this brahman.  This is what Shankara confirmed subsequently by 
quoting other shruti vAkya-s like tattvamasi etc. that you yourself 
quoted.  So, context is very clear here that jeeva in his svarUpa brahman 
only and there is no second chaitanya that can be called as jeeva.  Please 
note the above bhAshya quote  is not an answer to the question : whether 
adviteeya brahman is deluded or not !!  So, without bringing in the jeeva 
aspect in avidyA, if we directly say brahman is avidyAashraya it is 
advaita hAni.  Whenever there is a question arises about avidyA ashraya 
(locus of avidyA) shankara invariably says it is jeeva, though in his 
svarUpa 'adviteeya chaitanya/brahma,  due to antaHkaraNa dOsha looks like 
deluded.  Sri Venkatesh Murthy quoted the relevant bhAshya quote from the 
4th adhyAya of brahma sUtra.  Here shankara says if you are realized that 
you are brahman then there is no avidyA to anybody..Here if the brahma is 
deluded as per your bhAshya interpretation above, shankara would have 
said, if you realize that you are brahman, then you are free from your own 
avidyA (tUlAvidyA) but in brahman there remains the mUlAvidyA which is 
brahmAbhinna or brahmAshrita. 

>  It is in this effort only shankara distinguishes the shAreeri from the 
brahman in sUtra bhAshya and clarifies brahman is nitya shuddha buddha 
mukta svarUpa and shAreeri is not like that since he suffers from avidyA. 
So, above bhAshya vAkya should be interpreted in such a way that jeeva 
svabhAva is brahma only  and brahma does not have jeeva svabhAva ( .ring 
is gold only but gold is not ring ) jeeva due to upAdhi saMbandha have the 
anishta like avidyA/adhyAsa and the dawn of adviteeya jnAna fetches him 
the knowledge that he was/ is/always be adviteeya brahman only.  and this 
realization is trikAla abhAditaM !! Hope I dont have to quote shankara 
bhAshya for this clarification. 

Therefore, according to Shankara it is Brahman alone that takes the form 
of a samsArin owing to

>  I would like to say this in a different  way, it is jeeva who suffers 
in saMsAra due to avidyA though he is in svarUpa brahman.  This perfectly 
matches with advaita's jeeva-brahma ikya vAkya : brahma svabhAvo hi jeevaH 
 na jeeva  svabhAvaMyou  brahma...

He is using the arthApatti pramANa here.  On  the one hand we have
Brahman as nitya shuddha mukta svabhAvaH (as you have cited) and on the
other hand we have the very Br.Up.1.4.10 which declares that 
aham brahma asmi iti'.  Here the subject in this mantra is the advitIya
brahman itself. 

>  I am afraid you are using arthApatti pramANa for all the wrong 
reasons!!  Though subject in this maNtra and whole of the shruti for that 
matter is nothing but brahman, contextually we have to say brahma svarUpi 
jeeva is deluded due to avidyA and after getting the knowledge he will 
become brahma or after getting rid of this avidyA jeeva become brahma.  It 
is just like saying the 'ring' is in reality 'gold' only but gold is not 
'ring.  We cannot reverse these statements and conclude that :  brahman 
due to avidyA become jeeva or brahman minus vidyA become jeeva... We dont 
say gold svarUpa is ring, but we say ring svarUpa is gold only nothing 
else..if we say brahman is jeeva and argue that brahman alone takes the 
form of saMsArin due to avidyA, then we would have to accept that even 
before the saMsAritva of jeeva there exists avidyA which is on par with 
brahma which cannot be effaced at jeeva level..this is siddhAnta hAni & 
advaita hAni. 

So, in order to reconcile these two facts which are pitted
against each other, the kalpanA (anyathA anupapatti) has to be done: That
nitya shuddha mukta brahman alone assumed a samsAri bhAva owing to avidyA
and now gets enlightened. 

>  No, as I said above, the above statement of yours should be 
meaningfully rephrased without doing any harm to the nitya shuddha mukta 
svabhAvatva of brahman like :  jeeva due to avidyA becomes samsAri after 
the dawn of jnAna he would realize that he is adviteeya..With bringing in 
jeeva aspect if we say brahman itself assumed saMsAri bhAva owing to 
avidyA then it is advaita hAni..It is like 'ring' realizing that it was / 
is / will always be 'gold' only..

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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