[Advaita-l] A reference to 'jIvAshritA avidyA'

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Thu Dec 8 04:16:17 CST 2011

Speaking of suShupti, sureshvara says that even before the rise of the
triad of pramAtA, pramANa, and prameya, there is a first-hand experience 
ajnAna (avidyA). This avidyA must be related to Cit, Consciousness/Brahman
because it is not related to anything else (in the state of sleep).
Therefore, we can conclude that avidyA has Brahman as its locus. Please 
the brihadAraNyaka upaniShad vArtika 1.4.288

praNAms Sri Ananda Hudli prabhuji
Hare Krishna

Prabhuji, I dont know how far I can stretch this discussion with your 
goodself based on vArtika as I have not read/studied the vArtika prasthAna 
of Sri Sureshwara.  I've just seen some sporadic quotes from bruhad 
vArtika in kleshApahAriNi (A Sanskrit commentary by Sri SSS on naishkarmya 
siddhi).  So, kindly bear with me if I express my doubts in an erratic 

Prabhuji, you said that there is a prior existence of avidyA alongwith 
brahman.  That means it is as real as brahman & as anAdi as brahman. Since 
it is  the cause of pramAtru, prameyAdi triad, we have to say it has its 
existence even prior to jeeva.  prabhuji, is this avidyA something 
different from agrahaNa, anyathAgrahaNa and saMshaya which shankara 
explains in adhyAsa bhAshya??  If this avidyA is exclusive to these three 
lakshaNa-s of avidyA and is parallel to brahman or brahmAshrita, how to 
get rid of this avidyA?? Any amount of sAdhana at jeeva level can only 
eradicate jeeva's avidyA, and this would result in sublation of jeeva's 
pramAtrutva.  When this pramAtrutva itself is sublated who will be there 
to do sAdhana to get rid of the avidyA which has the existence prior to 
jeeva's triad??   I dont know whether this doubt is logical or not but I 
think brahmAshrita avidyA is something that cannot be effaced at the 
individual jeeva level.  I dont know what Sri sureshwara says in his 
vArtika on shankara's commentary on bru.Ara. maNtra 1-4-10 where shankara 
says avidyA is not brahmAshrita, brahma is not avidyA kartru 
(nAvidyAkartru bhrAntaM cha brahMa, kim tu naivAbrahma avidyAkartA chetanO 
bhrAnta anya ishyate).  From this bhAshya vAkya, I think, it is clear 
avidyA is not brahmAshrita but though jeeva is nothing but brahma, he is, 
due to his association with upAdhi-s, the custodian of avidyA and 
therefore bhrAnta. 

And with regard to avidyA in sushupti, if there really an entity called 
avidyA (which is neither agrahaNa, nor mithyAjnAna nor saMshaya) alongwith 
brahma (since there is no jeeva in sushupti) then chAndOgya would not have 
said in that state there is ashareeratvaM and neither priya nor apriya can 
touch the svarUpa ( ashareeraM vAva santaM na priyApriye sprushataH). 
bruhadAraNyaka too says jeeva's Ananda in sushupti is 'atighni' and there 
is no equal or more ananda than this (salila ekO drashtAdvaitO 
bhavati.....eshAsya paramAgatiH, eshAsya parama saMpadaH...eshOsya parama 
AnandaH etc.) If this avasthA is tainted by some anishta called avidyA, 
shruti would not have praised this state like this.    And interestingly 
shankara says somewhere that 'sushupti' viveka is enough to know mOksha 
svarUpa.  prabhuji, I dont know how all these doubts have been addressed 
in vArtika. If your time permits kindly look into it prabhuji.

Thanks for spending your precious time with me prabhuji.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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