Agony of the soul (?) etc

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Fri Jan 10 11:43:33 CST 1997

A slightly delayed response to Shri Vidyasankar's reply to my earlier

On Mon, 6 Jan 1997, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> >
> > 3. Concept of re-birth and carry-over of karma
> >
> > My understanding of Advaita concepts is that there is no creation and
> > hence the concept of re-birth does not even arise. The concept of karma
> > is not there at the highest level of understanding of Advaita.
> >
> > Then, how are the fruits of action (good or bad) carried forward in the
> > Advaitic thinking ?
> >
> These questions are best answered by asking the following questions.
> 1. Is there an entity that seeks liberation?

1. In my view, No

> 2. If so, what is that entity, and what is its nature, i.e. eternal or
> non-eternal?, born once only or reborn many times or never born?
> 3. What is the nature of liberation?

Again, in my view,

3. There is no liberation. I would like to question: Liberation from what?

> The general answer of advaita has been this: So long as avidyA exists, the
> jIva is reborn and continues to be reborn till the highest level is
> reached.

Again, in my view,
As long as avidya exists (in the individual), jIva thinks that it is
reborn and continues to be reborn. The emphasis should be on "think". In
reality, there is nothing reborn and that is the paramartha level which
we should be understanding, not the avidya-based jIva is born and reborn

> The jIva seeks liberation, but its character as a jIva is in
> reality dependent upon the omnipresent, eternal brahman. So long as the
> jIva does not know brahman, i.e. continues in avidyA, it continues to be
> reborn.

it thinks it continues to be reborn.
There is an ocean of difference between the two statements.

I had difficulty all along why this particular concept is emphasized when
it is known it is not true.

> Whose is this avidyA? It belongs to him who sees it. Meanwhile,


> the fruits of action are mediated by brahman Itself as ISvara. Desireless
> action (nishkAmya karma) does not mean that the fruits of action will not
> affect you. However, it ensures that ISvara, as the final arbiter of
> karma-phala, grants you a station in life that is conducive to acquiring
> jnAna.

Again, aren't Ishwara and karma-phala concepts based on avidyA ? Why this
avidyaic interpretation ?

Certainly we do not go to Aristotlian concepts in physics after we come
to know Einsteinian physics.

> The nature of liberation is to know brahman, and to know brahman
> truly is to *be* brahman. It is only when this state is reached that one
> can really appreciate the highest level of paramArtha. Till then, there is
> no point if confounding the paramArtha with the vyAvahArika. The Atman is
> never born and never dies (paramArtha), but the atman is born and dies
> again and again (vyAvahAra). There never was any creation (paramArtha),
> but creation is bondage (vyAvahAra). If that sounds contradictory, this is
> the basic problem of all human life.

I realize my original question is faulty in that the individual is not
performing any action to derive the fruits of action.

I would be grateful for any clarifications.

> Regards,
> S. Vidyasankar

Gummuluru Murthy
Adau ante ca yan nAsti vartamAnepi tat tathA !
                                GaudapAda in Mandukya kArika
What did not exist at the beginning and what is not going to exist at the
 end is as good as non-existent even in the present.

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