Various vAda-s in advaita (was Re: A few questions)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Wed Feb 12 14:14:08 CST 1997

Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> > In spite of the fact that I quoted gauDapAda who is considered
> > the last word in the advaita circles, you are persisting in your arguments
> > without even making an attempt to read either gauDapAda or his
> > by sha.nkara.
> >
> Actually the last word in Advaita circles are Shruti and reason as you
> yourself pointed out.  You no doubt remember the thread a while back

No difference. gauDpAda has shown the way with shruti and reason and hence he
_is_ the last word. Perhaps since you have not been in India you may not know
that in the advaitic circles gauDapAda is indeed considered the last word
precisely because of this very reason. One should not forget to mention  his
asparsha yoga also.

> discussing Gaudapadacharyas relationship with Buddhism.  Even if you
> don't believe Gaudapadacharya is a Buddhist in disguise you can see that
> he is flirting dangerously close to apparently Buddhist ideas.  One
> doesn't need to be a modern critical scholar to see that Shankaracharya is
> subtly modifying his paramagurus teaching to safeguard it against
> non-Vedic misinterpretation.  And so it has been with Sureshwaracharya and

Well, pariNAma and vivarta vAda-s are completely different and you could
hardly call pariNAma vAda a subtle modification of the latter.

> the Bhamatikara and other Advaita luminaries upto Abhinava Vidyatirtha

You are utterly confusing the bhAmati with what vivarta vAda means. vivarta
vAda in fact preceded pariNAma vAda (gauDapAda talks nothing other than vivarta

> Maharaj.  In the light of this I don't see what I'm saying which is so
> controversial or in any way against the teachings of the Acharyas.  To
> recap, the specific assertions I've made are:
> 1.  Both the dream and the waking state are unreal.
> 2.  The waking state is qualitatively different from the dream
> 3.  From the standpoint of the maya-entranced jiva the objects of the
>     waking world are real though even duch a deluded jiva can see that
>     dreams are unreal.
> 4.  the objects in the waking state are unreal in the way the jiva is
>     unreal but the dream objects are "doubly" unreal as they are strictly in
>     the kalpana of the jiva.
> 5.  Both the waking and dream states have only Brahman as their mula.
> If any of this is contrary to the siddhanta it would be news to me.

I am afraid you do have some news to hear. pariNAma and vivarta vAda-s are
quite different and it's quite fanciful to say that the former is a subtle
modification of the latter to safeguard vedic tenets. I have no use for the
views of Western scholars on gauDapAda and buddhism. The sub-commentary to
vyAsa's commentary on the pata.njali sutra-s attributed to sha.nkara is
considered a genuine work, even by the ever-doubting Western scholars. In this
sha.nkara _openly_ disagrees with both pata.njali and vyAsa on some points.
If he disagreed with gauDapAda he'd have made no bones about it, he has made no
bones disagreeing with the commentary attributed to vyAsa. Before some of the
non-advaitins think that sha.nkara was against vyAsa's views in general, I'll
clarify that this is not so. The disagreements are points where the pata.njala
school and the advaita school disagree.

Misunderstandings of the sort like "subtle modification" etc is what happens
if one has the "either in or out mentality" (criticism of Western scholars by a
Japanese Indologist, thanks to Giri for the quote). The Japanese scholar also
recognizes, no doubt because he is from the East, that what is said is with the
disciple's capability in mind.

The same point has been repeated by shrI abhinava vidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL and
I prefer to believe that since it seems more logical to me than some vague
explanations that vivarta became pariNAma (when in fact the two are utterly
different!), gauDapAda flirted with the buddhists and such. Indologists are
also slowly, but surely recognizing the fact that there are various teachings
given to people of various capabilities.

> > I'll post an answer if you make an attempt to read the works of the two
> > AchArya-s I quoted. Let me leave it at that.
> As I said I have read those works and more.  I certainly encourage you to
> post your answer regardless.  After all that's what the list is for.

I was tied up with work for some time, but all points which I wished to make
have been said and this will be my last post on this. You should either re-read
all the books which you say you have read, more carefully, or get some
proper scholar to explain to you the differences between pariNAma and vivarta

Primary text for vivarta vAda: mANDUkya upanishhad and the kArikA-s.
Primary text for pariNAma vAda: pa.nchadasI of shrI vidyAraNya.

But note that even shrI vidyAraNya recognized that vivarta vAda was equally
valid (if not more) by writing a commentary on the yoga vAsishhTa (vivarta vAda


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