[Advaita-l] 'adhyAsa' Demonstrated in the BhAgavatam - Part 2 (2)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Feb 24 19:58:07 CST 2011

Continued from Part 1

The word अविद्यमाने अपि in this verse is to be studied along with the
Acharya's bhashyam for the Bh.Gita 2.16:

//नासतो=*अविद्यमानस्य *शीतोष्णादेः सकारणस्य न विद्यते नास्ति भावो भवनम्
अस्तिता ।  (अत्र शीतोष्णादेः इति प्रकरणात् – २.१४ गृहीतम्, सकारणस्य इति
शीतोष्णादेः कारणं यत्किञ्चिदपि वस्तु अग्निसूर्यादिहिमवातादिकं गृह्यते ।) न
हि शीतोष्णादि सकारणं प्रमाणैर्निरूप्यमाणं वस्तु सद्भवति ।  विकारो हि सः,
विकारश्च व्यभिचरति । यथा घटादिसंस्थानं चक्षुषा निरूप्यमाणं मृद्व्यतिरेकेण
अनुपलब्धेरसत्, तथा सर्वो विकारः कारणव्यतिरेकेण अनुपलब्धेः असन् ।
जन्मप्रधवंसाभ्यां प्रागूर्ध्वं चानुपलब्धेः कार्यस्य घटादेः मृदादिकारणस्य च
तत्कारणव्यतिरेकेण अनुपलब्धेः असत्त्वम् । तदसत्त्वे सर्वाभावप्रसङ्ग इति
चेन्न, सर्वत्र बुद्धिद्वयोपलब्धेः सद्बुद्धिरसद्बुद्धिरिति ।//

//// Asatah, of the unreal, of cold, heat, etc. together with their causes;
na vidyate, there is no; bhaavah, being, existence, reality; because heat,
cold, etc. together with their causes are not substantially real as they are
perceived/grasped by means of instruments. For they are changeful, and
whatever is changeful is inconstant. As configurations like pot etc. are
unreal since they are not perceived to be different from earth when
perceived by the eyes, so also are all changeful things unreal because they
are not perceived to be different from their (material) causes, and also
because they are not perceived before (their) origination and after
तस्मात् उद्धव मा भुङ्क्ष्व विषयान् असत् इन्द्रियैः।
आत्मा *अग्रहणनिर्भातं *पश्य वैकल्पिकं भ्रमम्॥५६॥

Therefore, O Uddhava, cease to experience the sense-objects through the
outgoing organs.  Look upon the delusion of plurality as caused by the
non-perception of the Atman.

Again, the exact correspondence of the above verse with the scheme of the
Mandukya  kArikA is so very telling and obvious:

There, in the Mandukya upanishad and kArikA, the causal avidyA is
'tattva-agrahaNam', ignorance of the Truth.  This gives rise to the
'anyathAgrahaNam' also called adhyAsa/atasmin tadbuddhiH, etc. where the
projection of plurality is the characteristic.  The 'agrahaNam' is
characterized by no perceived plurality.  This is the suShupti state.  The
jaagrat and swapna states, however, are marked by both tattva agrahaNam (the
ignorance of the fundamental Truth) and anyathAgrahaNam,  perception of
plurality which is nothing but taking the One Nondual Truth to be the
manifold objects of duality.  The kArikA-s of the Agama prakaraNam 1.11 to
16 are to be studied to appreciate what the Lord is saying here.  The word
in the Uddhavagita verse above denoting the projected duality is: वैकल्पिकं
भ्रमम्.  The vi-kalpanam is not there in suShupti; it is no doubt in seed
form.  Only in jAgrat/svapna when the mind and sense/motor organs are
active, the world of plurality is available for being experienced.

For the unreality of the world, of course, we have already seen in an
earlier post the following verse of the Bhagavatam:

आत्मानमेव आत्मतया अविजानतां
तेनैव जातं निखिलं प्रपञ्चितम् ।
ज्ञानेन भूयोऽपि च तत्प्रलीयते
रज्ज्वां अहेर्भोगभवाभवौ यथा ।। 10.14.25

ātmānam <http://vedabase.net/a/atmanam> evātmatayāvijānatāḿ

tenaiva jātaḿ <http://vedabase.net/j/jatam>
prapañcitam <http://vedabase.net/p/prapancitam>

jñānena <http://vedabase.net/j/jnanena> bhūyo 'pi ca<http://vedabase.net/c/ca>
tat <http://vedabase.net/t/tat> pralīyate <http://vedabase.net/p/praliyate>

rajjvām <http://vedabase.net/r/rajjvam> aher
yathā <http://vedabase.net/y/yatha>

 // A person who mistakes a rope for a snake becomes fearful, but he then
gives up his fear upon realizing that the so-called snake does not exist.

