[Advaita-l] [advaitin] Re: Paul Hacker on avidyA

Sundar Rajan godzillaborland at gmail.com
Sun Dec 11 13:23:10 EST 2022


On a totally unrelated subject, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a hot topic
in the news these days with the release of a new bot that even New Tork
post singing its praise:* its advanced functions, which range from
instantaneously composing complex essays and computer code to drafting
marketing pitches and interior decorating schemes*

In any case, I gave it a whirl, taking  Sri Dwivedula-ji message below ,
pasting it in the "Summarize for a second grader" example (
https://beta.openai.com/examples/default-summarize)  and see what it came
up with.

This is the AI Bot's summary:

Paul Hacker's approach is thus not a sound resource for discussions on avidy
A being bhAvarUpA etc, as it does not take into account the living tradition
of Advaita pedagogy.

for all of this below :-)

Is the AI endowed with Advaitic Intelligence :-)🙂 ?


I was surprised to see Paul Hacker being considered a sound resource person
for discussions on avidyA being (yatkincit) bhAvarUpA etc. The reason is
that Hacker completely dismisses GaudapAda and also Shankara's commentaries
on mANDUkya and the rest. He only cherry-picks passages from BSB that suit
his agenda and considers Advaita as Buddhism in disguise. So much for his
extensive study of BSB.

We observe that

1.  there are several passages from shankara bhAShya attesting to the
identity of mAyA and avidyA

2. There are passages distinguishing them.

 Paul Hacker leans towards the second viewpoint even though it is contrary
to the hundreds of texts and acharyas who have expounded AV over the last
thousand years and taught the *reconciliation of passages of type 1 and
type 2 by taking the former to subsume the latter.*

Unless the living tradition of Advaita pedagogy is considered, two people
can just keep going around in circles quoting typing 1 and type 2 passages
over and over again and whoever has the last quote might feel his view has
the upper hand. It becomes an inconclusive wild goose chase.

Paul Hacker arbitrarily chooses to privilege the second type over the first
and so he has to do something illogical viz., he has to ignore GaudapAda
and Sri Shankara's other works which clearly assert that avidyA has an
ontological aspect too. To do this Hacker has to say that GaudapAda is
irrelevant or wrong and that the entire vedanta tradition after Shankara
has diverged from ShAnkara vedAnta. By thus "digesting" and dismissing the
entire later tradition of teaching Advaita, then Shankara alone can be
"dealt with" to show the ultimate superiority of Hacker's passionate
adherence to Christian theology in his thinking.


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