[Advaita-l] The self defeating philosophy?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 14:12:07 CDT 2012

On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 3:12 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> Has anyone written a counter to this?
> http://gosai.com/writings/the-self-defeating-philosophy-of-mayavada

Here is an excerpt from the above page:

//Some may ask why Siva carried out such a nefarious deed - he is after all
the greatest of the Vaisnavas, so why would he want to draw people's
attention away from the Lord and mislead them? There are actually two
reasons culminating in Siva's descent as Sankara and the widespread
preaching of this Mayavada philosophy. Those of demoniac mindsets had taken
to the Vaisnava philosophy and were causing trouble for the true and
faithful Vaisnavas of the Lord. Being all-merciful the Supreme Lord ordered
Siva in this way:

*svagamaih kalpitais tvam ca janan mad-vimukhan kuru
mam ca gopaya yena syat srstir esottarottara*

Make the general public averse to Me by some imaginary hypothesis from you.
Also camouflage me, so that the public will be deluded gradually by desire
for material advancement. (*Padma Purana*) //

There appears to be an error in the translation of the above verse.  The
Lord is saying in the second half:  'Also camouflage Me and thereby this
creation will continue / perpetuate.  [the reasoning is: if everyone is
truly devoted to the Lord there will be a situation where all will become
mukta-s, liberated, and there will be none left in bondage.  Only for the
bound there will have to be further creation.]  The above translation says:
people will be deluded into taking to material advancement (and therefore
they will continue in bondage....and creation will perpetuate) .
Let us apply this reasoning to the facts in Advaita to see whether the
Advaita (mAyAvAda) teaches material advancement as the goal for its

   1. In the Bhagavadgita bhashya 2.44 Shankara says:
   भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां भोगः कर्तव्यः ऐश्वर्यं च इति भोगैश्वर्ययोरेव
   प्रणयवतां तदात्मभूतानाम्। तया क्रियाविशेषबहुलया वाचा अपहृतचेतसाम्
   आच्छादितविवेकप्रज्ञानां व्यवसायात्मिका सांख्ये योगे वा बुद्धिः समाधौ
   समाधीयते अस्मिन् पुरुषोपभोगाय सर्वमिति समाधिः अन्तःकरणं बुद्धिः तस्मिन्
   समाधौ, न विधीयते न भवति इत्यर्थः।।ये एवं विवेकबुद्धिरहिताः तेषां कामात्मनां
   यत् फलं तदाह -- ।।2.44। And vyavasayatmika, one-pointed; buddhih,
   conviction, with regard to Knowledge or Yoga; na vidhiyate, does not become
   established, i.e. does not arise; samadhau, in the minds -- the word
   samadhi being derived in the sese of that into which everthing is gathered
   together for the enjoyment of a person --; bhoga-aisvarya-prasaktanam, of
   those who delight in enjoyment and wealth, of those who have the hankering
   that only enjoyment as also wealth is to be sought for, of those who
   identify themselves with these; and apahrta-cetasam, of those whose
   intellects are carried away, whose discriminating judgement becomes
   covered; taya, by that speech which is full of various special rites.
   2. 5.22 Hi, since; bhogah, enjoyments; ye samsparsajah, that result from
   contact with objects, that arise from contact between the objects and the
   organs; are eva, verily; duhkha-yonayah, sources of sorrow, because they
   are creations of ignorance. It is certainly a matter of experience that
   physical and other sorrows are created by that itself. By the use of the
   word eva (verily), it is understood that, as it happens here in this world,
   so does it even in the other world. Realizing that there is not the least
   trace of happiness in the world, one should withdraw the organs from the
   objects which are comparable to a mirage.Not only are they sources of
   sorrow, they also adi-antavantah, have a beginning and an end. Adi
   (beginning) of enjoyments consists in the contact between objects and
   senses, and their end (anta), indeed, is the loss of that contact. Hence,
   they have a beginning and an end, they are impermanent, being present in
   the intervening moment. This is the meaning. (Therefore) O son of Kunti,
   budhah, the wise one, the discriminating person who has realized the
   Reality which is the supreme Goal; na ramate, does not delight; tesu, in
   them, in enjoyments. For delight in objects is seen only in very foolish
   beings, as for instance in animals etc.This extremely painful evil, which
   is opposed to the path of Bliss and is the source of getting all miseries,
   is difficult to resist. Therefore one must make the utmost effort to avoid
   3. We have the famous Bhaja Govindam verses:  अर्थमनर्थं भावय
   नित्यं,नास्ति ततः सुखलेशःसत्यम्|. पुत्रादपि धनभांजां भीतिः,सर्वत्रैषा
   विहिता रीतिः||. भज गोविंदम्,मूढ़मते| (२९)
   4. मा कुरु धन जन यौवन गर्वं
   हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् ।
   मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा
   ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा ॥ ११॥

   दोषेण तीव्रो विषयः कृष्णसर्पविषादपि।

   विषं निहन्ति भोक्तारं द्रष्टारं चक्षुषाप्ययम्॥

   doSheNa tIvro viShayaH.kRRiShNasarpaviShAdapi.

   viShaM nihanti bhoktAraM. draShtAraM chaxuShApyayam..(Viveka chUDaamaNi)

   The meaning is that sensual indulgence is more lethal than the most
   dreaded black cobra. The latter kills only after it bites, but the former
   kills its victim by mere contemplating on it.

