[Advaita-l] Avidya and Adhyasa
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri May 20 04:34:39 EDT 2022
On Fri, May 20, 2022 at 1:30 PM Anand N via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Namaste Vinodhji,
> Thank you for this mail. I was rather overwhelmed with the technicality of
> the other discussion.
> I too understand it the way you have put it.
> As an aside on Bhavarupa Ajnana, Subbuji had many years ago on his blog
> posted an article, which I found very useful.
> It is something I tend to re-read since this topic is so subtle and I
> haven't fully internalised its implications.
> I hope Subbuji you are ok with me quoting/citing you :-) 🙏
Absolutely no issues about citing the article.
> Om Namo Narayanaya,
> On Fri, 20 May 2022 at 04:54, Vinodh via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> > Namaskaram,
> > The discussion on the topic "Are avidya and adhyasa the same?" in the
> > thread was fascinating.
> > Many learned scholars had shared their detailed responses on the topic
> > references to various texts of Acharyas and other scholars.
> > Unfortunately, however, for someone like me, who is neither well-versed
> > all these texts nor has a great understanding of Sanskrit, the discussion
> > was quite hard to follow.
> > So I had been thinking about this topic to reason about their equivalence
> > or otherwise and this is what occurred to me thanks to Guru's grace.
> > *Avidya and Adhyasa*
> > Avidya literally translates to 'not knowing' or ignorance. Ignorance of
> > what? In Vedanta, it refers to not knowing the Truth.
> > Adhyasa on the other hand translates to superposition (placing one on top
> > of another so that the underlying thing appears as something else). In
> > Vedanta, it refers to the placing of something other than Truth on top of
> > Truth.
> > From the above, it appears that Adhyasa and Avidya cannot necessarily be
> > one and the same.
> > Let us explore further.
> > There could be Avidya without Adhyasa.
> > How?
> > In sushupti (deep sleep), we all are still under Avidya (not knowing the
> > Truth), but we do not perceive anything else. Therefore there is no
> > adhyasa.
> > This is analogous to a rope in complete darkness. Neither a rope (the
> > Truth) is seen nor is the superimposed illusion of a snake on the rope.
> > However, there cannot be Adhyasa without Avidya.
> > Why?
> > If there is no avidya, that is, the Truth is clear, then there is no
> > possibility of superimposing an illusion on the Truth.
> > Once the magician's trick is revealed, it is no longer possible to
> > the illusion because the underlying Truth of the illusion is known.
> > So Adhyasa requires Avidya, but not the other way round.
> > Therefore, Avidya is the cause and Adhyasa is the effect of Avidya.
> > I am not sure how the above aligns with the various references discussed
> > the other thread. It seems to me that it should be in alignment with the
> > traditional view of the sruti and of the advaita acharyas.
> > I would be grateful for any thoughts on the above. 🙏
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