[Advaita-l] adhyArOpa apavAda - An Unique Method of Teaching
K Kathirasan NCS
kkathir at ncs.com.sg
Fri Nov 26 00:14:17 CST 2004
Thanks for writing this beautiful exposition.
From: bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com [mailto:bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com]
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2004 7:49 PM
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Subject: [Advaita-l] adhyArOpa apavAda - An Unique Method of Teaching
PraNAms to all truth seekers
For the kind consideration of Sri Sankara bhagavadpUjyapAda followers, I've
written the following. I request all the learned prabhuji-s of this list
to pass on their invaluable comments / criticisms.
Shruti smruti purANAnAM AlayaM karuNAlayaM
NamAmi bhagavatpAdaM shankaraM lOka shankaraM
Srimachhankara bhagavadpAda sadgurubhyo namaH
vandE taM sacchidAnandaM yativaryaM mahAmatiM
vEdavEdAnta sArajnaM sadguruM praNatOsmyahaM
SadAhaM saMpradAyajnaM saMyamIndraM sadAshrayaM
Sri SatchidAnandEndra Saraswati parama gurubhyo namaH
ajnAna timirAndhasya jnAnAnjana shalakaya
chakshurunmilitaM yEna tasmai shree guravE namaH
My humble prostrations to my beloved guruji-s Sri Mattur Ashvatha Narayana
AvadhAni & Sri Chandramouli Avadhani.
AdhyArOpa apavAda - An Unique Method of teaching by scriptures
In vEdAnta, we can find different way of approach to the ultimate truth.
Here we have some statements which clearly indicate the duality & others
explicitly advocating non-dual nature of parabrahman. To reconcile these
apparent contradictions in sAstra siddhAnta, somany AchArya-s have written
elaborate commentaries on prasthAna traya i.e. vEdAnta/upanishads, smruthi
texts like bhagavad gIta & nyAya prasthAna i.e. brahma sUtra-s to propagate
their view points. Later on, eminent scholars have written comprehensive
sub-commentaries & glosses based on principal commentaries of their
AchArya's respective school of thought. Just like shankara's advaita
school, dualistic schools too have established their dogmas on the strength
& support of scriptural statements & logical arguments. And they have even
gone to the extent of accusing advaita by adducing logical arguments &
'selective' pramANa vAkya from scriptures to show that the philosophical
base of advaita is shaky & utterly opposed to the 'true teaching of
scriptures. Fresh entrants to the vast field of vEdAnta get lost in the
loquacious interpretation of these schools & find it very difficult to
determine which is the true & ultimate pronouncement of shruthi-s with
regard to the absolute reality. Anyway, we are not here to discuss the
harm caused by other schools in this regard. What we are trying to find
here is, whether there is really any streamlined method adopted in shruti-s
in teaching of the ultimate truth.
As I am writing this mainly to advaitins, I'd like to say, being a sincere
student of shAstra & Advaita School, first & foremost thing one can do is,
he should approach bhagavadpAda's prasthAna traya bhAshya through bonafide
sampradAya. He has to sit under the lotus feet of his guru who is
shrotrIya, brahmanishTa & learn the secrecy of method of teaching adopted
by shruti-s in propagating the nirviShEshatva of parabrahman. At the end
bhAshya pATha, definitely he will come to know that his paramAchArya's
purports alone are the ONE & ONLY means to determine the spiritual &
philosophical teaching of vEdAnta. Without the help of sampradAya
vida's/guru's teaching, it would be a tedious task to the student of
advaita vEdAnta to even know that there is a systematic method adopted in
shruti. Socalled philosophers / scholers could not come to an unanimous
opinion as regards to the method of teaching adopted in vEdAnta. This is
due to lack of knowledge of genuine method of teaching & excessive
dependence on their own intellectual capability. My parama guruji observes
this in his book ' How to Recognise the Method of Vedanta' (HRMV)& quotes
the opinion of various scholars on how they failed to recognize the method
of teaching in vEdAnta. Here are some of those :
" A system of the upanishads, strictly speaking, does not exist. For these
treatises are not the work of a single genius, but the total philosophical
product of an entire epoch" ? P. Deussen, Pu.p.51
" There is little that is spiritual in all this"; this empty intellectual
conception, void of spirituality, is the highest form that the Indian mind
is capable of'" ? Gough, quoted by S. Radhakrishna, IP Vol.1, P.139
" If anything is evident even on a cursory review of the Upanishads and the
impression so created is only strengthened by a more careful investigation
? it is that they do not constitute a systematic whole" ? G.Thibaut, VS.
