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

Vikram Jagannathan vikkyjagan at gmail.com
Sun Dec 24 18:16:15 EST 2023

On Sat, Dec 23, 2023 at 9:50 PM Kuntimaddi Sadananda via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Vikramji -PraNAms
> Enjoyed reading your crisp itemized list.
> It would be complete if you added two aspects of avidya - aavarana and
> vkshepa aspects, and which one gets eliminated with Vedanta janita vidya.
> Hari Om!Sadananda
Namaskaram Acharya Shri Sadananda ji,

Definitely! I missed calling out that the earlier set of 50 points was just
an initial list for discussion and agreement. Thought that we will go
deeper and cover more points of fundamental Advaita as we align on these
first. Avarana and vikshepa aspects of avidya will be an important
component of the next list. Thanks a lot for your review and words of

On Sun, Dec 24, 2023 at 7:08 AM Ramesam Vemuri <vemuri.ramesam at gmail.com>

> Shri Vikram Jagannathan JI,
> Namaskarams and Kudos to you, Sir, for the excellent and clear pointwise
> unambiguous listing of the fundamental approach that Advaita takes in its
> doctrine.
> I wish to make two observations, if you do not mind:
> i)  A Deletion suggested:
> Under the itemized list at # 12 is the sentence: "The universe
> of plurality, the viseshanas & sakthis of savisesha Brahman, snake on a rope,
> rope itself, mirage, double-moon are all examples of this mithya
> category. "
> In the well-known 'snake-on-the-rope' analogy,  rope stands for the
> formless and featureless *brahman* Itself. Therefore, I submit that the
> words "rope itself" may be deleted.
> ii)  Two Additions suggested:
> (a)   In the "adhyAsa bhAShya," bhAShyakAra Shankara himself expresses why
> or when "adhyAsa" does arise.
> "The unattached Self (brahman) cannot become a cognizer with the activity
> of perception etc., without accepting the senses, mind and body are Its
> own.
> (b)  "The Self (brahman) is not absolutely beyond apprehension, because It
> is apprehended as the content of the concept "I"; and is self-revealing
> entity.

Namaskaram Shri Ramesam ji,

I wholeheartedly welcome your suggestions, words of wisdom & encouragement.

Regarding the 'deletion' suggestion ref. #12, though the title of this
email thread focuses on the rope-snake analogy, my intent of reviewing the
fundamentals is more holistic. Please permit me to clarify my intention: I
agree with you that within the context of the illustration, rope is
considered as sat as it illustrates the nirvisesha Brahman. For #12, I wish
to call out that the examples of mithya entities are not limited to a
specific illustration, but more from a holistic perspective. In that sense,
the snake appearing instead of a rope, as well as the very rope itself
(actual rope and not the analogy equivalent for nirvisesha Brahman) is
mithya too. Rope (as the equivalent of Brahman) is considered as sat only
within the context of the illustration, but outside the context even the
rope is mithya only. The reason I deliberately included "rope itself" is to
avoid a possibility that someone might just be focused on the illustration
and fail to look at the bigger more holistic picture wherein even the rope
is only mithya. Kindly let me know if we are in alignment here.

Regarding the 'addition' suggestions; we will include both these in a
subsequent set when we look at the adhyasa & avidya in more detail.

On Sun, Dec 24, 2023 at 7:33 AM H S Chandramouli <hschandramouli at gmail.com>

> Namaskaram Vikram Ji,
> Reg  //  Ontologically, asat is that which is never experienced as
> existing.
> Hare’s horn is asat //,
> In my understanding, the words ** in any locus ** needs to be added at the
> end of ** as existing **. This is to avoid any mixup with all *imagined
> ** entities being understood as asat. For example, a snake just **
> imagined** (not as ** it is a snake**) is also nonexistent. Because just
> the word ** snake ** being imagined implies absence of any locus. But
> snake itself cannot be called asat.
> Incidentally this was why I had suggested earlier that the word
> **imagined** with reference to rope-snake as inappropriate, because the
> experience there is **It is a snake**, implying a locus which is
> experienced through a pramANa.
> You may like to consider
Namaskaram Shri Chandramouli ji,

Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I will definitely take it up for
consideration, and would like to discuss these points with you and other
members in the group.

