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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 26 07:11:32 CDT 2014

On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 3:53 PM, kuntimaddi sadananda <
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com> wrote:

> --------------------------------------------
> Shree Venkatesh Murthy - PraNAms
> What you mentioned is correct. Avidya belongs to the one who does not know
> I am Brahamn or more correctly does not know he is the very source of
> infinite happiness. Yes avidya is centered on jiiva who is looking for
> happiness outside. No one disputes that.
> This aspect is different from creation of the world, cognition of the
> world that consists of many beings and non-beings. This is not jiiva’s
> creation. I as a jiiva cannot create and cannot cognize. Jiiva-jagat-Iswara
> come as package when I have a notion that I am jiiva or as the title says
> tiny jiiva. Tiny jiiva enters into the world and exists from the world and
> goes to different worlds of experiences. Coming and going of jiiva are as
> real as the world that he cognizes. They are of the same order of reality
> along with the existence and cognition of infinite number of tiny jiivas in
> each world that the jiiva experiences. Scriptures declare - let me become
> many and he became many- bahusyaam prajaayeyeti. At this stage we do not
> call as jiiva’s creation since many jiivas or beings and objects for
> enjoyment are getting manifested. Hence it is not tiny jiiva that is
> creating but Iswara is creating.

Dear Sri Sada ji,

It is fine that one jiva's avidyA leads to just his contribution to
Ishwara's shakti for creation of the 'total' world and thus the 'sum total'
of all jiva's contributions go into the total shakti of Ishwara.  But
another significant point too should not be missed here.  The bhAgavatam
verse that was taken up as the basis for the study of the topic originally
has this to say:

यदिदं मनसा वाचा चक्षुर्भ्यां श्रवणादिभिः ।

नश्वरं गृह्यमाणं च विद्धि मायामनोमयम् ।। ११-७-७ ।।

*श्रीधर-स्वामि-टीका* -
ननु गुणदोषाभ्यां विषमे लोके कुतः समदृष्टिः स्यामत आह – *यदिदमि*ति । मन आदिभि
*र्गृह्यमाणं* मनोमयत्वान्मायेति *विद्धि* । तदपि न स्थिरं, किंतु *नश्वरं* विद्धि
।। ७ ।।
*Gita Press translation – Completely shaking off all attachment for your
own people and kinsmen and fully concentrating your mind on Me, for your
part, go you about the earth looking upon all with an equal eye (6).
Whatever is being apprehended with the mind, speech, eyes, ears etc., know
it to be a creation of the mind and therefore (merely) illusory
and transient (7).*

It says that ' *Whatever is being apprehended with the mind, speech, eyes,
ears etc., know it to be a creation of the mind and therefore (merely)

Now, it would be prudent to consider that the teaching above is talking
about each individual's cognition as illusory.  And this is not a teaching
limited to one jIva but every jiva who invariably uses the mind, speech,
eyes, ears etc.  On the basis of the maxim 'little drops of water makes the
ocean huge', the sum total of each individual's cognition makes the sum
total of the jagat illusory.  That is the purport of the bhAgavata verse.

In the BG 13th chapter the core teaching is the classification of the world
into kShetram, the inert cognized world and the kShetrajna the sentient
Cognizer and the Reality of the latter and the mithyAtva of the former.
 There, in two verses, the entire kShetram is succinctly presented as
consisting of the mind, the senses and the objective universe the senses
grasp.  This, naturally applies to every individual.  When the kShetram is
thus described, we cannot take it to be limited to one individual.  It is
common to all perceptions.  So, going by the BG too, the kShetram is
illusory, both as per each individual's cognition and this applied to every
individual cognizer.  Surely, by considering the kShetrajna, cognizer, as
indwelling every cognizing jiva, we cannot conclude that there are several
cognizers.  That will be against the siddhAnta.  The lord teaches that 'I
am the kShetrajna in every kShetram (body-mind)'.  We will end up having
many kShetrajnas.  So, the proper way to look at the entire scenario is
that there is only one cognizer kShetrajna and for whom the entire kShetra
consisting of several minds, sense organs, and sense objects etc. is the
kShetram.  The siddhAnta ultimately does not uphold the sAnkhya/yoga
doctrine of the kshetra to be real and  jivas to be manifold.  The kShetram
is unreal, illusory.  All the 'other' jivas that one jiva cognizes are
nothing but body-mind, again objects for this one jiva.  I remember a very
significant teaching, a comment, by Swami Paramarthananda ji in discourses:

//For me all of you are only inert objects.  Now, do not be shocked at this
and retort: How dare you say we are inert when we are taught that we are
Atman, the Sentient?'.  Pl. recognize that my senses with which I perceive
all of you cannot grasp the Atman that all of you are indeed.  My senses
can grasp only your body and infer your mind through your expressions.  In
any case, the senses can grasp only the inert aspect of all of you.  Hence
my comment.'

Here, clearly we can see that the bhAgavatam verse in play.  This is what
is in the BG and every Vedantic teaching too:

// *Whatever is being apprehended with the mind, speech, eyes, ears etc.,
know it to be a creation of the mind and therefore (merely) illusory'*   //

And the traditional view of the eka jIvavAda is that the entire world is
the projection/creation of one jIva, (not one brahman), and this jIva has
to get over his ignorance.

