[Advaita-l] Paul Hacker on Avidya
Michael Chandra Cohen
michaelchandra108 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 10:40:50 EST 2022
Blessed Self Subbuji, namaste
You argue Hacker was a supporter of the Nazi regime therefore his study of
the Brahma Sutra Bhasya should be dismissed.
I've heard it tell Henry Ford was also a Nazi sympathizer (& awarded the
German Grand Cross) - should we have then abandoned automobiles? It is also
told Winston Churchill was a racist and agreed Jews should be burned -
abandon Paris Peace Accord of 1947?
No, I think it is a poor argument tossing the baby with the bath water.
Attack Hacker's ideas, not his virtue. He has conclusively shown that
mUlAvidyA and other fundamental ideas of later Advaita authors dramatically
diverge and even contradict Prasthanatraya Bhasya.
On Wed, Dec 14, 2022 at 9:59 AM Balasubramanian Ramakrishnan via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Dear Michael Cohen
> Your name suggests a Jewish heritage. Paul Hacker was *literally* a card
> carrying member of the Nazi party. Do you really think we Indians need to
> listen to Nazis about our traditional vidyA?
> On Sun, Dec 11, 2022 at 6:13 PM Michael Chandra Cohen via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> > Sundar Rajan writes: >>
> > Namaste
> > I was surprised to see Paul Hacker being considered a sound resource
> > for discussions on avidyA being (yatkincit) bhAvarUpA etc. The reason is
> > that Hacker completely dismisses GaudapAda and also Shankara's
> > on mANDUkya and the rest. He only cherry-picks passages from BSB that
> > 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
> > over and over again and whoever has the last quote might feel his view
> > the upper hand. It becomes an inconclusive wild goose chase.
> > Paul Hacker arbitrarily chooses to privilege the second type over the
> > 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
> > 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.
> > >>
> > Blessed Self Sri Sundar Rajan ji namaste and pranam
> > Paul Hacker's paper translated as Chapter 4, "Distinctive Features of the
> > Doctrine and Terminology of Sankara: Avtdya, Namarupa, Maya, isvara"
> > is intended as the title reads to distinguish him from later
> > sub-commentators who often invoke characteristics of Vedanta that do not
> > appear in Sankara's commentary on the Brahma Sutras. Hacker does not
> > to represent all of prasthanatraya bhasya as you dismiss him for
> > Hacker's thesis is simply that you can observe all the occurences of
> > 4 terms as they are used and defined in the bhasya of the Brahma Sutras
> > recognize nuance that later vyakhanayakara's deviate from. Some of his
> > findings are astounding.
> > His student, Sengaku Mayeda, has performed a similar analysis with
> > results using Sankara's Upadesa Sahasri.
> > It is uninformed to think Hacker "cherry picks" his examples or is
> > 'arbitrary' in his choices. Hacker is an eminent scholar and his study is
> > exhaustive and unbiased and has been well peer reviewed. Kindly study
> > text before dismissing it off handedly. Further, to accuse him of
> > to Christian theology and thus invalidating chapter 4 is simply a
> > deflective defensive strategy. If you wish to refute Hacker or SSSS for
> > that matter, you will have to attack their specific arguments.
> > That said, I would appreciate to hear how you think Gaudapada is
> > of you first listed option relating to the identity of avidyA and mAyA.
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