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

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Jan 29 18:48:53 CST 1997

On Wed, 29 Jan 1997, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> 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
> dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda. Oh, another text is of course the yoga vAsishhTha.
> 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.

As pointed out by Anand, Manasollasa has terminology that is not typically
Vedantic and that has led critical scholars to doubt it is a genuine work
of Sureshwaracharya.  Of course this is not a problem for us in the
Advaita parampara who do not see why there must be a conflict between
Vedanta and Tantra (at least of the Shrividya sort.  Kashmir shaivism is
another matter.)  Think of tantra as a practice-oriented simplification of
Vedanta.  One has to beware of over-simplication however as this can lead
to non-vedic conclusions.

> IMO, dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda is preferrable over the other for the following
> reasons:
> 1. dR^ishTi-sR^ishTi vAda leads to ajAti most naturally.

If as you seem to be suggesting below drshtisrshtivada simply considers
questions of jati as irrelevant than it is not a very stable foundation
for expressing ajativada.


> 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 strategy.

In light of the confusion of some members of the list this cannot be
stressed enough.  The truth depends on both Shruti and Reason.
Intellectualism not based on the shastras is mere sophistry.  Repeating
the words of the shastras without a logical understanding of them is
nothing but gibberish.

I disagree that drshtisrshtivada has either of these defects though for
reasons I will explain in another post.

> 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
> 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.

For moksha one must have the unassailable conviction that there is no
difference between ones self and Brahman and what seems to be reality is
in fact Maya.  In order to achieve this one must have viveka.  One must be
able to distinguish between what is eternal and unchanging and what is
transitory and subject to creation and destruction.  This is why it is
important to understand the theories of creation described in the shastras.
Otherwise if one depends on vague feelings one can easily get trapped in

> 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
> of the kArikA-s, that this vAda is the one being used in these upanishhad-s.

Not necessarily.  An explanation of why I think so will be forthcoming.


> 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
> else.
> 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.

Note the interesting thing about this excerpt is what Abhinava Vidyatirtha
Maharaj doesn't say.  Although he says both the waking and dream states
are unreal (which no Advaitin would dispute) he doesn't say the dream
state and the waking state are the same.  And while he says it a waste of
time to wonder if other jivas exist he doesn't unequivocally come out for
the ekajivavada.  (You have to bear in mind this is from a talk for the
general public and he probably would explain his views more rigorously in
an academic situation.)

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
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