[Advaita-l] Tamas, physical darkness, is a positive object

Ravi Kiran ravikiranm108 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 20 13:45:08 EDT 2017

On Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 6:24 PM, V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Tamas, physical darkness, is a positive object
> In the BSB 1.3.40, Shankara says: ‘एष सम्प्रसादोऽस्माच्छरीरात्समुत्थाय परं
> ज्योतिरुपसम्पद्य स्वेन रूपेणाभिनिष्पद्यते’ (छा. उ. ८ । १२ । ३)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/display/bhashya/
> Chandogya?page=8&id=Ch_C08_S12_V03&hl=%E0%A4%8F%E0%A4%B7%
> 20%E0%A4%B8%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%
> A4%B8%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%BD%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%
> E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%9A%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%9B%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%
> 80%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B8%E0%A4%AE%E0%
> A5%81%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A5%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%20%E0%A4%
> AA%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%82%20%E0%A4%9C%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A5%8B%
> E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%B8%E0%A4%
> AE%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%20%E0%A4%B8%
> E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A8%20%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%82%E0%
> A4%AA%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A3%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%A8%
> E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%
> AF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%87>
> इति
> श्रूयते । तत्र संशय्यते — किं ज्योतिःशब्दं *चक्षुर्विषयतमोपहं तेजः*, किं वा
> परं ब्रह्मेति ।
> Does the word 'jyotis' in the Chandogya passage 8.12.3 refer to the
> physical light that dispels darkness that envelops objects perceptible to
> the eye or the Supreme Brahman?
> From the usage  *चक्षुर्विषयतमोपहं*   it is clear that darkness is a
> positive entity that is also popularly understood as 'absence of light' and
> that it is dispelled by light.

If darkness is a positive entity, how can light ( whose nature is to just
illumine, prakAsaka) dispel the darkness object ?
In that case, where will darkness go, when light shines ?

> In any case that darkness is admitted by the
> Vedantin as an object that is grasped by the eye is what we understand from
> the usage.

//Sw. Gambhirananda translation, says:

The doubt arises as to whether the word light refers to the "light visible
to the eye" and dispelling darkness, or to Supreme Brahman.//

> We do have the Upanishad itself admitting darkness, tamas, as a
> specific entity and not as an abhava. In the antaryami brahmanam 3.7.13 is
> this mantra:
> यस्तमसि तिष्ठंस्तमसोऽन्तरो यं तमो न वेद यस्य तमः शरीरं यस्तमोऽन्तरो
> यमयत्येष त आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृतः ॥ १३ ॥
> He who, residing in tamas, impels the tamas (devata), but whom the tamas
> devata does not know, for whom tamas is body, this antaryami is your self.
> The Upanishad also says next that tejas, light, is a devata, etc.
> यस्तेजसि तिष्ठंस्तेजसोऽन्तरो यं तेजो न वेद यस्य तेजः शरीरं यस्तेजोऽन्तरो
> यमयत्येष त आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृत इत्यधिदैवतमथाधिभूतम् ॥ १४ ॥
> Recently in a chintana goshthi, a scholar asked 'in which element, bhuta,
> could tamas be included?' I felt that since it is admitted to be an object
> of the eye, the right element, bhuta, would be tejas, for among the five
> elements, rupa is the guna of tejas and since tamas has the black color
> that we perceive, it would be appropriate.
> Vidwan Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal said in an Advaitasiddhi class that the
> mimamsakas admit tamas as an object, that is cognized by the eye as black
> in color.  Thus, tamas is a bhaavarupa object. An abhava cannot be black.
> Here is a audio recording of the Advaitasiddhi referred to above. One can
> get to know a lot of things from a variety of shaastra-s from the talk:
> http://www.mediafire.com/file/7yw76ziain9vu1z/091_MD_agnane_
> anumana_upapattih_01_120212.WAV
> Even though the talk is in Tamil, everyone with a basic understanding of
> Sanskrit can appreciate the recording as the lines from the Advaitasiddhi
> are read and many Sanskrit terms are used in the exposition. One can, if he
> chooses to, go to 7.40 minutes in the audio to hear about the tamas
> discussion.
> regards
> subbu
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