[Advaita-l] Body is the disease

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jan 16 17:48:59 CST 2014

On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 2:51 PM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> praNAms Sri Subbu prabhuji
> Hare Krishna
> This is very well said.  All the disagreement/questioning/objecting to
> relating avidyA to Brahman arises from the thinking that 'Brahman is a
> person' and that, a sarvajna.
> >  infact, if someone categorically argues that brahman is the locus
> (Ashraya) for avidyA, then there would be every chance that that brahman
> who is AshrayadAta to avidyA must be a person.

When Shankara says that there is no bhranta other than Brahman, it is
already implied that that Brahman has assumed jIvabhAva.  Thus, jIvabhAva
arises out of avidyA, having that jIva as the locus.  That is why I cited
the other verse giving the pot-space example.  The pot arises in space,
occupying space and yet accommodates a certain pot-space within it.

> This inference has a valid base in our day to day anubhava where jeeva's
> (person's) ignorance is well known.  And as you know, according to advaita,
> there is no vyavahAra called vidyA and avidyA in brahman and he is nitya
> shuddha, mukta svarUpa.
> >  And to coming back to brahman's sarvajna svabhAva, brahma does not need
> any karaNa (mayOpAdhi) or to be a person to have the sarvajnatva as its
> svarUpa.  shankara taking this objection and clarifies he can run without
> legs, he can handle without hands etc.  apANipAdO javanO graheeta etc. is
> the shruti.  And that which does not have anything other than itself which
> Atma eva, eka etc. has the svabhAva of sarvajna.  so, brahman need not to
> be necessarily  a person to attribute sarvajnatva.

The shvetashvatara mantra is cited by Shankara in several places.  In BSB
itself in (IkShatyadhikaraNa) and in 2.1.31.

*प्रतिषिद्धसर्वविशेषस्यापि ब्रह्मणः सर्वशक्तियोगः संभवती*
त्येतदप्यविद्याकल्पितरूपभेदोपन्यासेनोक्तमेव   । तथाच शास्त्रम्ऽअपाणिपादो
जवनो ग्रहीता पश्यत्यचक्षुः स शृणोत्यकर्णःऽ (श्वं. ३.१९) इत्यकरणस्यापि
ब्रह्मणः सर्वसामर्थ्ययोगं दर्शयति    । । २.१. ३१  । ।

There Shankara explicitly says: Even in that Brahman which is declared to
be devoid of all specifications, the taking up all functions is
possible...For this we have this shruti  apANipAdo...

So, Shankara clearly differentiates between the nirguNa Brahman and says
how this assumes the saguNa bhAva by 'resorting to' (the word to denote
this is 'yoga') those possibilities.  Thus, if nirguNa Brahman has to be
the creator, then even without a body, He (the person) can perform various
functions without having those instruments.  So, even according to the
shruti cited, it is a person: in pullinga.  The mAyAshabalitatvam is
already there.

> The very idea of (Brahman) being a person is
> rooted in avidyA.
> >  Yes, that is the reason why shankara says Ishwara and his sarvajnatva
> etc. valid only in vyavahAra.
> So, the thinking that Brahman is a 'person', whether alpajna or sarvajna,
> itself is incorrect.
> >  thinking that brahman is paricchinna person is wrong...but brahman
> which is ekaM eva adviteeyaM has the sarvajnatva as its svabhAva is not
> wrong since it has base both in shruti and shankara bhAshya.  See
> Itareya's very first mantra Atma vA idameka evAgra Asit 'nAnyat kiMchana
> mishat'...And this Atma is shankara clarifies : Atma who is sarvajnaH,
> sarvashaktiH, ashanAyAdi 'sarva saMsAra dharma varjitO, nitya shuddha
> buddha mukta svabhAvaH, ajOjarOmarOmrutObhayOdvayaH...This Atman cannot be
> a 'person' like mayOpAdhi vishishta or sOpAdhika kArya brahma Ishwara who
> is dominant in nAma rUpa vyAkruta jagat but he is ekaM, eva, (na anyat
> kiMchana mishat shruti vAkya substantiate this)who has sarvajnatva and
> sarvashaktitva as its svabhAva.

