[Advaita-l] Why brahma jnAna is capable of sarva nivritti

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 22 12:09:06 EDT 2017

Dear Venkat ji,

Many thanks for this very elaborate and instructive post.

In a different talk on Advaita Siddhi, Vidwan Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal
said that the concept of 'Sākṣī' is completely different in the Dvaita and
Advaita schools and there is a lot of discussion on this topic too.

Your efforts in presenting the topic so nicely is laudable.

warm regards

On Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 8:28 PM, Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> In Advaita Siddhi, there is an inquiry into the sublating power of
> brahmajnAna. The pUrvapakshi poses the question - in any bAdhaka jnAna, it
> is only the bhrama viShaya, the object of the misperception, whose
> existence is disproved by right knowledge. When the shell is seen, it is
> only the mistakenly perceived silver that is revealed to be an illusion. It
> is not as if the seer's nivritti happens with when he knows that the silver
> is actually shell. Neither are any other factors involved in the
> misperception.
> Specifically, none of - a) bhrama jnAna, b) the cause of that bhrama, which
> is the ignorance of the true underlying substance, c) the defect that led
> to this misperception, such as the seer's defective vision, etc, d) the
> seer himself  - are sublated by the knowledge of the substratum.
> However, the advaitin uses the same example of shukti rajatam to claim that
> upon brahma jnAna there is a total sublation of everything. This is an
> unacceptable leap in logic.
>  न च - बाधकधियां भ्रमतद्धेत्वज्ञानदोषाधयस्तद्रष्ट्रादीनामबाधकत्वं
> दृष्टमिति
> कथं ब्रह्मज्ञानस्य तद्बाधकत्वं घटतामिति - वाच्यं | To this, the siddhikAra
> says, do not argue thus.
> We see instances where such all encompassing nivritti is possible.
> यत्र हि स्वप्ने द्रष्टारं दुष्टकरणवन्तं कल्पयित्वा तस्य भ्रमं कल्पयति, तत्र
> जागरज्ञानेन सर्वेषां निवृत्तिदर्शनात् | Consider the following example.
> Suppose there is a man who dreams of some person (ie not him) mistaking a
> shell for silver. Here,  the dream person who mistakes the shell for silver
> (drashTA), his ignorance of the dream shell (ajnAna), his faulty eyesight
> in the dream that led to the mistake (doSha), his perception of the silver
> (bhrama) and the silver (bhrama viShaya) are all seen in the dream. All
> these are sublated upon the dreamer waking up.
> जाग्रद्दशायामपि यदा मनुष्यप्रतिकृतौ चैतन्यं कल्पयित्वा
> तत्समीपवर्तिन्यनादर्श एवादर्शत्वं कल्पयित्वा स्वप्रतिबिम्बमयं पश्यतीति
> कल्पयति, तदा नायं चेतनो न चायमादर्श इति परमया सर्वनिवृत्तिदर्शनाच्च
> नेयमदृष्टचरी कल्पना |
> This is also possible in the waking state - take the example of a child
> playing with a toy. Let us assume the toy is shaped like a man looking at
> his reflection in the mirror. Now the child imagines the toy man to be a
> conscious entity and imagines the toy mirror to be a real mirror. He thus
> imagines a non-existent conscious man admiring his non-existent reflection
> in a non-existent mirror.
> The imagined consciousness of the man (drashTA), his seeing (bhrama), the
> reflection seen (bhrama viShaya), his ignorance of his own face that the
> child attributes to the toy man (avidyA), which was made possible due to
> the toy's proximity to the toy mirror (dOSha) - none of these is real.
> When bAdha jnAna of this entire set up takes place, everything that was
> thus imagined is falsified - are shown to be non-existent.
> Similarly, why is it incorrect to say that brahma jnAna is capable of sarva
> kalpanA nivritti?
> To this, the pUrva pakshi asks - your examples are fine, but what is the
> underlying reason for some types of bAdhaka jnAna to do nivritti of only
> the bhrama viShaya, whereas other bAdhaka jnAnas (according to the
> advaitin) are capable of sarva nivritti?
> तथाचेयं शुक्तिरित्याद्यधिष्ठानज्ञानं रज्ज्वां सर्पभ्रममिव
> द्रष्ट्राद्यध्यासं मा निवीवृतत्, तत्कस्य हेतो:? Why is it that certain
> jnAna like shukti adhishThAna jnAna is incapable of doing a bAdha of ajnAna
> (this is the opponent's view, the siddhAntin says that there is bAdha of
> ajnAna too), and like in the instance of the snake illusion on the rope,
> the seer's nivritti does not happen upon seeing the shell or the snake?
> ब्रह्म ज्ञानं त्वाकाशादिप्रपञ्चभ्रममिव द्रष्टुर्दोषादिभ्रममपि निवर्तयेदेव,
> तत्कस्य हेतो:? -whereas brahma jnAna is able to do a nivritti of everything
> - not just this world consisting of the pancha bhutAs such as space etc,
> but also its seer, his doSha etc. What makes brahma jnAna so special?
> The siddhikAra says - तदधिष्ठानसाक्षात्कारत्वाभावात् | in the case of the
> shell and silver, the shell is the substratum for only the silver, it is
> not the substratum for the seer, or for the defect in the seer's eyes.  One
