[Advaita-l] Imagined nature of root ignorance in vivaranam

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 18 21:45:05 CDT 2012

Sir V. Subrahmanian wrote: "...The jnanam that a person gets, even of Brahman, surely a sattva-guNa kAryam, is ultimately mithyA in advaita...."
Indeed. This extract (given below) of the adhyaasa bhaashya clear states that Moksha Sastra can operate only in light of the superimposition. This assertion is immediately challenged: "How, again, can the means of valid knowledge, such as direct perception as well as the scriptures, have as their locus a cognizer who is subject to nescience?" (कथं पुनरविद्यावद्विषयाणि प्रत्याक्षादीनि प्रमाणानि शास्त्राणि च ?) Rest of the adhyaasa bhaashya is a reply to that objection.
Another point to note is that the base of superimposition is not in any way affected in the silghtest way by the good or bad qualities of the thing which is superimposed (per the extract given below). Why? Because, superimposition occurs only in the mind of the observer, and not in fact. This becomes clear if we take an example. Let us say, somebody imagines - due to wrong guidance - Sankara to be a pseudo-Buddhist. That does not make Sankara a pseudo-Buddhist: the fact - that Sankara criticised Buddhism in strong language - remains unaffected by the imagination of a particular observer.
"तमेतमेवंलक्षणमध्यासं पण्डिता अविद्येति मन्यन्ते। तद्विवेकेन च वस्तुस्वरूपावधारणं विद्यामाहुः। तत्रैवं सति, यत्र यदध्यासः, तत्कृतेन दोषेण गुणेन वा अणुमात्रेणापि स न सम्बध्यते। तमेतमविद्याख्यम् आत्मानात्मनोः इतरेतराध्यासं पुरस्कृत्य सर्वे प्रमाणप्रमेयव्यवहाराः लौकिकाः प्रवृत्ताः, सर्वाणि च शास्त्राणि विधिप्रतिषेधमोक्षपराणि ।" adhyaasa bhaashya of Sankaracharya. (emphasis is mine).
Translation (of Swami Gambhirananda, along with his footnotes)
"This superimposition, that is of this nature, is considered by the learned to be avidyaa, nescience [1]. And the ascertainment of the nature of the real entity by separating the superimposed thing from it is called vidyaa (illumination). This being so [2], whenever there is a superimposition of one thing on another, the locus is not affected in any way either by the merits or demerits of the thing superimposed. All forms of worldly and Vedic behaviour that are connected with valid means of knowledge and objects of knowledge start by taking for granted this mutual superimposition of the Self and non-Self, known as nescience; and so do all the scriptures dealing with injunction, prohibition, or emanicipation.
[1] Since it is a product of nescience and is sublated by vidyaa (illumination). The commentary refers to superimposition, which is a product of maayaa, rather than to maayaa itself, because the latter is a source of evil in its derived forms and not in its unevolved states, e.g. sleep, whereas superimposition is directly so.
[2] Since superimposition is a product of nescience.
N. Siva Senani

From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
>To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
>Sent: Sunday, 19 August 2012 7:24 AM
>Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Imagined nature of root ignorance in vivaranam
>On Sun, Aug 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM, subhanu saxena <subhanu at hotmail.com>wrote:
>> Sri Subramanian wrote:
>Advaita accepts mAyA/avidyA to be triguNAtmikA.  Tamas is one of the three
>guNa-s.  The nature of tamas is explained in the Bh.GitA: mohanam, etc.
>And parallel to this Advaita is very certain that mAyA/avidyA is mithyA, a
>superimposition. [bhUtaprakRtimokSham cha (abhAvagamanam) as clarified in
>bhgitaa 13th chapter last verse/bhashyam]  So, within the Grand
>Superimposition, all the other superimpositions can happily exist just as
>subsets within a set.  For that matter, even sattva as a guNa and its kArya
>are mithyA in advaita.  The jnanam that a person gets, even of Brahman,
>surely a sattva-guNa kAryam, is ultimately mithyA in advaita, for bandha
>and mokSha are both only relative, vyAvahArika.  [na nirodho na
>chotpattiH..na mumuShurna vai muktaH....ityeShA paramArthatA ...Gaudapada]

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