[Advaita-l] Ontological status of avidyA

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Fri Nov 25 00:26:56 CST 2016

praNAms Sri Venkatraghavan prabhuji
Hare Krishna

Yes, you are right we are not here to prove a point or otherwise.  And it is always better for us  to know that at least there is another way to look at the things and understand it by contemplating  the same shruti and bhAshya vAkya-s.  From the same bhAshya vAkya-s, in your books both mAyA and avidyA are one and the same and in my books it is entirely different.  Fine, we are still friends.  And those who are debating this issue, striving neither for avidyA nor mAya but only for brahman or attaining that brahma jnana which is Nirmala and nitya shuddha, Buddha, mukta… is it not prabhuji  ☺

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

From: Venkatraghavan S [mailto:agnimile at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2016 11:41 AM
To: Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com>
Cc: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Subject: RE: [Advaita-l] Ontological status of avidyA

Thanks Bhaskar ji. There are some points I do not agree with in your post, as I am sure is the case for you also. I understand your position, let's leave it at that. These posts are meant only for our mananam, not to prove a point.


On 25 Nov 2016 6:03 a.m., "Bhaskar YR" <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com<mailto:bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com>> wrote:
praNAms Sri Venkatraghavan prabhuji
Hare Krishna

Your concern that by calling avidyA brahma Ashrita, avidyA becomes brahma svarUpa, is not valid because brahman is sat whereas avidyA is anirvachanIya,

>   May I know where shankara calls avidyA is anirvachaneeya ??  And again may I know where shankara says brahman is sat and in it there EVER exist anirvachaneeya avidyA??  When shankara explains the nature of avidyA in geeta and bruhat  bhAshya ( i.e. avidyA is agrahaNa, anyathAgrahaNa and saMshaya ) don’t you think ‘avidyA’ is nirvachaneeya  in shankara bhAshya?? What is anirvachaneeya in shankara bhAshyA is mAya and not avidyA, former is brahmAbhinna and in its svarUpa it is brahman only..mama svarUpa madeeya mAya, tAm prakrutiM svAm adhishtAya vasheekrutya saMbhavAmi dehavAniva bhavAmi jAt iva etc. clarifies geetAchArya,  mAyAntu prakrutiM vidyAm, mAyinantu maheshwaraM says shruti just replace the word avidyA in the place of mAya and see the ‘arthahAni’.

two different orders of reality. That relationship is not like fire and heat.

>     mAyA is the Shakti of brahma avidyA is the dOsha of jeeva.  The relationship between brahma and mAya is like fire and heat whereas the difference between avidyA and brahma is dark and dawn.  parasyApi AtmanaH avyAkrutajagadAtmatvena vivakshitatvAt it is because for the jagat (mAyA) brahman is the abhinna nimittOpadAna kAraNa and again it is because of brahma Shakti is mAyA, shankara elsewhere says : kAraNasya AtmabhUtA shaktiH shakteshcha AtmabhUtaM kAryaM, sA shaktiH brahmaiva ahaM  shakti shaktimatOH ananyatvAt…it is self-explanatory no need for further explanation.

Your concerns also appear to step from from attributing a negative aspect to avidyA.

>   May I know where in prasthAna traya bhAshya shankara explain avidyA as a positive aspect?? OTOH, shankara in geeta bhAshya explicitly compares this avidyA with poison (visha) !!??

Here, what is meant by avidyA is the same as avyakta / prakriti / avyAkrita / mAya elsewhere in shAstra. Shankaracharya adds an adjective to these terms in many places as avidyAlakshaNA / avidyArUpa etc. What does he mean?

>     vishamishritAnna is called ‘visha’ only though there is hell a lot of difference between visha and anna.  beejaM mAm sarva bhUtAnAm clarifies geetAchArya, the seed for this anna is parabrahman only nothing else, yatOvA imAni bhUtAni jAyante, yena jAtAni jeevanti etc.  and this avyakta, mUla prakruti, mAya has been sometimes described as ‘akshara’ also and the same word ‘akshara’ has been used to denote brahman as well !!?? why?? It is because ahaM  shakti shaktimatOH ananyatvAt.  yA mUlaprakrutiH abhyupagamyate tadeva cha nO brahma, na ksharati ashnute cha iti nityatva vyApitvAbhyAm ‘aksharaM’ parameva brahma.  What does it mean prabhuji??  Elsewhere don’t you see the word : saMyukta between mAya and avidyA prabhuji??  What does it mean??  Can the word ‘saMyukta’ be used if the avidyA and mAya are synonyms and there exists absolutely no difference between mAyA and avidyA??  ‘saMyOga’ can happen between two different padArtha, if the mAyA and avidyA are one and the same this ‘saMyOga’ is not possible.  BTW, this is not the words of Sri SSS (though he strongly condemns the stand of equating mAyA with avidyA), this is the explanation of one of the achAryA-s from vyAkhyAna school.

>   And again it is with this background we have to understand the suffixes and prefixes to avidyA like avidyAlakshaNa, avidyArUpa, avidyApratyupasthApita, avidyAtmaka, in the famous statement : avidyAtmikA hi beejashaktiH avyakta shabda nirdeshyA  (a most potent statement to wrongly equate avidyA with avyaktA/mAyA ☺

Taken in the context of sarvajna Ishvara, avidyA is shuddha sattva guNa (i.e. sattva pradhAna), therefore Ishvara's avidyA does not have AvaraNa shakti, it is vikshepa shakti pradhAna. In the context of jIva, avidyA is malina sattva guNa and therefore it has both AvaraNa and vikshepa shakti. Fundamentally, whether it is shuddha sattva or malina sattva, it is the same triguNAtmaka avidyA only.

>     Since in your dictionary there is absolutely no difference between avidyA and mAya you are comfortably using the word ‘avidyA’ in place of mAya ( for example trigunAtimika avidyA instead of trigunAtmaka mAyA / prakruti) but that is not the case with me prabhuji, so kindly allow me to disagree with you.

If it still offends your sensibilities, wherever the term avidyA is used as being located in Brahman, you can take that to mean mAya instead

>     Ha, ha ☺ it is not my sentiments prabhuji since I don’t have any sentimental attachments to these words ☺ I am just presenting what is there for our reference with regard to these words in shankara’s prasthAna traya bhAshya.  So you can be rest assured that my sensibilities will not be offended even if you say brahman is ever tainted by avidyA i.e. ONLY shuddha sattva guNa and equating the guNa with ‘dOsha’ i.e. avidyA ☺

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

PS:  And now I have the gut feeling that I am again tempted to ‘beat this dead horse’…Kindly pardon me if I am going to end this discussion abruptly.

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