[Advaita-l] Question on Mayavada

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 7 01:09:09 CST 2010

Dear Jaldharji,

Well put. May I add that In Mahayana when one gets out of the clutch of Prakriti (ieone sheds / leaves the body of the five skandhas ) one gets the state of Zero-Identity or Shunyata, where there is no individual identity and there is only awareness and no separateness. This means that though the individual identity is lost, a non-separate awareness remains. Shall I be wrong if I say that many see there some similarity between the Advaita and Buddhism.


Sunil K.Bhattacharjya

--- On Mon, 12/6/10, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:

From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Question on Mayavada
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Monday, December 6, 2010, 9:53 PM

On Sun, 21 Nov 2010, Rajaram Venkataramani wrote:

> Thanks for the elaborate responses to my question. It is difficult to
> respond to them individually. The reponsed fall in to three categories:
>   1. The padma purana verses are bogus. I am okay to accept it if  one
>   is able to prove interpolation. I have heard better arguments from outside
>   this forum to support this but none scholarly enough. The strongest one is
>   that there are four recensions of Padma Purana andthe said verses appear
>   only in the Bengali edition. But when I enquired I realized that such a
>   statement was not based on evidence but anti-gaudiya sentiment.

It's also not entirely true.  The Nirnaya Sagara edition of the Padma Purana which was published from Mumbai, does include those shlokas. However atleast in the copy I have, there is no critical apparatus so

>   None of the
>   members on this forum made that argument but tried to prove intterpolation
>   on two counts. One, the verse shows misunderstanding of advaitam. But that
>   is not the case because the description of total renunciation, jIva brahma
>   aikyam etc. are correct.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in the recent election season here in the US, it is possible to selectively quote the truth and twist the meaning. One would hope Veda Vyasa held himself up to a higher standard than a politician.

This is the misunderstanding.  Advaita Vedanta does not teach the renunciation of karma for all and sundry (surely you must have seen the many posts in this list about karmakanda?)  rather it says karma has an effect only for the person who maintains I-consciousness.  As a jnani no longer has this, karma is pointless for him but he can still advocate it for those who still have ahamkara.  The Buddhists on the other hand simply do not believe the shastras have any effect.  Not the same thing at all.

Similiarly, Advaita Vedanta teaches that what is called Jiva and Brahman are equivalent.  Buddhism does not admit either exists at all.  Totally different.

By the time the Madhvas and Gaudiyas flourished, Buddhism was dead in India.  Their only knowledge of it was second-hand and while calling Advaita Vedanta pracchanna bauddha might have made sense to them, we who are better informed should not make that mistake.

> Sri Jaladhar Vyas mentioned that jnana is not a subtractive process. If it
> is a view supported by what Sankara says, then it is an argument that
> Advaitam is not Mayavada. But the rest of the group seems to believe that
> Brahman is distinct from Ishwara, Jiva and Jagat, which are results of Maya.
> On realizing Brahman, none of these exist.

...in the way they were formerly conceived.  This is the part you are not getting.  Jnana is not just a matter of extra knowledge but a fundamental shift in perspective.  Many people will, for example, go to the ocean to watch the beautiful sunset over the waters.  Now if you learn a little bit of astronomy, you know the sun does not actually set; in fact it is the earth which is orbitting the sun despite the contradiction of knowledge we receive from the senses.  Can the astronomer not enjoy the sunset?  Of course he can because the phenomenon remains the same, only the perspective of the observer, the interpretation he gives to that phenomenon has changed.  This is what jnana is albeit on a grander scale.

-- Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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