> cannot say that because the shell is unseen, a person walking nearby is
> attributed with "seer"-hood, or that such a seer's develops a fault in his
> eyes leading to the misperception. In this example, the shell is the
> adhishThAna for only the bhrama viShaya (silver), not the doSha or the
> drashTA. As a consequence, the shukti adhishThAna jnAna is able to do
> nivritti of only the silver.
> अशेषभ्रमाधिष्ठानतत्त्वसाक्षात्कारत्वात् |
> Whereas, brahman is the adhishthAna for everything -  it is the adhishThAna
> for the entire dvaita prapancha that is seen as existing, the ajnAna
> because of which this prapancha is seen, the person who perceives the
> world, and all the doShAs of the seer such as karma vAsanas etc. Therefore,
> when Brahma jnAna - the sakala adhishThAna jnAna - arises, everything that
> has Brahman as its adhishThAna undergoes nivritti.
> एवंच बाधबुद्धित्वं न दोषाद्यबाधाकत्वे प्रयोजकम्, अपि
> तु तद्भ्रमाधिष्ठानतत्त्वसाक्षात्कारभिन्नत्वमिति द्रष्टव्यं | Therefore,
> there is no rule that bAdha jnAna is intrinsically unable to sublate doSha,
> etc. On the contrary, a bAdha jnAna's inability to sublate doShas etc.,
> stems from the factors of perception involved having a different substratum
> than the substratum whose knowledge is revealed by the bAdha jnAna.
> ननु - कल्पितत्वादुक्तदृष्टान्तेन तत् बाध्यताम्, इह तु कथमिति चेत्  | The
> pUrvapakshi then asks - the sublatability of all the factors involved in
> the bhrama in your examples is because every single one of them is
> imagined. However, that cannot be said to be applicable for the world.
> हन्त ब्रह्मव्यतिरिक्तस्य सर्वस्य कल्पितत्वमङ्गीकुर्वतामस्माकमिदमनिष्टं
> महादापादितं देवानां प्रियेण  To this the siddhikAra says - who says that
> everything is not imagined? The world that I observe is imagined by me - I
> may not be aware of the fact - but whoever observes the bhrAnti is the one
> that imagines it. Everything apart from Brahman is kalpitam according to
> us.
> Next, the pUrvapakshi asks - are objects revealed by sAkshi  sublatable?
> Does the sAkshi suffer bhrAnti? Here he is arguing that there can be no
> bAdha for sAkshi pratyaksha things like sukha, dukha, shuktirajatam etc.
> because they are revealed by sAkshi, which happens to be shuddha chaitanyam
> and defect-free. Hence, what the sAkshi reveals cannot be bAdhya either.
> The pUrvapakshi wishes to establish that everyone is acutely aware of one's
> own happiness  / sorrow, and therefore to argue based on the shruti (तत्र
> को मोह: क: शोक: एकत्वमनुपश्यत:) that there is no happiness or sorrow for
> the self is flawed.
> He says:
> ननु - साक्षिप्रत्यक्षं न बाध्यं; दोषाजन्यत्वात्, प्रत्युत
> श्रुतिजनिताद्वैतज्ञानमेव बाध्यम्; तात्पर्यभ्रमरूपदोषजन्यत्वात्
> sAkshi pratyaksha objects cannot be sublated (bAdhyam) because the sAkshi
> does not arise from a defective source (and so cannot be mistaken). On the
> other hand, the notion that advaita is the tAtparya of shruti can be
> defective, and therefore advaita jnAna, which arises from such a defective
> notion, itself may be bAdhyam. Therefore, quoting shruti to say that the
> the joy or sorrow observed by the self is unreal is inappropriate.
> To this objection, the siddhikAra replies:
> इति चेत् - न ; चैतन्यस्य स्वरूपत: दोषाजन्यत्वेऽपि तदवच्छेदिकाया
> अविद्यावृत्तेर्दोषजन्यत्वात् ; तत्प्रतिफलितचैतन्यस्यैव साक्षिपदार्थत्वात् ;
> We accept that consciousness inherently is not defective - however, pure
> consciousness, being completely free of any relation whatsoever (असङ्गो हि
> अयं पुरुष:),  by itself cannot reveal any other object. It needs a vritti
> or thought to reveal the object. Consciousness when enclosed by a thought
> is the one that reveals that object. If the thought that reveals the object
> itself is of defective origin (eg avidyA vritti or mano vritti), then the
> vastu that it reveals (shuktirUpya or sukha/dukha respectively) also can be
> bAdhyam.
> The pUrvapakshi had argued that holding that advaita is the tAtparya of
> shruti - this itself could be a bhrama, and cannot disprove pratyaksha
> which says that the world is real.
> The siddhikAra refutes this by saying that:
> अद्वैततात्पर्यग्रहस्य च प्रत्यक्षाद्यविरोधेन प्रमारूपतया दोषत्वाभावात् न
> तज्जन्मद्वैतज्ञानं बाध्यं;
> to claim that the advaita tAtparya of shruti is bhrama, one has to prove it
> is bhrama by means of pratyaksha, anumAna etc. However, the field of
> pratyaksha and anumAna is vyAvahArika, meaning that the results that they
> reveal operate in the vyAvahArika plane. As a consequence, they are unable
> to disprove shruti's advaita tAtparya, which is of a higher order of
> reality, pAramArthika.
> By these and other arguments, the siddhikAra thus establishes the scope of
> the sublating power of brahma jnAna.
> Regards,
> Venkatraghavan
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