This sample is enough to prove the complete ignorance on the part of the
'PadmapurANa' about the teachings of Advaita (mAyAvAda).  If the Lord
(VishNu) instructed Shiva to propagate mAyAvAda (asat shAstram) in order
that it will result in the adherents thereof taking to material pursuits,
the Lord is thoroughly mistaken :- )

And by 'saying' this: * yena syat srstir esottarottara (*..and thereby this
creation will continue / perpetuate.) is not the Lord ViShNu characterizing
Himself as the greatest sadist?  For the Lord, as Bhagavan in the Gita has
taught: अनित्यम् असुखम् इमं प्राप्य भजस्व माम् ....मां प्राप्य दुःखालयम्
अशाश्वतं नाप्नुवन्ति...[having come to this ephemeral and miserable world,
worship Me....Having attained Me one will not get back to the ephemeral
abode of misery that is this samsara (world).

By saying this the Lord is conveying His deep concern for the jiva-s.
While He is extremely intent upon the liberation of the souls, would He
ever desire the creation process to perpetuate where the jiva-s will
continue to suffer?  The 'padmapurana' seems to disagree.  For the purana
the Lord is  keenly trying to retain His employment: of being the
sriShTi/sthiti/nAsha kartA.

In the 16th chapter of the Bh.GitA the Lord says: na satyam naapi cha
Achaaro...[as Asura sampati].  However in the 9th Chapter He avers:  अपि
चेद्सुदुराचारो भजते मामनन्यभाक् । साधुरेव स मन्तव्यः... Even if an
extremely wayward person of wicked/evil conduct were to worship Me , he is
to be considered a noble/pious one.

When the Lord is so intent on making everyone turn to His devotion and
tread the path of liberation, we see in the cited verses of the
'PadmapurAna' the Lord being depicted in an extremely poor light: as a
sadist and as someone who desperately clings to His avocation of creation,
sustenance, etc.

Continues the blogger:

//Also, in the *Varaha Purana* Lord Visnu instructs Siva saying:

*esa moham srjamy asu yo janan mohayisyati
tvam ca rudra maha-baho moha-sastrani karaya*

O mighty-armed Siva, please write books filled with lies, and thus bewilder
the people.

*atathyani vitathyani darsayasva maha-bhuja
prakasam kuru catmanam aprakasam ca mam kuru*

O mighty-armed one, please preach a collection of lies.* Place yourself in
the forefront, and conceal Me. *

 In this way the Lord ensured that only his true devotees would be able to
recognize the pure path of devotion and those of a demoniac mindset would
be led astray by this false philosophy.//

In the highlighted portion, the Lord seems to be asking Shiva to put
Himself (Shiva) in the forefront.  This would give an impression that
Shankaracharya is Shiva avatAra.  This is only legendary.  There is no
proof for this in the bhashya of Shankara.  In other words, if the Lord's
'instruction' were true, there will have to be a situation where Shiva
causes 'shiva-pAramya' (foremost status to Shiva) to be conveyed to the
adherents of Advaita/mAyAvAda.  In the prasthAnatraya bhashyas we do not
see this happening.  On the other hand Shankara has often shown Vishnu to
be the Supreme, both as saguNa Ishwara and as the viShNupada (tad viShNoH
parama padam) as the nirguNa goal for moksha.

Many other points in the 'blog' are already covered in the series of posts
titled: 'Buddhism, Advaita and Dvaita' available in this forum's archives.

One comment about the observation of the blogger:

//4. The concepts of liberation according to Buddhism and Mayavada are the
same. In Buddhism it is conceived of as the removal of *samvrti* (the veil
of illusion), while in Mayavada it is the removal of *avidya* (ignorance).
Both *samvrti* and *avidya* are Sanskrit terms with the same meaning.//

It is well known that the Bh.Gita uses the term 'ajnAnam' to convey the
idea of avidyA - अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः, ज्ञानेन तु
तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः, etc. where ignorance is said to be the cause
of samsara and knowledge as the remedy to bondage.  The Upanishads use the
term 'avidyA' quite often as for example: the Brihadaranyaka Up.: अविद्या
काम कर्म as the root of samsara, the Kathopanishat: दूरमेते विपरीते विषूची
अविद्या या च विद्येति ..., अविद्यायामन्तरे वर्तमानाः  [also in Mundaka].
Now, according to the blogger we have to hold that the Upanishads are also
'pracchanna bauddha' since they use the word 'avidyA' which is a synonym of
'samvRti' of the buddhistic parlance.

I heard that the cited verses of the 'padmapurana' have been explained in
the Advaitic light by Mahamahopadhyaya Ananthakrishna Sastri.



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