[Advaita-l] Definition of sAkshI

Sudhanshu Shekhar sudhanshu.iitk at gmail.com
Wed Feb 7 22:39:30 EST 2024

Many thanks Venkatraghavan ji. Obliged for your responses.


On Thu, 8 Feb, 2024, 7:30 am Venkatraghavan S, <agnimile at gmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste Sudhanshu ji,
> I'm afraid this conversation may have gotten a little too technical.
> Therefore, I suggest winding it up here, as it may not be of benefit to
> most - in fact, I suspect it may have already had the unwanted effect of
> irritating sincere seekers. In the future, it may be prudent to keep
> excessively technical discusisons (such as this one) offline - you have my
> email address.
> However, with a view of not leaving you hanging - I have presented my
> understanding below. Please take it with the caveat that I am trying to
> figure out many things myself, so this is by no means the definitive (or
> even a correct) set of answers to the questions you have posed.
> 1) The clearest definition of sAkshi in the advaita siddhi in my opinion
> occurs in the second paricCheda in the chapter brahmaNah
> jnAnatvAdyupapattih - the tenability of Brahman having jnAnatva etc. Here,
> the siddhikAra defines sAkshi as
> avidyA-tatkArya-anyatara-pratiphalita-caitanyasyaiva sAkshitvAt. That is,
> sAkshi is the reflection of consciousness in avidyA or avidyAvRtti.
> 2) As far as I am aware, the siddhikAra uses the terms avidyA-upahita and
> avidyA-pratibimbita interchangeably.
> 3) The text's position is that there is only one sAkshi that is common to
> all jIva-s. The siddhikAra says - साक्षिणः सर्वजीवसाधारण्येऽपि
> तत्तज्जीवचैतन्याभेदेनाभिव्यक्तस्य तत्तदुःखादिभासकतया अतिप्रसङ्गाभावात् -
> even though the sAkshi is common to all the jIva-s, when each individual
> jIva-chaitanya (i.e where the jIva defined as consciousness with the
> intellect as its upAdhi) attains identity with that one sAkshi, it
> illuminates that jIva's mental states such as sadness etc - only to him,
> and not to others.
> Some of the specifics have been answered, briefly.
>> 1. Is rajatAkArA-avidyA-vritti required for illusory-rajata-jnAna?
>  Yes. See earlier email for reasoning/ references.
>> 2. Is sukhAkArA-avidyA-vritti required for sukha-jnAna?
> No. See earlier email for reasoning/ references.
>> 3. Is ahamkArA-avidyA-vritti required for aham-jnAna?
> a) ahamAkAravRtti is avidyAvRtti only, as per the Advaita Siddhi
> commentary on the vivaraNa statement shared by you in the earlier email,
> pasting here for ready reference. तदुक्तं
> विवरणे–‘जीवाकाराहंवृत्तिपरिणतान्तःकरणेन जीवोऽभिव्यज्यत' इति ।
> अस्यार्थः–जीवाकाराहंत्वप्रकारकाविद्यावृत्तिः, तया
> परिणतान्तकरणेनान्तःकरणपरिणामभूतज्ञानरूपवृत्तिसंसर्गेण जीवोऽभिव्यज्यत इति ।
> See laghuchandrikA commentary for further clarity.
> b) In general, for the sAkhi to know avidyAvRtti there is no need for
> another avidyAvRtti. As the siddhikAra says elsewhere,
> अविद्यावृत्तिप्रतिभासके चैतन्ये अविद्यावृत्तेः स्वत एव उपाधित्वेन
> वृत्त्यन्तरानपेक्षत्वात्.
> c) If a) and b) are true, the conclusion is that a separate
> ahamkAra-jnAna-vRtti is not needed to know ahamkAra - the avidyAvRtti which
> forms a component of the ahmkAra, is itself sufficient.
>> 4. Is avidyAkArA-avidyA-vritti required for avidyA-jnAna?
>> No, for the same reason.
>> 5. In pratibhAsa-kalpaka-samAna-kAlIna-kalpaka-vattvam, who is
>> avidyA-kalpaka and who is avidyA-pratibhAsa-kalpaka (i.e.
>> avidyA-jnAna-kalpaka)? [As per my understanding, avidyA-kalpaka =
>> avidyA-upahita-chaitanya, avidyA-pratibhAsa-kalpaka =
>> avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya]
> The laghuchandrikA defines
> pratibhAsa-kalpaka-samAna-kAlIna-kalpaka-vattvam as
> sva-viShayaka-janyadhI-kAlatva-vyApya-svadraShTRkatvam - the object having
> a seer which is present contemporaneously with the rise of the vRtti that
> objectifies the object. Here the seer is sAkshi.
> I don't believe that an avidyAvRtti is needed for the cognizance of avidyA
> by the sAkshi. So, the test of sAditvam, having a beginning - *ie avidyA
> having a seer which is present contemporaneously with the rise of the vRtti
> objectifying avidyA* - is not met, because there is no requirement for a
> vRtti to arise for the sAkshi to know avidyA. Therefore, avidyA does not
> have a seer that is contemporaneous with a vRtti that objectifies avidyA,
> in order for the seer to cognise it. Thus avidyA is not sAdi, it is anAdi.
> Alternatively, if you want to hold that there is a requirement for an
> avidyAvRtti for the sAkshi to know avidyA, the laghuchandrikA says that as
> such an avidyAvRtti is not present in pralaya, avidyA does not meet the
> test for sAditva - *in pralaya, avidyA does not have a seer which is
> present contemporaneously with the rise of a vRtti objectifying avidyA *-
> thus, in this view too, avidyA is not sAdi, it is anAdi.
>> 6. What is the primary definition of sAkshI accepted by Advaita-Siddhi?
>> See the introduction to this email. As this is the central question of
> this thread, I have answered it up front.
> With this, I am going to step back from the discussion as I have got a
> backlog of things I need to catch up on, both spiritual and personal. Hope
> that is all right.
> Kind regards,
> Venkatraghavan

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