[Advaita-l] The concept of "bhAvarUpa" in shAnkara bhAShyam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jun 19 20:41:52 CDT 2013

On Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 12:32 AM, subhanu saxena <subhanu at hotmail.com>wrote:

> V Subramanian wrote: This is the meaning of bhAvarUpa upAdAna kAraNam that
> is  avidyA/samvRti.
> Namaste, as already mentioned Suresvara refutes directly this conception
> of Avidya [jnānābhāvo'thavā sarvam avidyaiveti nischitah BUBV 1.4.1439],
> with the unknown atman as the only cause required to explain the phenomena
> of the universe. Shanakra always describes the provisional causality of
> ignorance as nimitta-naimittika not upādāna-upādeya.


In the BGB 13th ch.last verse 'bhUtAnAm prakRtiH...avidyAlakShaNA
avyaktAkhyA.. tasyAH abhAvagamanam' it is not nimitta-naimittika but
upAdAna-upAdeya.  In that chapter and also in the 7th ch. it is well
established as to how prakRti is the one that has manifested as the

In addition to the points I have already given where Suresvara and
> vivaraṇam  traditions diverge [paurvāparyatā of a causal state as an actual
> state vs just a  logical presupposition, avidyā as adhyāsa, "i do not know"
> as within the realm of superimposition, "hare's horn" analogy as redundant
> in trying to explain the need for a sadasadvilakshaṇa avidyā and actually
> used in the diametrically opposed sense to vivaraṇam  , establishing the
> positive nature of ignorance through pramāṇas vs Suresvara where  ignorance
> not pramāṇagamyam but anubhavagamyam], there is another important
> divergence that is worth noting. Followers of the vivaraṇam  tradition
> often quote texts like GK 1.2 bhāshyam  as a basis for their view that the
> only way to explain the memory "I did not know anything in deep sleep", is
> recourse to this bhāva-rūpa avidyā [eg vivaraṇam  p74-76 pratyaksham tāvat
> "ahamajñah...etc, Citsukha in TP p99 "Further, experience in dreamless
> sleep attested by the reflection afterwards "I knew nothing", is another
> proof of positive ignorance"].  However, Suresvara declares clearly that "I
> do not know" is not a real cognition of a memory but is just a false notion
> [ na suṣuptigavijñānam nājñāsiṣam iti smritih BUBV 1.4.300].
> Further, the word bījam is taken in the vivaraṇam  tradition as a basis
> for postulating such a bhāva-rūpa avidyā. However the simple false notion
> of not knowing atman is what is defined as this bījam  in Shankara's
> tradition as explained by Suresvara [ajñātāmaika-samsiddha bījāvastham idam
> jagat BUBV 1.4.191], ajñātam brahma khalu sabījam brahmocyate [MRV Sanskrit
> commentary on GK 1.2, page 72]. We also have the smriti authority of such a
> view from Shanti Parva Moksha Dharma parva 211.17 [bījānyagnyadagdhāni na
> rohanti yathā punah].

The 'jnAna-dAhya-bIjAbhAve jnAnAnArthakya prasangaH' of the GK1.2 bhashyam
is the indisputable proof of a bhAvarUpa avidya persisting in sleep/pralaya
that is jnAnavirodhi.  There are several references to this phenomenon in
the shruti/smrti/bhashyam.  jnAnAbhAva as conceived of by Sri SSS is not
jnAnadAhya, for there will be nothing that jnAna can burn.

The fundamental point driving this difference between Suresvara and
> vivaraṇam  is that, whilst vivaraṇam  understands the imagined superimposed
> nature of ignorance, it cannot get past the desire to require a cause for
> an effect of confusion [kāryasya kāraṇāpekshā hi prathamam utpadyate na
> virodha-samsargābhāvāpekshā, An effect first needs a cause; it is only
> after it has come into being as an effect preceding from a cause that the
> absence of relation with anything contradictory could arise at all V
> 65-67]. This is opposed to Suresvara where not only is avidyā adhyāsa
> alone, but also, the whole notion of paurvāparyatā occurs within
> superimposition itself [asīdityapi yah shabdah tanmohādyapekshayā BUBV
> 1.4.1301-this refutes also the oft quoted recourse to nāsadīya suktam for
> tamas as a prior causal positive state].

That any discourse on Vedanta is within superimposition is well known.
That is why even mokSha vyavahAra utilizing   mokSha shAstra, the
upanishads, is stated to be avidyAvadviShaya in the adhyAsabhashyam.

Finally, all passages quoted can without exception be explained by taken
> the atman as unkown being the only cause as a result of lack of critical
> reflection without the need for further elaboration of the nature of
> ignorance. I think Sri Sadananda-ji has said it well though that this bhāva
> abhāva discussion is time pass. We must never forget that the purpose of
> shastra is not to describe ignorance but to negate it and reveal brahman.

Agreed that that is the purpose of the shAstra.  Yet shankara indulges in
the discussion of the nature of samvRti as whether it is bhAva or abhAva.
That such samvRti is jnAnadAhya is also stated by shankara unambiguously.
The bhAva/abhAva discussion in the Cha.up. is centered on the
upadAnakAranatvam and not on nimitta-naimittika. The possibility of some
passages being explained either way is what at the center of dispute. But
which way is the bhAShyakAra's is the moot point. This feature came to the
fore in the recent meet in Bangalore.  Both schools hold that the other has
diverged/departed from shankara and sureshwara.  In fact the hosting
Swamiji openly expressed the purpose of the/this meet as his hope of
bringing about a conciliation and that it is disappointing that such a
result is not emerging.


> RegardsSubhanu

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