[Advaita-l] 'world' is not the mental creation of tiny soul !!

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Mar 18 06:40:28 CDT 2014

On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 12:30 AM, subhanu <subhanu at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste,
> ..... I will try and give a full
> answer when I have time later, but in response to the above, the verse asya
> dvaita-jālasya.. is BUBV 1.4.371. Sri Swamiji discusses it in VPP section
> 119
> (118 in Alston’s English translation). Another verse is worth noting also
>  in this context is BUBV 2.3.86 māyendra-jālasya vyāmohāspadam ātmanah,
> where this magic show is described as fashioned by ignorance which is
> nothing
> other than confusion (moha).
> Though
> not fully answering your question, but as a stop-gap until I am free, I am
> repeating my posts to the Satchidanandendra list below:
> Sri Swamiji's precise view is that the cause of the world is the Self as
> unknown. He explicitly states in VPP Vārtikāprasthāna-parīkṣā
> (Ch 7 section 118) “api tu ajñātātmaiva kāraṇam ityasmākam
> abhyupagamah “ , “such is our view that the cause is the atman
> as unknown “.

Dear Sri Subhanu ji,

>From the above words 'ajnAtAtmaiva kAraNam..' it is clear the samAsa is 'na
jnAtaH iti ajnAtaH' and 'ajnAtaH AtmA yena sa ajnAtAtmA' ['Atman not known
by that entity is called atnAtAtmaa']  In this case, a bahuvrIhi compound,
the entity who has this ignorance is referred to as the cause of creation.
 If a different compound, karmadhAraya, is adopted then the vigraha vAkyam
will be: ajnAtaH cha asua AtmA cha iti ajnAtAtmA.  Here, the unknownness is
an adjective, visheShaNa, to the AtmA, visheShya.  Then, this ajnAtAtmA,
 will be the upAdAnakAraNam for the creation that the Swami accepts.

If it is the latter, then who is the creator? If Brahman is admitted to be
the creator, then does this ajnAtAtmA become the material with which
Brahman creates? I would like scholars to comment on the samAsa shown above
and offer other possibilities too to make the understanding firm.

> He
> makes this comment when discussing the important Vārtikā BUBV 1.4.480:
> ajñāta
> ātmā jagatah kāraṇam na guṇatrayam,
> The
> atman as unknown is the cause of the world, not the 3 guṇas.
> [Now
> it is worth noting that BUBV 1.4.482 and 487 also have the following
> statements:
> “Yadātmake
> nāmarūpe” ityajñānātmatā tayoh [BUBV 1.4.482]
> It
> is stated in the bhashya “Yadātmake nāmarūpe” that these two are products
> of
> ignorance
> And
> subsequently:
> īshwarāvyākṛta-prāṇa-virād-bhūtendriyādikam
> nāvidyopāshritya
> muktvā sambhāvyam pratyagātmani [BUBV 1.4.487]
> It
> is not possible to entertain the notion of the various (8) states of
> īshwara,
> the unmanifest, prāṇa, virāj, the elements, sense organs etc, without the
> support of ignorance.
> This
> is explicitly stating that name and form, the unmanifest etc are falsely
> imagined through avidyā.]
> Sri
> Swamiji then further clarifies in VPP ch 7 ,118:
> Yah
> kāraṇam iti tu sarvasyāpi jagato rajju-sarpādivad-vikalpa-mātratvāt,
> tadāspadatvam eva kāraṇatvam brahmaṇa iti jñāpayitum
> Where
> Shankara has stated “The Self which is the cause of all the universe”, it
> was
> only to show that, because the universe is merely imagined like the snake
> in
> the rope, the Absolute is the cause in the sense that it is the substrate
> on
> which imaginations are made.

It is nice to see Sri SSS admitting that the world is merely imagined like
the snake in the rope.... vikalpamAtram, just as Shankara states in the
Ch.up. bhashya 6.2.3 buddhiparikalpitena...So, Sri SSS says, acc. to
Shankara, the causehood of Brahman is mere being the substrate,
adhiShThaanam, for the superimposition/imaginations.  That means, acc. to
him, Brahman is neither the nimitta nor the upaadAna kAaNam for the world,
and the world is a mere imagination.  The moot question is: imagination
by/of whom?  Has he answered this anywhere?  And it would be wrong to say
that acc to Sri SSS , Brahman is the abhinnanimittopAdAna kAraNam for the

