[Advaita-l] Imagined Nature of Ignorance in Vivaranam

subhanu saxena subhanu at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 18 05:43:25 CDT 2012

Sri Ananda wrote:“However, we
have to accept that there is ignorance, avidyA in dreamless sleep too,
else, we end up with the theory that everyone gets liberated in sleep, only
to return to the state of bondage upon waking.”
By stating there is a bhava-rupa avidya in deep sleep implies it is not imagined, which contradicts Vivaranam and Suresvara kalpyavidyaiva matpakshe in SV 183. Shankara also clarifies in BSB 2-1-9 that we talk of a possible objection that all would become liberated on waking if ignorance were not present simply because our false notions have not been removed. This point is made by Suresvara in NS also where he tells us that the mind is not present to reveal it in deep sleep, nothing more. When we are in the clutches of ignorance then the false notion that is our ignorance infuses all our discussion of the 3 states.  For these are themselves superimpositions to be rescinded. So, postulating an avidya outside the realm of superimposition in a superimposed state makes no sense also. Also nobody has the experience upon waking “I experienced a bhava-rupa-avidya”.Sri Anand: “There are shruti statements, such as the nAsadIya
sUkta (tama AsIt), which point out the existence of this causal avidyA in
the beginning of Creation.”
In fact this is not how tamas is defined within Shankara’s tradition. Fortunately Suresvara has given us an explicit definition in BUBV 1.3.341 “chidAbhAsam tmao jneyam ‘nAjnAsiSam’ IkSaNAt”, in BUBV 4.3.1530 “budhyAdAveva yujyate”, and NS 2.32 “bhrAntyA bhrAntyA”, that tamas is simply a falsely imagined notion of the nature of “I do not know”, and nothing more. 
[Side Note, The Taittiriya Brahmana rescension has an interesting word change in nAsadIya sUktan, often described by Western Scholars as an error. In TB 2-8-9-4we find “tamasas tan mahinAjAyataikam” instead of “tapas as tanmahinAjAyataikam” in RV. I am not so sure this is an error. The TB version states that the act of creation is illusory, imagined through ignorance, which is consistent with Vedanta tradition].
Here we get to the crux of the issue: Does the orthodox tradition place mulavidya within or outside the scope of superimposition. Sri Subramanian has come closest to clarifying this, but in Sri Swamiji’s time there were certainly divergent opinions within the tradition on this point.  
Anand it would be great if you could provide Advaita-Siddhi references if they exist with explicit statements as to whether mulavidya is imagined or not and whether it is within the realm of superimposition or not, and whether there is s temporal relationship postulated between mulavidya and adhyasa or not, since advaita-siddhi took great pains to try and resolve the various views at that time. Siddhanta lesha sangraha may have references too but I have been unable to locate them in either work.

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