[Advaita-l] Avidyaa is Subjective not Objective

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu May 23 07:22:16 CDT 2013

On Thu, May 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> 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
> is
> 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??

I will have no problem for I will easily show what Shankara has said in the
ArambhanAdhikaraNam bhashya: atashcha idam shAstrIyam brahmAtmatvam
avagamyamAnam svAbhAvikasya shArIrAtmatvasya bAdhakam sampadyate,
rajjvAdibuddhaya iva sarpAdibuddhInAm.  bAdhite cha shArIrtmatve
tadAshrayaH samastaH svAbhAviko vyavahAro bAdhito bhavati.

Shankara is refuting the view that 'nAnAtvam in bandha is satya and ekatvam
in moksha is also satyam.  He is showing the fallacy in such a view.  He is
pointing out that if shAstra jnAnam is to falsify the jIvabhAva it has
necessarily to be mithyA.

That is enough to convey to the pUrvapakshin that Advaita never accepts the
avidyA and its kArya to be real.  So, the pUrvapaksha you raise above is
unfounded. In advaita avidyA and the resultant jIvabhAva/samsAra are never
admitted to be real.  And the following is crucial in understanding the
tAtparya of the Br.up. 1.4.10 bhashya:

श्रयत्वविषयत्वभागिनी  निर्विभागचितिरेव केवला ।
पूर्वसिद्धतमसो हि पश्चिमो नाश्रयो भवति नापि गोचरः ॥ (संक्षेपशारीरकम्)

Ashrayatva-viShayatvabhAginI nirvibhAga-chitireva kevalA
pUrvasiddhatamaso hi pashchimo nAshrayo bhavati nApi gocharaH

[The locus and object of ignorance is indeed the impartite
Brahman-Consciousness.  The entities that appear later, as products of the
fundamental ignorance, cannot be the locus and object of ignorance.

The fear of advaita/siddhanta hani arises due to not understanding the
above logical position.  In fact Shankara very carefully avoids talking
about jIva getting the jnanam.  The shruti vAkyam itself is 'Brahman got
the awareness 'aham brahmAsmi' and thereupon 'attained' sarvAtmabhAva.
'tat AtmAnameva avEt aham brahmAsmi iti..'  The word 'tat' in the neuter,
napumsaka, gender refers to brahman which is the subject in that mantra.
It never uses the masculine, jIvaH.  This itself is enough to settle all
questions on this bhashya.  It is for this reason Shankara uses the
arthApatti pramANa and 'presumes' (kalpanA) avidyA for that brahman.  The
rAjaputra example also teaches this alone:  the young prince who is
kidnapped and grows up in a forest later comes to know of his true
identity.  It shows 'brahman' is in samsAra and gets the teaching of the
mahAvAkya and realizes its true nature.  That is the natural advaitic
teaching.  The upanishad itself says 'Brahman realized its true nature' and
not 'jiva realized its true nature.'



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