Similarly, for those who fail to recognize You as the Supreme Soul of all
souls, the expansive illusory material existence arises, but knowledge
(realization) of You (Your True Nature) at once causes it  (the variegated
world of plurality) to subside.//

 The rope is the adhiShThAnam for the snake.  Ignorance of the rope is the
cause of the snake-perception.  Similarly, Brahman is the substratum for the
world-perception.  Ignorance of Brahman is the cause of the
world-perception.  When knowledge of the rope arises, the snake 'subsides'
in it.  When knowledge of Brahman arises, the world (jiva-jagat-Ishwara)
subsides in It.  In other words, the rope alone was seen in ignorance as the
snake.  Brahman alone is seen as the world (jiva-jagat-Ishwara)  due to
ignorance.  When knowledge arises the world is known to be none other than

In the above verse too, just as the Mandukya kArikA, the not-knowing of Him,
the Supreme Truth (tattva-agrahaNam), is the cause of the perception of
plurality (prapancham), anyathA-grahaNam, which is the real experience of
samsara.  When tattva-agrahaNam is eradicated by aparokSha-tattvajnAnam,
then there will be no more samsara.  The prapanchopashamam will be
experienced - ज्ञानेन भूयोऽपि च तत्प्रलीयते. Here the word 'tat' denotes
'prapancham' used by this verse in the first line.  Thus, according to
UddhavagIta/Bhagavatam/Veda VyAsa/Bhagavan Krishna too, just like GaudapAda
and Shankara have held, the word 'prpanchopashamam' of the MAnDUkya
Upanishad seventh mantra means only the subsiding/non-existence of prapancha
in the TurIya Brahman and NOT as explained by non-Advaitic schools.

The line आत्मानमेव आत्मतया अविजानतां of the Bhagavatam verse also speaks so
very well about the nature of ajnAna as delineated by Shankaracharya.  Not
knowing oneself as oneself truly is what is called fundamental ignorance.
AtmAnam AtmatayA ajnAtam. देहेन्द्रियादिकं  अनात्मानमेव आत्मतया जानन्
बाह्यमपि प्रपञ्चं कल्पयन् संसरति ।  There are enough words in the Bhagavatam
( and uddhavagItaa) verses to support this.  The line आत्मानमेव आत्मतया
अविजानतां also has imbedded in it the ignorance about the nature of the
ParamAtmA, the Supreme Soul.  The word 'AtmatayA' in the verse indicates the
advaitic idea of knowing the Atman (Brahman) as non-different from oneself,
AtmatayA.  The avijnAnam of this truth is the cause of samsara.   This verse
also echos the Chandogya Up.6th chapter vAkyam: ऐतदात्मयं इदं सर्वम् तत्
सत्यम् स आत्मा तत् त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो This Sat, Brahman, is the Atma, Self, of
the whole universe (being the material cause).  That is Existence, the
Truth. That are You, O Shvetaketu. It is this that gives the knowledge that
Atman of the whole Universe, AtmAnam, is to be known as oneself, 'AtmatayA'
for liberation.  The not knowing of this truth is 'avijAnan' and is the
cause of samsara as per the Lord in the BhAgavatam.


We have in the foregoing made a study of adhyAsa, its cause and effect and
the eradication of the cause and effect with the Bhagavatam as the main
source and other texts such as the Upanishad and the kArikA-s and the
Bhashya of Shankaracharya as supporting ones.  We had occasion to see the
references from the BhagavadgItaa too.

My humble pranAms to Swami ParamArthaananda who has expounded the
UddhavagIta in over 250 talks of one hour each in English so lucidly.  He
particularly enjoyed the explanation of the above and similar portions of
the work, often saying that 'all these are mAnDUkya kArikA type verses, so
profoundly Advaitic in nature.'

I wonder how anyone could caricature this work as 'asat shAstram' with so
much of 'mAyAvAda' in it.


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