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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jan 8 00:36:27 CST 2014

On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:

> 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.

In the bhashyam for the 7th mantra for the word 'na prajnam' of the mantra,
Shankara gives the meaning: yugapat sarva viShaya prajnAtRtva pratiShedhaH'
which is the denial of the sarvajnatvam of Ishwara superimposed by the
upaniShad in the 6th mantra. 'the denial of knowing everything
simultaneously'.  This is the omniscience which does not arise one jnanam
after another jnanam as in the case of jiva.  Ishwara is admitted to be the
knower of the past, present and future of all jivas simultaneously.  This
unique nature attributed to Brahman in the name of Ishwara is being denied,
apavAda,  by the 7th mantra by that word 'na prajnam' and the bhashya shown
above.  By doing that the upanishad is holding out the Turiya as above and
different, vilakShaNa, from the pAdatrya, free of all upAdhis, both of the
samaShTi (ishvara, hiranyagarbha, virAT) and vyaShTi (jiva known by the
names prAjna, taijasa and vishva respectively)

> 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.

Actually this is the method of bhAgatyagalakShaNA that is shown by the
Vivekachudamani 244 preceded by a few other verses on the same topic while
bringing out the aikyam through the mahavakya tattvamasi:

I am quoting from an old post of yours on the thread 'True or False' in
this forum:

It is important to realize that Jiva and Ishvara can only be the same once
they shed their upAdhis or attributes. Else, it is not possible to claim the
unity of the two. That is, Ishvara as Ishvara is not the same as Jiva as
Jiva, but Ishvara as the nirvisheSha nirguNa nirAkAra niravayava nirupAdhika
Brahman is the same as Jiva as nivisheSha nirguNa nirAkAra niravayava
nirupAdhika Brahman. The Ishvara, considered with all His divine glories,
cannot by any means be the same as the mere mortal Jiva. Ishvara is the King
while the Jiva is a mere soldier. There is an apparent contradiction in
equating the two, which goes away if you drop all the attributes, qualities,
glories of Ishvara and those of the Jiva. The Sun can never be the same as
the puny glow-worm, but both considered as a *shining-object* are the same.
The VivekachUDAmaNi brings this out beautifully:

एतावुपाधी परजीवयोस्तयोः सम्यङ्निरासे न परो न जीवः ।
राज्यं नरेन्द्रस्य भटस्य खेटकस्तयोरपोहे न भटो न राजा ॥ २४४॥
When these two limiting adjuncts (upAdhis) of Ishvara and the Jiva are
completely eliminated, there is no Ishvara, no Jiva. The limiting adjunct of
the King is his kingdom, while that of the soldier is his shield. When these
two (limiting adjuncts) are removed, there is neither King nor soldier.

In other words, the essence or substratum of Ishvara and Jiva is the same.


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