[Advaita-l] A question on PariNAma and vivarta

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed Feb 8 04:24:43 EST 2017

sAshtAnga praNAms Sri Vidya prabhuji
Hare Krishna

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.

>  Yes, and to understand that for this jagat brahman is the ONLY abhinna nimittOpadAna kAraNa only shabda is the pramANa.  And to this effect shruti says dhAtA yathA pUrvamakalpayatu, sOkAmayata, sa Ekshata lOkAnnu srujA iti,  satyanacha anrutancha satyamabhavat yadidaM kiMcha, brahmaivedaM vishvaM etc.  From all these it is evident that if at all even vyavahArically we have to accept the existence of jagat, for that jagat brahman is the ONLY abhinna nimittOpadAna kAraNa.  It is not an avidyA srushti of jeeva like sarpa in place of rajju.  

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.

>  Yes, this is the very valid point.  If we accept that clay (brahman) is what in the form of pot (jagat) then brahman is vikAri and he has the karaNa to do creation, mind to think about creation, so, brahman should have atleast jnAnedriya and karmendriya to carry out the function of creation.  If we accept this vikAra-s in brahman then upanishat pradipAdita brahman cannot be nirvikAri, cannot be achakshuM, ashrotraM, avAk, amanaH..But that is not the case here when shruti itself says this is all from brahman only and that brahman is ekamevAdviteeya prior to srushti.   shankara clarifies in sUtra bhAshya 2nd adhyAya while answering the objection that since brahman is without limbs it cannot be jagatkAraNa, the same shruti which has stated that brahman is nirvikAri, nirvayava, nirvishesha also states that it is the jagat kAraNa.  Therefore it has to be accepted as it is.  We cannot accept one part of shruti and reject another like 'ardha kukkuteeya nyAya.  The shruti tells that the power of sarvashakta brahman is that it creates the universe even without aids, instrument and limbs.  And therefore enforcing the general rule that  to create anything one should have body, mind, instrument, will etc. is not acceptable in brahma kAraNatva.  

>  And as your goodself rightly observed though the analogy of pot-clay fails to capture the nirvikAra aspect of brahman, it effectively conveys the kArya-kAraNa ananyatva in jagat srushti.  Does it mean then that brahman is bound to appear with it's attributes (jagat) like clay becoming pot, pitcher etc.  No, and to convey this nirvishesha aspect of brahman, shruti /shankara use other analogies like rope-snake, shukti-rajata, dvi-chandra etc. Which you have explained below.  

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. 

>  Yes, that is clear cut explanation prabhuji.  The rope is upAdAna kAraNa for the snake is in loose sense only.  There is absolutely no kArya-kAraNa saMbandha between snake and rope.  And it is only confused mind of the seer which is both nimitta and upAdAna for the illusory snake in place of rope.  When serpa is seen rope will not be there and when the rope is seen snake will not be there.  Taking the example of shukti-rajata shankara clarifies, in the sentence the shell understood as silver, the word shell represents the shell but the word silver represents only the impression of its existence (rajata shabdastu rajata prateetilakshaNArthaH).  This is because silver is just wrong understanding there is no silver in it.  And this jagat is not like serpent (illusory) on the rope elsewhere clarifies shankara.  

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.

>  Yes, therefore the examples like mrudghata, suvarNAbharaNa, rajju-sarpa, shukti-rajata, dviteeya Chandra etc. are intended to remove the misconception about brahman gained through the vikAri jagat and not for fixing the nature of brahman through the name and form as in the mrudghata example.  As one analogy (mrudghata) serving the purpose of kArya-kAraNa ananyatva another example (rajju-sarpa) serving the purpose of brahma nirvisheshatva.  Mrud-ghata is the result of Ishvareeya mAyA Shakti and this Shakti is ananya from Shakta whereas snake in the place of rope is the product of avidyA /adhyAsa (atasmin tat buddhiH) an individual karaNa dOsha.

sAshtAnga praNAms once again prabhuji,

your humble servant
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list