[Advaita-l] Ishvara-authored Srishti avidyākrta - Says Shankara

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu May 26 02:02:56 CDT 2016

Here is a post that is well articulated on the topic from the Advaitin


Namaste Sri Kalyan Ji

Here are some points to consider.

1. Sṛṣṭi is regarded as taṭastha-lakṣaṇa of Brahman - the only purpose of
every discussion about sṛṣṭi in śrūti is only to point to Brahman as its
substratum, and not to discuss the relative reality of sṛṣṭi at all. This
is the settled position of Śaṅkara in all his commentaries. The common
example for taṭastha-lakṣaṇa is the crow, which is incidentally perching on
the house, being used to point to the house. Now, how does it matter
whether the crow is a real crow or a wooden crow, a fake one? And would we
try to classify the person who pointed to the crow only as an indicator to
identity the house, as a realist just because he used a real crow to point
to the house? Śaṅkara should only be viewed as an absolutist, if anything -
since his pakṣa is that the only realty is non-dual and absolute, the
pāramārthika. He does not use words such as vyāvahārka or prātibhāsika as
regards reality in his commentaries.

Śaṅkara has used clay-pot, and rope-snake examples, only with a view to
point to the substratum, the clay and the rope, respectively; to try and
classify him as an idealist or a realist based on the example he is using
and try and create a system around his examples is an unwarranted extension
akin to calling the one who used a real crow to point to house as a

Swami Dayananda used to say that these are problems created by people when
they try to make a system out of a prakriyā, a model used to in teaching.

And Swami Paramarthananda says "what Śaṅkara has not said is as important
as what Śaṅkara has said".

2. The second point I would like discuss is whether the world is regarded
as objective reality or subjective reality. Śruti uses clay-pot,
gold-ornament, and nail-cutter and iron examples to explain sṛṣṭi. It does
not use rajju-sarpa example. Śaṅkara uses rope-snake example because it is
easier to explain certain aspects of Advaita through that example - such as
jñānāt kaivalyam. In the brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya and other places, Śaṅkara
explains continuation of the body for a jñāni is equal to the momentum of
an arrow shot from a bow - this is the position of śrūti also as in Chān Up
6.14.2 - tasya tāvadeva ciram". Unlike a rope-jñāni for whom the snake
disappears for good, we do not see the world disappearing for a
brahma-jñāni, though both are adhyastha. The world continues for a
brahma-jñāni, like the pot continues despite the knowledge its truth as
clay. So, my assimilation of the reality of the world, as per śrūti and
Śaṅkara, is similar to clay-pot and not rope-snake, in others words, world
is objective reality and not subjective reality. Such a position reconciles
with so many things - the fact that a jñāni is the best among bhaktas, and
that he remains in action though he has nothing to achieve, and that avidyā
is the cause of samsāra etc.

Bottom line - tātparya of śruti in discussing sṛṣṭi, and the tātparya of
clay-pot, rope-snake and such examples are all to only point to the
substratum; by extending them beyond this intended purpose, we are
committing the mistake of converting a prakriyā, a teaching model, into a
system. This should be avoided.

hariḥ om


2016-05-20 12:44 GMT+05:30 V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>:

