[Advaita-l] avidya vs maayaa - What is the difference? Part III

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 2 05:44:56 CST 2016

Venkatraghavanji - PraNAms
Thanks for presenting various classifications by Shree Ayyaappa Dikshitar on the existing opinions of the various acharyas at that time.
Yes, I remember the Vidyaranya swami's suuddha satva aspect for Iswara in the 1st Ch. of Panchadashi. 

Essential point is the two aspects - aavarna and vishepa can be locussed separately one for jeeva and the other for Iswara 

I have no problem in appreciating the three trigunaatmika aspect of vishepa from the jeeva's point -as we find tamasic, rajasic and satvic with different combinations of jeevas. 

Conceptually I have a problem in classifying avidya as prakriti with trigunaatmikam.  In deep sleep state - where ignorance alone prevails. avidya  can only be classified with tamo guna while vikshepa can have all the three gunas. 

Maayantu prakRitim vidyaat . where maaya (in my notation - vikshepa aspect) is prakRiti - pra - kriti - with trigunaatmikam can be easily accounted with vikshepa involving tamasic rajasic, saatvic.
In creation, Lord does not have ignorance - sarvajnatvam- but does use maaya with tamasic part of praKriti (maaya) to create all the inert matter formed after pancheekaranam. Hence satvapradhana Iswara has maaya or praKRiti with all the 3 gunas. 

I agree with Bhaskarji - in terms of anyonya ashraya aspect here - Iswara as reflection in maaya oneside, and Iswara with maaya shakti on the other. In mandukya up. Iswara is defined from the samashti point when describing the deep sleep state. 

Since these are explanations of  prakRiti which itself is maaya - yaa maa saa maayaa - and reflection of pure consciousness in maaaya as Iswara - are all only to satisfy the curious intellect - why and how - and are valid only in vyaavahaarika satyam - They are all OK as long as one does not waste his time to go into deeper analysis other than to transend these to discover that they are all mithyaa only. 

In essence - a jnaani is one who can declare:Ignorance I never had, I lost it!  or in Paramarthanandaji example of fellow who thought he last a chain that his wife gave and ran to his friend only to discover that he had the chain all the time even when he thought he lost it.Hence - four miles of running was necessary to discover that four miles of running was not necessary.
Perhaps all these explanations and classifications are necessary to discover that all these explanations and classifications are not necessary - Every explanation has to be taken with the pinch of salt since they are all only have to be discarded - adhyaaropa apavaada. 

Hari Om!Sadananda

      From: Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
 To: kuntimaddi sadananda <kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com>; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
 Sent: Friday, December 2, 2016 2:24 PM
 Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] avidya vs maayaa - What is the difference? Part III
Namaste SadAji,

Thank you for the detailed reply. Instead of going through a line by line
analysis (which is somewhat difficult given the formatting issues), I
thought I will instead present a compendium of various prakriyAs in this
regard adopted by sampradAya, as outlined by Appayya DIkshitar in SiddhAnta
Lesha Sangraha.

Appayya DIkshitar in defining Ishvara and jIva presents 4 alternatives
considered by AchAryas which sheds a very interesting light on how avidyA
and mAya are viewed by the sampradAya.

1) From the prakaTArthavivaraNa by AnubhUtisvarUpAchArya: mAya is anAdi,
anirvAcya, bhUtaprakriti, located in consciousness. The reflection of
consciousness in that mAya is Ishvara. avidyA is the name for the infinite
number (ananta) of limited instances (paricchinna pradesha) of the very
same mAya endowed with AvaraNa and vikshepa shakti. The reflection of
consciousness in that avidyA is jIva. In this definition, avidyA is a
subset of mAya.
2) From tattvaviveka (Ch 1 of Panchadashi of VidyAraNya svAmi): Based on
the Nrsimha tApini upanishad vAkya जीवेशावभासेन करोति माया च अविद्या च
स्वयमेव भवति, this view holds that avidyA and mAya are two forms /
configurations of triguNAtmika mUlaprakriti. The configuration of
mUlaprakriti where rajas and tamas are dominated by shuddha sattva is
called mAya. Where rajas and tamas dominate the sattva, it is called
avidyA. Thus, says Appayya DIkshitar, differences are imagined/postulated
(parikalpya) between avidyA and mAya. Here, avidyA and mAya are two
configurations of the same prakriti.
3) Appayya DIkshitar doesn't name who holds this view: Within one
mUlaprakriti, the amsha where the vikshepa shakti is dominant is called
mAya, and the amsha where AvaraNa shakti is predominant is called avidyA.
Even though the upAdhi's of Ishvara and jIva are the same, because only
jIva is associated with AvaraNa shakti, he says "I am ignorant", whereas
Ishvara does not. Here avidyA and mAya are two amshas of  the same upAdhi.
4) In samkshepa shArIraka of sarvajnAtma muni: Based on the shruti
statement "कार्योपधिरयं जीव: कारणोपाधिरीश्वर:" (Shukarahasya upanishad)
this view states that Ishvara is the reflection of consciousness in avidyA
(the kAraNa) and jIva is the reflection of consciousness in antahkaraNAm
(the kArya). In this view, avidyA and mAya are not distinguished at all as
Ishvara is said to have the upAdhi of avidyA.

