[Advaita-l] Brahman alone appears as Jiva

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Jun 23 12:25:07 CDT 2012

In the sAyaNa bhAShyam for the Purusha sUktam there is a quote from the
'uttaratApanIya' upanishad of the atharva veda:

'sa vA eSha bhUtAni indriyANi virAjm devatAH koshAmshcha sRShTvA pravishya
amUDho mUDha iva vyavaharannAste mAyayaiva'

This ParamAtman that is taught as the One to be realized through all the
Upanishadic teachings, having created the bhUtas, indriyas, the virAT, the
devatAs, the koshas and having entered them (enlivened them), though
Himself the Wise One, appears to be a deluded transmigrating being, owing
to mAyA alone.

This mantra shows that the One Supreme Consciousness, Brahman is what is
appearing as all the jiva-s.  As jiva there is avidyA but as the Supreme
there is no ignorance.  This has become possible only due to mAyA.  The
mantra by the word 'mAyayaiva' teaches that such a vyavahAra is only
mAyika, unreal, seeming.  The word 'mUDha iva' = 'as though deluded' shows
that this delusion is only a seeming one, a superimposed one and not native
to the Supreme Being.   And since there is no jiva at all apart from
Brahman as per this mantra, the ignorance is also not native to the jiva
either. This mantra, like the Br.Up. 1.4.10 key mantra: tadAtmAnameva avet
aham brahma asmi iti, tasmAt tat sarvam abhavat', is the basis for the
Advaitic tenet: 'brahmaiva svAvidyayA samsarati iva, svavidyayA muchyata
iva' -   'Brahman alone, owing to Its own ignorance (about Its real nature)
is as though in samsAra and owing to gaining knowledge about Its own self,
becomes as though released.  In short, samsara and release are both unreal
for Brahman.  Also, the above mantra is a fine example of the Upanishadic
brahmavAda and mAyAvAda, in a single sentence.  The adversaries of Advaita
who caricature Advaita as mAyAvAda/ins are actually denigrating the


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