" The upanishads has no set theory of philosophy or dogmatic scheme of
theology to propound. They hint at the truth in life, but not as yet in
science or philosophy. So numerous are their suggestions of truth, so
various are their guesses at God, that almost anybody may seek in them what
he wants and find what he seeks, and every school of dogmatics may
congratulate itself on finding its own doctrine in the sayings of the
upanishads" ? Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, IP P. 140.
" The difficult of assuring oneself that any interpretation is absolutely
the right one is enhanced by the fact that germs of diverse kinds of
thoughts are found scattered over the upanishads which are not worked out
in a systematic manner ? Prof. Dasgupta, HIP Vol.P.41-42
It is evident from the above, the modern scholars who have done
considerable research work in Indian philosophy did not even aware of the
fact that there is a channelised method in shAstra-s. Under these
circumstances, we have no other option but to take shelter under our
sampradAya vida-s method of teaching, which is embedded & closely knitted
in the shruthi-s. After closely following the teaching of sampradAya, we
will come to know our scriptures have uniformly guided us through a
systematic method which can be recognised by only shrOtriya/brahmanishTa
AchArya who has undergone traditional teaching.
Here comes the main question. Which is that method adopted by
shruti-s/shankara sampradAya to teach us yEkamEvAdvitIya brahman?? Shankara
tells us about this method explicitly in gIta bhAshya. He says, the
knowers of the traditional method (sampradAyavidA) have announced that
which is devoid of all distinctions and details has been explained through
deliberate super-imposition (adhyArOpa) and subsequent rescission of the
Before going to the details of this method, the question needs to be
answered is, first of all why we need ' a method' to know our self
established, self-evident nature of brahman?? If at all there is a
'method' how do we ascertain that the adhyArOpa apavAda is the right & only
method?? And a doubt may also arise to the intellectuals that if through
some method we are able to achieve some end, how can that same be proved as
our svarUpa? Since the known to be obviously different from knower & it
cannot be the subject knower as the 'knower' cannot be the object of
cognition. This is the reason why some will come to the conclusion that
there is "no method" to know paramArtha tattva since it is objectless
knowledge. As Sri Sadananda prabhuji often quotes, scholars like JK says
truth is the pathless land. Once you adopt some method to 'know'
something, immediately, you will be strayed from the already established
fact & you will be under the spell of whims & fancies of your own thinking.
Therefore, if you label any method in vEdAnta then that methodology cannot
bring you the paramArtha jnAna. Since it is still maintaining
subject-object (vishaya-vishayi or jnAtru-jnEya) distinction, it is self
defeating method & no use.
Yes, strictly speaking, there is some logic behind this argument. Even in
our day to day business (vyavahAra) we don't have to think about 'who am I'
we invariably taken our pramAtrutva (knowership) for granted & only strive
to know something outside of us i.e. objective world through pramAtru's
limited adjuncts (upAdhi-s). Since, even to know this routine ahaM/ego, we
don't need any method (prakriya)& not employing any means, then how can it
be accepted that there is a method to "know" the "witness" to this false
ego?? In that sense it would be appropriate to say "Yes" there is no need
of any method, no knower-known distinction when we identifying ourselves
with our paramArtha svarUpa. But as we all know that is not the present
scenario where we are in. We are still suffering from avidya,
anyOnyAdhyAsa, identifying ourselves with the body (dEha), senses
(indriya), mind (mana), intellect (buddhi), ego (ahankAra), life force
(prANa) etc. So, to eliminate this chronic problem of wrong identification
& to establish in our nitya, shuddha, buddha, muktha Ananda svarUpa,
shruti-s, for the sake of our own convenience fabricating some methodology
for the time being. But in ultimate sense, as said above "yes" there is no
need for objectification of truth through any type of methodology.
