[Advaita-l] BGB-5:19: Questions on jIvanmukti and the inadmissibility on doshAs, desires and distinctions

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 14 14:47:05 CST 2011

Dear Murali,
The clue lies in the lead-up to the bhAshya on 5.19 that occurs at the end of verse 5.18
(vidyA-vinaya sampanne ...). Here, SankarAcArya anticipates the following question. One
who does not distinguish between the brAhmaNa, cow, elephant, dog and dog-eater, and
has sama-darSana towards all of them is said to be a paNDita (in the sense of brahma-
jnAnI). How is this possible and is it not a dosha to equate such obviously disparate beings?
A sUtra from the gautama dharmasUtra is quoted as part of this objection. 
The answer lies in the key fact that all distinctions are deha-nimitta and do not touch the
one AtmA that is in all bodies. The beauty is that it is the same AtmA that is in the body of 
the jnAnI too, but the mind of the jnAnI is established in this one AtmA, which is brahman.
All dosha-s arising out of (mis)identification with anAtmA are gone. I believe SankarAcArya
is also subtly playing with words here. Where the gItA says nir-dosha, he also brings in nir-
guNa in the bhAshya, thereby heading the reader away from putting guNa and dosha in
opposition with each other (an instinctively normal thing to do) and thereby thinking that the
nir-doshatva of the sama-darSI is somehow compatible with sa-guNatva of brahman. The
gautama dharmasUtra quotation is also addressed thereby. A very nice and succinct
explanation is given in Anandagiri's TIkA on this point. This addresses point b. 
> b) Nor are there any inherent attributive or constituent distinctions - since 
> the pratyag-caitanya is nirguNA. (nApi svaguNa-bheda-bhinnam)
> In the fourth point(d), one learns that there is only one brahman (I will come 
> back to this argument in a bit). But how is this related to the issue of 
> overcoming janmA? 
> Is there a fourth way to conclude that the identical brahman is just one with 
> what the bhashyA teaches here? Of the above three, the second and third appeal 
> to me more, but what is the correct way to look at how the inapplicability of 
> pramANA results in a single brahman?

The basic question is, is the sama-darSana of this jnAnI a pramANa-janita jnAna? No, because
all pramANa-s operate under the dehAdi-saMghAta realm, and true sama-darSana is a state
of being. Only one who is established in brahman, who is brahman, can truly have the kind
of sama-darSana described here. It is not a statement of the value attached by a sama-darSI
to different kinds of beings, but an expression of the sarvAtmatva of all beings realized by the
jnAnI. The second and third interpretations that you outlined seem to be more in line with the
inapplicability of pramANa-s here.


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