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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Thu Feb 13 13:47:16 CST 1997

On Thu, 13 Feb 1997, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:


> > Well, pariNAma and vivarta vAda-s are completely different and you could
> > hardly call pariNAma vAda a subtle modification of the latter.
> I don't believe I was.  For me the issue is quite simple.  The Shruti
> explicitly says there are _four_ states of consciousness.  For
> Gaudapadacharya  to assert there are  three because two of them are the
> same can only lead to two conclusions.
> 1.  Shruti is wrong.
> Which is completely untenable. Or
> 2.  Gaudapadacharya is wrong.

Where does Gaudapada assert there are three and _only_ three states of
consciousness? The entire context of the mANDUkya upanishad and the
kArikAs is in the discussion of the turIya state.


> >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.
> Who exactly?  Hacker did but I don't think the consensus is in favor of
> the works authenticity.  Indians aren't free of doubt either.  The
> Yogasutrabhashya isn't in the Vani Vilas edition which was hardly
> motivated by western interests.

As I see it, if a work is included in the Vani Vilas edition, it argues
for its authenticity, as far as the advaita tradition is concerned. But if
a work is not included in it, it does not mean that it is not authentic.
To the best of my knowledge, the Sringeri matha has not claimed that
_only_  the works included in the Vani Vilas edition are authentic.

> Then again I ask you why hasn't Shankaracharya adopted the terminology of
> his paramguru?  Why is his emphasis on different issues?  One doesn't need
> to get into a violent argument to disagree with someone.  There are

Read the Upadesasahasri. There is no disagreement between Sankara and
Gaudapada in this text.

Part of the reason there seems to be diasgreement is that Sankara is
writing commentaries to various texts, and he is necessarily operating
within the parameters laid down in the source text. In the kArikAs, after
the first book, Gaudapada is pretty much writing an independent treatise
on advaita, and he is not following the issues laid down in another work.
In his independent works like the Upadesasahasri, Sankara is also not
limited by another source text, and you can see that he follows Gaudapada

> subtler ways.  The fact that cannot be ignored is there are differences of
> opinion betweendifferent figures in the Advaita parampara.  There can
> hardly be differences of opinion if everyone believes exactly the same
> thing.

Sure, but consider that the differences of opinion are rather minor and
everybody's opinions revolves around the same central thesis. The basic
issue of advaita is one of asserting "One" when confronted with the
"many". There is necessarily a leap of logic involved, and depending on
one's own logical predilections, varying conclusions may be reached. There
is nothing specifically wrong with that.

S. Vidyasankar

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