[Advaita-l] Ontological status of avidyA

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Fri Nov 25 03:09:26 CST 2016

Namaste Venkatraghavanji,

On Fri, Nov 25, 2016 at 1:53 PM, Venkatraghavan S <agnimile at gmail.com>

> > अविद्यालक्षणा is a little different from अविद्याकृत because the former
> equates the nature of Maya as avidyA, as seen in introduction to Gita 9.8
> also, where Bhashyakara equates both by saying-- एवम् अविद्यालक्षणाम् to
> qualify प्रकृतिम् (=मायाम्) in the verse.
> I agree with you, I was myself debating whether I should add avidyAkrita
> to the list, as typically Shankara uses it as an adjective for mAya's
> products such as nAmarUpa etc, and not for mAya itself .
Yes, that is why saying अविद्यकृतम् = मायाकार्यम् would mean avidyA = mAyA.

> The reason I reluctantly decided to include it in the end is there
> appeared to be one instance (that I could find on advaita sharada when I
> looked then) where he seemed to use it different to his normal usage. It
> occurs in kArika bhAshya 1.6. दृष्टं च रज्जुसर्पादीनामविद्याकृतमायाबीजोत्पन्नानां
> रज्ज्वाद्यात्मना सत्त्वम्.
> Having reread the sentence this morning, the usage is
> अविद्याकृतमायाबीजोत्पन्नं and not अविद्याकृतमायाबीजं, as I had previously
> thought. So the description is of रज्जुसर्पं, not मायाबीजं.

Thanks for quoting the reference.

You seem to have identified an issue different than what I initially
intended to point out, which was that अविद्यालक्षणा would be an adjective
that would equate avidyA with mAyA, and so its different from अविद्याकृत।
However, with your quoted reference on usage of अविद्याकृतमायाबीजोत्पन्नः
[रज्जुसर्पादिः], again, both are equated, since the word
अविद्याकृतमायाबीजोत्पन्नः would have समासविग्रह as follows: अविद्यया कृतः
अविद्याकृतः। माया एव बीजं मायाबीजम्। मायाबीजात् उत्पन्नः मायाबीजोत्पन्नः।
अविद्याकृत एव मायाबीजोत्पन्नः [रज्जुसर्पादिः] अविद्याकृतमायाबीजोत्पन्नः
[रज्जुसर्पादिः]।  That is, what is created by avidyA, is created by Maya in
the form of seed. Ergo, avidyA = mAyA. :)

The reason अविद्यलक्षणा as an adjective to माया also means avidyA = mAyA is
because अविद्या लक्षणं [=स्वरूपं] यस्याः मायायाः सा माया अविद्यालक्षणा माया।

--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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