[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.12 : part 2

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Mon Nov 28 22:47:39 CST 2005

namo nArAyaNAya!
in  the previous post, we studied BP's and MS's bhAShyam-s on 2.12. it was  mentioned that shrI rAmAnuja's commentary is unusually long for this  shloka (2.12).in this post, we will go through shrI rAmAnuja's  refutation of advaita based on this shloka.  
  summary of shrI rAmAnuja's objections
shrI  rAmAnuja stresses on the ultimate difference between the individual  selves and also their difference from the one supreme self, taking  support from the usage of words like 'aham', 'tvam', 'vayam' etc. which  clearly indicate multiplicity of selves [1]. he asserts that  multiplicity of selves is certain since kR^iShNa refers to multiple  beings  while giving the gItopadesha, which is the science of the  self [2]. the proof for the multiplicity of the selves is also given  elsewhere by kR^iShNa where he states 'arjuna, I know all beings of the  past, present and those to come, but no one knows me' (gItA 7.26)[3].
  shrI rAmAnuja first takes up advaita's stand that duality is perceived  only because of ignorance. this view of the advaitin-s - aj~nAnakR^ita  bheda darshanam - is not correct. for, if it were true, kR^iShNa, being  the supreme lord, must have a direct perception of His real self and  hence, there can be neither something to teach or someone to teach  since all these notions arise only due to ignorance. it cannot be said  that the perception of duality can occur even after one gets Atma  j~nAna since the former can occur only through ignorance and the latter  is realized upon the complete destruction of ignorance. even if this is  accepted, the observed activities of kR^iShNa cannot be explained. just  as one who knows the water seen in a mirage to be unreal will not make  any attempt to fetch that water, so also, the supreme lord, being  established in His own self, cannot have any activities like teaching  etc. 
 thus, there arises the question as to whom the lord or  the various teachers of advaita would teach. if they engage in  teaching, they perceive duality and hence, they themselves are  ignorant. if they don't perceive duality, they cannot engage in  activities like teaching. the bottom line is that, if advaita is true,  one who has Atma j~nAna cannot engage himself in any activity. since  the lord, who knows the supreme truth, is seen to engage Himself in  activities such as teaching, it can be concluded that the aj~nAnakR^ita  bhedadarshana view of the advaitin-s is not correct. 
 if it  is argued that the teacher and the knowledge imparted exist only in the  mind of the student, the same should hold true for the teacher also. in  the present context, that would lead to kR^iShNa superimposing  Ishvaratva on His own self and imagining an ignorant disciple called  arjuna and then, teaching him AtmavidyA, all of which are absurd since  the lord is by His own nature beyond any trace of ignorance. 
  to put it in a nutshell, according to advaita, Atma j~nAna and bheda  darshana are mutually incompatible. hence, within the scheme of  advaita, the notion of an Ishvara (or a 'realized' guru, i.e. a  jIvanmukta) is not possible. [4]
  a discussion of shrI rAmAnuja's objections will be taken up in the next post. 
footnotes and references
  [1] this is in sharp contrast to the advaitic interpretation which says  that the plural terms are used only with reference to the bodies (see  previous post for references). 
 [2] evaM bhagavataH  sarveshvarAdAtmAnAM parasparaM cha bhedaH pAramArthika iti bhagavatA  evoktamiti pratIyate. aj~nAnamohitaM prati tannivR^ittaye  pAramArthikanityatva upadeshasamaye ahaM tvaM ime sarve vayam iti  vyapadeshAt. (R.G.B.2.12)
  [3] vedAhaM samtItAni vartamAni chArjuna.
      bhaviShyAni cha bhUtAni mAM tu veda na kashchana..7.26
  [4] all arguments are taken from shrI rAmAnuja's gItA bhAShyam on 2.12.  i have provided the original bhAShyam in a previous mail (in february  2005) and hence, will not rewrite it here. 
  vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.
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