[Advaita-l] Binary nature of Jnana

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Wed Jul 13 13:14:50 EDT 2022

Namaste Chandramouli ji,

Comments in line.

On Wed, 13 Jul 2022, 13:44 H S Chandramouli, <hschandramouli at gmail.com>

> First para, my understanding of the text quoted is that mahAvAkya shravaNa
> *invariably* gives rise to aparOksha jnAna.

> In the second para above, my understanding is that **shravaNAdi ** in this
> context in VS does not include mahAvAkya shravaNa.
There is no necessity to exclude mahAvAkya shravaNa in this context, in my
opinion. It would also be quite difficult to practically do so - it is not
necessary to assume that the guru would teach only avAntaravAkya-s in such
a shravaNam, skipping over the mahAvAkya. Such an assumption would be

The distinction between shravaNa excluding mahAvAkya vs shravaNa of
mahAvAkya is only pertinent to discussing which of the two is the sAkshAt
sAdhana (direct cause) and paramparA sAdhana (indirect cause) of
brahmajnAna. As was said in the text, it is only the mahAvAkya which is the
sAkshAt sAdhana. Admitting that much does not lead to the eventuality that
you highlight below, in my opinion.

> In the third para, since aparOksha jnAna has already arisen, the question
> of hearing the mahAvAkya again does not arise at all for such a sAdhaka.
> That is what VS upholds when it refutes alternate views.
On the contrary, the contention of the text, as you say, is that when the
mahAvAkya is heard, it invariably gives rise to aparoksha jnAna. However,
the issue is that the hearer does not recognise it as such, and needs
shravaNAdi sAdhana to recognise the jnAna as aparoksha, and that nothing
further is required.

Like in the case of Karna hearing that he is Kaunteya - the moment he hears
it, the words produce aparoksha jnAna for him. The sentence is about the
hearer himself. However, due to his Radheya vAsana-s, there is a cognitive
dissonance which prevents it from accepting it at face value.

If what you say is the real intent of the Vichara Sagara, then it would be
contrary to the repetition of the mahAvAkya in the shruti, e.g. the sixth
chapter of the ChAndogya for example. There, Shvetaketu would have got
aparoksha jnAna from the first instance of hearing tattvamasi itself
(according to the text), and there would be no question of the subsequent
repetition many times over.

However the repetition does happen. The reason is because despite hearing
tattvamasi and it producing aparoksha jnAna, Shvetaketu is not convinced of
the validity and aparokshatva of that knowledge. Those doubts are resolved
and the guru says tattvamasi many times over, until he has had the direct
conviction that he is Brahman.

Repitition of mahAvAkya is required in respect of ONLY those sAdhakAs in
> whom no jnAna arises at all, parOksha or aparOksha, on hearing the
> mahAvAkya first time.
The siddhAnta is that any sentence invariably produces jnAna to the hearer
who understands the language - whether it is pramA / bhrama, aparoksha or
paroksha. As the khanDanakAra says, paraphrasing kumArila bhaTTa
अत्यन्तासत्यपि ज्ञानमर्थे शब्दः करोति हि ।
अबाधात्तु प्रमामत्र स्वतः प्रामाण्यनिश्चलाम् ॥
Even with respect to absolutely non-existent things, words give rise to
comprehension; what then to talk of the shruti, which being unsublated and
intrinsically self valid, will certainly produce valid cognition?

The nature of words is that they will give rise to meaning. If I tell you
"the sun rises in the west", you will understand the sentence, even when it
is wrong. Similarly, the sentence tattvamasi will invariably produce
aparoksha jnAna, because it is teaching Brahman as oneself. The rationale
for the classification of certain verbal cognitions as perceptions and
others as remote / indirect cognitions is given in the text-

व्यवहितविषयकं शाब्दं ज्ञानं परोक्षमेव...अव्यवहितविषयकं शाब्दं ज्ञानं
परोक्षमपरोक्षं भवति। यदा अव्यवहितविषयकं ज्ञानं 'अस्ति' इति शब्देन जायते तदा
अव्यवहितस्यापिवस्तुनो ज्ञानं परोक्षमेव भवति । यदा अव्यवहितविषयकं ज्ञानं
'इदमस्ति' इत्यादि शब्दप्रमाणेन जायते तदा तज्ज्ञानमपरोक्षमेव भवति, न‌
परोक्षम्। ...एवमेव‌ प्रकृतस्य ब्रह्मणः
सर्वप्राणिप्रत्यगात्मभूतत्वातदत्यन्ताव्यवहितस्य नित्यापरोक्षस्यापि ज्ञानं,
'तदस्ति' इत्यवान्तरवाक्येन परोक्षमेव जायते । महावाक्यं तु 'दशमस्त्वमसि'
इतिवत् श्रोतुरात्मत्वेनापरोक्षतया ब्रह्म बोधयति ।  अत एव
महावाक्येनाव्यवहितप्रत्यग्ब्रह्मापरोक्षज्ञानमेव जायते न तु परोक्षमिति ।

Rough translation -
The cognition born from words which has a remote thing as its object will
be a remote cognition only...The cognition born from words which has a
close thing as its object can either be remote or direct. When a close
thing is spoken of remotely as "that exists" then such sentence will
produce a remote cognition. However when a close thing is spoken of as
"this exists", then such a cognition will be a direct cognition
(perception) only, not an indirect one....Thus, when the subject under
discussion, Brahman, despite being the closest thing, being the inner self
of all, is spoken of in avAntaravAkya, as "that exists", then such a
cognition will be an indirect one only. However, the mahAvAkya, like in the
case of the sentence "you are the tenth man", teaches of Brahman as the
inner self of the hearer. Therefore, the cognition of the extremely close
Brahman as oneself that arises from the mahAvAkya can be a perception only,
and not an indirect one.

