[Advaita-l] Re The stance of the upadeshasaahasrii on Ignorance, Deep Sleep

subhanu saxena subhanu at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 6 11:48:17 CDT 2013

Vidyasankar wrote: The only way to say, within our vyavahAra, that ekatva in mukti will not be an

ajnAna hetu unlike in the sushupti
state, is to acknowledge that in sushupti,there is a seed form of avidyA, a
bIja, that persists, but not so in mukti.


Thank you for making this very pertinent observation. The
difference we are told is that it is because our false notions have not been
removed that we falsely imagine this seed form in deep sleep. So to Karthik’s
comment that there is SOMETHING  (I am
sticking to his capitalisation) that remains in deep sleep, there is no quarrel
if we say we falsely imagine this SOMETHING because we have not known atman,
since this SOME THING is NO THING other than THAT THING which is Atman when our
false notions are removed.

With regards Karthik’s requirement that this therefore must
be a non-unreal entity, I have shown in my original post that in Suresvara’s
delineation of Shankara’s sampradāya this is refuted . I have provided this a
long time ago that BUBV 1.4.425  refutes
that ignorance can be both existent and non existent. The name and form fashioned
by ignorance can be confused as tattvānyatvābhyām anirvachanῑya because of this
ignorance of atman, which is the anirvachanῑyakhyāti approved by Suresvara.

This has raised in my mind a key question. I have shown over
various posts that there are a number of key points where Suresvara diverges
from the vivaraṇa tradition:

-mithyājñānam is  a
false notion and not an indescribable ignorance outside of superimposition.
Suresvara always uses mithyā as false not anirvachanῑya

- Refuting that bhāvarūpatva of avidyā as necessary to
distinguish it as a not unreal entity instead of a completely unreal entity
like a hare’s horn (jñānābhāvo’thavā sarvam avidyaiveti nischitah BUBV
1.4.1439, Suresvara’s usage of the hare’s horn analogy in the opposite sense)

-The only cause admitted is the unknown atman established by
our experience due to lack of critical reflection
As I have reflected on this the question that comes to  mind is that, given the clear cut
differences, why has this not been more widely understood? I can think of 3
possible reasons:

It has been acknowledged but ignored /superceded
by later vivaraṇa school writers because they remained unsatisfied with
Suresvara refusing to acknowledge the question “why is the Atman unknown?” as a
legitimate question. This could be why Suresvara’s works are not prescribed by
current orthodox teachers who direct students to Panchadasi and other works
over Suresvara. I have certainly seen this happen. An additional reason I have
also been given by teachers as well as seekers is that Suresvara’s works are
too vast and inaccessible. This to my mind is a pity

There is a view within the vivaraṇa tradition
that Suresvara does not represent the true tradition of Shankara. Interestingly
I have met some scholars of the orthodox tradition who have expressed this view
to me

Suresvara has not been deeply studied by many,
so these differences are not well understood. I would also proffer that the original
works of the vivaraṇa tradition have also not been studied  by many to understand that the differences
are there. The example I have given is that of Iṣṭa-siddhi so overtly and directly
refuting Suresvara’s conception of ignorance as “I do not know”. Why should
this be the case is worth studying by getting to know both works well. This is one
of the reasons, to answer Bhaskar’s question,  I am championing the propagation of the study
of Suresvara as a treasure trove that can unlock much wisdom for the seeker by
helping to deeply test one’s understanding. 

I also think it has all been said a number of times now, and
those that have not taken a view can assess for themselves their approach.  If you take the view that the orthodox
tradition is right then I wish you all the best for your sādhanā. If you take
the view that Holenarsipur Swami’s prakriyā is more in line with Shankara’s
teaching then I also wish you all the best for your sādhanā. Intellectual
debate to deepen understanding should always result in the right sādhanā to
allow knowledge to accrue and render the discourse irrelevant.




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