[Advaita-l] [advaitin] A question on PariNAma and vivarta

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at gmail.com
Tue Feb 7 19:48:25 CST 2017

There is one central issue that every vedAnta student must keep in mind
when discussing these analogies. So long as one is talking of causality,
Brahman is affirmed as simultaneously the sole upAdAna AND nimitta kAraNa
of the jagat. This condition cannot be met by any one analogy.

In the clay-pot example, the pot is the clay is upAdAna kAraNa, the
material cause. There is a separate agent, the nimitta kAraNa, the kulAla
(potter), who takes the material and makes it into a pot. This
vikAra/pariNAma is perceived by all, it doesn't exist only in the
imagination of an individual potter. When this analogy is used with respect
to jagat and brahman, we have to always remember that the analogy fails to
capture the nirvikAara nature of brahman. The perceived existence  of jagat
(analogous to pot) is in spite of the fact that no vikAra is really
possible in brahman (analogous to clay). The analogy is always only partial.

In the rope-snake example, however, the rope is the upAdAna only in a loose
sense. The snake arises due to the mind of the observer, clouded by his
ignorance of rope, but the bhrama, the delusion of the observer, also
causes the snake to "exist" externally, as if it occupies the space where
the rope is located (vi-vartate). Here, the kArya, the snake, is caused
more by the nimitta kAraNa, the agent, who erroneously superimposes the
snake onto the external locus that is the rope. When this analogy is used
with respect to jagat and brahman, it fails to capture the sarvavyApakatva
of brahman. sarvaM khalvidaM brahma - there is no object external to
brahman that could be the locus for jagat and there is no separate observer
external to brahman either. This analogy is also always only partial.

This is the reason why the advaita teachers never cite only one analogy,
but always use two or more such analogies in their discussions.

Best regards,

On Feb 7, 2017 3:03 PM, "Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l" <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaste,
> One way 13.8 can be reconciled with 13.46-49 is to hold that the same
> pot-clay and gold-ornament examples can be used to explain *both* pariNAma
> and vivarta vAda - the difference is what is taken as the kAraNa, and
> therefore what constitutes the svarUpa of the kAraNa.

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