[Advaita-l] Re: Pa~nchapAdikAchArya

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 15 07:26:15 CST 2006

The debate about two avidya's (mulAvidya and adhyAsa or tulAvidya) has been 
settled in the 1976 debate as I mentioned in my earlier message or even 
earlier, according to Shri V.S. Ramachandra Sastri, the great Vedanta 
scholar who, at one time even taught Shri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Svaminah 
before his ascension to the Sharada Peetha.

Basically, there are two views - one that holds adhyAsa as naisargika and 
the other that looks for a "cause" of this adhyAsa. Both the vivaraNa and 
bhAmatI schools accept the second position.
The criticism that PanchapAdikA comes under from the Holenarsipur school is 
well known, namely that against the explanation of "mithyAjnAna", which is 
introduced right in the commentary on the adhAysa-bhAShya. Likewise, the 
bhAmatI has been criticized on the same grounds, for accepting two avidyas, 
in works such as the bhAmatI-samAlochanam.h by Jnananandendra Sarasvati. 
Vachaspati Mishra begins his famous bhAmatI with 
"anirvAchyAvidyAdvitayasya...", which is clarified by amalAnanda, the author 
of Kalpataru as "hyekA anAdir bhAvarUpA" and the other as " 
pUrvapUrvavibhramasaMskAraH", and he does define anirvAchyA as not definable 
as real or not real, "sattvAsattvAbhyAm-anirvAchyam.h".

There are two questions that one needs to ask of post-Shankaran advaitins. 
1) Have they drastically deviated from Shankara so as to distort his theory? 
2) Have they put forth something that contradicts the basic tenets of 
advaita? The answer to the second question, which is in some way more 
important than the first one, is a "No" based on texts such as the siddhAnta 
bindu, siddhAnta-lesha-saMgraha, and sayings of Shri Bharati Tirtha 
Svaminah. The answer to the first question is a "No" too based on the 1976 
debate and other articles. In order to show this, one needs to study the 
bhAShya of Shankara on various sUtras such as 2.3.31 and 3.2.9, not just the 
adhyAsa bhAShya. It is only after considering the bhAShya on various sUtras 
that one notices the consistency between what the bhAShya says and what 
panchapAdikA and bhAmatI say.

The consistency between the bhAShya and the later texts that advocate two 
avidyas lies in the analysis of sleep and waking states or the pralaya 
(dissolution) and the world as we see it. Shankara agrees, without a doubt, 
in his bhAShya that avidya persists in the sleep state citing the analogy of 
manhood being present in a small boy. Just as manhood manifests itself fully 
when the boy comes of age, so too the avidya gets its "full-blown" status in 
the waking state. Now, it is a simple matter to infer and justify that the 
avidya that persists in the sleep state is more primary than the one in the 
waking state, ie. it is the kAraNa-avidyA and the one in the waking state is 
the kArya-avidyA. Shankara, in fact, mentions the analogy of a seed and the 
sprout which emerges from the seed. It is clear that the panchapAdikA's 
position and that of the bhAmatI is faithful to the bhAShya of Shankara.


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