> Earlier
> in section 116, Sri Swamiji also makes the statement:
> ajñānopāshrayeṇa
> brahmaiva kāraṇam dvaitasyetyabhiprāyah

In fact this explanation fits well with the verse I cited as quoted by
Madhusudana Saraswati in BG 9.10 (and by NilakanTha in BG 2.28) :

अस्य द्वैतेन्द्रजालस्य यदुपादानकारणम् ।
अज्ञानं तदुपाश्रित्य ब्रह्म कारणमुच्यते ॥ इति ।

> The
> Absolute is the cause through the medium of ignorance
> Now,
> confusion could stem from a view that,  as causality is mediated through
> ignorance,
> and ignorance is a mental notion, the “jiva” is falsely “creating” the
> universe
> in his mind. The confusion might arise through such passages in VPP
> section 143
> as:
> Avidyāyāh
> svabhāva eva hyeṣah; yadavidyamānam vastu pratyupasthāpyapekṣayā ātmānam
> paricchinam ivāpādya
> For
> it is the very nature of ignorance that it sets up the appearance of
> existence
> of things that do not really exist, and makes the Self appear
> circumscribed by
> them.
> (Note
> Swamiji here is directly echoing a vārtikā at BUBV 2.4.456 avidyāyāh
> svabhāvo’yam yadasatkaraṇam mriṣā: ignorance falsely “creates” that which
> does
> not exist)
> However,
> elsewhere Sri Swamiji clearly states that precisely because name and form
> are
> falsely imagined, no real creation, sustenance and destruction can occur.
> In
> VPP Chapter 3 section 35, Sri Swamiji writes:
> Nāmarūpa-jagatah,
> pratīyamānarūpeṇa, vikalpamātratvāt rajjusarpāderiva na
> janma-sthiti-bhangam.
> Since
> the world of name and form, being no more than an apprehension, is merely
> falsely imagined, it no more undergoes creation, sustenance and dissolution
> than a rope-snake does.

That is ok, Sri Subhanu ji, the point of this discussion is: for whom is
this apprehension, to the jiva or to brahman? For, it is natural to hold,
for whomever the pratIti happens, he is the one that imagines it.  That is
what is seen in analogies like rope-snake.  We have to  perforce conclude
that 'in the substratum that is Brahman, the world is perceived (by an
individual)'  This is what creation is as per Sri SSS.  This is because Sri
SSS has said that Brahman's causehood is nothing but brahman being the
substrate of imagination.  This is quite acceptable to me as this is what I
have been articulating.  And as per Shankara's bhashya on 1.4.10 of the
Br.up. there is no sentient entity other than Brahman which can be admitted
to harbor the avidyA (characterized by abrahmatvam and asarvatvam).  This
waters down to saying: the avidyAvAn Brahman (which is what the jiva is) is
imagining the world in the substrate that is Itself.

Thanks and warm regards

> And
> of course one should never forget that causality is only a device to
> establish
> the only reality that is Atman (BUBV 1.2.27 evam bhūtātma-siddhyartham
> kāraṇādi
> prasāddhyate; upāyah so’vatārāya tathā tatjñaishcha sūtritam: cause and
> effect
> are only employed to establish the already existent Atman, “it is a mere
> device”, so has stated that great knower of the tradition ie Gaudapada).
> For in
> VPP Ch7, section 118, Sri Swamiji summarises as follows:
> Atra
> kārya-kāraṇa-bhāva eva na yuktisah iti pratyākhyātah. Etad
> vididityottara-shlokairapi, ante upasamhritam:
> Jagatutpatti-samhārās
> tadvadātmani kalpitāh
> Vastuvrittam
> samālokya kutah sriṣṭyādi sambhavah? [BUBV 2.1.411] iti.
> Tathā
> cha māyikam eva jagat-kāraṇatvam ityabhiyukta-sampradāya evātrānusritah.
> “Here
> the whole notion of cause and effect is refuted as logically indefensible.
> A
> few verses later (Sri Swamiji has just been quoting BUBV 2.1.399),
> Suresvara
> summarises as:
> So,
> the creations and withdrawals of the universe have been merely imagined.
> When
> you have seen reality as it is, how can the notions of creation etc be even
> seen as possible? And
> so, Suresvara keeps to the true vedantic tradition of stating that
> causality
> supposed to produce the world is purely illusory.”
> Hope
> the above is helpful.
> Regards
> Subhanu
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