[Advaita-l] The Mundakopanishat and Madhusudana Saraswati

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jun 6 22:08:39 EDT 2018

On Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 1:25 AM, Srinath Vedagarbha via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Some questions...
> On Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 12:46 AM V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> >
> > Shankara says this in his Sutra bhashya:
> > स्यात्परमेश्वरस्यापि इच्छावशात् मायामयं रूपं साधकानुग्रहार्थम् ।
> > (1.1.vii.20) (Ishwara, out of compassion, takes on, *by His Maya*, a form
> > to grace the spiritual aspirant.)
> >
> > [The context in the BSB is that Brahman is devoid of any form but takes
> up
> > forms to help the aspirant.  ]
> >
> >
> Given that Brahman in Advaita vedanta is said to be nirAkAra and nishkriya,
> how can such Brahman --
> 1. See duality of aspirants needing help?. More precisely, does Brahman
> perceive duality of Itself and aspirants struck and needing help. If yes,
> such Brahman is not ultimate Brahman as avidya lesha is still with it. If
> you say NB does not perceive duality, then there is no question of taking
> forms of various Istadevata. All talks about Brahmn taking various forms
> are with in vyavahara dristi and hence avidya dristi.

Yes, the last view is correct. Avidya drishti is not invalid in advaita,
for srishti, veda, sadhana, moksha, etc. are all in that vyavahara only.
Amritabindu Upanishad:

 न निरोधो न चोत्पत्तिर्न बद्धो न च साधकः ।
 न मुमुक्षुर्न वै मुक्त इत्येषा परमार्थता ॥॥   cited by Gaudapada in the
Mandukya Karika.

> 2.  Shankara's sUtra bhashya  1.1.vii.20 is talking about  Ishwara not
> about NB. This is valid as entire Gita is from Krishna talking from
> Krishna's first principle point of view ('I am that Supreme Śiva which is
> what the Śaivas, Sauras, Gāṇeśas,  Vaiśṇavas, Śāktas meditate' etc. ) , so
> Krishna seeing duality (of 'I' vs. aspirants ) is acceptable duality is
> admissible in Ishwara (again according to tenets of Advaita vedanta).  Then
> the charge of other factions being  bigotry is misguided.

The verse cited is of Madhusudana Saraswati. He says that all the various
upasakas of various deities, holding those deities to be the Supreme, are
aiming at that One Supreme only.
This view is possible only in Advaita and not any other. What is said below
is beside the matter.


> > There is no bigotry in Vedanta. Only Advaitins like Veda Vyasa,
> Gaudapada,
> > Shankara, Sureshwara, of the earliest period, Amalananda, Sridhara
> Swamin,
> > etc. of the medieval period and Madhusudana, Appayya Dikshita, etc. up to
> > the present day Advaitins can have this Shaastra Drishti sans bigotry.
> For
> > non-advaitins this is unvedantic and blasphemy since it cuts at the roots
> > of their narrow view of deities.
> >
> >
> Few things needs to clarified here. For other vedantins (esp. Dvaitins),
> Vishnu is ultimate Brahmn not because they are vaishNavites. But rather
> they are vaishnavites because for them Vishnu is found to be ultimate
> Brahmn as per pramaNa schema in their school. Such Brahmn being guNa pUrNa
> and also acceptance of duality does not upset Vishnu being Brahmn. With
> this schema Brahmn taking various avataras (and also being anteryami in
> other deities), all of Gita and other shruti/smriti vaakyas get reconciled
> without any flaws. This is the idea of sarva-shabda samanvaya in their
> school.
> /sv
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