[Advaita-l] A contemplation on Shankara Bhashya

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Apr 20 07:04:05 EDT 2018

A contemplation on Shankara Bhashya

The bhashya for the Mandukya Mantra 7 , just like any other bhashya
portion, is a goldmine of snippets for Advaitic contemplation. Here is just

कथं पुनरन्तःप्रज्ञत्वादीनामात्मनि गम्यमानानां रज्ज्वादौ
सर्पादिवत्प्रतिषेधादसत्त्वं गम्यत इति, उच्यते ; ज्ञस्वरूपाविशेषेऽपि
इतरेतरव्यभिचारादसत्यत्वं रज्ज्वादाविव सर्पधारादिविकल्पभेदवत् ;
सर्वत्राव्यभिचाराज्ज्ञस्वरूपस्य सत्यत्वम् । सुषुप्ते व्यभिचरतीति चेत् ; न,
सुषुप्तस्यानुभूयमानत्वात् , ‘न हि विज्ञातुर्विज्ञातेर्विपरिलोपो विद्यते’
(बृ. उ. ४ । ३ । ३०)
 इति श्रुतेः

How again will the states such as wakefulness that are  experienced as
within the Self, become non-existent, just like the serpent, etc when
negated. in rope, etc.?  Just as the serpent, a water-line, etc. that are
variously  superimposed in a rope, are unreal since they mutually cancel
out (that is the superimposed serpent is non-existent when there is the
superimposition of a water-line in the rope that is the substratum common
to all superimpositions), so too even though the Pure Consciousness is
common to all states (such as waking), the states themselves, by occurring
one after the other and thereby cancelling out each other (when there is
the waking, the other two states are not existing and so on), there is the
reality of the Pure Consciousness since it is never absent in all the
varying, alternating, states.

Objection: No, during deep sleep Pure Consciousness is non-existent.

Reply: Not so, since the deep sleep state itself is an object of
experience. That is, the deep sleep state is experienced by some entity
other than itself. The Br.Up.4.3.30 passage says that 'the Consciousness of
the knowing consciousness never goes out of existence.'

There are several points that emerge from the above bhashya, that are
useful for our contemplation:

   - All the various states (waking, etc.) are objects, vishaya, that are
   - There is an unchanging vishayi, the experiencer, that remains without
   becoming absent now and present later
   - The deep sleep state, which is normally thought of as a
   no-knowledge/no-awareness state, is actually another state, like an object,
   that is experienced by a sentient entity.
   - The various superimpositions on a rope, such as a snake, a crack on
   the ground, and a stick,  are mutually exclusive and therefore cancel out
   each other and finally none of them remains
   - So too the various states that keep alternating, cancel out each other
   and therefore none of them can be admitted to be real.
   - The substratum Atman that remains unchanging, without break, is the
   support on which these states occur/appear.

This aspect is just one that is a part of the Mandukya 7th mantra Bhashya.
There are many such aspects that merit deep contemplation.

Bhava Shankara Deshika Mey Sharanam

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