[Advaita-l] Imagined Nature of Ignorance in Vivaranam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Aug 18 11:38:39 CDT 2012

On Sat, Aug 18, 2012 at 4:13 PM, subhanu saxena <subhanu at hotmail.com> wrote:

> 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.”
> Namaste
> 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.

I think it has been clarified enough times that the term 'bhAva rUpa
avidyA' does not imply that it enjoys a status equal to the Brahman of
Advaita. It is just like Advaita according a vyAvahArika satyam to the
world/samsara till moksha, thereby giving it a certain 'bhAvarUpatvam' to
distinguish it from the atyanta abhAva asat analogous to a hare's horn
etc.  I would not think that the pUrvAcharyas who admitted a bhAva rUpa
avidyA at the root of the samsara adhyasa were so irresponsible as to
accord it a paramArtha satya status.  The very term 'mithyAjnAnanimittaH'
as it would be parsed as 'mithyA cha tadajnAnam cha, tannimittaH' clarifies
this point amply.

> 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.

Shankara talks of the presence of a bIjashakti/bIjAvasthA in deep
sleep/pralaya, for example, in the bhashya to the very second kArikA of the
first chapter of mandukya.  The Sat/Brahman present in deep sleep/pralaya
is admitted to be endowed/tainted with 'jIvaprasavabIjAtmakatvam'.  He does
not say that this bIja is just false notions.  Elsewhere in the BSB He has
elucidated this as a certain shakti in which the jiva-s are under the spell
of ignorance and as it were in deep sleep - prasuptAH. The same idea is
again contained in the 'anAdimAyayA suptaH' verse of the mandukya.  In fact
there He goes to further elucidate that the anAdi mAyA is in the form of
'tattva apratibodha rUpa' which is the bIja (present in deep sleep and in
the other two) and separates it from anyathAgrahaNa rUpa (which is present
in waking and dream).  So, the 'false notions' apply to the anyathAgrahaNa
rUpa which are distinguished from the tattva apratibodha rUpa bIja.

> 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”

Nor is that anybody has the experience upon waking 'I experienced a abhAva
rUpa avidyA'. In fact the very experience that 'I did not know anything'
implies that there was 'something' that enveloped me/my senses/mind. If it
(the enveloping power) were 'nothing', there would have been no anubhava of
it/its effect at all. 'asat chet na pratIyeta.' So, by force, everyone will
have to admit a certain avidyA that is ultimately false but available for

The very fact the shaastra addresses this avidyaa with a view to rescind it
implies its bhAvarUpa status (not equal to the paramArtha satya brahman).
If this avidyA were to be of the nature of a hare's horn (atyanta asat) it
would be impossible to the shAstra or the sAdhaka to deal with it; for
'asat chet na pratIyeta.'  Its pratIti, anubhava, is amply established by
Shankara in the Gita bhashya and in another place thru a dialogue.  This
alone is what is meant by the term 'bhAva rUpa.'  And that it is not
paramArtha sat is also clear since its bAdha is admitted: sat chet na
bAdhyeta.  So there cannot be a real objection to the term bhAvarUpa when
used to denote 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.

'tama *AsIt,* tamasA gULhamagre' is the expression there in that
mantra/sUkta that talks about the bhAvarUpatva status of the tamas.
Otherwise the 'AsIt' itself would be redundant.  In fact in a deriding way
Vidyaranya says in the Panchadashi:

( भूतविवेकोनाम-
द्वितीयः परिच्छेदः |)भगवत्पूज्यपादाश्च शुष्कतर्कपटूनमून् |
आहुर्माध्यमिकान्भ्रान्तानचिन्त्येऽस्मिन्सदात्मनि ||२५||
अनादृत्य श्रुतिं मौर्ख्यादिमे बौद्धस्तपस्विनः |
आपेदिरे निरामत्वमनुमानैकचक्षुषः ||२६||शून्यमासीदिति ब्रूषे सद्योगं वा
सदात्मताम् |
शून्यस्य न तु तद्युक्तमुभयं व्याहतत्वतः ||२७||
न युक्तस्तमसा सूर्यो नापि चासौ तमोमयः
|*सच्छून्ययोर्विरोधित्वाच्छून्यमासीत्कथं वद *||२८||
वियदादेर्नामरूपे मायया सति कल्पिते |
शून्यस्य नामरूपे च तथा चेज्जीव्यतां चिरम् ||२९||If it is said, in
order to ward off this defect,

that avidyA is not a shUnyapadArtha, then one admits its

bhAvarUpatva from the back door. That is

what will earn one the benediction: जीव्यतां चिरम् .

> Regards

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