[Advaita-l] Sleep, tamas and brahman

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri May 4 07:29:54 EDT 2018

Sri Kalyanji,
We needn't infer it if shruti explicitly says so - shruti itself would be
sufficient. However, the shruti after saying न तु तद्द्वितीयमस्ति goes on
to say ततोऽन्यद्विभक्तं यत्पश्येत् - there is no second thing separate from
it which it can see.

Shankaracharya says ततः द्रष्टुः अन्यत् अन्यत्वेन विभक्तम् यत्पश्येत्
यदुपलभेत । यद्धि तद्विशेषदर्शनकारणमन्तःकरणम् चक्षू रूपं च, तत् अविद्यया
अन्यत्वेन प्रत्युपस्थापितमासीत् ; तत् एतस्मिन्काले एकीभूतम् , आत्मनः परेण
परिष्वङ्गात् ; द्रष्टुर्हि परिच्छिन्नस्य विशेषदर्शनाय करणम् अन्यत्वेन
व्यवतिष्ठते ; अयं तु स्वेन सर्वात्मना सम्परिष्वक्तः — स्वेन परेण प्राज्ञेन
आत्मना, प्रिययेव पुरुषः ; तेन न पृथक्त्वेन व्यवस्थितानि करणानि, विषयाश्च ;
तदभावात् विशेषदर्शनं नास्ति ; करणादिकृतं हि तत् , न आत्मकृतम् ; आत्मकृतमिव
प्रत्यवभासते । तस्मात् तत्कृता इयं भ्रान्तिः — आत्मनो दृष्टिः परिलुप्यते
इति |

Swami Madhavananda translates - But there is not that second thing, the
object, separate from it which it can see, or perceive. Those things that
caused the particular visions (of the waking and dream states), viz. the
mind (with the self behind it), the eyes, and forms were all presented by
ignorance as something different from the self. They are now unified in the
state of profound sleep, as the individual self has been embraced by the
Supreme Self. Only when the self is under limitations, do the organs stand
as something different to help it to particular experiences. But it is now
embraced by its own Supreme Self, which is Pure Intelligence and the Self
of all, as a man is by his beloved wife. Hence the organs and objects do
not stand as different entities; and since they are absent, there is no
particular experience, for it is the product of the organs etc., not of the
self, and only appears as the product of the self. Therefore it is a
mistake due to this (absence of particular experience) that the vision of
the self is lost.

The absence of a second thing in the shruti in Shankara's view does not
refer to either the presence or the absence of ignorance in deep sleep.
Rather, it refers to the absence of any object as separate from the self.
The causes of the particular vision of objects as stated in the bhAShya are
the mind and the sense organs. These (mind and sense organs) are presented
by ignorance as different from the self in the waking and dream states. In
the sleep state, those organs are unified with the self. This in itself
does not mean that ignorance is absent, only that ignorance does not
present them as different from the self.

If ignorance were to be totally absent in deep sleep, it would need to
manifest from nothing in the waking and dream states and then present the
organs as separate from the self. That would be absurd, again because of
satkAryavAda. Therefore, we are left with the conclusion that it must be
present, but its power to project multiplicity is dormant. Does this mean
that there are two things in deep sleep, contradicting the shruti and
disproving advaita? No, because ignorance cannot be described either as
real or unreal. This unmanifest name and form, which is the seed of the
world which Shankara calls संसारप्रपञ्चबीजभूतं, is described as
तत्त्वान्यत्वाभ्यामनिर्वचनीयम् in the Brahma sUtra bhAShya (2.1.14) -
impossible to be described as either real or unreal.
Therefore, we are left with an absolutely real Brahman and a mithyA
ignorance that is as though a part of Brahman. This ignorance stays (in
vyavahAra) until the rise of brahma jnAna, which destroys not only
ignorance, but its products too.


On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 11:02 AM, Kalyan <kalyan_kg at yahoo.com> wrote:

> //Agreed. I am not saying the Atma's perception is lost in deep sleep (for
> the shruti itself says नहि द्रष्टुर्दृष्टेर्विपरिलोपो विद्यते), I am
> saying ignorance of the nature of agrahaNam is not perceivable. Its
> presence can only be inferred by its effects.//
> Sri Venkatraghavanji
> Ignorance can also be inferred to be absent if Sruti explicitly says so.
> In this case, Shruti says that there is no second thing in deep sleep.
> Hence we can infer the complete absence of ignorance.
> Regards
> Kalyan

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