[Advaita-l] Ontological status of avidyA

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Thu Nov 24 09:39:48 CST 2016

Namaste Venkatraghavanji,

I agree with your analysis countering Prof. Ingall's paper. I think Advaita
Vedanta's calling avidyA mithyA and defining mithyA as sadasadbhyAm
anirvachanIyA is just brilliant. The definition of sat as trikAlAbAdhita
puts everything that is cognizable into the category of mithyA.

Further, I also agree with you that the question of avidyA being the cause
of adhyAsa is moot to counter the objection raised so: "if we say that
avidyA is adhyasta on Atma, how can we then say that the avidyA, an
adhyasta vastu, is adhyAsa kAraNa?

In the example given,
For example, the mithyA snake is superimposed on a satya rope. If the rope
itself is mithyA, how can it lead to snake adhyAsa?"

If one takes the avidyA as bhAvarUpa and virodhArthe, it is very clear that
wrong understanding of the rope gave rise to the snake, opposing the right
knowledge of the rope, not no understanding of the rope. No understanding
of the rope has no business of projecting a snake. I don't know the rope,
that is it. I am done.

As you said, Bhashyakara equates avidyA with mAyA, which is shaktyAtmikA.
Not only does Bhashyakara do so, but he also gives quite a few adjectives
to avidyA at many places. abhAvarUpa avidyA needs no adjectives. Unless
Prof. Ingall means that Bhashyakara did not say avidyA is atyantAsat, I
don't think anyone in the sampradAya agrees with him.

Kind rgds,
--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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