[Advaita-l] svabhAva of Atman IS 'sarvajnatvaM'

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 7 21:12:09 CST 2014

Indeed, the mANDUkya upanishad mantras 6 and 7 are typically used to
distinguish between Ishvara and (nirguNa) Brahman. Mantra 6 is about PrAjna
or Ishvara (deep sleep) whereas Mantra 7 is about Brahman (turIya). Mantra
6 specifically states that PrAjna, the third pAda of Atman is sarveshvara,
sarvajna, and antaryAmin. Commenting on mantra 7, Shankara is quite clear
in saying "na prajnAnaghanamiti suShuptAvasthApratiShedhaH,
bIjabhAvAvivekasvarUpatvAt". The turIya is not the same as the deep sleep
state, the causal condition characterized as "avivekasvarUpa", a lack of
discrimination between the real and unreal. Also crucial are the GauDapAda
kArikAs following Mantra 7, for example 11, which states that the turIya is
not bound by a cause - effect relationship, unlike the three other states
which are so bound: kAryakAraNabaddhau tAviShyete vishvataijasau| prAjnaH
kAraNabaddhastu dvau tau turye na  siddhyataH|| All this implies that
Ishvara is also bound by causal and other relationships, such as being the
Cause, the lord of all (sarveshvara), etc. The nirguNa Brahman is not
bound. That is exactly why Brahman is called nirupAdhika Brahman, without
any limitations. Even in cases where "sarvajna", "sarveshvara", etc. are
applied to Brahman, such application is only "aupacArika", figurative and
not literal.

To give an example, if Ishvara is compared to a King, nirupAdhika Brahman
is the King with all his royal attachments removed. One may say he still
has the royal characteristics inherent within himself. But that is taking
the analogy too far. In Brahman's case, in the final analysis even Creation
is denied, and there is no Ruler and the Ruled, or Myself and the Other.
Even the notion, "I am Alone" implies that there should/could have been
another being besides me and hence a duality.


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