This is what shankara also says in gItA bhAshya (18-50) " tasmAt
avidyAdhyArOpita nirAkaraNa mAtraM brahmaNi kartavyaM! ' na tu
brahmavijnAne yatnaH! atyantha prasiddhatvAt" the task to be accomplised
here is to get rid of superimposed false notion due to avidya. There is no
need of any effort involved in realising our true nature which is svataH
siddha & very evident (atyAnta prasiddhatvAt). But since we are not
realising the truth "as it is" falsely imputing anAtma vastu dharma on the
Atma vastu we need a prakriya (method) which helps us to reveal the true
nature of our svarUpa. When the false notion is eliminated, "no special
effort" is required to realise the truth. So to say, due to ajnAna, we
think that rope is snake, after the snakeness removed from the right
knowledge the rope will remain "as it is". Here knowledge required to know
that rope is not snake & not to know "rope" per se. shankara says mAndukya
kArika bhAshya (2-32) that this is the pronouncement of knowers of
sampradAya "siddhAntu nivartakatvAt iti AgamavidAm sUtraM".
>From the above, we can say adhyarOpa means "when the avidya is
shruti-s, for the convenience of teaching, accepting a thing /attribute
that is literally not there" apavAda means negation of that which we had
accepted earlier for the convenience of teaching. My parama guruji Sri
SatchidAnandEndrasaraswati Swamiji observes this in HRMV as follows:
Superimposition (adhyArOpa) literally means laying something on something
else, falsely imputing the nature or property of something to something
else. It is a postulate of vEdAnta that owing to a natural tendency of the
human mind, a beginningless superimposition called avidyA compels us all to
look upon reality as infected with manifold distinctions. Now, in order to
educate the mind to interpret reality as it is, the upanishads uniformly
employ the aforesaid method of adhyArOpa apavAda or deliberate
superimposition or provisional ascription and subsequent rescission or
It is evident from the above that this principal method is used by shruti-s
to teach us absolutely featureless parabraman. In this main method
shruti-s talking about subdivisions like avasthAtraya (the three states),
pancha kOSa vivEka (the knowledge of five sheaths) drug-drushya vivEka
(jnAtru-jnEya), sAmAnya-viShESa prakriya, anvaya-vyatirEka prakriya,
vidyA-avidyA prakriya, kArya-kAraNa prakriya etc. These are all
subordinate methods adopted by shruti-s at various places to disclose the
nature of our true self as brahman in itself. As this self is devoid of
all specific features, it is only superimposition of all attributes by the
unenlightened common mind in order to teach us the nirvikAri, nirviShESa,
nirvikalpa parabraman. YAgnAvalkya says about the true nature of brahman
in bruhadAraNyaka shruti (3-8-8) that : It is this akshara (imperishable)
O gArgi, so the knowers of brahman say. It is neither gross nor subtle,
neither short nor long, not red, not viscid, not shadow, not dark, not the
air, not the ether, not adhesive, tasteless, odourless, without the sense
of sight, without the sense of hearing without the vital principle, mouth
less, without measure, neither interior nor exterior, it eats nothing,
nobody eats it.
>From this strict denial of all properties, one may take the
tattva as absolute shUnya. No, the nitya chaitanya vastu is taught by way
of imaginary attributes apparently pertaining to it owing to limited
adjuncts. At the close of teaching the apavAda of even the falsely
attributes used as a device for purpose of teaching lest it should be
treated as actually belonging to It for ever like kArya's seed form in the
Well, this adhyArOpa apavAda methodology not strictly restricted to vEdAnta
only but its been used & has influence in our day to affair as well. Take
for exp. At our elementary school education we have been taught of sun
rise, sun set & his movement East to West, solar eclipse etc. for the
convenience of teaching first tutor will accept all these apparently
pertaining to Sun as seen but subsequently in deeper studies of the same
subject he explains how sun is stable in his position & it is the
earth/moon movement which is causing all these geographical phenomena.
Shankara beautifully explains this in bruhadAraNyaka bhAshya (4-4-25) as
follows : * yathA yEka prabhruti A parArdha saNkhyAsvarUpa parijnanAya
rEkhAdhyArOpaNaM krutvA yEkEyaM rEkhA, dashEyaM, shatEyaM, sahasrEyaM iti
grAhayati, avagamayati saNkhyAsvarUpaM kEvalaM, na tu saNkhyAyA
rEkhAtmatatvamEva??????.. tadupasaMhrutaM punaH parishuddhaM kEvalamEva
saphalaM jnAnaM ante asyAM kaNdikAyAm iti!! In summary, shankara says here
to impart the knowledge of numbers like ten, hundred, thousand etc. to
student, the teacher will draw some lines. The student will get the *
knowledge * of numbers & he does not hold the lines itself as numbers in
this case. Likewise, when we are learning alphabets, though we use ink &
paper, we don't think those material itself as akshara-s. From paper &
pencil we gain only * akShara jnAna* & at any point of time we don't think
the material which we have used to gain * akSharajnAna* itself alphabets.
