[Advaita-l] Imagined Nature of Root Ignorance in Vivaranam

subhanu saxena subhanu at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 19 19:09:53 CDT 2012

Sri Subramanian wrote:“In fact Sri SSS too has not been able to do away with a state prior to adhyAsa:”
Namaste, this is a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Sri Swamiji’s position that seems to have been around for some time, that I have not had time to address in the past but now have the opportunity in the current thread”. Sri Swamiji does not acknowledge anywhere in his writings a prior “state” to adhyAsa, though the implication of  Sri Subramanian’s analysis is that the orthodox tradition does exactly that which would contradict the superimposed nature of mUlAvidyA. So what is agrahaNam? I reproduce below with his permission the points I received from the learned Prof K Ramanatha:
“But there is nothing wrong in saying that anyathaagrahana (adhyasa)logically presupposes agrahana (jnanaabhaava, ignorance). This is only pratipattikrama- a sequence of understanding. It is not a sequence in time as Sri Subramanian makes it. Anyathagrahana is accompanied always by agrahana but not the other way round. In the rope-snake illustration, apprehending a snake (anyathagrahana)is only when rope is not apprehended (agrahana). Similarly duality is apprehended only when the Self is not. But this does not mean that agrahana happens at t1 and anyathagrahana happens at a later time t2. Since adhyasa is anaadi according to Sankara and Swamiji, and time is adhyasta, is it conceivable that something precedes adhyasa as its cause? “...”For Swamiji, Jnanaabhava does not cause adhyasa. The karanatva is not for ajnana but for ajnata sat (Ajnaatasatah eva karanatvam, see  Klesapaharini, Nai.Si.3.7)”
Sri Subramanian has also only partially respresented how Sri Swamiji depicts jnAnAbhAvah. In fact in all Sri Swamiji’s writings he never avers from Shankara’s own dictum in BUB 3.31 “yadi jnAnAbhAvah, yadi samshayajnAnam, yadi viparItajnAnam vocyate, ajnAnam iti"
Sri Subrahmanian then follows an interesting line of argument, by equating Swamiji’s description of ignorance with mUlAvidyA that appears to be his own. Neither I nor Prof Ramanatha have found the arguments like equating 'jnanaabahaava' with 'Mulavidya' even in the comprehensive counter arguments of Krishna Jois in his 'Mulavidyaa Bhashyavartika sammataa.
Sri Subrahmanaian also asks 'in what way jnanaabhava of SSS is different from Mulavidya which he opposes.' It may not have been his intention but by following his line of argument he confirms that Sri Swamiji is faithful to Shankara. The reason would be the following: either the tradition truly states that mUlAvidyA exists as a prior “state” to adhyAsa, using Sri Subramanian’s own words, and/or precedes it in time, which is impossible for a superimposed notion to do so, or mUlAvidyA is imagined within the realm of superimposition, where the logical presupposition of agrahaNa ia purely pratipattikrama, a sequence of understanding and not time, in which case the delineation mulAvidyA is completely unnecessary as Shankara’s simple definition of adviya=adhyasa found in Upadesha Sahasri prose section 51 [avidyA nAma anyasmin anyadharmAdhyAropaNA] is sufficient, established as it is in our experience.
As previously requested any explicit references from advaita siddhi, or other works from the tradition that unequivocally clarify whether mulAvidyA really is viewed a state prior to adhyAsa (as some posts from list members seem to suggest by the way they have written them) or not, and what is the temporal relation between mulAvidyA and adhyAsa in the orthodox tradition, would be extremely enlightening. The fact that no such explicit references have been posted so far would suggest either they do not exist or that they are still being searched for.
I would remind list members that Suresvara has given sufficient clarification that the only cause accepted in his advaita tradition is that Atman is not known (see BUBV 4.4.179 “na hi vedAnta-siddhAnte hyajnAtAtmAtirekatah” and TUBV II.176 “na jAnAmItyaviyaikA’nityA tat kAraNam matA”), established through lack of critical reflection

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