[Advaita-l] Tattvabodha of Adi Sankaracharya - 23

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 17 14:53:24 EDT 2020

(Continued from previous post)
Part III: Analysis of Creation: sRRiShTi vichAra
So far the discussion was focused on the analy-
sis from the stand point of the individual, (the
koSAs, avasthAs, Sareeras etc) - vyaShTiH - micro-
cosm . The true nature of the Atman has been
explained. Then the question arises, 'What is
the nature of all the objects seen in this world
and what is the relation between oneself and
the Universe?' The author subsequently dis-
cusses the analysis of creation, next, to answer
these questions. So, this section is called srusti
vicAra or srusti prakaraNam. A new concept
is introduced for the analysis namely brahman-
mAyA couple. The word brahman is derived
from the root brh which means "to grow". The
noun, brahman, is derived from this root and
is in neuter gender. Brahman is the cetanam
principle or sat and It does not undergo any
change during the three periods of time. It is
limitless and complete and transcends the con-
cept of time and space and It is un-manifested.
mAyA is of material origin in the causal
(kAraNa) plane and is the material cause for
the entire creation. For any creation, there is
an efficient cause (nimitta kAraNam - knowl-
edge part) and a material cause (upAdAna
kAraNam - material part). For example to cre-
ate a pot, there should be a pot maker, who
has the knowledge of a pot and how to make
it (nimitta kAraNam), and the clay which is of
material origin and undergoes changes
(upAdAna kAraNam). The pot is the outcome
of the knowledge of the pot maker and has
the characteristic(s) (guNas) of the material
used, namely clay. Similarly, mAyA is the
material reason for the entire creation which
is composed of the three guNas (triguNAtmikA
or satva-rajas-tamo-guNatmikA) namely satva,
rajas and lamas. A characteristic or attribute
(guNa) gives rise to an action (kArya). satva
represents knowledge or tranquility; rajas rep-
resents agility or action, and tamas represents
ignorance or inertness.
In the frame of analysis Isvara is sup-
posed to be a combination of brahman (which
is the absolute knowledge and devoid of the
three guNas or nirguNa) and mAyA (which is
of material origin in causal form and of the
three guNas in nature - saguNA) . Both brahman
and mAyA are anAdi (beginning less). Brahman
is satyam and does not undergo any change.
mAyA is mithyA and undergoes the process of
modifications (shadvikAra). Every object in the
Universe or creation has a nAma (name), rUpa
(form) and karma (function or action). All ob-
jects in creation go through the process of
modification and are changing. The infinite or
limitless Brahman should be different from the
changing or limited Universe. Universe or cre-
ation is supposed to be the manifested form of
mAyA or the three guNas. Brahman by Its own
desire has created the universe (so kAmayata,
bahusyAm prajAyeyeti - Taittiriya Upanishad)
and is independent. mAyA is dependent upon
Brahman for its existence to create and mani-
fest (brahmASrayA). Thus, Isvara has the power
of creation through mAyA and is the manifes-
tation of Brahman in all beings (animate and
In the following section, the author
continues the discussion from the point of view
of the total - macrocosm - and deals with
topics such as, the Universe, the relationship
between the individual and the Universe, etc.
(Continued in next post)

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