Liberation and citta vRtti nirodha

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 21 18:55:57 CDT 2000

Charles Wikner <WIKNER at NAC.AC.ZA> wrote:

>The way I read the passage, stressing the similarity or difference
>seemed stylistic rather than semantic.  A few lines earlier Shankara
>gives (Madvananda):
>      Therefore memories of notions of the non-Self die out when
>      the Self is known.  As the only alternative left, the train
>      of remembrance of the knowledge that the Self is one, which
>      comes automatically, is not to be prescribed.  Besides, the
>      memory of the Self removes the painful defects such as grief,
>      delusion, fear and effort, for these defects spring from the
>      opposite kind of knowledge.
>My sense is that the objector picked up on the last sentence quoted
>above, and not the previous one, and that his point was that other
>(different) means, such as Yoga, can also (similarly) negate those
>defects through control of the mind.  To this Shankara responds --
>importantly -- that such means do not lead to liberation.

Yes, the argument about citta vRtti nirodha is itself a response
to Sankara's statement about the recollection of Self-knowledge
vis-a-vis knowledge of the not-Self.

In this context, Suresvara's statements are also very pertinent.
In the vArtika on the above text, he writes, Atma-smRtes svataH
prAptiH....., pratyag-jnAne nirudhyante citta-tad-vRttayo yataH |
abhyupetya etad asmAbhir ucyate....., vidher daurbalya siddhyartham
ato bhAshyakRd uktavAn - verses 847, 850, 931 in vArtika on BU 1.4.7.

The general sense is that the niyama vidhi interpretation, or
equivalently, a parisaMkhyA vidhi interpretation, is not made as a
forceful argument. Inasmuch as Atma-smRti is to be had naturally
(svataH), the scripture does not intend to enjoin it strictly.
Nevertheless, the uses of such smRti, for the purposes of driving
away Soka and moha, and for checking the pravRtii of vAk, manas
and kAya, are acknowledged.

In naishkarmyasiddhi, he writes,

niyamaH parisaMkhyA vA vidhy artho 'pi bhaved yataH |
anAtmAdarSanenaiva parAtmAnam upAsmahe || 1. 88 ||

>WOW!  That's magnificent!  jnAna-pravRtti is a beautiful description
>for the "conscious" actions of a realised man -- again, it is the
>*positive* counterpart of niSkAma karma.

Yes, this positive counterpart is always emphasized. See also
gItA 6. 3, which Suresvara quotes both in the vArtika and in
naishkarmyasiddhi - Arurukshor muner yogaM karma kAraNam ucyate,
yogArUDhasya tasyaiva SamaH kAraNam ucyate. Of course, the
bhAshya on this verse is also essential reading to understand
the advaita approach to yoga.

>If nothing else, this exchange has brought that first pAda to life
>for me.  Thanks!

Everything fits in neatly, doesn't it?!! That is the beauty of
Sankara's interpretation.


>Consider: as soon as the voluminous debate about Buddhism had been
>stopped, you begin a thread with "There is a lot of confusion about
>..." :-)   Then you give Shankara's passage stating that there is no

Well, we have our resident Vicar of Wakefield to thank for
bringing it up, albeit tangentially.

>In fact, the whole Buddhist argument was flattened in its early
>stages by Anand's post of 12 June under the subject "advaita-siddhi
>- 16 BrahmavAda and ShUnyavAda", which brought up the logical
>necessity of a counter-positive (illusion must have a substratum,
>negation must have a counter-positive).

Yes, this should have been understood early on, but perhaps we
are expecting our paNDitaMmanya-s to understand advaita-siddhi!!

>And now, withe excellent timing, Rama has started a series on the
>"Exegesis of mahAvAkya-s", and Jaldhar on "Vakyavrtti of Shri
>Shankaracharya".  So now we have a cluster of threads: the logical

Since the entire discussion, even in the passage on citta vRtti
nirodha, revolves around the veda-vAkya-janita-Atma-vijnAna.
vAkyavRtti takes up the issue of the exegesis of the vAkyas. As
you say, the positive counterpart is simply a practical necessity.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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