[Advaita-l] dva suparNA

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 12 13:00:52 CST 2015

From: Harsha Bhat via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Thursday, 12 November 2015 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Fwd: Knowledge of Brahman

Can any one tell ,what adi shankara says for dwe suparne mantra...Or in
other words can any one give english translation for dwe suparne mantra
from  shankaracharya bhashya..Please..
Before giving the gist of what Bhagavatpada says, a few words of introduction are in order.
First, Saastra should be approached with Sraddhaa, i.e. a belief that both the Saastras and Guru (Bhagavatpaada, in the present case) are right and they can help us achieve the ultimate. Without this Sraddhaa, studying Saastras will not achieve any purpose. In other words, their real purport would not be understood. Specifically khanDana etc. should not precede understanding, it should follow understanding. One should first read prakaraNagranthas, understand the broad tenets of Saastra first and then read in depth to appreciate the nuances and then engage with other schools so that one's own understanding is tested and strengthened. Of course, if after following a careful routine, if one is convinced that the school one studied is flawed and another school is better, one should surely follow whatever one deems best. Even so, what happens when one is in the process of studying, but is confused by other thoughts, by suggestions etc.? Should not the forum help? I would advise either isolation of the source of confusion, or a period of purposeful study, rather than engagement with second-hand summaries (it is like learning rocket science from Wikipedia). However, still sometimes if it is inevitable, well, here goes the explanation:
Second - this is both a preliminary and an introduction to the commentary on the mantra - it needs to be understood that Vedic sentences, in the context of an Advaita vs. Others kind of debate, are of two types: BhedaSruti, emphasising difference, and AbhedaSruti, emphasising non-difference. The existence of these two types of sentences is not disputed by anybody. What happens, is depending on the school, one set of sentences is given primacy and the other set is interpreted so as to conform to one's own siddhaanta. Advaita "explains away" the various bhedaSrutis according to non-Advaitins and the reverse is held to be true by Advaitins. So what is the right interpretation? Obviously one would have to take an overall view. Many western scholars, who do not suffer from feelings of inadequacy and are supremely sure of their positions even though they change over time (say Bertrand Russell or Noam Chomsky), take a stance that they understand the intent of the Upanishads, of Sutrakara, of Bhashyakar and that either the Sutrakara or Bhashyakara (why, even UpanishadkRt in their view) erred, or deviated at such and such places. Traditional scholars, who are more careful, tend to look to tradition because the tradition consists of their wellwishers primarily. That's where Sraddhaa comes in.
Now in the present mantra, Sankaracarya explains that the two birds referred to are Jiva and Isvara. The same two are described as the Ksharapurusha and Aksharapurusha by Bhagavaan in Purushottamapraaptiyoga (Ch 15, verse 16) of Bhagavadgita. There, it will be recalled, is said: उत्त्मः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युदाहृतः (15.17) -- There is a third purusha called Paramatman = Parabrahman. Here are extracts from the Bhashya with  translation:
अयं हि वृक्ष ऊर्ध्वमूलोऽवाक्शाखोऽश्वत्थोऽव्यक्तमूलप्रभवः क्षेत्रसंज्ञकः सर्वप्राणिकर्मफलाश्रयः, तं परिष्वक्तवन्तौ सुपर्णाविव अविद्याकामकर्मवासनाश्रयलिङ्गोपाध्यात्मेश्वरौ ।
a) Atma, which has for an adjunct [1] a body that is the base for avidyA, desire, karma and vAsanas (subconscious tendencie, or traces of earlier actions) and b) Isvara are like two birds which clutched (embraced) a tree, which has roots upwards, branches downwards, is called Asvattha (cross reference BG 15.1 - 3), is born from the source called Avyakta [2], is known as Kshetra (cf. BG 13.4), and is the substrate of the fruits of the action of all creatures.
तयोः परिष्वक्तयोः अन्यः एकः क्षेत्रज्ञो लिङ्गोपाधिवृक्षमाश्रितः पिप्पलं कर्मनिष्पन्नं सुखदुःखलक्षणं फलं स्वादु अनेकविचित्रवेदनास्वादरूपं स्वादु अत्ति भक्षयत्युपभुङ्क्ते अविवेकतः ।
Of those two who have clutched the tree, one is the Kshetrajna (=Jeeva, cf. BG, Ch. 13) who has resorted to the tree which is of the form of an adjunct, due to lack of discrimination eats, i.e. consumes the fruit Pippala, which is the result of karma, is of the nature of joy (sukham) and sorrow (duHkham) and is tasty on account of the enjoyment of various experience, .
अनश्नन् अन्यः इतरः ईश्वरो नित्यशुद्धबुद्धमुक्तस्वभावः सर्वज्ञः (सर्व)सत्त्वोपाधिरीश्वरो नाश्नाति । प्रेरयिता ह्यसावुभयोर्भोज्यभोक्त्रोर्नित्यसाक्षित्वसत्तामात्रेण । 
The other, the eternal, blemishless, omniscient Isvara who is of the form of consciousness, is liberated, and has (sarva)sattva [=maayaa] as an adjunct, does not consume [the fruit].
स तु अनश्नन् अन्यः अभिचाकशीति पश्यत्येव केवलम् । दर्शनमात्रं हि तस्य प्रेरयितृत्वं राजवत् ॥
He, the other who is not consuming, only witnesses. Like a king his causal-agency[3] is being merely a witness.[4]
RegardsN. Siva Senani
[1] Upaadhi = adjunct. Adjunct is something which stands next to it, which is not a part of it. For instance, when we say that a crystal has a rose for an adjunct (the crystal, colourless, will actually look red due to the rose placed next to it), the implication is that the qualities of the adjunct are superimposed on the thing of interest. Here, the qualities of avidyaa are imposed on Brahman and we call that entity as Jeeva. As Sri V. Subrahmanyam pointed out sometime back, Isvara also is Brahman with avidyaa as an adjunct. This is the reason, the two birds are called sakhaayau - two entities are called sakhA when the reason for their manifestation is the same: it is avdiyaa here.[2] Here avyakta means undifferentiated mAyA, also called mUlaprakRti.[3] प्रेरयितृत्वम् = the property of being a प्रेरयिता, one who causes. Here the sense is that Isvara causes the result of karma, i.e. Isvara is the reason every creature per force suffers or enjoys the result of its karma.[4] This concept of how Isvara causes the results of Karma - darSanamaatreNa - is what differentiates Vedaanta from the variety of Purvamimaamsaa which does not admit of God, or where Isvara has no role either in creation (they don't admit creation, for the world is beginningless for all that we know), sustenance (every one begets the result of his Kama, and Isvara has no role) or dissolution (they don't admit dissolution).

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