[Advaita-l] Who has Ajnana/Maya?

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri Mar 17 07:57:49 EDT 2017

Dear Sri Kalyan,
Replies inline.

On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 10:55 AM, Kalyan via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Dear Sri Venkataraghavan
> As jIva is sopAdhika Atman and the upAdhis being jaDa cannot be affected
> by ajnAna, the position that jIva is affected by ajnAna boils down to the
> position that the Atman is affected by ajnAna.
No, upon experiencing ajnAna, the jIva mistakenly assumes that he is
affected by ajnAna. Neither the experience of ajnAna, nor his
superimposition of an experienced attribute as his own are really real.

> The position that Brahman cannot be affected by ignorance due to
> difference in ontological status of the 2 entities, goes against
> everybody's perception that they are experiencing and being affected by
> misery, despite being non-different from Brahman (as per advaita). As Des
> Cartes says, I think, therefore I exist, so also, I experience misery,
> therefore it cannot be denied, for my existence and experiences are more
> real to me than anything else. I can deny the external world but not myself
> and my experiences.

You can certainly not deny yourself, but it is very much possible to deny
something that you erroneously consider to be your self. It is certainly
possible to deny an experience. We have wrong experiences all the time.

It is a mistaken assumption to hold that the perception or the experience
of misery (or anything for that matter) proves its reality. In fact,
advaita says the opposite - the experience of misery disproves its
reality.  The only thing capable of knowing is the self, and because the
subject can never be its own object, the self can never know itself as an

Therefore, because it is knowable, misery cannot be an attribute of the
self. Because misery is not part of the self, and the self is the only real
entity, what must necessarily follow is that misery belongs to an unreal
entity, and therefore unreal.

If misery is unreal, can it affect me? It cannot. Then why does it feel
like it is affecting me? It is a wrong feeling and a wrong feeling is well,
wrong. It should be corrected.


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