[Advaita-l] Shankara and DrishTi-SrishTi vAda - eka jeeva vaada

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Sun May 15 02:39:15 CDT 2016

Namaste Sri Anand,

Yes, I saw that. Thanks for posting to the group. I am presenting some
additional comments from my understanding.

jIva is defined as consciousness with avidyA upAdhi/limitation. That being
the case, since it is impossible to perceive the consciousness limited by
ignorance of others - that is, other than one's own (nahi
parAjnAnAvachchinna: parasya pratyaksho bhavitumarhati), it is impossible
to say that that the other jIvA appearances perceived are jIvAs like
myself, as I can't perceive their avidyA limitation like I can perceive my

E.g. I can perceive my ignorance of this pot, and say "I am pot-ignorant"
but I cannot perceive your ignorance of this pot and say "you are
pot-ignorant". Therefore, while I can detect the difference of "I" with
anAtma, and say "I am", I can't say with conviction that others are jIvAs
like me and say "they are". More so because even in dreams I can see
appearances of other jIvas like this and I know that they are not real like
me, the dreamer.

To this the pUrvapakshi says - OK you cannot perceive their avidyA
directly, but you can infer they are jIvAs like you by their activities
(deha cheshtA).

SiddhAntin says - even with one jIva I can perceive behaviour of multiple
bodies (ekenApi anekadehacheshtA upapatteh). I concede that I perceive
there are multiple bodies, but that doesn't mean that they (the bodies) are
real, or that they are all jIvAs like me.

PP: well, if they are one jIva then all those bodies must behave in the
same manner.

S: No, because even in one body, I can say my feet are feeling fine, but I
have a headache. So one Atma limited by one ignorance can feel fine in one
part of the body and pain in the other part of the body - therefore
perception of different behaviours is no basis to infer that there are
different jIvAs delimited by different ignorances. The belief in multiple
jIvAs is because of the belief in dehAtma vAda - that the Atma is the body.

In the above, PrakAshAnada is using anubhava based logic to prove that
other jIva appearances are only that - appearances, and therefore there is
only one jIva, who is none other than Brahman. Earlier, he used shruti to
argue why there was only one jIva (ajAm ekAm lohitashuklakrishNAm and ajo
hyeko jushamANOnushete, which Sri Anand sent to the list before). The other
appearances are not jIvAs like the seer.

However, the point still remains that it is drishti that creates other
appearances too. However, the difference from what I said earlier is that
earlier I said drishti srishti implies eka jIva vAda; however, it is more
appropriate to say: drishti srishti, as defined by PrakAshAnada and eka
jIva vAda go hand in hand.

I haven't read Bhamati so I can't give the reasons for why jIvAshrita
avidyA leads to drishti srishti as opposed to srishti drishti as said by

>If anyone is able to find a reason for why drishti srishti vAda, as
>outlined in siddhAnta muktAvali, and talked about in other granthAs
>what I could make out, Appayya DIkshitar, MadhusUdana Sarasvati, Nishchala
>Das etc. have a similar definition of DSV as PrakAshAnada) consider anya
>jIvas as AbhAsa, I would be most grateful if you can share it here.

If you read the objection raised and its reply on pages 21 and 22 in the
VSM with English translation, you will see that PrakAshAnanda has given a
brilliant answer. As far as I understand, the assumption of "perceiving
other jIvas" (in waking or dream, since both are non-different) is itself
questionable. In fact, he first admonishes the objector: "nUnaM
dehAtmavAdamAshritya bhrAnto asi", you are deluded into thinking the body
and Atma are the same. PrakAshAnanda asks, "svapne anye jIvAH kalpitAH iti
ko arthaH?" What do you mean by saying other jIvas are imagined in a dream?
Does it mean 1) you perceive bodies of devas, gandharvas, (humans,
animals,) etc. or 2) you perceive multiple jIvas as we have defined a jIva,
Brahman limited by ajnAna? (kiM dehA devagandharvAdisaMjnakA kalpitAH? uta
ajnAnopAdhiko yo jIvo asmadabhimataH tAdRshA eva bahavo anubhUtAH teShAm
ekaH satyo anye kalpitA iti?) If the former is the case, then we do not
have any contradiction with our siddhAnta because we do accept multiple
bodies can be perceived by the draShTA, the perceiver, who is the only
single jIva. And it is this draShTA who will be the adhikArin for shravaNa,
manana, etc. in order to get liberated, not bodies or something limited by
bodies. The latter cannot be the case, since you do not perceive multiple
instances of "(consciousness) being limited by ajnAna", which is how we
have defined a jIva. It is not possible for anyone to directly perceive
the ajnAna (ignorance) or knowledge of another.

The gist of the argument is: once you have accepted that there is only one
jIva, considering "other jIvas" as AbhAsa does not arise, since "other
jIvas" is an undefinable term.

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