[Advaita-l] What is the difference between Maya and avidhya ?T

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Mon Sep 26 04:52:59 CDT 2016

Hare Krishna

Those who have more details on both lines of thought, can share such details for benefit of reading/understanding.

>  First of all we should keep in mind that questions like 'to whom is avidyA' (Ashraya) and on which subject we have avidyA (vishaya) etc. can arise only in duality in which we have the prior acceptance of duality.  Since in the brahman there is no vidyAvidya vyavahAra, in the sphere of this prior accepted duality only we have to address these questions to quench the thirst of some vichAravAdins who want to know the 'Ashraya and vishaya' of avidyA.  For them shankara answers in sUtra bhAshya.  Please read the following extracts from sUtra bhAshya :

//quote //

Question : To whom is this ajnAna (avidyA) ?  the answer is : to YOU who is asking this question and further, you may object this answer by posing counter question like : is it not it is mentioned in shruti that I am verily the Ishwara (brahman like ahaMbrahmAsmi etc.) ??  For this counter question, we would answer, says shankara : if you know / cognize that truth that you are Upanishad pradipAdita brahman, then there is no avidyA whatsoever to anyone.  


From this bhAshya vAkya it is evident that there cannot be avidyA in brahman whatsoever in the form of mUlAvidyA etc.  If at all there exists  brahmAshrita avidyA, shankara would have not said if you are cognizing the truth that you are brahman then there is no avidyA whatsoever to 'anyone'.  Is it not clear enough proof to say avidyA has the ashraya in the person, who is asking that question??  Does brahman ask this question??  No, then who is asking this question holding the duality as real??  It is jeeva (there is clear cut difference between jeeva and brahman/Ishwara in vyavahAra, shankara insists this at somany places in prasthAna traya bhAshya) who has the upAdhi asking this question.  For him the answer given by the siddhAnti  is quite appropriate.  

Now, with this back drop we have to understand that famous quote from bruhad bhAshya (1-4-10) where shankara says there is no second sentient apart from brahman to attribute avidyA.  If we see / read this bhAshya completely, shankara first accepts the existence of avidyA in jeeva and insists the need of getting the jnana to remove that avidyA.  He gives the example of shukti-rajata and clarifies if no one misconceives rajata in shukti, does anyone denote like :  this is shukti only not rajata??  No.  Likewise, if there were no avidyA with regard to brahman, then the shAstra would not have instructed that brahman is one and one alone like sadevedaM sarvaM, brahmaivedaM sarvaM, AtmaivedaM sarvaM etc. And here in this context, to answer a doubt from pUrvapaxi, bhAshyakAra says brahman is neither ajnAna nor bhrAnta but if you argue that there is a chetana apart from brahman is bhrAnta and ajnA, it is not acceptable to us.  Here context of this dialogue is very clear that brahman who is wrongly identified as jeeva is ajnA and bhrAnta not the brahman itself to ashrya to brahman.  And further elsewhere in geeta bhAshya shankara clarifies that ajnAna is antaHkaraNa dOsha by giving the cataract example and says that kshetrajnA is not the one who has this dOsha.  One can refer the relevant portion of this explanation in 13th chapter of geeta bhAshya.  

Finally, there is no acceptance whatsoever of bhAshya kAra to the theory that : whether it is adhyAsa (effect) or mulAvidyA (kAraNa) they have rested in Atman 'alone'.  However, the proponents of mUlAvidyA say that mUlAvidyA is rested in brahman even before the creation and further it has objectified the brahman itself in the form of nAma and rUpa.  

But, when it comes to mahA vAkya janita paramArtha jnAna destroying avidyA completely, there are no 2 opinions among Advaitis :)

>> have you not seen/read the avidyAlesha in jnAni-s and some percentage of less jnana due to impossibility of acknowledging the 'paripUrNata' in anything.

>  Anyway, all these understanding is my perspective as taught by guruji/ parama guruji.  And no need to mention, the proponents of brahmAshrita mUlAvidyA too have their justification / conviction that brahman is the abode of mUlAvidyA!! :-) 

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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