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

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 22 12:01:06 CDT 2012

Shri Subhanu wrote:

>...but one who is endowed with avidyA can never ascertain the nature of avidyA so such questions are illegitimate in Shankara’s tradition.

>Suresvara says at SV 179 “avidyAvAn avidyAn tAm na nirupayitum kSamaH”.  Any discussions to establish or describe avidyA as bhAvarUpa or anything other than superimposition established
 >through experience must bear this in mind2)      avidyA cannot be
established through pramANa, so the post Shankara tradition to “prove
its existence” appears misguided and unnecessary,

>Actually Sri Subramanian has already made this point.
>Suresvara’s vArtikas again give specific guidance on this point at SV 184 “ataH pramANato’shakyA’vidyA’syeti vIKsITum; kIdrashI vA kuto vA’sau anubhUtyekarUpataH”.

> It is therefore impossible to establish avidyA by any pramANa, or its nature or from whence it came, as it is simply the nature of experience”

It is possible to establish avidyA through shruti pramANa, for
example, the nAsadIya shruti.

>From the ParamArtha point of view, advaita can be best described as
given by GauDapAdAchArya.
na nirOdhO na chOtpattirna baddhO na cha saadhakaH |
na mumukShurna vai mukta ityEShaa paramaarthataa ||

There is no destruction, no creation, none in bondage, no aspirant,
none desiring liberation, none liberated. This is the Highest Truth.
One can hold that any question about avidyA, adhyAsa, Creation,
bondage, or liberation is completely illegitimate and useless.

But advaita as presented above may not be intelligible to all.
Therefore, an attempt is made to elaborate on this by explaining why
we perceive the diverse world, how Creation takes place, etc.,
by introducing avidyA. Without such explanation, there is no way to
explain many shruti statements, for example, "yato vA imAni bhUtAni
jAyante" (taitt. up.) , "AtmanAkAshaH saMbhUtaH" (taitt. up.),
"akSharAt saMbhavatIha vishvam" (Mundaka up.), "etasmAjjAyate prANo"
(Mundaka up.), "yathorNanAbhiH sRjate gRhNate ca" (Mundaka up.),
nArAyanAdeva samutpadyante (Narayana up.), etc.

However, we must not lose sight of the fact that explanations, whether
they make use of the adhyAropa/apavAda technique or some other, never
claim that adhyAsa or mulAvidyA is real in the sense
that it is on par with Brahman. It is only for the purpose of
explanation that these techniques are used and adhyAsa or mUlAvidyA is
given a "bhAvarUpa" status. What is this "bhAvarUpa" status?

CitsukhAchArya explains:

bhAvatvopachArAt.h AtmavadanAdibhAvatvena-anivartyatva-anumAnAnupapatteH|

ajnAna is different from both existence and nonexistence. However, it is
customarily called bhAvarUpa to indicate (emphasize) that it is different
from nonexistence (absence). (Yet) one cannot infer that it is beginningless
*and* non-sublatable like the Atman.

BhAvarUpa clearly means neither pure Sat, like Atman, nor does it mean
an utterly nonexistent entity, such as the horns of a hare. This is
the same as sadasadvilakShaNa, also known as "anirvachanIya."


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