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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Aug 19 05:17:51 CDT 2012

On Sun, Aug 19, 2012 at 8:15 AM, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Extract:
> "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.
> Regards
> N. Siva Senani


I am reminded of an upanyasam by the earlier Sringeri Acharya, Jagadguru
Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha SwaminaH on the topic of 'dhyanam' in Tamil.  In
this talk of over 1hour duration the Acharya mentioned in the passing,
while discussing the three guNa-s: 'tamas' by itself is harmless; only when
it is joined by rajas and sattva does bandha/anartha take place.

Based on this, we see that in the Mandukya too the tamas is said to be the
anAdi mAyA which remains in the deep sleep state without anyathAgrahaNa
(which is experienced in jagrat and swapna states).  And we experience
great joy/bliss in deep sleep despite the persistence of tamas and this is
because the distracting anyathAgrahaNam or anyasmin anya dharmAvabhAsaH
that is an additional but unique characteristic of the other two states is
absent then.

Taking this further, I am making an extrapolation, which learned members
here may comment upon:

In the IshAvAsyopaniShad (which we discussed in fairly good depth/detail in
the Bharatiya Vidwat Parishad group recently) we have the mention of
'avyAkRtopAsanam' which is said to result in the phalam called 'prakRti
laya'.  Now, what is the nature of this phalam?  I am copying the relevant
portion from Anandagiri's gloss on the Isha bhaashyam for the mantras
12,13,14 given in a combined fashion:

चित्तन्त्रा माया परमेश्वरस्योपाधिः।’मायां तु प्रकृतिं विद्यान्मायिनं तु
महेश्वरम्’ इत्यादिश्रुत्यन्तरप्रसिद्धाऽत्रासम्भूतिपदेनोच्यते, न ब्रह्म ।
तस्य निर्विकारस्य साक्षात्प्रकृतित्वानुपपत्तेः ।...*.सांसारिकदुःखानुभवाभावेन
च सुषुप्तिवत्प्रकृतिलयस्य* पुरुषेणार्थ्यामानताऽप्युपपद्यते । फलम् च
कार्योपासनम् इव प्रकृत्युपासनेऽपि परमेश्वर एव दास्यति । ....

The Bhashyam relevant to this is:

असम्भूत्या अव्याकृतोपासनया अमृतं प्रकृतिलयलक्षणमश्नुते । [for mantra 14]

The overall meaning of the above passages is:  'avyAkRta' is non-different
from mAyA otherwise known as prakRti.  It is well known that the avyAkRta
is the potential form/latent state of the vyAkRta, manifest, prapancha.
There is, on the authority of the Isha shruti, a certain upAsana where
prakRti and not Brahman is the upAsya.  The upAsaka gains the phalam that
is called 'prakRtilaya' or 'resolving into/lapsing into prakRti or the
avyAklRta state’.  It is for readers to comment whether this phalam is the
same of a similar state mentioned in the Yoga shAstram.   This state is
characterized by the absence of the problems that samsara brings up.  We
can easily assume these problems to be maana-apamaana, sukha-duHkha,
shItoShNa, etc. dvandvas which are characteristics of the jAgrat and svapna
states.  In other words, the kAraNa avidyA state does not have these
problems whereas the kAryAvidyA state alone has this.  That is the reason
why Shankara gives the examples of shukti-rajata, moon multiplicity, etc.
in the adhyAsa bhAshya to explain the aham/mama dharmi and dharma adhyAsa-s
and sums up the whole discussion with that famous passage cited by you:
  "तमेतमेवंलक्षणमध्यासं पण्डिता अविद्येति मन्यन्ते। तद्विवेकेन च
वस्तुस्वरूपावधारणं विद्यामाहुः।
The Ratnaprabha gloss promptly comments:

तथापि कारणाविद्यां त्यक्त्वा कार्याविद्या किमिति वर्ण्यते, तत्राह - तत्रेति
।  तस्मिन्नध्यासे उक्तन्यायेनाविद्यात्मके सतीत्यर्थः । मूलाविद्यायाः
सुषुप्तावनर्थत्वादर्शनात् कार्यात्मना तस्यानर्थत्वज्ञापनार्थं तद्वर्णनमिति
भावः ।

The above means: Even then, why is the effectual-ignorance is elucidated
here instead of the causal-ignorance? To this the reply (in the Bhashyam)
is: 'There'.  When such a superimposition (as explained before) is present
- this is the meaning. Since the root (causal) ignorance is not experienced
to be causing calamity in the deep sleep state, in order to teach us the
calamitous nature of such ignorance the Bhashyam elucidates (avidyA in the
form stated above):   "तमेतमेवंलक्षणमध्यासं पण्डिता अविद्येति मन्यन्ते।
तद्विवेकेन च वस्तुस्वरूपावधारणं विद्यामाहुः।

Thus, one can see that the sampradAya Acharyas differentiate between a
causal (root) ignorance and effectual ignorance.  The former is at the base
of the latter but differs from the latter on the lines of not-manifesting
and manifesting resulting in the non-experience of samsara and perception
of samsaric effects.

My above 'meandering' was in concurrent response to your observation that I
have highlighted in red color above.  And to show the 'ekavAkyatA' across
the shruti, bhAShyam, Anandagiri and the Ratnaprabha and above all our
experience.  It will be clear to most readers of this thread that what is
disputed by the school that does not admit and opposes mUlAvidyA is: the
consideration of avidyA as two-fold: kAraNa and kArya.

Warm regards

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