[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 1, Issue 24
svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed May 28 13:57:50 CDT 2003
"Jay Nelamangala" <jay at r-c-i.com> wrote:
> >From the point of view of Advaita, what were the short comings of such a
>"samanvaya" technique provided by Sri VedavyAsa for it to ignore
>samanvaya and adopt adhyArOpa-apavAda instead of samanvaya while
It is not correct to think that samanvaya is ignored and adhyAropa-apavAda
is substituted instead. It is also not correct to think that they are
alternative means of interpretation of Veda.
adhyAropa-apavAda is simply a word used to describe the technique adopted in
certain scriptural texts.
Take for example, purusha sUkta's "ajAyamAno bahudhA vijAyate". In the same
sentence are two contradictory attributes - one of being born many-fold
(bahudhA jAyate) and of being unborn (ajAyamAnaH). The former is adhyAropa
or superimposition of the attribute of being born, and the latter is
apavAda, or refutation, by clarifying that the purusha is essentially
As another example, take gItA 13. 12-13. sarvataH pANipAdaM etc. describes
brahman as having faces, eyes, hands and feet everywhere, and as having
entered everything. sarvendriyaguNAbhAsaM says that brahman also appears as
all the sense organs. This is adhyAropa. The apavAda follows in the term,
sarvendriya-vivarjitam. The same brahman is now said to be devoid of all
organs. And despite having entered everything, brahman is said to be
unconnected to anything - asaktaM.
Note that in both examples given above, adhyAropa-apavAda works within the
same scriptural sentence or passage. It is not that adhyAropa is done in one
text and apavAda is done in some other text. Both examples serve to show us
how it is that brahman is nir-guNa. Scripture proceeds by first
superimposing guNa-s as characteristic of brahman and then refuting the
notion that the said guNa-s are essential or intrinsic to brahman.
The purpose of samanvaya is altogether different. Here, the idea is to
extract a single harmonious meaning from a variety of texts that talk of the
same subject. As far as the first four sUtra-s of the brahmasUtra are
concerned, the subject is to investigate that (yataH) which causes the
origin, sustenance and destruction (janmAdi) of the universe (asya). That is
said to be brahman, which is to be known (jijnAsA). The sUtra also says that
this knowledge of brahman is obtained from the scriptures (SAstra-yonitva).
However, if you examine different texts, you will find brahman, Atman,
prANa, vAk, manas, Ananda and various other entities described as the one
cause. The principle of samanvaya says that it is erroneous to take these
descriptions as mutually contradictory. Through all the varied entities
named as cause, it is clear that all the texts agree that the cause is only
one, not two or more. That one cause, brahman, is described in many
different ways, depending on context, in different texts. Thus, samanvaya is
the technique used by the sUtra-kAra, and by Sankaracarya, the bhAshya-kAra,
to get the true meaning and intention of different texts that appear to
speak in different voices.
I hope the difference between the two terms is clear.
>Where in prasthAna-traya do we hear about adhyArOpa-apavAda?
paingala upanishad explicitly mentions adhyAropa-apavAda. Sankaracharya also
quotes an older teacher of vedAnta, a sampradAyavit, in gItAbhAshya 13.13,
who mentions adhyAropa-apavAda.
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