beginningless avidyA and transmigration

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Mon Jun 7 19:59:50 CDT 1999

Sankaran Panchapagesan <panchap at ICSL.UCLA.EDU> wrote:

>  Thanks for giving me your feedback. I understand that there are
many more
> philosophical concepts in advaita, like jIva, what it means with
> to brahman, vyAvahArika and paramArtha level of truth, etc., which I
> only now beginning to explore.  So hope you'll excuse my half-baked
> "conclusions" (which aren't really conclusions since I am still
> and point out where I am wrong.

I have been wondering whether to participate in this thread. Anyway,
apart from Anands points, I'd like to add the following.

1. I have been repeatedly telling shruti is a pramANa and regarding
brahman it's the only pramANa. Buddhism does not accept shruti as a
pramANa at all. The naiyyAyikas make shruti subsidiary to logic, but
at least they accept it as pramANa. shruti (and smR^iti) can alone
produce enlightenment. All schools of Buddhism (Indian) use only tarka
to establish their philosophy. That's a very great difference! So
there's no question of dismissing differences by saying both schools
share the same goal. All schools, except chArvakas admit of moxa. Does
that mean the differences can be ignored?

2. IMO, the doubts you have raised here and the previous doubt about
enlightened persons are due to a misunderstanding of what vyAvahArika
and pAramArthika satya mean. I have found the upadeshasAhasrI very
useful. Please read the entire book, leaving the tattvamasi
prakaraNam. After that engage in comparative philosophy. Surely, you
cannot take one verse out of the upadeshasAhasrI and start theorizing
based on that.  If you had read the entire text you would have found
out what sha.nkarabhagavAns objections against Buddhism are and
whether they are valid. Also read what Srimad Sureshvara says in the
second chapter of the Naishhkarmyasiddhi. His exposition of the
methodology of anvaya-vyatireka is a must to understand the "two
levels" of reality.

3. Nataliya Isayeva writes: `It is true that in essence gauDapAda does
not differ from sha.nkara in his concept of salvation. Indeed ***in
contrast to the Buddhist doctrine*** (emphasis mine), the liberation
from the sa.nsAric cycle of rebirths is regarded by him as
"achievement (or realization) of something already achieved"
(prAptasya prApti), since this liberation (unlike Buddhist nirvANa) is
not something to be attained simply by the efforts of an adept.,' page
48, From Early Vedanta to Kashmir Shaivism, SUNY press.

BTW, this prAptasya prApti is extremely important for advaitins.
That's why sha.nkarabhagavAn spends a lot of time battling
GYAna-karma-samuchchhaya. prAptasya prApti  is a direct consequence of

The only other school which admits of this notion of moxa is Kashmir
Shaivism. However, there are other key differences between advaita and
Kashmir Shaivism.

>From ADVAITA-L at LISTS.ADVAITA-VEDANTA.ORG Tue Jun  8 03:15:23 1999
Message-Id: <TUE.8.JUN.1999.031523.0400.ADVAITAL at LISTS.ADVAITAVEDANTA.ORG>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 03:15:23 -0400
Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: a question.

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM> wrote:

>My feeling is that the statements like no one else will be born in his
>family who is ignorant is arthavAda in praise of brahmaGYAna.
>Doubtless, being born in the same family a GYAni was born requires a
>lot of previous puNya, but I don't see why that translates into Atma
>GYAna.  If these statements are not treated as arthavAda, it becomes
>very problematic w.r.t avidyA/mAyA.

Yes, I agree. The reason may be to uphold jnAna yoga as a religious ideal.
Note the comparison with a thousand sacrifices, and that all the ancestors
have been saved. The ritualist ideal talks of the debts that every man is
said to be born with, and there was a great social opposition to renouncing
the world without going through the householder stage.


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