[Advaita-l] [advaitin] Question on Sankhya prakruti versus Advaita maya from Vedanta Paribhasha

Vikram Jagannathan vikkyjagan at gmail.com
Mon Feb 12 11:05:17 EST 2024

Thank you, Shri Chandramouli ji. This is super helpful.

To summarize my understanding based on the information you shared, when
Swamiji says "so as to make it sentient" the intent is to communicate that
the prakruti / maya derives its sphurana from Chaitanya. Thus it expresses
/ manifests / reflects / conditions Sentiency (Chaitanya) to appear "as if"
it is sentient (implied in terms such as sakthi or vritti-jnana etc.) . In
other words, though maya / prakruti is jada and capable of undergoing
change, it does so only because of dependence and influence of Chaitanya
(analogy - magnet and iron filings).

Please let me know if further corrections are required in my understanding.


On Mon, Feb 12, 2024 at 2:39 AM H S Chandramouli <hschandramouli at gmail.com>

> Namaskaram Vikram Ji,
> In BSB 1-4-3, Purva Pakshi claims that according to SAnkhya,
> //  अस्यैव जगतः प्रागवस्थायाः प्रधानत्वेनाभ्युपगमादिति । //
> //  asyaiva jagataH prAgavasthAyAH pradhAnatvenAbhyupagamAditi | //
> Translation (Swami Gambhirananda) // for the primordial
> (undifferentiated) state of this very universe is called PradhAna //.
> Objection of PP is that Advaita also understands avyAkruta as the
> primordial (undifferentiated) state of this very universe. Hence just a
> change of terminology cannot make the Advaitin’s  avyAkruta  any different
> from the sAnkhyAn’s  PradhAna.
> Response of the advaitin is as below.
> //  यदि वयं स्वतन्त्रां काञ्चित्प्रागवस्थां जगतः कारणत्वेनाभ्युपगच्छेम,
> प्रसञ्जयेम तदा प्रधानकारणवादम् । परमेश्वराधीना त्वियमस्माभिः प्रागवस्था
> जगतोऽभ्युपगम्यते, न स्वतन्त्रा । //
> //  yadi vayaM svatantrAM kA~nchitprAgavasthAM jagataH
> kAraNatvenAbhyupagachChema, prasa~njayema tadA pradhAnakAraNavAdam |
> parameshvarAdhInA tviyamasmAbhiH prAgavasthA jagato.abhyupagamyate, na
> svatantrA | //,
> Translation  //  Should we admit some primal state as an independent
> cause of the world, we shall be opening the door for the theory of PradhAna
> as the cause. But this primal state is held by us to be subject to the
> Supreme Lord, but not as an independent thing //.
> As per SiddhAnta, mAyA (another term for avyAkruta) is capable of
> undergoing transformation, but is jada (inert). It cannot do so by itself.
> Chaitanya is changeless. Hence cannot create anything by itself. It is the
> combination of the two which enables Creation. That is the प्रागवस्था  (prAgavasthA)
> (primal state) of this universe. mAyA derives its sattA (existence) and
> sphuraNa (ability to activate its capacity for transformation) from
> Chaitanya. That is what is addressed by the Swamiji in the Foot Note 9
> //  If the Sankhyan view of prakṛti is modified so as to make it sentient
> and dependent on God, then Vedanta will have no objection to accepting it
> as a synonym of māyā //.
> Swamiji also adds
> //  The author, who accepts the three gunas as the constituents of māyā,
> may have some such compromise in his mind //.
> Swamiji’s statement is not to be understood as Prakruti or mAyA in Advaita
> is considered to be sentient.
> Regards
> On Mon, Feb 12, 2024 at 12:27 AM Vikram Jagannathan <vikkyjagan at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Could you please clarify or direct me further?
>> On Sun, Feb 11, 2024 at 12:54 PM Vikram Jagannathan <vikkyjagan at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Namaskaram Shri Bhaskar ji,
>>> Thank you for your response. The last statement that Chaitanya (pure
>>> sentience) is the only sentient entity and whatever appears to be other
>>> than sentience is mithya and insentient - is my current understanding. But
>>> I am not able to understand Swamiji's statement.
>>> Namaskaram Shri Chandramouli ji,
>>> Thank you for your directions. I read through the mentioned sutras and
>>> also associated relevant sutras. Unless I missed something I did not see
>>> any reference to Prakruti or Maya being sentient. The closest is that Maya
>>> is the divine power of Isvara, similar to Shri Bhaskar ji's opinion. Could
>>> you clarify or direct me further?
>>> Thank you!
>>> prostrations,
>>> Vikram
>>> On Sat, Feb 10, 2024 at 4:46 AM H S Chandramouli <
>>> hschandramouli at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Namaste Vikram Ji,
>>>> Please refer BSB 1-4-3. I think your question is answered there.
>>>> You may also  like to refer to BSB 1-4-8 for a discussion on the Sv. Up
>>>> mantra referred to in the Foot Note in VP mentioned by you.
>>>> Regards
>>>> <https://www.avast.com/sig-email?utm_medium=email&utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=webmail>
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>>>> On Thu, Feb 8, 2024 at 11:34 PM Vikram Jagannathan <
>>>> vikkyjagan at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> Namaskaram all,
>>>>> I have a question regarding note#9 on page#41 in the English
>>>>> translation of Vedanta Paribhasha (Advaita Ashrama edition - fourteenth
>>>>> reprint).
>>>>> There is a sentence in the footnote where Swamiji says "If the
>>>>> Sankhyan view of Prakrti is modified so as to make it sentient and
>>>>> dependant on God, then Vedanta will have no objection to accepting it as a
>>>>> synonym of maya."
>>>>> I understand the relationship of dependence, but I do not understand
>>>>> the usage and context of the word 'sentient' with respect to prakruti or
>>>>> maya. Is Prakruti or Maya in Advaita considered to be sentient? Could
>>>>> someone please clarify this point?
>>>>> Thank you!
>>>>> prostrations,
>>>>> Vikram
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>>>>> .

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