In vEdAnta too, the same methodology has been adopted to teach us
brahmatattva. First it accepts origination/ creation of jagat/world etc.
finally it negates all these false attributions by saying nEti nEti (
kindly refer shankara bhAshya where he says tathA ha iha
utpathyAdyanEkOpAya janita vishEsha parishOdhanArthaM "nEti nEti" iti
tatvOpasaMhArakrutaH) In the same line we can refer shankara's
ArambhaNadhikaraNa sutra bhAshya (2-1-14) " tathA akSharAdi satyAkSara
pratipattiH druShtA! REkhAnrutAkShara pratipatEH etc.
It is amply clear that by adopting this method of adhyArOpa apavAda, the
ShAstra-s lift us from the level 1 of both knowing & being at one go as
they reveal the eternal transcendental nature of our true self which is
beyond the knower & knows distinction. The vEdic riShi-s did one of the
most impossible task which can ever be imagined. They successfully used
'words' to reveal that which no word can ever describe. How could they able
to do this ? They resorted to a unique methodology called as "adhyArOpa
Now, we will have a look at this method & let us see how it is closely
interweaved in scriptures. One standing examples for this prakriya is gIta
sloka. Shankara explicitly mentions here the method adopted by
sampradAyavida-s is adhyArOpa apavAda. My parama guruji gives here
detailed account of the same in his book HRMV ( Page 30-31) :
sarvataH pANipAdaM tatsarvatOkShirOmukhaM!
SarvataH ShrutimallokE! SarvamAvrutya thiSTathi!!
( Gita chapter 13- verse 13)
SarvEndriya guNAbhAsaM! SarvEndriyavivarjitaM!
AsaktaM sarvabruchaiva! NirguNaM guNabhOktrucha!!
(gIta chapter 13-Verse 14
In the first of the above two slOka-s, reality or Brahman is said to posses
hands & feet, eyes, heads, faces and ears on all sides; whereas in all the
second, it is declared to be devoid of all senses even while it appears to
be able to perform all sensory funcrtions. Sankara, observes that ' the
special features noticed in the kshetrajna (the self) owing to the limiting
conditions caused by the different forms of kshEtra (the body etc.) being
unreal, have been rescinded in the previous slOka, and the kshEtrajna has
been taught to be realized as neither being nor non-being. But here (in
slOka 13), even the unreal nature manifested throught the limiting
conditions has been treated as though it were the property of the knowable,
just to bring its existence home, and hence the knowable kshEtrajna is
spoken of as 'possessed of hands and feet etc., everywhere'. Accordingly,
there is the well known saying of the knowers of tradition : ' That which
is devoid of all details is set forth in detail throught deliberate
superimposition and rescission' Hands and feet and the rest which seem to
be limbs of each and every body, owe their respective functions to the
presence of the power of consciousness inherent in the Atman to be known.
So they are evidential marks indicating the presence of Atman and are
therefore spoken of as pertaining to It in a secondary sense" Shankara
means to say that Brahman is first brought to our notice by the shruthi as
the one self of us all, which functions throught all our senses. The self
seizes things with out hands, walks with our feet, sees through our eyes
and hears through our ears, as it were. This way of describing It is for
convincing us of Its undeniable existence. Once we recognize this, the
shruti revokes the wrong ascription of sensory acts, to enable us to
interpret reality as it is, as the one universal self. The ascription of
the sensory activities was merely a device to familiarize our mind with the
existence of the self, very much like the temporary scaffolding used for
the erection of a building, to be altogether removed after that object is
accomplished. Accordingly, shankara summarizes the purport of the second
slOka thus :
· upAdhibhutapANipAdAdhidhyArOpAt, ?????????????????..
Lest it be supposed that this Brahman to be known is really possessed of
the senses such as hands and feet etc. just because they have been imputed
to It, the next verse is begun".
