[Advaita-l] Omniscience, etc. only due to upAdhi

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Dec 28 11:48:51 CST 2013

On Sat, Dec 28, 2013 at 4:44 PM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> praNAms Sri Subbu prabhuji
> Hare Krishna
> 'Omniscience' is the word generally used to connote the sanskrit term
> 'sarvajnatvam'.  'Knowledge' of 'everything' implies that the possessor of
> such a knowledge is different from the 'everything' and the 'knowledge'.
> Thus, just as a person who 'knows' something is different from that thing,
> and without that thing in place no knowledge of it is possible for the
> person, the Vedantic Brahman too cannot be inherently possessed with the
> knowledge of 'everything' unless that 'everything' is existing.
> >  as I said in another form, yes, I do agree that sarvajna, sarvashakta
> etc. which denote Ishawara's are valid only in the sphere of avidyA
> kshEtra where sarva is different from the 'knower'.  But, when it comes to
> inherent nature of brahman,  even in the absence of 'everything' (sarva)
> the knower's knowledge (jnAna) does not suffer from any obstruction since
> sarvajnatvaM, sarvashaktitvaM etc. are svarUpa lakshNa of the brahman
> whereas  savajna and sarvashakta are the qualities of the mAyA upahita
> Ishwara ( who has shuddha sattva as his upAdhi).

Actually only with  sarvajnatvaM, sarvashaktitvaM etc. Brahman (nirguNa.
Turiya) is called Ishwara (saguNa, sixth mantra of mAnDUkya - ESha
sarvajnaH...antaryAmi...).  That is the way Advaita distinguishes Brahman
from Ishwara.

The adjectives such as sarvajnatvaM, sarvashaktitvaM etc. can be given to
> brahman synonymously such as nityashuddha, nirvikAra since there are
> inherent nature of brahman.

While attributing sarvajnatvaM, sarvashaktitvaM etc. to Brahman we see
these as taTasthalakShaNa and not svarUpalakShaNa.  'Inherent' means

>  In sUtra bhAshya while arguing against sAnkhyA's pradhAna
> kAraNa, shankara says how the first and foremost (without second) would be
> the chetana cause of this creation which has 'intelligence'.  And to have
> this intelligence it does not require any body, mind, etc. shankara here
> quotes the up. maNtra that says : that which sees without eyes, that which
> hears without ears, that which moves without legs etc.

In BSB 1.4.3 (tadadhInatvAt arthavat) Shankara has said:

// But this primal state is held by us to be subject to the Supreme Lord,
but not as an independent thing. That state has to be admitted, because it
serves a purpose.  Without that latent state the creatorship of the Lord
cannot have any meaning, inasmuch as God cannot act without His power (of
mAyA)...// (p.249 of Sw.Gambhirananda)

In (IkShaternAshabadAt) Shankara cites the mantras that you have
quoted above (without eye....)

अपिचाविद्यादिमतः संसारिणः शरीराद्यपेक्षा ज्ञानोत्पत्तिः स्यान्न
ज्ञानप्रतिबन्धकारणरहितस्येश्वरस्य   ।

मन्त्रौ चेमावीश्वरस्य शरीराद्यनपेक्षतामनावरणज्ञानतां च दर्शयतःऽन तस्य  कार्यं
करणं च विद्यते न तत्समश्चाभ्यधिकश्च दृश्यते। परास्य शक्तिर्विविधैव श्रूयते
स्वाभाविकी ज्ञानबलक्रिया चऽ (श्वेता. ६.८) इति। ऽअपाणिपादो जवनो ग्रहीता
पश्यत्यचक्षुः स शृणोत्यकर्णः। स वेत्ति वेद्यं न च तस्यास्ति वेत्ता
तमाहुरग्र्यं पुरुषं महान्तम्ऽ  (श्वेता. ३.१९) इति च   ।

That is only to show that a body is not required for Ishwara to have
powers.  The mantras are not cited to deny the shakti which is essentially
required for Ishwara (Brahman) to be a creator, etc.  In fact that ability
to see without eyes, etc. is only due to this mAyAshakti.  For, the
advitIya brahman, Turiya, there is nothing that requires to be seen,
touched, etc.  Only in the realm of creation (the first three pAda-s of
mAnDUkya) is there occasion for shakti.  The seventh mantra negates even
this Ishwaratvam.

So, in order to be a sRShTikartA, Brahman has to be 'aided' by a shakti,
which is paratantra to It.  So, naturally, the upAdhi is admitted by
Shankara while differentiating Vedanta from sAnkhya's pradhAna.  In the
above quoted portion Shankara no doubt refutes the pradhAna of the sAnkhya
but accepts the pradhAna with a different name and most importantly, as
adhIna of brahman while the sAnkhya holds pradhAna as swatantra. In any
case Shankara makes Brahman saguNa by admitting this shakti when Brahman
has to be a creator, etc.

>  So, IMHO, existence of 'everything' is not a mandatory requirement to
> prove brahman's sarvajnatvaM and sarvashaktitvaM.

It is essentially with a view to explain the 'everything' the shakti is
admitted.  'No shakti, no creation.'

> Do we doubt the self-luminous nature of sun and its illuminating capacity
> just because of absence of objects that needs illumination??   Kindly
> clarify.

That is not admitted to be a capacity; by default when objects are within
the sun's range they get illumined but not by choice of the Sun. 'savitA
prakAshate' is what constitutes the apt description of the sun. 'savitA
prakAshayati' is a concession, by taking into account the things other than
the sun.    In the same way  Brahman is chit.  In order to relate It to the
world the shakti is attributed.  The very word sarvajnatvam is relative to
sarva, created, nAnAtva.  To be sarvajna, Ishwara has to depend on the
sarva. Sarva is antithetical to Ekam.  While the Vedanta siddhAnta is ekam
eva advitIyam, sarvam is the paratantra dvaita prapancha.

warm regards

> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
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