[Advaita-l] [advaitin] rope has some problem in rope snake analogy :-)

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at hitachienergy.com
Thu Dec 21 05:59:17 EST 2023

praNAms Sri Vikram Jagannathan prabhuji
Hare Krishna

I do not wish to go deep into the validity of mula-avidya (or not); however, would like to state a couple of points for more reflection.

Ø     But some would definitely have problem with MV and vehemently rejected it as an alien theory in mUla shAnkara bhAshya and latest contribution by later vyAkhyAnakAra-s in the name of shankara siddhAnta!!  And I am one of the followers of those who think so and sitting in the box of asaMpradAyavAdins 😊

1. Within the context of the illustration: jnana of snake = pratibhasika jnana; jnana of rope = vyavaharika jnana; ajnana of rope as snake = earlier pratibhasika jnana with respect to later vyavaharika jnana; purely from vyavaharika perspective, there is no jnana or ajnana of snake; the very conversation of 'snake' is only with respect to the pratibhasika perspective.

Ø    Do you mean to say snake is virtual satya like mrugatrushNa even after realizing that there is no water !!??  But I agree with you that virtual (prAtibhAsika) satya is less satya when compared to transactional (vyavahArika) satya and transactional satya is less satya when compared to transcendental satya.  (pAramArthika satya).  But I am really having the problem in accepting sarpa as prAtibhAsika satya since as per the analogy sarpa is adhyasta due to misconception of rope.  Because like mrugatrushNa you will not continue to see the sarpa in rajju to call it as prAtibhAsika satya.
Similarly, jnana of rope = vyavaharika jnana; Brahman Jnana = paramarthika jnana;

Ø     And if I may add to this pAramArthika jnana is NOT any vyavahAra abhAva jnana but vyavahAra bAdhita jnana.  Hope you would agree to this.
ajnana of rope = earlier vyavaharika jnana with respect to later paramarthika jnana; purely from paramarthika perspective, there is no jnana or ajnana of rope; the very conversation of 'rope' is only with respect to the vyavaharika perspective.

  *   Yes and determining the real nature (doing the jignAsa) of vyAvahArika rope is what constitutes brahma jignAsa. ( enquiring the reality behind nAmarUpAtmaka jagat).
He who remembers the earlier cognition of snake and later cognition of rope alone can talk about the ajnana;

  *   Yes, his earlier abhAva of rajju jnana and as a result his vipareeta grahaNa of rajju (adhyAsa / anyathAgrahaNa).

There is no ajnana in pure vyavaharika. Similarly, he who remembers the earlier cognition of rope and later realization of Brahman alone can talk about the ajnana; There is no ajnana in pure paramarthika.

Ø     All vyavahAra is avidyApurassara only is it not??  And that is what bhAshyakAra explains in adhyAsa lakshaNa bhAshya (sakala laukika and vaidika vyavahAra) and as you rightly observed there is absolutely no existence of ajnAna in (pure) pAramArthika.

2. It is accepted by all Advaitins that the 'phenomenon & perception' of duality is only an 'appearance' in Brahman and that there is no actual duality whatsoever in Brahman (neha nanasti kinchana).

  *   Yes prabhuji.

Anyone who feels there is actual duality in Brahman breaks the fundamental premise of Advaita to begin with!

Ø     Yes, agreed

This means there is some 'X'-factor that is not actually present in Brahman, but only 'appears' to be in Brahman and results in the 'phenomenon & perception' of duality in an otherwise One & non-dual Brahman. Mula-avidya-vadins call this 'X'-factor as mula-avidya as the cause and the entire 'phenomenon & perception' of duality as its effect.

  *   As per some that X factor need not be brahmAbhinna citing the justification that there is no bedha between shakti and shaktivanta as the sarvajnatvaM is in the svabhAva of brahman (itareya introduction and sUtra 1-1-4).  And according to some this shakti is not avidyA but mAya.  And in their dictionary of Advaita vedAnta mAya is not avidyA.  When it is seen in the form of nAma rUpa it is brahmAnanya and when it is seen separately from adhishtAna it is avidyAkalpita.  Here later mAya is antaHkaraNa dOsha and jeevaashrita and there is no provision to accept that there is brahmAshrita avidyA in shakti rUpa which is neither agrahaNa nor anyathAgrahaNa nor samshaya.  The fourth type mysterious MV.