For those who want to check shankara bhAshya in original text, kindly refer
the following Shankara vAkya-s on the above verse which goes " upAdhikrutaM
mithyArUpamapi asthitvAdhigamAya jnEya dharmavat parikalpya uchyatE"
sarvataH pANipAdam" ityAdi! tathA hi saMpradAyavidAM vachanaM "
adhyArOpApavAdAbhyAM niShprapaNchaM prapaNchyAtE iti "
Just as a side note for those who want to know the explicit mention of
adhyArOpa apavAda words in shruti-s. tEjObindu Upanishad mentions these
words explicitly where shiva says skanda about absolute featureless nature
of parabrahman?.. neither adhyArOpa nor apavAda , no oneness, no manyness,
no blindness, no dullness, no skill, no flesh, no blood, no lymph, no skin,
no marrow, no bone, no skin, none of the seven Dhatus, no whiteness, no
redness, no blueness, no heat, no gain, neither importance nor
non-importance, no delusion, no perseverance, no mystery, no race, nothing
to be abandoned or received, nothing to be laughed at, no policy, no
religious vow, no fault, no happiness, neither knower nor knowledge nor the
knowable, no Self, nothing belonging to you or to me, neither you nor I,
and neither old age nor youth nor manhood; but I am certainly Brahman. 'I
am certainly Brahman. I am Chit, I am Chit'.
Sri vidyAshankara prabhuji of Advaita-L list had mentioned once that these
words are appearing in pingala upanishat as well?I don't have the exact
reference with me. Sri Sunder prabhuji may help us in this regard.
The madhukhANda & yajnavalkyakhANda are some divisions in bruhadAraNyaka
shruti which give many illumining illustrations on the presentation of
adhyArOpa and apavAda to explain the real and unreal substance.
Interested readers may refer these with shankara bhAshya.
While talking about apavAda in in this prakriya, shankara gives us the
clear definition of subsequent recession. On sUtra * vyApEshcha samanjasaM
*, shankara writes : " apavAda nAma yatra kasminchit vastuni
niShchitAyAM paSchAt upajAyamAna yathArtha bhuddhiH pUrvanivishtAyAH
mithyAbhuddhErnirvartikA bhavati! YathA dEhEndriya saNghAtE AtmabhuddiH
AtmanyEva Atma bhuddhyA paschAt bhAvinyA " tattvamasi " ityAnayA
yathArthabhuddhyA nivartatE ( sutra bhAshya 3-3-9)
First, about something we have some misconception & we think that that
misconception itself is the right knowledge. But after the realization of
'right' knowledge the earlier wrong knowledge gives away. So, apavAda
means elimination of wrong knowledge through right knowledge. Shankara
gives here example that every one naturally identifies himself with body,
senses, intellect, mind & ego & experiences pain & pleasure etc. This
tendency is quite natural to everyone who are under the spell of avidyA.
But when shrOtrIya brahmanishTa guru teaches that he is kEvala
sAkshichEtaH, the eligible aspirant will realize that he is not the BMI
complex. Here his wrong identification with manObhdhyAdi upAdhi-s gets
sublated through shAstrAchArya upadEsha.
Now, the next important question is why & how only adhyArOpa apavAda is the
right method of teaching?? As we already discussed, in vyavahAra, when we
are ignorant of something, we assume/superimpose somany attributes on it.
(just like on rope we superimpose snake, its curving nature & sometimes its
hissing sound!!! Etc.) When the true nature of that unknown thing revealed,
the earlier ajnAna which we had will get erased by the 'right' knowledge of
it. This is there in our everyday business. The right knowledge cannot
bring us any non-existent thing nor annihilate already existing one.
