[Advaita-l] Paul Hacker on Avidya in Brahma Sutras

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Thu May 19 05:14:51 EDT 2022

Namaste Venkatji,

On Thu, May 19, 2022 at 11:13 AM Venkatraghavan S <agnimile at gmail.com>

> Re the contention that bhAvarUpatva of avidyA is a post Shankara
> construct, there is a very interesting passage in the bRhadAraNyaka bhAShya
> to the mantra 4.3.20 where the bhAvrUpatva of avidyA is indicated:
> तथा अविद्यायामप्युत्कृष्यमाणायाम् , तिरोधीयमानायां च विद्यायाम् ,
> अविद्यायाः फलं प्रत्यक्षत एवोपलभ्यते — ‘अथ यत्रैनं घ्नन्तीव जिनन्तीव’ इति ।
> When ignorance increases and knowledge is suppressed, the results of
> ignorance are directly perceived i.e. - "now, if he feels like he was as
> though being killed, or as though being overpowered".

Thanks for the Brihad bhAShya quotations. There is another issue that I
keep pointing out to those who object to avidyA being bhAvarUpa that if it
is abhAvarUpa, then it cannot be any kind of kAraNa to anything, let alone
saMsAra. If they argue that mAyA, "different from avidyA" is the kAraNa,
still adhyAsa has to be accepted as a kAraNa for individuality. If adhyAsa
is same as avidyA, avidyA being abhAvarUpa, and any kind of kAraNa, would
leave us with no possibility of rejecting shUnyavAda wholesale! A
non-existent avidyA/ adhyAsa contributing to any saMsaraNa or delusion or
whatever it contributes to, is no better than shUnyavAda.

Somewhere in Taittiriyabhashya, if memory serves right, Bhagavan
Bhashyakara says that even Naiyyayika's prAgabhAva is different from this
shUnya of yours to a Bauddha pUrvapakSha, the former being a padArtha while
the latter complete non-existence.

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* येनेदं सर्वं विजानाति, तं केन विजानीयात्। Through what should one know
That, owing to which all this is known! [Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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