> There is a thinking that the creation stated in the Shruti, as authored by
> the Sarvajna Ishvara (Brahman) is not mithyā but it is very much satya.
> And that the one imagined by the jiva alone is a product of avidyā.
> Shankara denies such a distinction and says that the creation taught in the
> shruti as authored by Ishwara (Brahman) is also avidyākṛta alone.  In the
> Mandukya 3.24 kārikā bhāṣya Shankara says:
> माण्डूक्योपनिषद्भाष्यम् । अद्वैतप्रकरणम् । कारिका २४ - भाष्यम्
> कथं श्रुतिनिश्चय इत्याह — यदि हि भूतत एव सृष्टिः स्यात्, ततः सत्यमेव
> नानावस्त्विति तदभावप्रदर्शनार्थ आम्नायो न स्यात् ; अस्ति च ‘नेह नानास्ति
> किञ्चन’ (क. उ. २-१-११)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Kathaka&page=02&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%B9%20%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%20%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%9E%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%9A%E0%A4%A8%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%95.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%A8-%E0%A5%A7-%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%A7)#Ka_C02_S01_V11> इत्याम्नायो
> द्वैतभावप्रतिषेधार्थः ; तस्मादात्मैकत्वप्रतिपत्त्यर्था कल्पिता सृष्टिरभूतैव
> प्राणसंवादवत् । ‘इन्द्रो मायाभिः’ (बृ. उ. २-५-१९)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=02&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%87%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8B%20%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%A8-%E0%A5%AB-%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%AF)#BR_C02_S05_V19> इत्यभूतार्थप्रतिपादकेन
> मायाशब्देन व्यपदेशात् । ननु प्रज्ञावचनो मायाशब्दः ; सत्यम्,
> इन्द्रियप्रज्ञाया अविद्यामयत्वेन मायात्वाभ्युपगमाददोषः । मायाभिः
> इन्द्रियप्रज्ञाभिरविद्यारूपाभिरित्यर्थः । ‘अजायमानो बहुधा विजायते’ (तै.
> आ. ३-१३) इति श्रुतेः । तस्मात् जायते मायया तु सः ; तु —शब्दोऽवधारणार्थः
> माययैवेति । न ह्यजायमानत्वं बहुधाजन्म च एकत्र सम्भवति, अग्नाविव
> शैत्यमौष्ण्यं च । फलवत्त्वाच्चात्मैकत्वदर्शनमेव श्रुतिनिश्चितोऽर्थः, ‘तत्र
> को मोहः कः शोक एकत्वमनुपश्यतः’ (ई. उ. ७)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Isha&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%20%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%8B%20%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%83%20%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%83%20%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%95%20%E0%A4%8F%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%83%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%88.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%AD)#IS_V07>
>  इत्यादिमन्त्रवर्णात् ‘मृत्योः स मृत्युमाप्नोति’ (क. उ. ३-१-१०)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Kathaka&page=03#Ka_C03_S01_V10> इति
> निन्दितत्वाच्च सृष्ट्यादिभेददृष्टेः ॥
> Meaning of the above: If there had been a real creation, there would not
> be any vedic statements that deny multiplicity, nānātva. But we have any
> number of such passages that deny dvaita: 'neha nānāsti..' denies dvaita,
> 'indro māyābhiḥ puru rūpa īyate', by the use of the word 'māyā' teaches
> that creation is a non-event; it did not really happen. Objction: The word
> 'māyā' means knowledge, prajnā. Reply: True; it means the indriya janita
> knowledge which is avidya generated. Hence, Parameshwara became many as the
> erroneous perceptions. [Shankara very clearly means here: the erroneous
> perceptions are indeed the many forms in which Brahman manifests.]
> 'ajāyamāno bahudhā vijāyate' clearly shows the illogicality of That which
> is never born takes manifold forms. On the other hand the shruti teaches
> that the vision of Unity, Advaita, is what results in transcending samsara:
> 'tatra ko mohaḥ kaḥ shokaḥ ekatvam anupaśyataḥ.
> It should be noted that the passages Shankara cites for creation are not
> the situations where the jiva imagines but the ones taught by the shruti as
> Ishvara creating. Especially the 'Indro māyābhiḥ' is one where the word
