[Advaita-l] Who has Ajnana/Maya?

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 16 11:44:02 EDT 2017

Sriram - PraNAms
There was extensive discussion of this before. 

1. Who has ajnana? 

A simple answer is the one who does not know that he  is brahman, naturally has the avidya. 

Next level of answer is one who thinks I am = this, this starts with Buddhi, then mind and then body, and defines himself with bio data as I am this, this and this and so on, has the ajnaana since he is the subject and any 'this' is an object which he cannot be. Object is inert and he is conscious entity. Since he does not know who he is, he is taking himself as I am this. Hence the vedanta teaching is for him who wants to know.
A little involved answer is - Brahman being infiniteness and absolute truth and it being one without  a second and of the nature of pure consciousness (prajnaanam brahman) there is no ajnana anywhere. There is no creation as is being discussed in the list under jeevo brahma eva naaparaH title. 

1. Hence from Brahman reference there is no avidya or vidya too. It is sajaati vijaati swagata bheda rahitam. One without a second.
2. If there is ajnaani, he has to be in or with Brahman only since Brahman being infinite cannot exclude anything.
Hence Locus of avidya is Brahman only since it cannot be away from Brahman - yet Brahman cannot have avidya. Both statements are not contradictory - one has to understand the ontological status of Brahman and avidya. It is like Krishna making a statement - mastaani sarva bhuutani and yet in the very next sloka he says na cha mastaani bhuutani - Both statements are correct if  one understands that the statements are made from two reference states.
3. Iswara does not have avidya - Mundaka Up. says Iswara is sarvajna and sarvavit - both actually mean the same - but in the context of the Upanishad one refers to para vidya and the other refers to apara vidya. Advaita does not say Iswara has avidya. 

4. Ramanuja also says jiivas have avidya - which is also anaadi - his definition of avidya is different from that of avidya of adviata.
5. Ramanuja provides seven untenables against avidya of advaita  in his purvapaksha in his Shree Bhashya of Br. Su. The problem is he also has the same problem of anyya ashraya  dosha - For him, jeevas are also born due to their previous karmas and question is karma came first and jiiva has born first. 

Hence adviata resort to anirvachaneeyam since one cannot avoid problem that involves beginning-less aspects. There same problem of seed came first or tree came first. 

6. Advaita agrees that Iswara is ananta kalynaana guna ashraya as Ramanuja says. There is no problem with that. Brahman transcends all the three - jeeva-jagat-Iswara. Maaya and Iswara, jeeva and jagat all are in the vyaavahaarika satyam only . At paaramaarthika level - there is pure Brahman where na vaak gacchati na manaH. No maaya also there. 

Hope this helps
Hari Om!Sadananda

      From: Sriram Sankaranarayanan via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
 To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
Cc: Sriram Sankaranarayanan <ssriram1992 at icloud.com>
 Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:09 AM
 Subject: [Advaita-l] Who has Ajnana/Maya?
Dear all,

Perhaps this question has been discussed in this group, but I would like to
know Shankara's answers to the following questions which I heard from a few
Dvaiti and visishtadvaiti orators.

  1. Who has Ajnana? If Jeeva has ajnana, that is inconsistent since the
  existence of Jeeva's identity is Ajnana and we cannot call Jeeva "has"
  ajnana any longer. But if paramatma has ajnana, that is a blemish on
  2. If Maya is an attribute of Ishwara, then doesn't Mayatva contradict
  the nirgunatva aspect that Advaitins claim?

In the following talk (Tamil) Sringeri Mahasannidhanam addresses this a
little, but I wish if somebody can shed more light on this topic.
Identity of Brahman & Jiva by Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Sringeri

Also please quote from Prasthanathraya Bhashyams or other granthas if


Hamsah Soham
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