[Advaita-l] karmasrishTi vAda

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 08:46:13 CST 2016

Namaste Sri Bhaskar ji,

As I have said before, I consider mAya and avidyA to be one and therefore
jIva bhAva is also due to avidyA/mAya only, and it is located in Brahman.
Such a mAya/avidyA really speaking does not exist although its effects are
experienced. The whole point of ajAtivAda is that we accept the appearance
and experience of the world, but we deny its origination and existence. The
same holds for mAya / avidyA.

On the second point about shruti becoming aprAmANya, in apavAda you are
negating all the shruti sections about srishTi, so yes, shruti itself is
making all the negated portions aprAmANya - but it is directed towards the
student who can handle such a mind-boggling apavAda.

Gaudapada in 3.23 says:

भूततोऽभूततो वापि सृज्यमाने समा श्रुतिः ।
निश्चितं युक्तियुक्तं च यत्तद्भवति नेतरत् ॥ २३ ॥

Gaudapada says whether there is real creation or only a seeming creation,
the shruti vAkyas on creation will be the same. However to understand the
tAtparya of shruti,  the final message of the shruti, we have to take the
help of textual analysis (mImAmsa) of shruti and by the application of

In kArikas 24-26 he establishes that creation is only seeming, through
mImAmsa, by giving several examples from shruti - नेह नानास्ति किञ्चन
"there is no multiplicity", इन्द्रो मायाभि: "Brahman with his magical mAya
powers creates", अजायमानो बहुधा विजायते "Brahman becomes/originates many
things, without becoming" (Purusha Sukta), सम्भूतेरपवाद: - from the
criticism of chaturmukha brahma (sambhUti) upAsana in IshvAsya shruti we
can infer that Brahma himself is mithyA, what to talk of all things he
creates, को नु एनं जनयेत् - "who can create this world" (from
BrihAdAraNyaka shAkalya brAhmaNa), स एष नेति नेति - "he is neither the
mUrta prapancha (manifest universe), nor the amUrta prapancha (unmanifest
universe)". Citing all these examples, Gaudapada argues that creation is
only seeming. He ends kArika 25 by saying, with all these examples,
Brahman's status as a kAraNam is negated -  iti kAraNam pratiShidhyate.

In kArikas 27-29 he establishes that creation is only seeming through
logic. In kArika 27 he says:
सतो हि मायया जन्म युज्यते न तु तत्त्वतः ।
तत्त्वतो जायते यस्य जातं तस्य हि जायते ॥ २७ ॥

सतो हि from the changeless Brahman, जन्म  the origination the world,  न
युज्यते is not possible तत्त्वतः actually तु मायया but it is possible as
though, seemingly, apparently.

तत्त्वतो जायते यस्य In the second line, Gaudapada gives a suppositional
argument. Let us assume that Brahman is the actual cause of the world -
 let us say that Brahman's status as kArana is actual.
जातं तस्य हि जायते then Brahman itself will will be savikAram. Because a
kAraNa cannot create kArya without changing itself. If Brahman is changing
and all the six fold changes are possible, which will mean that Brahman
itself is subject to birth, which is an illogical proposition.

In kArika 28, he says that if Brahman is not a kAraNam for creation, can we
say that an asat vastu is kAraNam?

असतो मायया जन्म तत्त्वतो नैव युज्यते ।

वन्ध्यापुत्रो न तत्त्वेन मायया वापि जायते ॥ २८ ॥

If Brahman cannot be the cause, why can't we say something else is the
cause? The Veda says before creation, Brahman alone was there. Other than
Brahman, nothing is there. So why cant we say the world come out of
nothing? Well, out of nothing, what can come? Nothing.

असतो from nothingness मायया जन्म तत्त्वतो नैव युज्यते nothing can
originate, either actually or apparently.

वन्ध्यापुत्रो the son of a barren woman न तत्त्वेन मायया वापि जायते can
never be born either seemingly or apparently out of nothingness.

In kArika 29, he concludes this discussion by saying that just like the
dream world is only an appearance, in the waking state also, the waking
world is only an appearance.

