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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Dec 2 11:34:17 CST 2016

Thank you Sada ji, for your clarification. Here is another citation from
Shankara that I am presenting here for the general audience:

In the Bṛ.up. Bhāṣya 2.5.19 occurs this commentary for the mantra: indro
māyābhiḥ pururūpa īyate [Īśvara, owing to māyā (plural) takes on multiple
forms]. Shankara says:

इन्द्रः परमेश्वरः मायाभिः प्रज्ञाभिः नामरूपभूतकृतमिथ्याभिमानैर्वा न तु
परमार्थतः, पुरुरूपः बहुरूपः, ईयते गम्यते — एकरूप एव प्रज्ञानघनः सन्
अविद्याप्रज्ञाभिः ।

Translation by Swami Madhavananda:

//The Lord on account of Māyā or diverse knowledge or (to give an
alternative meaning) the false identifications created by name, form and
the elements, not in truth- is perceived manifold, because of these notions
superimposed by ignorance, although He is ever the same Pure Intelligence.//

Here, the term 'māyā' is given the meaning of 'diverse knowledge' (vikṣepa)
as also avidyā  (ignorance). So, in a single sentence Shankara gives the
meaning of 'avidyā' to the term 'māyā.' One can also see the vivarta
concept here: One Lord takes on multiple forms, without undergoing any
change: remaining as Pure Intelligence, as Shankara says above. Nirguna
Brahman, owing to avidyā becomes many. In that 'many' there is Ishwara too,
along with jivas and inert objects.


On Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 7:44 PM, kuntimaddi sadananda <
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Agreed - although I did not imply the purvapakshas are all right - since
> sidhantas are there to refute the purvapaksha - My question and proposition
> pertains to the equation is not necessary to account jeeva-jagat-Iswara
> triad transcending to aatma-anaatma binary.
> I am equally concerned to present Vedanta to a rational intellect as
> logically possible - since I am currently doing the series on
> Self-Realization and all these aspects become important for a rational
> intellect to give up the rationality!
> Hari Om!
> Sadananda
> ------------------------------
> *From:* V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> *To:* Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com>; A discussion group for Advaita
> Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> *Sent:* Friday, December 2, 2016 6:05 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [Advaita-l] avidya vs maayaa - What is the difference?
> On Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 5:57 PM, Bhaskar YR via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> > However, I must say first that my arguments are not against Vedanta
> > shaastras.  Second, the proposition is only that by equating both avidya
> > and maaya as the same, we are unnecessarily complicating the doctrine by
> > that equation as evidenced by many purvapakshas.
> >
> Dear Sada ji,
> Just because purvapakshas are raised, can we conclude that the Vedanta
> doctrine as presented by Shankara and his followers is flawed? Also, we
> cannot take it for granted that those who raise purvapakshas have
> understood vedanta/Shankara correctly.  We have evidence in the shruti, for
> example, the shukarahasyopanishad cited by Ventak ji, and Shankara's own
> Gita bhashya and Mandukya karika bhashya quoted by me recently where for
> both avidya and maya Shankara is giving the same lakshana-s.
> regards
> subbu
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