> 'Indra' is commented upon as Parameshwara by Shankara in that Br.up. More
> on this:
> In this Mandukya 1.18 kārikā, Shankara says:
> माण्डूक्योपनिषद्भाष्यम् । अद्वैतप्रकरणम् । कारिका १८ - भाष्यम्
> केन हेतुना तैर्न विरुध्यत इत्युच्यते — अद्वैतं परमार्थः, हि यस्मात् द्वैतं
> नानात्वं तस्याद्वैतस्य भेदः तद्भेदः, तस्य कार्यमित्यर्थः, ‘एकमेवाद्वितीयम्’
> (छा. उ. ६-२-१)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Chandogya&page=06&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%8F%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8D%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%9B%E0%A4%BE.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%AC-%E0%A5%A8-%E0%A5%A7)#Ch_C06_S02_V01>
>  ‘तत्तेजोऽसृजत’ (छा. उ. ६-२-३)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Chandogya&page=06&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%9C%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%BD%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%83%E0%A4%9C%E0%A4%A4%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%9B%E0%A4%BE.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%AC-%E0%A5%A8-%E0%A5%A9)#Ch_C06_S02_V03> इति
> श्रुतेः ; उपपत्तेश्च, स्वचित्तस्पन्दनाभावे समाधौ मूर्छायां सुषुप्तौ वा
> अभावात् । अतः तद्भेद उच्यते द्वैतम् । द्वैतिनां तु तेषां
> परमार्थतोऽपरमार्थतश्च उभयथापि द्वैतमेव ; यदि च तेषां भ्रान्तानां
> द्वैतदृष्टिः अस्माकमद्वैतदृष्टिरभ्रान्तानाम्, तेनायं हेतुना अस्मत्पक्षो न
> विरुध्यते तैः, ‘इन्द्रो मायाभिः’ (बृ. उ. २-५-१९)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=02&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%87%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8B%20%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%A8-%E0%A5%AB-%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%AF)#BR_C02_S05_V19>
>  ‘न तु तद्द्वितीयमस्ति’ (बृ. उ. ४-३-२३)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=04&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%A8%20%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%81%20%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%AA-%E0%A5%A9-%E0%A5%A8%E0%A5%A9)#BR_C04_S03_V23> इति
> श्रुतेः । यथा मत्तगजारूढः उन्मत्तं भूमिष्ठम् ‘प्रतिगजारूढोऽहं गजं वाहय मां
> प्रति’ इति ब्रुवाणमपि तं प्रति न वाहयत्यविरोधबुद्ध्या, तद्वत् । ततः
> परमार्थतो ब्रह्मविदात्मैव द्वैतिनाम् । तेनायं हेतुना अस्मत्पक्षो न
> विरुध्यते तैः ॥
> Shankara agains cites the Brahman-authored creation passages above and
> concludes that they are no different from a magic-show.
> Manudukya karika bhashya 2.31:
> माण्डूक्योपनिषद्भाष्यम् । वैतथ्यप्रकरणम् । कारिका ३१ - भाष्यम्
> यदेतद्द्वैतस्यासत्त्वमुक्तं युक्तितः, तदेतद्वेदान्तप्रमाणावगतमित्याह —
> स्वप्नश्च माया च स्वप्नमाये असद्वस्त्वात्मिके सत्यौ सद्वस्त्वात्मिके इव
> लक्ष्येते अविवेकिभिः । यथा च
> प्रसारितपण्यापणगृहप्रासादस्त्रीपुंजनपदव्यवहाराकीर्णमिव गन्धर्वनगरं
> दृश्यमानमेव सत् अकस्मादभावतां गतं दृष्टम्, यथा च स्वप्नमाये दृष्टे
> असद्रूपे, तथा विश्वमिदं द्वैतं समस्तमसद्दृष्टम् । क्वेत्याह — वेदान्तेषु, ‘नेह
> नानास्ति किञ्चन’ (क. उ. २-१-११)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Kathaka&page=02#Ka_C02_S01_V11>
>  ‘इन्द्रो मायाभिः’ (बृ. उ. २-५-१९)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=02&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%87%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8B%20%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%A8-%E0%A5%AB-%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%AF)#BR_C02_S05_V19>
>  ‘आत्मैवेदमग्र आसीत्’ (बृ. उ. १-४-१)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=01&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%86%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%88%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A6%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%97%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%20%E0%A4%86%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%A7-%E0%A5%AA-%E0%A5%A7)#BR_C01_S04_V01>
