[Advaita-l] BhAmatI and VivaraNa (was RE: Locus of avidyaa)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue May 20 16:10:29 CDT 2003

This will be my last posting on the two threads "Locus
of avidyaa" and "Dasa avatars".

Briefly, here's what I want to say:

(1) Claiming that the GauDapaadIya KArikA (GK) is not
VedAntic because it takes the locus of avidyaa to be
Brahman is absurd.

(2) Taking the Atman of the jIva to be the locus of
avidyaa is perfectly fine, but to imagine that this is
"more VedAntic than the KArikA" is equally absurd. 

Here's why:

According to advaita VedAnta 101, Atman (referent of
of the word "I") = Brahman ("Being with no limits" and
the real substratum of the universe).

In his Brahma suutra Bhaashhya 4.1.3, Shankara first
explains that multiplicity is perceived due to avidyaa
and then answers a question asked by the opponent
regarding the locus of avidyaa:

Q: "To whom does ignorance belong?"
A: "It belongs to you who ask."
Q: "But the shruti says I am Brahman."
A: "If you already know this, there is no ignorance."

Therefore, Shankara does not care to (or takes great
care not to) define the locus of ignorance. Both the
schools that formed after Shankara -- BhAmatI (which
takes the locus of ignorance to be the Atman or jIva)
and VivaraNa (which takes the locus of ignorance to be
Brahman) have *exactly* the same problems with
avidyaa. The prima facie reason is that they both
postulate the *same* entity as having the locus of
avidyaa, since Atman = Brahman. 

The vivaraNa school (as well as the GK) has support in
the aitareya upanishhad as does the BhAmatI in the
MuNDaka upanishhad. Both follow shruti perfectly well.

The BR^ihadaaraNyaka verse that talks of Brahman as
free from avidyaa refers to Brahman *before creation*
-- the ajAti or birthless state, where there is no



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