nAsato vidyatEbhAvo nabhAvo vidyate sadA says Krishna in gIta. The right
knowledge can only removes false attribution on the svarUpa that which is
not there?For example let us go back to our famous rope-snake analogy. We
have the wrong knowledge of rope & see the same as snake!! When the rope is
realized completely that realization does not anyway annihilate the
non-existent "snake" in the rope nor "create" already existing rope. The
'rope' knowledge or realization of "ropeness" reveals the fact that the
snake was never ever there in the rope & the rope was/is/will be the only
reality forever. So, the scope of right knowledge is to show the true
nature of perceived thing & never ever creates or annihilate any non
existent thing. Likewise, in brahma jignAsa, when we are ignorant of one
without second nature of Brahman, we see multiple jIva-s & jagat in
nirvikalpa Brahman. The Atma jnAna helps us to eradicate this wrong
perception in nirvishEsha Brahman. As said above, this jnAna neither
destroy the "non-existent" jagat or jIva in Brahman nor create something
called Brahman in jagat & jIva. Shankara on these lines says in
chamasAdhikaraNa sutra bhAshya (1-4-10) that * na hi kvachit sAkshAdvastu
dharmasya apOdhree drushtA karthree vAvidyA! AvidyAyAstu sarvatriva
nivartikA drushyatE! TaTha ihApi abrahmatvaM asarvatvaM cha avidyAkrutamEva
nivartyatAM brahma vidyayO! Na tu pAramArthikaM vastu kartuM nivartayitaM
vA arhati brahma vidyA!! Shankara telling us here, jnAna reveals the true
nature of existent thing, & it never create nor destroys anything. Limited
identification of our true nature is avidyA. If the jagat & jIva already
there in Brahman then Atma jnAna cannot destroy it, but from Atma jnAna,
jnAni realizes that the true ever-existing thing is his own svarUpa & jIva
jagat are kEvala adhyArOpita in brahmavastu. The perception of jIva-jagat
in vyavahAra is due to ajnAna about brahmatattva.
Further, shruti telling us Brahman is the only reality / Brahman is all
nothing else apart from it. BrahmaivEdam vishvaM, AtmaivEdam sarvaM,
vAsudEvaM sarvaM, nEha nAnAsti kiNchana etc. to teach us the Brahman is the
ONLY reality, we wrongly see it as jagat & jIva. In reality there is no
duality whatsoever in it. Tatvamasi, ahaM brahmAsmi, kshEtrajnaM chApi mAM
viddhi sarvakshEtrEshu in all these shruti/smruti statements we can find
the adhishtAnaM/substratum is nitya, nirupAdhika Brahman only. The
sublation (bhAdita jnAna) of this apparent duality through Atma jnAna is
called apavAda here. This is the only appropriate method what
shruti/shankara sampradAya advocating.
Finally, sofar, we have seen only shruti vAkya & shankara bhAshya vAkya to
substantiate the importance of methodology of adhyArOpa apavAda. Now, it
is mandatory to see how this method synchronize with our day to day
experience i.e. avasthA traya.
First thing we should understand from avasthA traya is, the 'I'ness
(ahaMkAra/ego) & its perception of the world, may it be waking or dram
appears only in sarva vyApi Brahma tattva which is nothing but sAkshi
svarUpa in us. In ME waker/dreamer & corresponding world have existence.
This ME is the witnessing consciousness & is objectively analyzing both the
waker & dreamer & their respective worlds. Just like, when we see dream
from waker's point of view, the dreamer, dream world all have existence
only in waker who is analyzing the dream objectively as vishaya to him.
So, for the sAkshi both waker & dreamer are objects (vishaya) & he is the
vishayi. Though this objectification exercise has been done from waker
only, we cannot deny the same scenario in dream also if we come across the
same situation. So, let us not have any prejudiced nepotism to waker
atleast from the tattva jignAsa point of view.
Secondly, apart from this ever existent sAkshi svarUpa there is absolutely
no separate existence for the jagat. The statements like "world is there"
or I am there come only from sAkshi who is vishayi (subject) to both these
Therefore, the jagat has its apparent existence only from the waker's or
dreamer's perception. When we are in true svarUpa which is the state where
both dreamer & waker are absent there will be no socalled perceived world &
there will be ONLY sAkshi without identifying himself with anyone.
Thirdly, we should know it is impossible to draw boundaries as regards to
our svarUpa & apparent existence of the jagat. Because this jagat is not
in dEsha-kAla, the very notion of time & space are in this jagat. As we
know, since even in our svarUpa there is no influence of dEsha kAla, it is
impossible to number like sAkshi is one & prapancha is the second.
Keeping all these things in mind we can say avasthA-s are only
superimposition on Atman just to prove that its true natures transcends
these avasthas. That is why first shruti call It by the name vishwa,
tEjasa prajnA etc. just to presenting the Adhidaivic aspects of Atman in
order to negate its limited validity at the particular state ?say waking.
Subsequently, shruti negates all these through apavAda by saying not of
outward or inward consciousness, not of consciousness in either direction,
not prajnAna Ghana, neither consciousness nor unconsciousness (na antaH
prajnA, na bahir prajnA etc. in mAndukya shruti).
