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

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri May 27 01:50:34 CDT 2016

Namaste Sri Subrahmanian ji,
I agree with you. It's a well articulated note.
However, it's not clear to me on point 2 if the author is saying that
Shankara does not use the rope snake example to explain the world. He
explicitly says Shruti does not.
If he does imply that Shankara does not use rope snake, it would be helpful
if he clarifies if he is saying that Shankara explicitly says somewhere
that the rope snake is inapplicable to explain the world, or if he means
that Shankara does not use it anywhere.

Because in BGB 13.16, after talking about सृष्टि-स्थिति-लय  of the world,
Shankara  does say - यथा रज्जवादि: सर्पादेः मिथ्याकल्पितस्य ।


On 27 May 2016 5:34 a.m., "V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l" <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Here is a post that is well articulated on the topic from the Advaitin
> forum:
> https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/advaitin/conversations/messages/46420
> 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
> 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
> akin to calling the one who used a real crow to point to house as a
> realist.
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> Śuka

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