[Advaita-l] Shankara on non-Advaitic mokSha/Brahman

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Feb 24 03:57:45 CST 2013

The munDakopaniShad bhAShya on mantra 3.2.6 (
वेदन्तविज्ञानसुनिश्चितार्थाः....परिमुच्यन्ति सर्वे ॥),  is cited here in
//परिमुच्यन्ति परि समन्तान्मुच्यन्ते सर्वे न देशान्तरं गन्तव्यमपेक्षन्ते ।
’शकुनीनामिवाकाशे जले वारिचरस्य वा । पदं न दृश्यते तथा ज्ञानवतां गतिः ॥
(महाभारत-शान्तिपर्व-२३९.२४) । ’अनध्वगा अध्वसु पारयिष्णवः’ इति
श्रुतिस्मृतिभ्यः ।

देशपरिच्छिन्ना हि गतिः संसारविष्यैव, परिच्छिन्नसाधनसाध्यत्वात् ।  ब्रह्म तु
समस्तत्वान्न देशपरिच्छेदेन गन्तव्यम् । यदि हि देशपरिच्छिन्नं ब्रह्म
स्यान्मूर्तद्रव्यवदाद्यन्तवत्, अन्याश्रितं, सावयवम्, अनित्यं कृतकं च स्यात्
। न त्वेवंविधं ब्रह्म भवितुमर्हति ।* अतस्तत्प्राप्तिश्च नैव देशपरिच्छिन्ना
भवितुं युक्ता ।* अपि चाविद्यादिसंसारबन्धापनयनमेव मोक्षमिच्छन्ति ब्रह्मविदो
न तु कार्यभूतम् ॥//

Translation:  //They become freed on every side - they do not stand in need
of going elsewhere.  And this is in accord with such Vedic and SmRti texts
as: 'Just as the footprints of birds cannot be traced in space and of
aquatics in water, similar is the course of the men of knowledge.'
(Mahabharata shAntiparvan 239.24), 'Those who want to go beyond the courses
of the world, do not tread on any path'(itihAsa upaniShat18).  The Paths
(to be followed after death), which are dependent on spatial limitation,
are indeed within phenomenal existence, since they are attained through
limited means.  But, Brahman, being the All, is not a goal to be attained
in terms of spatial limitations.  Should Brahman be circumscribed by space
like any concrete object, It will be supported by something else, It will
have parts, It will be impermanent and a product.  But Brahman cannot be
so; therefore Its attainment, too, cannot be determined in terms of
limitation of space.  Besides, the knowers of Brahman accept only that
liberation which consists of the removal of ignorance, etc., which are the
causes of mundane bondage, and not that which is a product.  //

This shows that in those systems where mokSha can be had only when the jiva
goes to some other loka, Brahman that is situated in that loka will have to
be essentially limited; since those systems do not admit of the jIva
realizing its Brahman-nature even while living, which also means that
Brahman is not here but one will have to go to this or that destination to
be in the presence/proximity of Brahman and be a mukta. And a Brahman
'limited' to that loka will be fraught with several other defects too which
are enumerated in the bhAShya above. It is like a chair not being a table
and vice-versa and therefore they both mutually limiting each other.
'desha pariccheda' and 'vastu pariccheda' are not avoidable when two
entities are deemed absolutely or even in some ways different from each
other.  The case of Brahman and jIva if held different from each other is


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