GaudapAda too says the same:

मायया भिद्यते ह्येतन्नान्यथाऽजं कथञ्चन | तत्त्वतो भिद्यमाने हि
मर्त्यताममृतं व्रजेत् ||३.१९||

 19 The unborn Atman becomes manifold through mAyA and not otherwise. For
if the manifold were real, then the immortal would become mortal. [This is
because the Atman will be deemed to undergo transformation, vikAra, and
therefore the vikArI will be anitya.
मनोदृश्यमिदं द्वैतं यत्किञ्चित्सचराचरम् | मनसो ह्यमनीभावे द्वैतं
नैवोपलभ्यते ||३.३१||

*31 All the multiple objects, comprising the movable and the immovable, are
perceived by the mind alone. For duality is never perceived when the mind
ceases to act. *

 That is what is echoed by the view of Sri SSS as reported by Sri Subhanu
ji :


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.

Earlier in section 116, Sri Swamiji also makes the statement:

ajñānopāshrayeṇa brahmaiva kāraṇam dvaitasyetyabhiprāyah

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

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
of things that do not really exist, and makes the Self appear circumscribed

(Note Swamiji here is directly echoing a vārtikā at BUBV 2.4.456 avidyāyāh
svabhāvo’yam yadasatkaraṇam mriṣā: ignorance falsely “creates” that which
not exist)


The statements in the Shruti as to Brahman (as Ishwara) being the cause of
the world through sentences such as 'bahu syAm prajAyeya' are intended to
show brahman's infinitude and for upAsanA purposes.  For Jnanam, however,
one has to give up these shruti references as taTasthalakShaNa and consider
only the svarUpa lakShaNa utterances such as 'satyam, jnAnam anantam
vijnAnam Anandam' etc.  This the view of Shankara in the Taittiriya
bhAShya.  It is to instill confidence in the mind of the jijnAsu that such
a brahman exists that the creation shrutis are there: astitva / Anantya
pratipAdanAt says Shankara.

I just wanted to point out in essence that 'the sum total of cognitions is
creation' which only amounts to one individual's cognition for in his
cognition alone the 'others' also exist as body-mind kshetram.'  That is
the bhAgavata/BG teaching: mAyAmanomayam.

warm regards

> When one says avidya is the cause for creation, true but yet avidya janya
> karmas (vaasanaas) of all jiivas and not just that of one jiiva are the
> cause for creation of particular type of universe – waking or dream
> universes.
> Iswara cannot have avidya, by definition, since he is Iswara with
> Sarvajnatvam and sarvashaktitvam, sarvavyaapakatvam, etc. But yet avidyaa
> janya karma is responsible for creation, we have to resort to the maaya
> concept which is sum total of all vaasanaas put together which forms the
> creative forces or Shakti for Iswara to create. In essence Iswara hands are
> tied – he creates only as per the demand of all the jiivas who want to
> experience their karma phalam. Hence the Iswara sRishTi does not just
> depend on a tiny jiiva but all jiivas in the creation. This is what
> scriptures teach us.
> Even though avidya is the cuase for avidya janya karma but not just one
> jiiva but all jiivas put togher – the sum total becomes maayaa Shakti of
> Iswara only. All this is self-consistent as long as one has the I am a
> jiiva notion is there.
> Hence some total of all avidya(s) or all jivas at macro level is maaya as
> parameswara Shakti.
> Only when jiiva notions is dropped by knowledge then the existence of all
> other jiivas and the world reduces to mithyaa and becomes vibhuuti – At
> that point one can either say aatma-vibhuuti or Iswara-vibhuti since aatma
> and Iswara and even Brahman all –as though- resolved into one substantive
> for the whole creation. Either we talk from the point of jnaani where there
> is no more local tiny jiiva or other jiivas when everything is reduced to
> aatma-anaatma or we talk from the point of triad – jiiva-jagat-Iswara where
> there are many jiivas all with ignorance of the aatma-anaatma diad. One
> cannot have one step here and one step there to saythat this creation is
> due to avidya of a local tiny jiiva – that involves jumping one leg here
> and one leg there.  Each jiiva can have his own creation due to his
> raaga/dweshaas and that cause samsaara for that jiiva while the samsaara of
> other jiiva depends on his raaga/dweshaas. Vidyaranya discusses jiiva
> sRiShTi
>  and Iswara sRiShTi in Ch. 4 of Pancadashi.
> --------------------------
>  Venkatesh Murthy :
> Vaishnavas do not understand this logic. They simply say Advaitis are
>  Maayaa Vaadis. To know Brahma the only thing required is to remove
> Avidyaa.Then already existing Brahma will be known automatically. Noextra
> effort required.
> --------------------
> Sada:
>  Shree Venkatesh – I mentioned about Ramanuja’s shree bhaashhya where he
> criticizes the avidya of Advaita. One should study that to see the
> arguments presented. VishishTaadvaita also accepts anaadi avidya for
> jiiva’s problems. However their avidya is different from that advaita. For
> them also maaya is there as creative power and they extensively quote the
> sloka – daiviim esha guNa mayi mama maayaa duratyayaa, maam evaye
> prapadyante maayaametam tarantite – the mayaa of mine is of divine origin
> and one cannot cross this maaya by self-effort. It can be done only by
> surrendering to Me – hence Sharanaagati is emphasized. While
> vishiSTaadvaitins are vaishnavaites, all vaishnavaites are not
> vishiShTaadvaitins.
> With this I rest.
> Hari Om!
> Sadananda
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