[Advaita-l] बालयक्षः

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 00:51:59 CST 2013

In the preamble to the BrahmasutrabhAShyam Shankaracharya raises a question:

सर्वो हि पुरोऽवस्थिते विषये विषयान्तरमध्यस्यति, युष्मत्प्रत्ययापेतस्य च
प्रत्यगात्मनोऽविषयत्वं ब्रवीषि ।

Everyone superimposes something on something that exists as an external
object.  But you, the Advaitin, hold that the innermost Self which is
devoid of the 'you' thought, is never an (external) object

उच्यते - न तावदयमेकान्तेनाविषयः, अस्मत्प्रत्ययविषयत्वात्, अपरोक्षत्वाच्च
प्रत्यगात्मप्रसिद्धेः ।* न चायमस्ति नियमः
पुरोऽवस्थित एव विषये विषयान्तरमध्यसितव्यमिति ।* अप्रत्यक्षेऽपि ह्याकाशे
बालाः तलमलिनताद्यध्यस्यन्ति । एवमविरुद्धः प्रत्यगात्मन्यप्यनात्मध्यासः ।

Reply: The Self is not totally unobjectifiable.  It is indeed the object of
the 'I' thought.  Also it, the Self, is most intimate and is in everyone's
experience as the innermost.  Further, there is no rule that an adhyAsa has
to take place in an object that is available externally, perceptibly.  Even
in the external space that is not an object of perception ignorant ones
superimpose base, dirt, etc.  Thus the superimposition of the not-self in
the innermost self is not contradictory to reason and experience.

Further down in the same document Shankara says: *अध्यासो नाम
अतस्मिंस्तद्बुद्धिरित्यवोचाम *।
[We have said before that adhyAsa is the perceiving of one thing in a locus
that is not that thing.]

From this  we can say that the adhyAsa of the 'bAlayakSha' is a case of
अविद्यमाने वस्तुनि विद्यमानत्वरूपाध्यासः ।  An external object like rope
need not be necessarily present in one's perceptive range in order to lend
the possibility of an adhyAsa of a snake to take place.  The very
deeming/thinking that an object exists while there is not even the
possibility of that object existing is undoubtedly adhyAsa:
अविद्यमानवस्तुनि विद्यमानत्वरूपाध्यासः । एवं परमार्थतोऽविद्यमाने वालयक्षे
तद्विद्यमानत्वरूपाध्यास  एवात्र प्रकृताध्यासः. The case of bAlayakSha is
exactly this.  The mother's words only act as a trigger and the child's
imagination takes over to complete the adhyAsa process. This is what is
demonstrated in the twin-song of Sri Purandaradasa ('gummana kareyadire'
and 'gummanelliha toramma').


On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 11:45 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> In the अनुभूतिप्रकाशः (anubhUtiprakAshaH) Swami Vidyaranya, in the chapter
> on the 'aitareya upanishad' says, while speaking about mAyA:
> निस्तत्त्वं व्यवहारार्हं अनृतं बालयक्षवत् ।
> बालो यक्षं प्रकल्प्य अस्माद्बिभेति व्याघ्रतो यथा ॥१. ४ ॥
> nistattvam vyavahArArham anRtam bAlayakShavat
> bAlo yakSham pakalpya bibheti vyAghrato yathaa   1.4
> (mAyA is) without any substance, *available for vyavahAra,* false, just
> like a ghost imagined by a child.  The child imagines a ghost and fears it
> just as it would a tiger.
> This shows that the entity called mAyA has no existence in absolute
> terms.  When the scripture uses it, only a seeming existence is accorded to
> it, just to serve a purpose.  Once the purpose is accomplished there no
> longer is a need to retain mAyA.  And that purpose is to help the aspirant
> know that creation is only an appearance, accomplished by mAyA with Brahman
> as the substratum that provides isness even to that mAyA.  In other words
> the 'existence', though seeming, even of mAyA is derived from the existence
> that is Brahman.  Sat/satyam brahma.  Brahman is the sattAprada for even
> mAyA, and through it to the entire creation.  Thus, the entire creation,
> including the cause-mAyA is only dependently real; having borrowed
> existence from Brahman that is independently real.  For their very
> existence mAyA and its products have to depend on Brahman ('s existence).
> This has only one analogy: the rope-snake.  The superimposed snake is said
> to 'be, exist' for the period the error persists.  During that period the
> 'isness' of the snake is nothing but the isness of the rope that is what
> really exists there.  The snake's existence is dependent upon the rope ('s
> existence). It is only upon seeing the rope there, not knowing that it is a
> rope, one imagines a snake and gets the feeling: 'the snake IS'.  Actually
> only rope IS.
> This 'nistattvam vyavahArArham anRtam and prakalpya bibheti phenomenon is
> very graphically brought out by Saint-composer Sri Purandaradasa in his
> twin-song on 'gumma'.  Actually this gumma is what is denoted by the term
> 'bAlayakSha' by Vidyaranya above.  This bAlayakSha is popular by the name
> 'pUchANDi' in Tamil.  There, Purandaradasa, in one song demonstrates the
> adhyAropa principle where the yakSha is shown as creating fear in the
> child-Krishna and He pleads with His mother not to invoke the yakSha.  In
> the other song, the apavAda aspect is demonstrated where that very
> child-Krishna addresses His mother saying 'I have  thoroughly searched the
> entire creation but have not found the 'gumma' (yakSha).  You have been
> falsely threatening me by invoking it.'
> Thus mAyA is nothing but the bAlayakSha, 'invoked' by the Veda mAtA to
> bring about an understanding of creation and Brahman.  This is the purpose,
> vayvahAryam, though it is itself anRtam, nistattvam. That we have an
> example in the world in the form of the bAlayakSha/gumma/pUchANDi and  that
> a purpose is served by it despite its being a non-entity is what is brought
> out in the verse cited .
> subrahmanian.v

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