Thursday, January 22, 2009

Activities of GYaanis according to Advaita

In a great post, Shri Jaishankar-ji, a disciple of Swami Dayananda, and a great scholar of Advaita, elaborates on the major points of contention of the "two schools" in Advaita. The post is worth reading to understand the core reasons of contention between followers of SSS and the "Parampara-school" of Advaita.

Let me try to summarise the two different views on the empirical activities of a jnAni (knower of brahman) being discussed in this group. To understand why the two views don't seem to converge even after a lot of posts, we have to understand the fundamental positions of the adherents of these two views.

We have one set of arguments which goes thus:

  1. Ignorance (ajnAna) is jnAna-abhAva (absence of knowledge)
  2. dvaita prapancha ( world of duality) is anAdi adhyAsa (beginningless superimposition) which is due to wrong/ erroneous cognition (mithyAjnAna) by mind
  3. mAya is avidyAkArya ( effect of ignorance)
  4. Isvara is mAyAvi (wielder of mAya) and is also an effect of ignorance
  5. There is no difference of Isvarasrsti (Isvara's creation) and jIvasrsti (individual's creation) as all perception is due to erroneous cognition by mind
  6. When knowledge 'dawns' the erroneous perception of duality is removed like a snake perception on a rope
  7. This implies that jnAni/jivanmukta can no more perceive any duality and 'becomes' that very brahman. Further the jnAni/jivanmukta cannot be identified with any particular body-mind-sense complex.
  8. The so called teacher-student interactions and the empirical engagements of jnAni/jivanmukta are only in the perception of ajnAnis due to erroneous cognition by mind.

The other view is that:

  1. Ignorance (ajnAna) is jnAna-virOdhi (opposed to knowledge)
  2. dvaita prapancha ( world of duality) is adhyAsa (superimposition) which is due to false ignorance (mithyA-ajnAna)
  3. ajnAna / ignorance covers the truth (AvaraNa) and then projects the world of duality (vikshepa). Brahman conditioned by ajnAna (ignorance) is jiva (embodied individual)
  4. Brahman conditioned by mAya is Isvara the creator. mAya is the creative power and Isvara is the wielder of mAya. mAya covers the truth (AvaraNa) and then projects the world of duality (vikshepa). mAya is mithyA (false ontologically).
  5. mAya and ajnAna are one and the same principle but mAya is with respect to Isvara (cosmic) and ajnAna is with respect to the jiva/individual.
  6. Isvarasrsti (Isvara's creation) is vyAvahArika (empirical/objective) and jIvasrsti (individual's creation) is prAtibhAsika (subjective).
  7. Knowledge is the understanding that Atma (Self) is brahman (satyam) and the objective world and subjective individuality is false (mithyA). Knowledge results in the permanent shift in one's identity from jiva/individual to brahman. Knowledge does not end the perception of duality. Knowledge is the understanding that even while perceiving the duality, advaita (non-dual) alone is real (satyam).
  8. jnAni/knower of truth, can continue to engage in Guru-Sishya interactions and other worldly interactions due to prArabdha karma (Karma which has already started to fructify), which are part of Isvara srsti, while enjoying jIvanmukti (liberation while being alive).

I would like to quote BG chapter 3 verse 33

sadrSam ceSTate svasyAh prakrterjnAnavAnapi
prakrtim yAnti bhUtani nigrahah kim kariSyati

Even a wise person acts in keeping with his or her own nature. Because
all beings follow their own nature, of what use is control?

Shankar in his Bhasya says

sadrSam anurUpam ceState ceStAm karoti | kasyAh ? svasyAh svakIyAyAh prakrteh | prakrtir nAma pUrva-krta-dharmAdharmAdi-samskAra vartamAna-janmAdau abhivyaktAh | sA prakrtih | tasyAh sadrSam eva sarvo jantur jnAnavAn api ceState, kim punar mUrkhah ?

Translation of swAmi GambhIrAnanda:

Api, even; jnanavan, a man of wisdom-what to speak of a fool!; cestate, behaves; Sadrsam, according to;-what? svasyah, his own; prakrteh, nature. Nature means the impressions of virtue, vice, etc. [Also, knowledge, desires, and so on.] acquired in the past (lives) and which become manifest at the commencement of the present life.

For more clarity you can read from BG Chapter Verse 17 onwards up to end of chapter to understand clearly the vyvahAra of jnAni and ajnAni.

[Ed. I think Jaishankar-ji is talking about chapter 5 verse 17 onwards.]

Postscript: Read the fascinatingly titled "The Enlightened Eminently Engage in Empirical Endeavours" by Subbu-ji, another scholar of advaita whose articles this blog had linked earlier to. The same article is available in PDF format here.

My humble praNAms to the authors, their guru parampara as well as all the advaitic masters!

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