>  ‘ब्रह्मैवेदमग्र आसीत्’ (बृ. उ. १-४-१०)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=01&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%B9%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%88%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A6%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%97%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%20%E0%A4%86%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%A7-%E0%A5%AA-%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%A6)#BR_C01_S04_V10>
>  ‘द्वितीयाद्वै भयं भवति’ (बृ. उ. १-४-२)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=01#BR_C01_S04_V02>
>  ‘न तु तद्द्वितीयमस्ति’ (बृ. उ. ४-३-२३)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=04&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%A8%20%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%81%20%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%AA-%E0%A5%A9-%E0%A5%A8%E0%A5%A9)#BR_C04_S03_V23>
>  ‘यत्र त्वस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत्’ (बृ. उ. ४-५-१५)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Brha&page=04&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%20%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%20%E0%A4%B8%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%88%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AD%E0%A5%82%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%AC%E0%A5%83.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%AA-%E0%A5%AB-%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%AB)#BR_C04_S05_V15> इत्यादिषु
> विचक्षणैः निपुणतरवस्तुदर्शिभिः पण्डितैरित्यर्थः ; ‘तमः श्वभ्रनिभं दृष्टं
> वर्षबुद्बुदसंनिभम् । नाशप्रायं सुखाद्धीनं नाशोत्तरमभावगम्’ (मो. ध. ३०१-६०) इति
> व्यासस्मृतेः ॥
> Again, Shankara cites shruti passages where Ishwarakṛta sristhti is taught
> and also a Vyasa smriti (MB) to show that creation is mithya. These are
> just a sample of the innumerable tell tale evidences in Shankara's bhāsya
> for the jagatmithyātva.  The above passages were shown especially because
> it can be said that the Manduky, being ajati-vada specific, could be having
> a bias on jiva-imagination. But we have seen above all the shruti passages
> that clearly teach Ishvara kruta srishti.
> Thus, according to Shankara the creation taught in the shruti as Ishvara
> kruta is not to tell us that a real creation took place, but is only to
> drive home the Advaita Tattva that underlies the imagined duality.
> Shankara further confirms this idea by even more explicitly stating that
> the pāncha bhautika kārya prapancha is mithya:
> तत्त्वमाध्यात्मिकं दृष्ट्वा तत्त्वं दृष्ट्वा तु बाह्यतः ।
> तत्त्वीभूतस्तदारामस्तत्त्वादप्रच्युतो भवेत् ॥2.38  ॥
> भाष्यम्
> बाह्यं पृथिव्यादि तत्त्वमाध्यात्मिकं च देहादिलक्षणं
> रज्जुसर्पादिवत्स्वप्नमायादिवच्च असत्, ‘वाचारम्भणं विकारो नामधेयम्’ (छा.
> उ. ६-१-४)
> <http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/php/format.php?bhashya=Chandogya&page=06&hval=%E2%80%98%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%9A%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%A3%E0%A4%82%20%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8B%20%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%A7%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8D%E2%80%99%20(%E0%A4%9B%E0%A4%BE.%20%E0%A4%89.%20%E0%A5%AC-%E0%A5%A7-%E0%A5%AA)#Ch_C06_S01_V04>
>  इत्यादिश्रुतेः ।
> He says in Karika 2.38 above, that the pṛthivyādi jagat outside and the
> body mind complex to be no different from rajju-sarpa. This aught to be the
> vision of the Jnani. He says these are asat, mithya.
> Again, in Karika 3.3 Shankara reiterates this idea:
> एवमाकाशस्थानीयात्परमात्मनः पृथिव्यादिभूतसङ्घाता आध्यात्मिकाश्च
> कार्यकरणलक्षणा रज्जुसर्पवद्विकल्पिता जायन्ते ;
> The outside pṛthvi, etc. and body etc. that are imagined are 'born'.
>  Thus, Shankara nowhere makes a distinction between the Ishvara kruta
> creation and  the jiva-imagined world.

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