I don't see any problem with adding "in any locus" to #11, while at the
same time I believe it might just be redundant. To clarify, can I say that
even the snake just 'imagined' is not actually absent of any locus, but
still has the locus in the antahkarana of the person imagining? This is
because an imagination is also an antahkarana vritti, with the locus as the
antahkarana. With this, every imagination also becomes mithya alone. What
then about the case of a hare's horn? Can someone imagine it; and if so,
does it then lose its status as asat and becomes mithya? What then can be
an example of asat, since any example can still be confined within the
realm of thought or imagination. Of course, we cannot limit mithya to
external entities alone, since then kevala-sakshi-vishaya like punya-papa
will also become asat. But then, this brings up the next question of what
exactly is the definition of asat? I would like to seek out references /
definitions from our purvacharyas. Maybe there is never a 'thing' as asat,
except from a relative perspective, because there is a direct contraction
between a 'thing' and 'asat'.

Nevertheless, I will add "in any locus" to the bullet in my next iteration.

Reg  //  These qualities are the attributes (viseshana) of Brahman and are
> distinct manifestations //,
> This seems to contradict point 4 unless you distinguish between Brahman
> and nirvisesha Brahman of point 5. But that does not appear to be the
> case as the word Brahman appears to be used in other places in the post
> without clearly mentioning any qualifications.

Yes, Chandramouli ji; you are correct that there is a point of distinction
between Brahman in #7 versus Brahman in #4 and #5. Brahman described in #7
is designated as savisesha Brahman as stated in #9; whereas Brahman
described in #4 is designated as nirvisesha Brahman as stated in #5. At the
same time, there is only one Brahman alone and not two different Brahmans.
The difference is only in our understanding of Brahman. This is
precisely why we do not have an explicit designation of "nirguna Brahman /
nirvisesha Brahman" or "saguna Brahman / savisesha Brahman" anywhere in
vedanta. It is just Brahman. The context alone determines whether the said
Brahman is considered in the nirvisesha svarupa (as the former) or is
superimposed with various viseshanas (as the latter). This point is
clarified in #49 and #50. Though Sankaracharya Bhagavatpada has taught us
clear guidelines as to how one should understand from the context if
Brahman should be considered in the svarupa aspect or be taken to possess
the attributes, at times explicit designations are provided for clarity and

To summarize, the real nature of Brahman is as indicated in #1 - #5. But in
our current worldly experience we superimpose attributes on the
attributeless entity (#49). Brahman as the result of our ignorant
superimposition is considered in #6 - #9. It is one Brahman alone in
different perspectives.

> Perhaps it would be better to use the word Chaitanya for nirvisesha
> Brahman and correct the post accordingly at other places where Chaitanya
> is intended.
> Just a suggestion. I thought it would make it easier to comprehend your
> intention unambiguously. All the more so because the word Brahman is used
> in the Bhashya in three different contexts, namely nirvisesha Brahman,
> mAyA vishishta nirvisesha Brahman, and mAyA upahita nirvisesha Brahman.
> Even in respect of mAyA upahita nirvisesha Brahman, in my understanding,
> only AvaraNa sahita  nirvisesha Brahman is intended and not AvaraNa
> rahita  nirvisesha Brahman where ever reference is made to mAyA upahita nirvisesha
> Brahman in the Bhashya. For example in respect of sAkshi, antaryAmi etc.
> You may like to consider
Agreed. In the context of current discussion, clarity is more important for
alignment. I will update the points to state "Chaitanya" for nirvisesha
Brahman and "Isvara" for savisesha Brahman. A quick note - there are some
contradictions and clarifications in "maya visishta nirvisesha Brahman" and
"maya upahita nirvisesha Brahman", which can be discussed later.

For easier reference and updates, I have uploaded the updated list to
archives ->

with humble prostrations,

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