In conclusion, shankara paripUrNa siddhAta is in advocating nirguNa,
nirvishEsha Brahman ONLY nothing less than that. He would not compromise
this ultimate reality of our svarUpa at any cost. He clearly pronounces
his ultimatum on his shrutipratipAdita siddhAnta as follows in his long
running sutra bhAshya on ubhaya liNgAdhikaraNa sutra arUpavadEva hi
tatpradhAnatvAt : " It is neither gross nor subtle, neither short nor
long ( astUla, anaNu etc. in bruhadAraNyaka ) without sound, without touch,
without colour, undecaying (ashbhdaM, asparshaM etc. in kaTha) that indeed
which is known as AkASha (ether) is that which differentiates name & form
that which is distinct from these two, that is Brahman (AkAsho ha vai nAma
..etc. in chAndOgya) The puruSha indeed is transcendental, formless, He is
verily unborn both within & without ( divyOmrutaH purushaH sa
bahyAbhyantarO etc. in muNdaka shruti) " Now this Brahman is without
anything antecedent, and without anything consequent, without anything
interior or without anything exterior; this Atman intuiting everything, is
Brahman ( again in bruhadAraNyaka), texts like these mainly purporting to
teach the absolute nature of Brahman without manifoldness and nothing else,
it has been conclusively shown in the sUtra tattu samanvayAt. Therefore,
in texts of this kind, Brahman has to be accepted and taken to be, of the
very nature as revealed in these, that is as being emphatically without
specific features. As for the other set of statements, teaching Brahman
with specific features, these do not mainly purport to teach that ( the
real nature of Brahman which is devoid of all attributes) for their aim
chiefly is to enjoin upAsana. So their express teaching about Brahman
should be accepted only in so far as there is not clash between the two
teachings. But when there is any clash with the other set of teachings
this principle has to be observed in deciding our choice, viz. that texts
having it as their main purport are preferable to those that have it not.
That is why Brahman is concluded to be without any specific feature and not
otherwise, even while there are texts teaching both i.e form and no form).
This one detailed explanation of bhagavadpAda would be more than enough to
his followers to know his stand on Upanishad pratipAdita Brahman. Let us
stick to his advice meticulously by appropriately adopting adhyArOpa
apavAda method & realize our secondless nature.
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!
General information/request to all readers :
01. Kindly refer original Sanskrit texts for correct Sanskrit wordings of
the shruti/shankara bhAshya vAkya-s.
02. All English translation of the shankara bhAshya vAkyas are mine?so
better read the originals wherever you find the translations are inadequate.
03. The above has been written strictly in accordance with traditional
method as taught by my guruji Sri Ashwatha Narayana Avadhani of Mattur.
04. The texts quoted from the original works of my parama guruji has been
marked between //quote/ & //unquote//
05. Since I've not referred any other publication works to draft this, if
any of you find any clarification & criticisms kindly bring it with
appropriate supportings from bhagavapAda's works.
06. If you find any deviations & contradictions from mUla shanakra
siddhAnta, kindly educate me about it with suitable quotes from shankara
07. As my studies are mainly in kannada & Sanskrit & my personal notes on
this also in local language, I could not able to give appropriate
samAnArtaka pada (synonyms) in English. Readers kindly bear with me.
Reference Books :
Written by my paramaguruji H.H. Sri Sri SatchidAnandEndra saraswati
In kannada :
01. shankara's brahma sutra bhAshya Vol- I & II
02. bruhadAraNyaka Upanishad bhAshya Vol-I & Vol-II
03. bhagavad gIta bhAshya
04. shAnkara vEdAnta sAra
05. gaudapAda Hrudaya
06. paripUrNa darshana
01. How to Recognise the Method of Veanta ( An English introduction to
his Sanskrit book vEdAntra prakriya pratyabhigna)
02. Shuddha shankara prakriya bhAskara
03. Science of Being
In Sanskrit :
01. vEdAnta prakriya pratyabhigna
02. sugama ( A work on brahma sutra adhikaraNa)
In Kannada written by other scholars :
01. Shankara vEdAnta sAra sourabha by Sri Devarao KulkarNi (direct
desciple of Sri Sri Swamiji)
02. shAnkara saNdEsha by Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao
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