[Advaita-l] BhAvarUpatA of avidyA

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Thu Feb 1 07:21:16 EST 2024

Namaste Sudhanshu ji,

With respect to your question:

> 1. Does it refer to nirvishesha-abhAva like horns of hare or does it refer
> to vishesha-abhAva such as pot-abhAva, cloth-abhAva?
> 2. Is abhAva-vilakshaNa intended to distinguish avidyA from asat OR is it
> to distinguish avidyA from prAgabhAva, pradhvansAbhAva, anyonyAbhAva,
> atyantAbhAva etc.

It refers to both. Why does abhAva in abhAvavilakshaNatva refer to asat? In
the avidyA lakshaNopapattih chapter, the siddhikAra had said that the
definition of avidyA was अनादिभावरूपत्वे सति ज्ञाननिवर्त्या सेति, based on
the chitsukhI verse quoted by you. He had then said that  भावत्वं
चात्राभावविलक्षणत्वमात्रं विवक्षितम्. To this the pUrvapakshI questions the
purpose of the qualifier, विशेषणान्तरवैयर्थ्यम्, and had given an
anumAna अज्ञानम् अनिवर्त्यं अभावविलक्षणत्वात् आत्मवत् - ajnAnam is not
sublatable because it is different from the non-existent, like the Atma.

To such an anumAna, the siddhikAra had shown आत्मत्वं as an upAdhi,
Here, upAdhi means the defect in the anumAna, not the upAdhi of the
sopAdhika bhrama. That is defined in the tarka sangraha as साध्य व्यापकत्वे
सति साधन अव्यापकत्वं उपाधि: - ie a factor that is present wherever the
sAdhya is present, but not present wherever the sAdhana is present.

The sAdhya of the anumAna is अनिवर्त्यं. The hetu is
अभावविलक्षणत्वात्. आत्मत्वं
is present wherever अनिवर्त्यं is present, howveer, आत्मत्वं is not present
in अज्ञानम् which has  अभावविलक्षणत्वं, hence this is an upAdhi.

The opponent then tries to argue that  आत्मत्वं cannot be an upAdhi to his
anumAna, and says: तुच्छे साध्याव्याप्तिः, meaning he wants to say that
तुच्छ is अनिवर्त्यं - ie it is not sublatable, hence the hetu is present.
However, the supposed upAdhi of  आत्मत्वं is not present. So आत्मत्वं does
not have साध्य व्यापकत्वं, and hence cannot be an upAdhi to his anumAna.

To this the siddhikAra says:  न च तुच्छे साध्याव्याप्तिः।
अभावविलक्षणत्वरूपसाधनावच्छिन्नसाध्यव्यापकत्वोपपत्तेः। - you cannot say that
there is sAdhya avyApti for the upAdhi in the case of tucCha, because we
are only interested in only those instances of the sAdhya which is
abhAvavilakshaNAvacChinnam, meaning wherever there is
abhAvavilakshaNAvicChanna anivartyatvam, there Atmatvam is certainly
present. What does he want to say by this?

We do not have to consider the case of the tucCha for this anumAna because
it does not possess an anivartyatvam that is abhAvavilakshaNAvacChinna.

Therefore, this means that the abhAva vilakshaNatvam mentioned in the
definition of avidyA is meant to exclude tucCha also.

What is the purpose of the definition then? It is to remove the possibility
of the definition of avidyA extending to jnAna prAgabhAva or
jnAna-janya-kArya-prAgabhAva भावपदस्य ज्ञानप्रागभावे
ज्ञानजन्यकार्यप्रागभावे चातिव्याप्तिवारकत्वेन सार्थकत्वात्।

If it excludes tucCha and prAgabhAva, it excludes other atyanta-, dhvamsa-,
and anyonya- also.

However, they are not relevant here, because when definition avidyA in this
manner, one is not concerned with jnAna atyantAbhAva etc, one is concerned
with jnAna prAgabhAva only (because we have already qualified avidyA as
jnAna-nivartyA in the definition, and that already precludes jnAna
atyantAbhAva, anyonyAbhAva, and dhvamsa).

Kind regards,

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