[Advaita-l] Sleep, tamas and brahman

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue May 1 02:46:29 EDT 2018

Nice thread and references.
One point from Subbuji's post that drew my attention: in the BUB 4.3.32,
Shankaracharya says:
यत्र पुनः सा अविद्या सुषुप्ते वस्त्वन्तरप्रत्युपस्थापिका शान्ता, तेन
अविद्याप्रविभक्तस्य वस्तुनः अभावात्
The verbs used in the bhAShya above are telling. In describing avidyA in
deep sleep, Shankara says सुषुप्ते अविद्या *शान्ता* - that is, in deep
sleep, avidyA is pacified/ dormant, whereas the objects that appear
different from oneself are absent  अन्यत्वेन
अविद्याप्रविभक्तस्य वस्तुनः *अभावात्*.
If avidyA were absent, he could have said so - so he acknowledges its
presence, but says that its power to manifest difference is temporarily


On 1 May 2018 6:55 a.m., "V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l" <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

On Tue, May 1, 2018 at 10:12 AM, Kalyan <kalyan_kg at yahoo.com> wrote:

>  //What Shankara means is 'in profound sleep the
>  ignorance of the kind vikshepa, projection of multiplicity,
>  is not there.  The basic ignorance of the type aavarana,
>  enveloping, is definitely there.'  This has been
>  clarified in that bhashya's commentary/gloss. //
> Shankara himself does not say any such sort of a thing that you say above.
> At many places in B U 4.3, Shankara admits no ignorance in deep sleep. In
> 4.3.32, the Self in deep sleep state is mentioned as the highest and
> advaitam. This cannot hold true if there is ignorance in deep sleep.

In 4.3.32 itself Shankara begins his commentary by proclaiming:    यत्र
पुनः सा अविद्या सुषुप्ते वस्त्वन्तरप्रत्युपस्थापिका शान्ता, तेन अन्यत्वेन
अविद्याप्रविभक्तस्य वस्तुनः अभावात् , तत् केन कं पश्येत् जिघ्रेत्
विजानीयाद्वा ।

// When, however, *that ignorance which presents things other than the self
is at rest, in that state of profound sleep,* there being nothing separated
from the self by ignorance, what should one see, smell, or know,  and
through what? Therefore, being fully embraced by his own self-luminous
Supreme Self, the Jiva becomes infinite, perfectly serene, with all his
objects of desire attained, and the self the only object of his. desire,
transparent like water, one, because there is no second : It is ignorance
which separates a second entity, and that is at rest in the state of
profound sleep ; hence 'one.'   //

It is clear that Shankara qualifies the ignorance as 'that which presents
things other than the self'.  So, only this aspect of ignorance is at
rest.  Shankara nowhere says the aavarana ignorance is at rest there.  One
can find the aavarana presence being admitted by Shankara in the Mandukya
bhashyas. There in 1.11 Shankara says, on Gaudapada's verse, that the jiva
is bound by both the causal ignorance and the product-ignorance in the
waking and dream. In the deep sleep however, he is bound only by the causal
ignorance. In 1.13 he further says that what is common to both the deep
sleep and turiya is the non-cognition of dvaita, duality, aka
product-avidya.  This is exactly what is meant in all the BU instances
where Shankara has said or appears to have said 'there is no ignorance in
deep sleep'. If this is understood, one will have no room for seeing
dichotomy, etc.across the Upanishads / bhashyams.

Read introduction by Shankara to BU 4.4.7:

‘अथाकामयमानः’ (बृ. उ. ४ । ४ । ६)
 इत्यारभ्य *सुषुप्तदृष्टान्तस्य दार्ष्टान्तिकभूतः सर्वात्मभावो मोक्ष
उक्तः ।* मोक्षकारणं च आत्मकामतया यत् आप्तकामत्वमुक्तम् , तच्च सामर्थ्यात् *न
आत्मज्ञानमन्तरेण आत्मकामतया आप्तकामत्वमिति — सामर्थ्यात् ब्रह्मविद्यैव
मोक्षकारणमित्युक्तम् ।* अतः यद्यपि कामो मूलमित्युक्तम् , तथापि
मोक्षकारणविपर्ययेण बन्धकारणम् अविद्या इत्येतदपि उक्तमेव भवति । अत्रापि
मोक्षः मोक्षसाधनं च ब्राह्मणेनोक्तम् ; तस्यैव दृढीकरणाय मन्त्र उदाह्रियते
श्लोकशब्दवाच्यः —


// Then beginning with, ' But the man who does not desire (never
transmigrates)' (Ibid.), *liberation consisting in the identity with all,
which is the thing that was sought to be explained by the example of the
state of profound sleep, has been described.* And the cause of liberation
has been stated to be the attainment of all objects of desire through their
becoming the Self. But since this state is unattainable without
Self-knowledge, the cause of liberation has by implication been stated to
be the knowledge
of Brahman. Therefore, although desire has been said to. be the root of
bondage, it is ignorance that, being die opposite of what leads to
liberation (knowledge),
has virtually been stated to be the cause of bondage. Here also liberation
and its means have been dealt with by the Brahmana.//.

Shankara clearly says that deep sleep is an example for liberation and not
identical with liberation.  It would be wrong to expect an example and the
exemplified to be identical; Shankara has himself denounced this view in
another Bhashya saying that 'if so, the relationship of example-exemplified
itself is lost' and therefore it is sufficient if the example has only a
few similarities with the exemplified.  And this is what is the case in the
BU exposition. Also Shankara clearly says that Self-knowledge is a must for
liberation / removal of ignorance and this is also clearly stated in the
Upanishad. So, there is absolutely no room in the Upanishad or the Bhashya
for the problems that you think are present.


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