[Advaita-l] AVIDYA

KAMESWARARAO MULA kamesh_ccmb at yahoo.co.in
Thu Apr 17 00:55:01 CDT 2008

Dear  Friends,  
                           To understand the Prakrati 'nature' more, I want to understand the more the hidden concepts and the question arising from that. I would like to know or can any body expalin some of my question like " who is telling the child to take the milk from the mother or by which force she is taking the milk from the mother or how child is cooming to know that she/he will get energy or prana by taking the mik to survive further.
  What I mean is that " The child has done that job earlier, then only she/he can do the job again. It mean it has the previous 'vanasnas', memories, samskaras will follow us in this kala chakra (birht/death cycle). What we had now is all due to our previous samskara's ONLY.
  Am I right in this? can any body clarify this or elaborate more.
  My another question: " Who is awakening us form the sleep. As we are living in the materilistic world with so many desires, plans, excustions for tomarrow/or future. All these things we have and our mind is set and planned up to the point where we will go to sleep. I mean after we went to the sleep, still our mind is wandering with the quiries? or desires?, i.e what mind is doing in Turiaya awastha and  who is making us to have a pleasent sleep by forgetting everthing that what we had in our mind up to that and more importantly
  where are our relations (relatives& friends) in the sleep?
  please find some information below this.
  With regards
  Kameswara Rao
  Sanskrit: ‘not-knowledge’; ignorance. 
  The concept of avidya is one of the most important in Advaita Vedanta. Avidya is a comprehensive term which includes maya, and can also indicate ajnana. 
  Avidya is the cause of adhyasa or superimposition of the non-self on the Self. Avidya or ignorance is generally accepted as a lack of understanding or a negation of knowledge. In fact, ignorance is a combination of a negative and a positive aspect. The negative is that which conceals the reality from us, and the positive is that which projects the manifest world. This latter positive power (sakti) is called maya. Maya and avidya are generally synonymous, though maya is sometimes said to be the ignorance or adjunct of Isvara, the creator of this world, and avidya to be the ignorance or adjunct of the jiva or the individual soul. 
  Maya is associated with the effect of avidya, namely the world of name and form.1 It is an indubitable fact of our experience that though we incessantly pursue answers for our suffering, we never attain a satisfactory and final resolution. We can say that from the perspective of the ‘cause and effect’ of phenomena, the most persistent aspect of maya is that it prevents us from locating the cause of our discontent. Avidya is the failure to discriminate between reality and appearance.
  Since ignorance is the cause of bondage, the removal of ignorance is the means for moksha, liberation. The removal is accomplished through the realisation of the Self which is the sole reality. The vicious cycle of life and death is dependent on the law of cause and effect. As long one identifies with causality which is illusory (avidyaka), there is no end to samsara. 
  We can say the cause of birth and death is ignorance (avidya). The ultimate truth is causeless; it is not dependent upon anything for its existence. When one exercises discrimination (viveka) between what is real and illusory, one becomes detached (vairagya) and knowledge (jnana) arises.
  According to the sages, the thirst for a ‘cause’ ceases when we attain the Truth or highest knowledge. The one aim of Vedanta, therefore, is the eradication of maya or avidya. We do not ‘attain’ self-realisation— it is already available and at all times self-evident. What we are required to do is remove avidya which obscures self-knowledge. The ultimate reality is not the fruit of activity, all that is required is the removal of ignorance through knowledge. 
  Reality is not dependent on impermanent forms for its existence. What is it which transcends time and space? Wherever we are and whatever the time, the principle of reality remains one and the same. It is ‘one without a second’.
  Bhagavan differed from the conventional emphasis on maya as an independent entity or sakti. He referred to it as non-existent. It was not something which had the power to create illusion. He said, like Shankara, that maya was mithya, that is, non-existent and this subtle understanding is at the root of his teaching.4 If, in the first place maya was non-existent, where is the question of illusion? If there is no illusion, where is the question of moksa? You are already That, Tat twam asi.
  We leave the final word to Sri Jnanadeva who wrote in his Amritanubhava:
  “If the ignorance, because of its own state of ignorance cannot know itself, how can it testify its own existence? 
  Therefore, were it asserted that ignorance makes itself known by itself, such a conflicting assertion would make the one asserting to observe silence. 
  The only knowing one is the Atman and if he is fooled by ignorance, then who will take note of that ignorance? 
  If it (ignorance) cannot for its own sake render the knowing one (Atman) not knowing (ignorance) then one ought to feel ashamed of calling such (as) ignorance.
  Were the sun to be swallowed by the clouds, by whose light the clouds would be visible? (Or) if sleep overpowers the sleeper, who would enjoy the sleep?” 

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