यथा स्वप्ने द्वयाभासं स्पन्दते मायया मनः ।
तथा जाग्रद्द्वयाभासं स्पन्दते मायया मनः ॥ २९ ॥

यथा स्वप्ने just like in a dream द्वयाभासं the seeming dvaita prapancha
स्पन्दते  मनः the mind perceives / reports मायया due to mAya shakti.
तथा जाग्रत् in the waking state also द्वयाभासं the dvaita prapancha
स्पन्दते मनः the mind reports / perceives मायया

Shankaracharya also in his sUtra bhAshya 3.2.22 says "लोकप्रसिद्धं तु इदं
रूपद्वयं ब्रह्मणि कल्पितं परामृशति प्रतिषेध्यत्वाय शुद्धब्रह्मस्वरूपप्रतिपादनाय
च — इति निरवद्यम्" - the well known two parts of the universe (mUrtam and
amUrtam), which are superimposed on Brahman, is being referred to by the
Upanishads for the purposes of negation, and for teaching the nature of
shuddha Brahman - thus (in denying creation) there is no defect in the
teaching of the Upanishad.
Now I know you may not agree with the above analysis, but at least to me it
is clear that apavAda of creation is very much the tAtparya of shruti.


On Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 8:11 AM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> praNAms Sri Venkatraghavan prabhuji
> Hare Krishna
> Yes, this is a good refutation of sAnkhya vAda which is dvaita pradhAna.
> But fact remains that these objections would  hold good if dvaitins raise
> the same objections to advaitin's anAdirananta avidyA.  Is this jeeva bhAva
> due to avidyA or jeeva has the avidyA??  If it is former than what is the
> mUlakAraNa of this avidyA and ashraya (locus) of this mUla kAraNa??  If it
> is latter than jeeva should have the prior existence and should have avidyA
> after coming into existence.  Yes, ultimately no creation, no dissolution,
> no mOksha, no bandha, no sAdhaka says kArika but when it comes to srushti
> prakriya and kAraNa behind this srushti etc. our shruti, smruti,
> bhAshyakAra give a comprehensive  explanation of srushti by using the terms
> like hiraNya garbha, Ishwara, pancha tanmAtra, pancha bhUta, pancha prANa,
> shareera traya, pancha jnAnendriya, karmendriya, manObuddhi ahaMkAra,
> karma, karma phala, karma dAta list will go on and on and on...If we
> straight away push aside these prakriya-s, then to that extent shruti,
> smruti would become apramANya.
> And BTW, to be on the safer side, we should not show this advaitins
> justification for the dvaitins' objection in front of hardcore dvaitins,
> they have 101 cross objections to refute advaitins' clarification :-)  just
> kidding :-)
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Advaita-l [mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On
> Behalf Of Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l
> Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2016 9:13 PM
> To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-
> vedanta.org>
> Subject: [Advaita-l] karmasrishTi vAda
> Gaudapda in slokas 14-23 of alAtashAnti prakaraNa of his mANDUkya kArika,
> refutes a certain group of dvaita philosophers who hold that the world was
> created according to the laws of Karma and therefore believe that karmic
> law is absolutely real.
> Gaudapada offers 6 possibilities for how this can be held to be true by
> dvaitavAdins, and goes on to say how each one of the 6 suffers from logical
> defects. This method of refutation is called the विकल्प method.
> 6 possibilities for मूलकारणं, or ultimate cause of creation are put
> forward.
> 1) कर्म: Here by the word कर्म, कर्मफलं or पुण्यपापफलं is offered as the
> मूलकारणं for creation. It is because of कर्म that this world and the
> jIvasharIras are created, they say.  Gaudapada uses the word हेतुः for
> कर्म. He says calling कर्म as मूलकारणं for srishTi won't work, because
> where did the हेतुः (= कर्म) come from? कर्म cannot accidently come, nor
> can Bhagavan arbitrarily create and assign कर्म. Therefore, it must be
> admitted that कर्म  are generated out of actions performed by a कर्ता, who
> needs to have a शरीरं. Thus, कर्म cannot be the ultimate cause, the
> मूलकारणं for creation, as a शरीर is required for कर्म to be generated.
> 2) शरीरं - to remedy this, the dvaitavAdins say, let us say that शरीरं is
> the मूलकारणं for creation. Gaudapada uses the word फलं for शरीरं. The birth
> of the body, the type of body born, etc are not accidentally created, nor
> does Bhagavan arbitrarily determine this. The birth of the शरीरं is
> determined by कर्म, so शरीरं cannot be मूलकारणं for creation.
