[Advaita-l] Seeking clarification on Bri. Up. Mantra 1-4-2

Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Tue May 20 00:12:38 CDT 2014

On Thu, 24 Apr 2014, kuntimaddi sadananda wrote:

> One has to accept in that Viraj was not full pledged BrahmanishTa in the 
> previous life and of course as Br. Up 1-3-28 endorses that one can gain 
> that post by upaasana on, say asatoma sadgamaya.. etc..

Shankaracharya says that this portion is meant to acclaim the combination 
of vedic karma and GYAna (i.e. upAsanA) by its phala -- the attainment of 
the position of prajApatI or hiraNyagarbha whose power is to create, 
maintain and regenerate the phenomenal universe.

prajApateH phalabhUtasya sR^iShTisthitisaMhaReShu jagataH 
svAtantryAdivibhUtyupavarNanena GYAnakarmaNorvaidikayoH phalotkarSho 
varNayitavya ityevamarthamArabhyate |

This hiraNyagarbha is none other than brAhman in saguNa aspect hence 
limited by upAdhis.  (See bhAShya on 1.4.7)

> I do not think that Sagunopaasaka can gain nirguna brahman by analyzing 
> himself has been endorsed anywhere. Even in krama mukti, the jiiva in 
> satya loka has to be exposed to the teaching of mahaavaakya to gain 
> mokha; otherwise he returns back to karma bhuumi- that is my 
> understanding.

The one who has achieved excellence in upAsanA never returns to saMsAra. 
This is the meaning of the last brahmasUtra anAvR^ittiH shabdAt.  True. 
Shankaracharya comments there that they have to hear the mahAvAkya from 
Ishvara but as with any teaching there may well be a temporal gap between 
the hearing and the understanding.  Why could it not be for he was to 
become vIrAja that a new yUga-cycle occured between those two events? 
That vIrAja recollected the veda that he had learned goes without saying. 
After all one of the functions of prajApatI is to reproclaim the veda for 
a new yUgachakra.  And Shankaracharya says in this bhAShya that vIrAja is 
pUrvajanmashrautaviGYAnasaMskR^itaH ("purified by the Vedic knowledge from 
a previous birth.")

> na yogen na sAnkhyena karmanaa no na vidyayaa| brahmAtmaikya bodhena 
> mokshaH sidhyati nAnyathA| Says Shankara in Vivekachudamani.

But this is not sAMkhya or yoga which are based on a dualistic 
understanding.  The upAsanA which is understood here is purely of a 
vedantic and particularly of an advaitic sort. It only has brahmAtmaikya 
as a goal.

> If we say that the understanding oneness is not the same as aham 
> bhramaasmi realization,

To clarify, he did indeed have that brahmAtmaikya bodha.  The problem was 
he understood brahman and therefore the atma as well, to be saguNa hence 

> although his fear was gone by that 
> understanding; but his loneliness was not gone since he was seeking 
> company - that is possible; although the implication of Shankara 
> bhaashya for the mantra and the reason for purpvapaksha that was raised 
> does not justify that understanding.

I think it does.  Let's look at what the pUrvapakShi is asking.

kutaH prajApaterekatvadarshanaM jAtaM |
"What was the origin of prajApatI's knowledge of oneness?"

>From His previous birth where he attained saguNa GYAna.

ko vAsmai upadidesha |
"Or who taught him this?"

Ishvara taught Him in a previous life and being the most excellent of 
students He retained that knowledge despite the intervening accident of 
another birth.

sahasiddhatve bhayAnupapattiriti chet | na hyAdityena saha tama udeti |

"If you say [he knew] by his own efforts, he should not have feared 
because darkness is never seen along with the sun."

This is the crux of the matter and it appears that you are sharing some of 
the misconceptions as the objector.

Shankaracharyas point is that Viraj is in a class by himself.  Here he 
quotes the Vayu Purana:

GYAnamapratighaM yasya vairAgyaM cha jagatpateH |
aishvaryaM chaiva chaiva dharmashcha sahasiddhiM chatuShTayam ||

"The Lord of the universe is born with the four powers of omniescence, 
vairagya, omnipotence, and dharma."

Just as being able to see in the dark requires a special instrument for 
humans but is a natural ability of a cat or an owl, Vedantic teaching is 
necessary for us.  It does not become optional just because it is not 
needed by some other being.

But then why loneliness?  It is part and parcel of embodied existence.  To 
be male or female is to only half of oneself. It is natural to seek ones 
complementary half.  Even a jivanmukta is not immune to the pull of the 
body and can suffer pain etc.  The difference is that a jnAni can 
recognize this for what it is and transcend it.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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