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

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Wed Jan 29 11:38:36 CST 1997

I saw this mail by Vidyasankar in the archives. Sorry for the late reply, but
I was off on a holiday.

Vidyasankar wrote:

>Dennis Waite wrote:

[ ... ]

>> effectively dvaita. There do seem to be a number of slightly different views
>> on this and other topics from the posts I have read on the list. I would
>> very much appreciate a simple list of the different schools and a brief
>> statement of their essential points of difference. Does such a thing already
>> exist somewhere? It would seem to be a useful thing for the FAQ if not.

The above was written by Dennis Waite. I shall post some material related to
this particular question later.

>Most advaitins admit ajAti (i.e. no creation) in the pAramArthika sense,
>and sr.shTi-dr.shTi in the vyAvahArika sense. To my knowledge, there is
>only one author, prakASAnanda sarasvatI, who talks of creation in terms of
>dr.shTi-sr.shTi vAda.

The vAda-s given by gauDapAda are nothing other than dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda.
The vAda-s given in the mAnasollasa vArtika are again the same. Of course one
may doubt the authorship of sureshvarAchArya in the latter case, but it has
been quoted by vidyAraNya himself as being authored by sureshvarAchArya in his
paJNcha dashii. I am not sure if the author you mention follows the books I
quote exactly, but the vAdas given in the two books I quote are commonly called
dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda. Oh, another text is of course the yoga vAsishhTha.

>dr.shTi-sr.shTi vAda :-
>This brings me to the last vAda, namely dr.shTi-sr.shTi vAda. This is the
>view mainly of one author - prakASAnanda (ca. 16th century CE). This vAda
>is described in prakASAnanda's *vedAnta-siddhAnta-muktAvalI*. This author
>also wrote texts on SrIvidyA, such as *tArAbhakti-tarangiNI*. His view

You seem to imply that none of the older teachers followed the
dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda. As I mentioned above that's not true.

>Personally, I feel that the sr.shTi-dr.shTi vAda is truer to the spirit of
>religion that has a place for devotion, although an advaita vedAntin need
>not insist upon it. In other words, commensensical ideas of creation can
>be modified to some extent. I can give the employees of Sun Microsystems

IMO, dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda is preferrable over the other for the following

1. dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda leads to ajAti most naturally.

2. Note that this vAda _implies_ the eka-jIva vAda also. So the Ashraya (locus)
of avidyA is the self itself. The original sR^ishTi-dR^ishTi vAda was given
by maNDana mishra, who held that the Ashraya of avidyA was the jIva-s and not
brahman. Note that sR^ishTi-dR^ishTi vAda implies aneka-jIva vAda. But
sureshvarAchArya criticizes explicitly in his naishkarmya siddhi, the view
that the Ashraya of avidyA is the jIva itself. Hence sR^ishTi-dR^ishTi vAda
was modified later by vidyAraNya, who held that the Ashraya of avidyA was
brahman but that the jIva-s were reflections of chaitanya (consciousness) in
the mirror of avidyA. But, if we see the original writings of sha.nkara and
sureshvarAchArya, we can see that they held that the jIva was nothing other
than brahman obscured by avidyA. They never answered questions about whether
there are many jIvas (eg, naishkarmya siddhi, upadeshasAhasrI), since they
rightly held such questions as irrelevant, since the perception of many jIvas
itself a product of avidyA. Though they do not mention it explicitly, they
support the eka jIva vAda by holding that the Ashraya of avidyA is the self
itself and more so by attacking maNDana mishra. Thus dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda is
consistent with the original teachings in a natural manner, whereas the other
vAda does not fit very naturally into the original teachings. IMO, it is quite

3. Most importantly, for me at any rate, dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda follows the
tenet of gauDapAda that "what is known by shruti _and_ reasoning is alone the
truth" (paraphrased from the kArikA). OTOH, the other vAda does not use this

4. sR^ishTi-dR^ishTi vAda leads to theories of creation. The most charitable
description of theories of creation, IMO, is that they are irrelevant
digressions. What use is it to write and read tomes about how ether was created
and then how other elements were created etc, or for that matter complicated
theories about nAda, bindu etc which shAkta-s are fond of? It's a singular
waste of time and nothing else.

5. dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda is more natural in interpreting the passages on
dream, waking etc in the bR^ihadAraNyaka, kaivalya, nR^isimha pUrva tApanIya
and most importantly the mANDUkya upanishhad-s. In fact I believe, on the basis
of the kArikA-s, that this vAda is the one being used in these upanishhad-s.

Finally, for the sha.nkara maTha aficionados I'll throw in the following as a
bonus. Recently, when I went to India I happened to read a book which my aunt
had, titled "jagatguru pathilaLikkirAr" (The Jagatguru answers). The book is a
feast of reasoning and H.H abhinava vidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL has answered in
his inimitable style questions ranging from the dowry problem to nirvikalpa
samAdhi! The answers were collected by HH's press secretary. Here is an excerpt
from the English version (far inferior to the Tamil version) from a section
entitled "Dream and Waking state" (are we back to square one or what? :-)):

The first several questions are the usual questions and answers in the dream
state analysis which are raised by sha.nkara himself in the kArikA bhAshhya
and I will skip this part.

_begin excerpts

D:  Then what is creation?
HH: Perception alone is creation. There is no other creation other than the
perception. The perception that a thing exists indeed is creation and nothing

D:  Then is it not a waste to consider that other living beings also exist?
HH: Yes.

D:  Then what about Ishvara?
HH: He too is a part of your "dream". In reality there is neither the cause
nor the effect. One has bondage as long as one considers that one has bondage.
One who feels that one is free is indeed free. That is why it has been said:
        muktAbhimAnI mukto hi baddho vaddhAbhimAnyapi |
That is one who considers oneself as a mukta is a mukta. One who feels that he
has bondage does have bondage. Therefore one should remove the wrong
impression that one has bondage.

D:  Is the removal of the wrong idea that one has bondage itself a quicker
means of attaining moxa?
HH: Yes. So far I was speaking with dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda in mind, but this
will not be suitable for many people because their minds will not be pure
enough to understand this philosophy. Everybody will accept that the dream
state alone is unreal. If it is said that the waking state is also unreal they
will be frightened. For some people it may appear that the dream state is
also real from the statement "The waking state is akin to the dream state".
That is why the sAstra-s do not speak much of the dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda.
Seldom do they speak about it.

_end excerpts

shrii ramaNa maharshhi has also expressed similar opinions about the vAda-s as
can be seen in "Talks with Ramana Maharshi".


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