[Advaita-l] Re: gauDapAda kArikA-s

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri May 23 19:58:26 CDT 2003

>>However, think about the following. The jIva, being brahman, is also a 
>>kind of sa-guNa brahman (the guNa-s differ), and according to your own 
>>thinking, the jIva is deluded.
>This type of thinking is rejected in the brahmasUtras. I have

No. That jIva is a kind of sa-guNa brahman is nowhere rejected in the 
brahmasUtra or anywhere else in Advaita technical literature. Otherwise, the 
jIva brahman identity cannot be described at all, in any sense of the term. 
You have to look beyond the guNa-s in order to see the identity. Popularly, 
people think only of ISvara when the term saguNa brahman is used, but that 
is not correct.

>already given you the relevant brahmasUtras to show this. It was also 
>stated that commonsense is inapplicable to brahman. The scripture is the 
>source of right knowledge.
>Note that you wont say that jIva is brahman in the other three states. jIva 
>brahma unity is valid only in liberation. bheda sruti  prevails for the 
>other states.

No, you misunderstand. When the mANDUkya Sruti says, AtmA catushpAt, it does 
not say that the AtmA in one state is a different entity from the AtmA in 
another state. Rather, it is the same AtmA, only the states differ. Viewed 
epistemologically, jIva realizes the identity with brahman in liberation and 
not in regular waking, dreaming and sleeping states. However, from the 
perspective of ontology, the jIva is always brahman, precisely because 
delusion, which causes the three states, itself only appears; it is not 
real. If you wish to maintain that the jIva brahman identity (at an 
ontological level) is really invalid in one state but really valid in 
another, then you have to say that whatever differentiates the one state 
from the other is also real (at an ontological level).

>>Well, asampradAyavit sarva-SAstravid api mUrkhavad upekShaNIyaH - 
>>How do you arrive at the true meaning of vedAnta independent of all else?
>Vedanta is very specific that brahman is undeluded. For interpreting 
>vedanta correctly, we have the brahmasUtras and we have already seen what 
>they say.
>>If so, I don't understand why you have to have a problem with gauDapAda 
>The problem is this - *sammohitah svayam*

But the svayam in this verse is connected to the jIva referenced three 
verses earlier. So where is the problem, except with your misunderstanding 
of gauDapAda?

>>Who decided that gauDapAda (or for that matter, Sankara or sureSvara) 
>>gives un-vedAntic posulates? It seems to me that this is completely a 
>>misunderstanding of what he says.
>In what way is this a mis-understanding? I have asked this many times. 
>Where in vedanta do you get the idea that brahman is deluded?

Nowhere. And that is why delusion itself is an "as if", ultimately speaking. 
brahman is not deluded. brahman, as the jIva, "appears" to be deluded.

>If it is accepted that vedanta states very clearly that brahman is 
>undeluded, then any postulate on the contrary is automatically unvedantic. 
>If you maintain that brahman is deluded, then what is the guarentee that 
>the BG is not avidya?

The question does not arise, for reasons described above.

However, for purposes of argument ...

Say there is a guru somewhere you learn vedAnta from. A jIva inhabits his 
body, and by definition, according to you, that jIva is not brahman, because 
that jIva is deluded during the waking moments. What is your guarantee then 
that anything that this guru teaches you (necessarily during the waking 
state), including the knowledge of brahman, is not avidyA?

On second thought, forget about this hypothetical guru. There is a jIva 
inhabiting the body you call Kalyan, again by definition, according to you, 
different from brahman, because of delusion. All that you know, including 
the brahmasUtras and the upanishads, you have learned predominantly in the 
waking state - from books, from your parents, from your teachers. What is 
your guarantee that anything you have learnt is not avidyA?

Another question - does your conception of liberation entail physical death? 
Any jIva inhabiting a body that goes through waking, dreaming and sleeping 
states is deluded, and therefore not brahman, right?


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