In summary, the prevalent views are 1) one is a subset of the other 2) the
two are different configurations of the same fundamental guNas 3) They are
two different amshas (parts) of the same prakriti, with one amsha being
vikshepa pradhAna and the other AvaraNa pradhAna 4) they are absolutely the

Therefore, your view that avidyA and mAya have been considered as different
in VedAnta shAstra is correct, as there are some groups within the advaita
sampradAya who do hold that view, as evidenced by Appayya DIkshitar. I
stand corrected.

However, there is an acknowledgment in all views outlined that one is
related to the other in some fashion (from absolute identity in one end of
the spectrum, to both made of the same "stuff", to one being derived from
the other). I am not suggesting this is a comprehensive list of all views
within the advaita sampradAya, but among the ones prevalent in DIkshitar's
time, he deems these 4 to be the important ones. There could be other views
that have emerged since then which postulate an absolute difference between
avidyA and mAya, but I am not aware of these.

In any case, as you have identified,  holding the view that avidyA and mAya
are absolutely the same, or absolutely different, or somewhere in the
middle, are merely prakriyA differences and not fundamental to siddhAnta.
Whatever one likes one can choose, so long as they get to Atma jnAna


On Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 2:55 AM, kuntimaddi sadananda via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Venkatraghavan: If he only does the former, but notthe latter, we end up
> with sAnkhya darshana, where the jIva identifies withkUtastha, but still
> attributes reality to prakriti, seen in the form of theworld. This would
> lead to advaitahAni. Therefore, a second step to negate mAyawould be needed
> in your state. This obviously hurts the principle of lAghava,which was the
> one of the advantages of the proposal in the first place.  Sada:
> Venkatraghavanji –separation occurs by jnaanam while a jnaani becomes a
> jeevan mukta. He will beseeing Iswara sRiShti as part of Iswara’s vibhuti
> or his own vibhuti since hehas moved from jeeva-jagat-Iswara triad to
> aatma-anaatma binary format. IswarasRishTi remains as long as jnaani’s BMI
> which is a product of Iswara sRiShTiremains.  I am not sure I understand
> therest of your arguments. ----------------------------------Venkatraghavan: The
> purpose of shAstra is to givemoksha, so any system should not only be
> internally consistent, it should alsoseek to achieve that purpose in the
> easiest manner possible.  Sada:
> Indeed Yes, that is true. As peradvaita, moksha involves understanding as
> a fact that I am already liberated orI am Brahman and taking myself what I
> am not is due to avidya which is gone bythe knowledge of who really I am.
> This is not compromised by making avidya thatcauses aavarana and maaya that
> cause vikshepa. Avidya that I am limited guy(desha-kaala-vastu
> paricchinnatvam) is gone by vidya. The rest is IswarasRiShTi beyond the
> individual mind. Therefore a jeevan mukta sees as vibhuti.
> ---------------------------------
> Venkatraghavan – from the secondmail:
> Namaste SadAji
> You can ignore the multiple Ishvara , multiple jagat point, because as per
> your system, avidyA will be many, but mAya is only one.
> However, one more point which you mentioned, but I did not refer to in KY
> email previously:
> 4) if the purpose of this formulation is to explain the continued
> perception of the world, even after jnAna removes avidyA, one need not do
> this. The appearance of the world is no proof of either the existence of
> the world or it's creation. One need not postulate Ishvara srishTi to
> explain continued appearance to jnAnis. Mirage water continues to be seen
> even if one knows it's a mirage. One need not say "God created it" to
> explain it's continued appearance after sublating
> knowledge. ----------------- Sada:
> Venkatraghavanji – Iswara sRishti isonly when I identify I am separate
> from the rest of the world due to avidya.When I have gained the knowledge
> that there is absolutely nothing real otherthan me, everything that I
> perceive comes under anaatma, since perception viaBMI will continue as
> before. The understanding now will be it is my own vibhutisince
> mahaavaakyas help me understand that there are no separate Iswara
> sRishTi.pasyam me yogamaiswaram – Look at my glory Arjuna.  With avidya
> gone, I am moving fromjeeva-Iswara-jagat triangular format to the binary
> format of aatma-anaatma. Yesat transactional level – there is a teacher and
> there are students and theteaching is going on. Hence knowledge does not
> eliminate viskhepa aspect; onlytrasforms the sRiShti as vibhuti – of myown
> self or to be more polite – Iswaravibhuti. Jnaani can also pray and see
> Iswara as though separate – and yet canunderstand that what is there is
> pure self that I am. Mirage waters will beseen as mirage waters and one can
> glorify the beauty of creation that a drysand and at a glancing angle
> sunlight gives the impression of waters. That isall part of vibhuti only.
> Addition to the above.  I amconsidering praatibhasika adhyaas  comes under
> jeeva sRiShTi whilevyaavahaarika adhyaasa comes under Iswara sRiShTi. Dream
> creation is a commonexample of jeeva sRiShTi. Both aavarana and vishepa are
> involved.
> The mirage waters, the sunrise andsunset, blue sky, pencil appearing as
> bending in water when placed half way,etc, are  not jeeva sRiShTi as
> evidenced by the fact that is notsubjective error but objective error in
> the sense that everybody sees. It ispart of Iswra sRiShTi and hence
> knowledge that sun does not rise or set viashastra pramana does not
> eliminate it since it is not jeeva’s creation.  Hope I am clear.
> Hari Om!Sadananda
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