[Advaita-l] A question on PariNAma and vivarta

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Feb 10 13:18:47 EST 2017

On Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 5:36 PM, H S Chandramouli <hschandramouli at gmail.com>

> Namaste Sri Subrahmanian Ji,
> English translation by Ganganath Jha of what is cited by you is as follows
> (for the benefit of members not familiar with Sanskrit)
> << Just as, in the ordinary world, in the morning, one seesthe potter
> gathering clay for the making of the jar etc; and then having gone away to
> some other place, and returning in the evening, he finds in the same place
> various such articles as the jar, the cup, and the like; and then, the idea
> in his mind is that “ all this jar etc was only clay in the morning”; in
> the same manner, we have the present assertion – “In the beginning, this
> was *Pure Being*.” >>
> Please indicate which part of this is applicable in the context of our
> current discussion. Is it सदेवेदमग्र आसीदिति (sadevedamagra AsIditi) (“In
> the beginning, this was *Pure Being*)  or the part prior to it. I will
> respond accordingly after your confirmation.

Namaste Chandramouli ji,

The two parts you are referring to as brought out by the passage, are
actually not distinct, unrelated ones; they are related indeed.

The part सदेवेदमग्र आसीदिति is the conclusion that one arrives at after
considering the analogy of clay-clay products. The 'eva'kāra annuls,
negates the world of duality that is no more than mere words, as
established by the vācā shruti, vikāra is mere name with no vastu to
support it. This can be appreciated in the following shruti-bhashyam:

Mundaka 2.2.11

ब्रह्मैवेदममृतं पुरस्ताद्ब्रह्म पश्चाद्ब्रह्म दक्षिणतश्चोत्तरेण ।
अधश्चोर्ध्वं च प्रसृतं ब्रह्मैवेदं विश्वमिदं वरिष्ठम् ॥ १२ ॥
यत्तज्ज्योतिषां ज्योतिर्ब्रह्म, तदेव सत्यम् ; *सर्वं तद्विकारः वाचारम्भणं
विकारो नामधेयमात्रमनृतमितरदित्येतमर्थं विस्तरेण हेतुतः प्रतिपादितं*
निगमनस्थानीयेन मन्त्रेण पुनरुपसंहरति — ब्रह्मैव उक्तलक्षणम् , इदं यत्
पुरस्तात् अग्रेऽब्रह्मेवाविद्यादृष्टीनां प्रत्यवभासमानं तथा पश्चाद्ब्रह्म
तथा दक्षिणतश्च तथा उत्तरेण तथैवाधस्तात् ऊर्ध्वं च सर्वतोऽन्यदिव कार्याकारेण
प्रसृतं प्रगतं नामरूपवदवभासमानम् । किं बहुना, ब्रह्मैवेदं विश्वं समस्तमिदं
जगत् वरिष्ठं वरतमम् । अब्रह्मप्रत्ययः सर्वोऽविद्यामात्रो रज्ज्वामिव
सर्पप्रत्ययः । ब्रह्मैवैकं परमार्थसत्यमिति वेदानुशासनम् ॥

From the wording of the bhashyam सर्वं तद्विकारः it would appear that the
bhashyakāra is admitting a pariṇāma of, vikāra of Brahman as the world. The
vācā shruti is also alluded by him there. Yet, at the succeeding
delineation we have 'avidyādṣṭī',  and the vivarta example: rajju-sarpa.
So, the Chandogya passage shared by me serves the purpose of showing that
the vikāra, is no more than an appearance, प्रत्यवभासमानं, just as rajju
appears as sarpa.

Incidentally, I heard a Tamil exposition of the Bhashya of Chandogya by Sri
Mani Dravid Sastrigal. At the end of that exposition he says that the
effect is thought/seen/spoken to be different from the cause 'due to
bhrānti.' Surely such a term and such an example of rajju sarpa that the
bhashya employs above are incompatible with pariṇāma. Thus, the word
'vikāra' used by the bhashya/shruti in such contexts is connoting vivarta

What I have cited above is just one example; there are innumerable such
instances in the works of the Advaita Acharyas of the prāchina period.


> Regards

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