Let me cite another upanishad and bhAShya where the word 'sarvajnaH'
appears:  In Mundaka 1.1.9 we have:

yaH sarvajnaH sarvavit yasya jnAnamayam tapaH....

In the bhAShyam Shankara says: yasya jnAnamayam = jnAnavikArameva
sArvajnyalakShaNam tapaH..

Thus Shankara explicitly says, without room for any ambiguity, that the
sarvajnatvam of Brahman/Ishwara is a vikAra, a transformation.  This
sarvajnatvam is directly opposed to, different from, vilakShaNa with the
term 'jnAnam' occurring in the Taittiriya 'satyam jnAnam anantam Brahma'
where Shankara comments: jnAnam = jnaptiH and further goes on to establish
how this jnanam is not jnAnakriyA to differentiate it from any vikArajnAam.

One can see how the munDanka shruti and the bhAshya clinches the issue:

1. The sarvajnatvam is a jnAnavikAra while the avikArijnanam is
jnAnasvarUpa of Brahman.

2. Sarvajnatvam is always associated invariably with creatorship and JnAnam
is the very svarUpa of Brahman.  I have shown from Shankara's bhAShya-s the
difference between the two.

3. For the mundaka bhashya vakyam cited above, Anandagiri clarifies:

//sattvapradhAna mAyAyA jnAnAkhyo vikAraH tadupAdhikam jnAnavikAram
sRjujymana sarvapadArtha abhijnatvalakShaNam tapaH...//

[ This sarvajnatvam is a transformation of sattva-predominant mAyA. This is
the upAdhi that is a transformation of jnAna.  What is this transformed
jnAna? The knowledge of the entire gamut of objects to be created.  This is
the characteristic of omniscience.]

Certainly, a vikAra jnAna is never the same as svarUpa jnAna.  Neither the
upaniShads nor the bhAShya-s support the idea that sarvajnatvam is a
svabhAva/svarUpa of Brahman.  It is decidedly aupAdhika and the one who has
this aupAdhika, vikAra jnAnam is necessarily saguNa brahman.

I have already provided the mAnDUkya seventh mantra bhAShya for the term:
na prajnam which is also a direct refutation/negation of the sixth mantra
word 'sarvajnaH'.  Thus, sarvajnatvam is only in the apAramArthika,
vyAvahArika state and not in the paramAtha Turiya svarUpa.

Since you seem to be finding strength on the word 'svabhAva', let me cite
another instance from the bhAShyam where this word is used:

Here is a reference to the word 'svAbhAva/vika' used by Shankara.  The
context is the Br.up. 1.4.17.  In the bhAShya Shankara says:

//svAbhAvikyAm avidyAyAm vartamAnAH bAlAH 'parAchaH kAmAnanuyanti bAlAH..'
iti kAThakashrutau...//

Translation: [...being under ignorance which is natural (svAbhAvikyyAm) to
man, are outgoing in their tendencies as the KaThopaniShad 2.5 says..]

Again, in the very second sentence Shankara says:

//Atmaiva svAbhAviko avidvAn kAryakaraNa-sanghAtalakShaNo...//

['Self' (Atman) here means a natural (svAbhAviko) ignorant man of the upper
three castes identified with the body and organs...]

Here even though Shankara says the Atman is ignorant 'naturally'
(svAbhAvikaH), it does not mean that Atman's innate nature, svabhAva, is
ignorance.  If such is the case there would be no way the jIva can shed
ignorance since one cannot shed his svabhAva.  Thus, what the word
'svabhAva' means 'it is a superimposition' on the Atman and will continue
so long as one is not free from ignorance.

So, in the context of the Aitareya bhashya you cite, all the word svabhAva
means is that - Ishwara need not work for being omniscient; it is His very
nature, it is natural to Him.  Even here, we have to remember the mundaka
bhashya; jnAnavikAra is what is sarvajnatva is and Anandagiri explanation
that is aupAdhika, sattvaguNapradhAna.  That which is vikAra is not the
svarUpa jnana of Brahman.  The jiva who is really Brahman is not endowed
with this sarvajnatva.

warm regards

> That is the reason that even admitting of an omniscient Ishwara, a
> 'person', is a concession, only to be corrected by
> dropping even this admission.
> >  yes, you are right prabhuji.
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
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