Now, since in our sampradhayam an effect is non-different from the cause, it is said the 'phenomenon & perception' of all plurality, including the rope, is non-different from this mula-avidya. In this sense, the rope is fundamentally non-different from mula-avidya itself.

Ø     kArya-kAraNa ananyatvaM is there to drive home the point that brahman is abhinna nimittOpadAna kAraNa and brahmaikatvaM not to establish the brahmAshrita avidyA as mUlakAraNa and resultant vyAkruta nAma rUpa.

This 'X'-factor can be substituted with any other term one chooses, but in my understanding the concept - the rope is non-different from this 'X'-factor - remains the same. When this 'X'-factor is sublated (taranti) the ekam-eva-advitiya nitya-suddha-buddha-mukta-svarupa Brahman is directly realized.

Ø     Yes, that X factor as per shruti termed as mAya, prakruti, avyAkruta, shakti etc. with this only parameshwara does the creation and it is the motivational force through which he does the act of creation clarifies bhAshyakAra.  And this mAyA shakti admitted between Chaitanya kAraNa – achetana (jada) kArya prapancha it belongs to brahman only because at the very beginning there was only brahman without a second.  If this shakti is wrongly attributed to avidyA then we will have to conclude even before the creation of jeeva-jagat brahman at the very beginning itself having the avidyA ( an avidyAvanta brahman!!??) no need to say it is apasiddhAnta.

Ø     I am coming to your concluding queries to me :

do you agree that mithyatva is anirvachaniya? Meaning, that which is considered as mithya is neither sat nor asat nor both?

  *   I reckon this definition bhAshyakAra gives to mAya not to mithyA or avidyA, somewhere else bhAshyakAra gives the example of dviteeya Chandra darshana as mithyA darshana due to karaNa dOsha.  avidyA is nirvachaneeya hence bhAshyakAra without any ambiguity explains it as jnAnAbhAva, vipareeta grahaNa and saMshaya, if I am right at this place he does not say avidyA is also anirvachaneeya.

Also, do you agree that Brahman alone is satya and everything else that is believed to be existing is mithya?

  *   A small correction from my perspective / understanding:   brahman alone is satya and everything else that is believed to be existing aloof(apart) from brahman is mithyA.  kAryAkArOpi kAraNasya AtmabhUta eva, anAtmabhUtasya anArabhyatvAt clarifies bhAshyakAra in sUtra bhAshya.

If so, do you agree that whatever is called 'avidya', that is distinct from Brahman, is also mithya?

  *   See, as you know in the adhyAsa bhAshya itself bhAshyakAra clarifies what is being called as adhyAsa that is avidyA only.  And I don’t think this adhyAsa has the two types to propagate theories like arthAdhyAsa, so when the adhyAsa / misconception gone in the mind the Bhuta vastu vashaya jnana happens on its own without any special effort (vastu taNtra jnana).  So, yes what ever ‘distinct’ from brahman in reality does not exist, satyanchAnrutancha satyamabhavat yadidaM kiMcha shruti says.

If so, the nature of 'avidya' is anirvachaniya?

  *   How avidyA is anirvachaneeya not able to understand especially when avidyA is NOT mAya in our books 😊 as said above, the shakti proposed as an X factor between cause and effect would always be subject to this ambiguity.  Since mAya can be viewed from two different angles i.e. brahman ( as his shakti) and nAma rUpa jagat (its vyAkruta / manifested form) it can be termed as anirvachaneeya and a-vyakta (avyakta hi sA mAyA tattva anyatvA nirUpaNasya ashaktatvAt.  Foam, buble, water example given by bhAshyakAra with regard to this.
If you disagree on any of these, please kindly explain.

  *   To the best of my ability I have explained prabhuji.  I am aware that these are all not standardly  propagated Advaita module which is there in tradition as shankara vedAnta for ages but some have their own doubts and raised their voices about what is there in vyAkhyAna is not finding its place in mUla PTB.  So it may look odd to traditionals to see these view points in Advaita siddhAnta pratipAdana 😊

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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