[Advaita-l] The essence of Sankara

Ven Balakrishnan ventzu at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Dec 22 04:50:11 EST 2022

I just wanted to share a couple of passages from Sankara’s bhasya, which seems to me to convey the essence of his meaning.

BSB 4.1.2:
“Although the Self to be realised is partless, still many constituents are superimposed on It, such as the body, sense-organs, mind, intellect, perception of objects, etc.  That being so, one false constituent may be discarded at one attempt at comprehension, and another at another.”

Brhad Up 4.5.15, from the Yajnavalkya - Maitreyi dialogue:
"Therefore the knowledge of this Self by the process of 'Not this, not this' and the renunciation of everything are the only means of attaining immortality."

Along similar lines, Suresvara states in his Naiskarmya Siddhi 2.45:
"It is impossible to establish the existence of any real entity other than the Self, whether we take such entity to be essentially identical with the Self or essentially different. Therefore the ego-sense and the rest of duality are imagined in the Self, as if they were the Self."

So the adhyasa (=avidya) is of the illusory mind-body-world on Brahman.  And deep sleep being equated with Brahman because of the absence of superimposition of limiting adjuncts of mind-body-world.

This surely is in accordance with Ramanamaharshi’s teaching on focusing on the I-thought, as the most proximate superimposition, to the exclusion of everything else, so that even that I-thought is realised to be illusory and dissolves (like a salt doll in water, as Brhad proclaims).

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