> 3) Now the dvaitavAdins say let us say, कर्म and शरीरं are mutually cause
> and effect. Gaudapada says this is illogical like saying father has
> produced the son and son has produced the father. So कर्म and शरीरं as
> mutual cause and effect also cannot be held to be the मूलकारणं for creation.
> 4) The dvaitavAdin then says, let us say कर्म and शरीरं are simultaneous
> products (युगपत् संभव:) from which  creation originates.  GaudapAda says,
> if they are simultaneous, they cannot have cause effect relationship.
> Therefore, you would require another cause for कर्म and शरीरं. So
> simultaneously also, they cannot held to be मूलकारणं for creation.
> 5) The dvaitavAdin, feeling cornered, says कर्म and शरीरं form a
> cause-effect chain. That is, karmas produced using the previous body are
> the cause of the next body. That new body performs new karmas which are the
> cause for a newer body and so on, and so forth. Thus, a chain of कर्म and
> शरीरं can be called the मूलकारणं for creation according to him. Gaudapada
> says this is fine, but the question we are considering is "what is the
> मूलकारणं for srishTi", that is what is the original cause? If there is a
> chain of karma and sharIra, with each one acting as the cause of the next
> one, what is the first, original cause? That question is not answered.
> 6) Totally frustrated now, the dvaitavAdin says, I say that कर्म and शरीरं
> form an अनादि cause-effect chain, so the question "what is the मूलकारणं?"
> need not be answered. It is an illegitimate question. Gaudapada says there
> are several defects in this theory:
> a) When you say कर्म - शरीरं - chain (प्रवाह:) is अनादि, you are using an
> adjective, अनादि to qualify the three-word phrase: "अनादि कर्म शरीर
> प्रवाह:". Which of the three is qualified  as अनादि? Not the first, because
> कर्म, has a beginning - it is created at a point in time from a sharIram.
> Not the second, because sharIra also has a birth, a beginning due to karma.
> Not the third, because there is no such thing called chain, a प्रवाह,
> other than the individual elements in the chain. It is only a concept in
> the mind. A family is a concept, it is not a thing. A society is a concept,
> it is not a thing. Similarly the chain is only a concept, not a thing.
> Therefore there is no "thing" to which the qualifier "beginning-less" can
> be applied. Therefore, a beginning-less chain doesn't exist.
> b) This is actually discussed a little later in kArika 4.30. Let us
> assume, for argument's sake, that a beginning-less chain does exist
> (अभ्युपेत्य वाद:). Does that beginning-less chain have an end or not? If it
> is beginning-less and endless, there is no possibility of moksha,
> अनिर्मोक्ष प्रसंग:. Why waste time on vedAnta shravaNa, manana,
> nidhidhyAsana? All moksha shAstra will be redundant or शास्त्र आनर्थक्य
> प्रसंग:. If it is beginning-less, but has an end, then the end of this
> chain will be the beginning of mokshA. Now, Gaudapada argues, whatever has
> a beginning has an end also, जातस्य ध्रुवो मृत्यु:, thus a mokshA which has
> a beginning, must also have an end. Of what use is such a temporary moksha?
> This also leads to अनिर्मोक्ष प्रसंग:. Hence, even if somehow a
> beginning-less chain of karma and sharIra has an end, the moksha thus
> gained from such a chain is not a real moksha.
> Therefore, by the theory of karma, creation cannot be explained. Without
> explaining a cause, you cannot talk about an effect or a product. And if
> you cannot talk about a product, you cannot talk about creation. Thus,
> Gaudapada argues: *There is no creation. There is only Brahman.*
> The last question asked by the pUrva pakshi is - O advaitin, if according
> to you, there is no creation, why do all the Upanishads talk of creation?
> GaudapAda's answer in the second and third chapter is, really speaking
> there is no creation. However, a student is not prepared to accept there is
> no creation, from the beginning. Like a new-born child is not able to eat
> solid food, similarly if an unprepared student is told that there is no
> creation, he will dismiss it as untrue. Therefore, Veda compromises and
> temporarily accepts creation. This temporary acceptance is अध्यारोप:. Once
> the student is ready, the real teaching is revealed to him - There is no
> creation at all, अपवादः. Therefore, the ultimate teaching of vedAnta is
> ajAtivAda.
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