Therefore, even if one does not concede that the mahAvAkya invariably
produces aparoksha jnAna, that it produces a paroksha jnAna, must be
accepted. The nature of words is to convey meaning - whether as
perceptions, remote but valid cognitions, or as invalid cognitions.

As per VS, if at all jnAna arises on hearing the mahAvAkya, it is
> invariably aparOksha jnAna.
> The alternatives suggested in fourth para do not arise at all as explained
> above.
Now it is observed in the world that there are people who hear the
mahAvAkya but feel they do are not absolutely free as a result.

How to account for this? This is where pratibandha-s are postulated. If the
hearer feels he is an ajnAni despite hearing the mahAvAkya, there is the
repetition required to get rid of his cognitive dissonance.

Depending on the nature of the pratibandha, its removal can happen with the
repetition of any of / all of shravaNAdi.

> This is my understanding.
> Concerning Bhashya,
> Reg  << The bhAShya portion you had quoted did not make this explicit
> requirement, but I may have missed it >>,
> I presume you are referring to repitition of mahAvAkya, and not to
> repetition of shravaNa itself. Bhaskar Ji also has referred to the same. I
> am responding based on this assumption.
> The following portion from BUB 1-4-7 may be referred. It clearly mentions
> that  hearing of the mahAvAkya ONLY  during shravaNa leads to Realization.
> It applies to the repeated shravaNa also.
> BUB  1-4-7  << …From न, अर्थान्तराभावात् ।…………..Upto न ;
> आत्मवादिवाक्यश्रवणेनात्मविज्ञानस्य जनितत्वात् — किं भोः कृतस्य करणम् ।  >>
> << …..(From)  na, arthAntarAbhAvAt |…………. (Upto)  na ;
> AtmavAdivAkyashravaNenAtmavij~nAnasya janitatvAt — kiM bhoH kRRitasya
> karaNam | >>.
I went through this, but fail to see where the bhAShyakAra says that the
mahAvAkya must be physically heard again. Now as a matter of practicality,
when shravaNa happens repetitively, the mahAvAkya also will be heard
repetitively, each time producing aparoksha jnAna (according to VS) - but
the benefit of aparoksha jnAna is had when the pratibandha-s are removed,
so when that happens, the student feels, I have now had aparoksha jnAna,
when he has had it all along.

If you are referring to this sentence in the
bhAShya, आत्मवस्तुस्वरूपसमर्पकैरेव वाक्यैः ‘तत्त्वमसि’ (छा. उ. ६ । ८ । ७)
इत्यादिभिः श्रवणकाल एव तद्दर्शनस्य कृतत्वाद्द्रष्टव्यविधेर्नानुष्ठानान्तरं
कर्तव्यमित्युक्तोत्तरमेतत् । - I don't see a problem with doing a samanvaya
of VS with this section of the bhAShya.

The VS agrees that aparoksha jnAna (taddarshana) happens during the
shravaNakAla, and there is nothing further to be done really speaking - but
the student is not convinced and he needs to repeat shravaNAdi until he
gets the conviction that there is nothing else needed (na anuShThAnAntaram
kartvayam iti). That a recollection of shravaNa is insufficient is not
advocated by the bhAShyakAra. All He is saying is that the aparoksha jnAna
happens during shravaNa.

> Upadesha sAhasri,  Metric,  Chapter 18
> <<  अशनायादिनिर्मुक्त्यै  तत्काला  जायते  प्रमा I
> तत्वमस्यादिवाक्ार्थे  त्रिषु  कालेऽप्यसंशयः II >>  Verse  103
> <<  ashanAyAdinirmuktyai  tatkAlA  jAyate  pramA I
> tatvamasyAdivAkArthe  triShu  kAle.apyasaMshayaH II  >>,
> <<  प्रतिबन्धविहीनत्वात्स्वयं  चानुभवात्मनः  I
> जायेतैव  प्रमा  तत्र  स्वात्मन्येव  न  संशयः  II  >>   Verse  104
> <<  pratibandhavihInatvAtsvayaM  chAnubhavAtmanaH  I
>  jAyetaiva  pramA  tatra  svAtmanyeva  na  saMshayaH  II  >>,
> It is clearly brought out here that Realization is coterminous with
> hearing of the mahAvAkya. Hence hearing of the mahAvAkya again during the
> repetitious shravaNa is essential for Realization.
Yes, agreed. I don't think Vichara Sagara would disagree with this.

Kind regards


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