[Advaita-l] Fwd: Imagined Nature of Root Ignorance in Vivaranam -2(2)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Aug 20 12:28:34 CDT 2012

Response no.2(2)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 5:03 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Imagined Nature of Root Ignorance in Vivaranam
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>

On Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 5:39 AM, subhanu saxena <subhanu at hotmail.com> wrote:

Reply to Shri Subhanu ji (in continuation of my earlier response No.1):

It is clear the Swamiji has mistaken and misrepresented the traditional
position that they have accorded to mUlAvidyA a reality that of Brahman.
That he has mistaken the meaning of the term 'bhAvarUpa' is clear from the
very fundamental thesis of the Swamiji.  That is the reason I have been
stating in a number of forums that the whole thesis of Sri Swamiji is built
up on this fundamental mistake on his part of the traditional system.  And
that *much ado about nothing* is what the whole issue amounts to. I have
tried to clarify the meaning of the term 'bhAvarUpa' at every opportunity I

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.

I have already demonstrated the flaw in the above argument, with the words
of the Bhashyam which explicitly considers the rope-snake illusion too.
Even in the adhyAsa bhAshya the words 'avivekena mithyAjnAnanimittaH'
convey the positive sense of पौर्वापर्यम् .  Whether the cause is upAdAnam
or nimittam there is this requirement  that the kAraNam (either upAdAnam or
nimittam) must precede the kAryam.  This पौर्वापर्यभावः admitted and
allowed by Shankara is denied by Sri Swamiji when he avers the above:  'It
is not a sequence in time.' Even if a lack of understanding/knowledge is
the cause of an erroneous understanding, certainly the former precedes the
latter in sequence in time alone; it can never be otherwise.  कार्यकारणयोः
(तत्कारणमुपादानं वा निमित्तं वा स्यात्) पौर्वापर्यभावः सर्वैरप्यङ्गीकृतः.

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.

Even brain scientists admit that the functions of the brain, however fast,
do require a certain time, measured in nano seconds.  No one can think of
any activity of the brain in an absolute 'no-time' zone.

> 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)”

अज्ञातसदपि क्व निष्ठम् ? चेतनपुरुषे खलु? न हि स्वतन्त्रमेव अज्ञातसत् किमपि
कर्तुं क्षमते । ’नाहं जानामि सत्’ इत्याकारकाज्ञानमेव तद्भवितुमर्हति । तेन
अज्ञानमेव कारणमिति आयाति । इदमेव तत्त्वाग्रहणरूपाज्ञानमिति उक्तम् ।

It is good to hear that Swamiji admits that time is adhyasta. And that
adhyAsa itself is anAdi. But what I think he has missed to grasp is that
time is 'anAditvena adhyasta/kalpita', as I have stated from the venerable
scholar's clarification. From Shankara's bhashya cited above one can easily
appreciate this point. Even if it is explained, with great pain, that the
kAraNatva is for ajnAta sat, it still begs an answer to the question: from
when does the ajnAta sat  exist and does the adhyAsa take place co-eval
with this ajnAtasat? It cannot be said to be co-eval since in our
experience of the rope-snake illusion, first there is the non-apprehension
of the 'thing there' as rope and as a result of this is the
wrong-apprehension of the snake.  The time involved may not be measurable
in terms of 11 and 12 but none can deny that there is indeed a time
interval, though very minute/subtle.

> Sri Subramanian has also only partially represented 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.

I have found the similarity between the jnAnAbhAva proposed by Swamiji and
the mUlAvidyA on the grounds of their preceding adhyAsa.  Maybe the earlier
authors did not pay attention to this detail as they were concerned more
with the various citations from the bhashya and vartika.

> 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,

I have answered this with the quote from the Ratnaprabha gloss in an
earlier post where mUlAvidyA is called the causal avidyA, kAraNAvidyA, as
distinct from the kAryAvidyA (adhyAsa specified in the adhyAsa bhAshyam).

> and/or precedes it in time, which is impossible for a superimposed notion
> to do so,

I have also clarified on this before and also here by citing the Chandogya
bhashya where a 'paurvAparyabhAva' exists between the deliberation by
Brahman prior to creation, where the material is the avyAkRta for creation
and the actual creation of the elements which follow such an *a

or mUlAvidyA is imagined within the realm of superimposition, where the
> logical presupposition of agrahaNa is purely pratipattikrama, a sequence of
> understanding and not time,

I have clarified on  this as well. The entire scheme of kAraNa and kArya
avidyA is a superimposition. And specifically the concept of time in this

> 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.

In fact this definition is there in the adhyAsa bhashya itself: adhyAso
nAma atasminstadbuddhirityavochAma.  The mUlAvidyA people have recognized
that Shankara uses the term avidyA to mean adhyAsa (अन्यथाग्रहणम्)  *also *and
not adhyAsa *only*.

> 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.

In the Naishkarmyasiddhi 3.15 Sureshwara introduces the verse thus:

*यस्मादज्ञानोपादानाया* एव बुद्धेर्भेदो नात्मनः, तस्मादेतत्सिद्धम् ।

[Since the above mentioned distinction arises for the intellect alone which
is a product of ignorance, and not for the Self, this is established. ]
Here Sureshwara terms ajnAnam as the upAdAnam (material cause) of buddhi,

End of the two-part response.


> Regards
> Subhanu
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