[Advaita-l] Is the concept of maya essential to explain advaita?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Jan 20 03:37:54 CST 2012

On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 1:13 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> Shri R Balasubramanian, Former Chairman, Indian Council of
> Philosophical Reasearch, observes in his foreword to The sruti sAra
> samuddharana of Sri Totakacharya, "Though the concept of maya-avidya
> is important in Advaita, there is no reference to it in the text. Nor
> is there any discussion about the the tenability of the reflection
> theory or of the limitation theory. The reason for this is that it is
> quite possible to explain the central thesis of Advaita without
> bringing in the concept of maya-avidya and getting into complicated
> arguments about these theories for the purpose of explaining the
> relation between the jiva and Brahman." Hence my question stated in the
> title of this post.

Here is a sample couple of verses from the above work:

sakalaṁ manasā kriyayā janitaṁ samavekṣya vināśitayā tu jagat |
niravidyata kaścid ato nikhilād avināśi kṛtena na labhyam iti || 2

 visṛjānnamayādiṣu pañcasu tām aham asmi mameti matiṁ satatam |
dṛśirūpam anantam ṛtam viguṇam hṛdayastham avehi sadāham iti || 6

In the second quoted verse we can see the 'tell-tale-evidence' of
mAyA-avidyA.  'dṛśirūpam' means the dRk, the seer, as opposed to the
dRshyam, the seen.  Rtam means the Real, the True/Truth.  viguNam is the
other name for nirguNam.  It is well known that the dRg-dRshya viveka is
based on the maxim: 'dRk satyam dRshyam mithA'. The author says in the two
verses quoted above -

Having gained dispassion/vairagyam for the world that is a product of 'the
mind-function' as something that is constantly getting destroyed and having
concluded that the undecaying/undying entity is never attained by
action....having given up the I-/mine-identity with the pancha koshas, at
all times know yourself to be the 'sAkshi'/seer/dRk (of the dRshya, the
pancha koshas) which is established in your heart/mind and which is free of

While the complete book is not immediately available with me, this much can
be said now about the work. There may not be an explicit mention of the
words 'maya' or 'avidya' but one can easily conclude, even from the above
sample, that there is enough implicit reference to these concepts in the
above work.



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