[Advaita-l] jiva and creation

H S Chandramouli via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Sun May 18 09:10:45 CDT 2014

Namaste. Sometime back we had a long drawn out discussion on creation and
jiva. Just for reference I am copying below what Sri Venkateshmurthyji
wrote in one of his postings

<< I am happy you have agreed Avidyaa is in Jeeva but not Brahma.
The next step is Jeeva endowed with Avidyaa has created all the Universe
out of his Avidyaa Kalpita Maayaa only. >>

This is only by way of drawing reference to the issue. As per my
understanding Sri Venkateshmurthyji had in a number of his postings in that
thread relied on the factor of jiva being the ashraya for avidya to
conclude that thereby he is the also creator of the universe . Very
recently I came across an alternative explanation to this position which I
have copied below. This explanation is from the introduction in his
translation on  “ The Bhamati of Vachaspati “ ( Chatussutri ) by Sri
Suryanarayana Shastri who is considered to be an expert on advaita vedanta.
While discussing the alternative of jiva being the ashraya for avidya he
makes the following observation.

Quote <<  Each jiva would appear to be the creator of his world, through
and out of the nescience abiding in him ; the world is sustained by his
nescience , and is destroyed with its destruction. The true creator,
sustainer and destroyer would thus appear to be the jiva himself.>>

 << The truth of the matter seems to be this. Ignorance is bipolar. It is
located  somewhere ,  ie , it belongs to someone; and it has a content.
Though the jiva is the locus , the content is Iswara. When ordinarily we
use the possessive pronoun ‘mine’ or ‘his’ we imply in the person capacity
to control what is referred to. Not so in the case of ignorance ; I mean by
“ my ignorance “ the ignorance that is in me , not the ignorance that I can
control. The control of avidya belongs not to me with my limited powers of
knowing and acting , but to the omniscient and omnipotent Being. Iswara too
may be said to be the ashraya of ignorance , if by ashraya is meant the
content , but not its locus ( adhara ) . When , therefore , it is said that
my ignorance creates universe, it does not follow that I create the
universe ; rather does it mean that Iswara , the content of my ignorance ,
uses the ignorance that is in me and out of that as material cause ,
evolves the world ; the ignorance in me , the maya , the prakruti is the
primal material cause ; he who yields it for fashioning the world , the
mayin , the arch-juggler , is Iswara. >> Unquote.

I am not sure if Sri Venkateshmurthyji had come across this explanation
earlier. I had not come across such an explanation earlier in any of the
texts . While it is not my intention to start all over again a discussion
on this subject, I thought it may be of interest to Sri VMji as well as
other members who had contributed to that post.


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