V Subrahmanian, Tuesday, December 8, 2015 1:54 pm

The Pra?nopani?at – Part 14

Part 14

We continue the discussion initiated in the Mantra 6.2 bh??ya:

Knowledge of absence is also a knowledge per se and hence ‘absence’ is a mere word without any substance. In absolute terms knowledge cannot be an absence and ephemeral. Just by superimposing a name ‘absence’ to the eternal consciousness (by the Buddhist), nothing is lost by the Ved?ntin.

If ‘absence’ is knowable (object) and at the same time is different from the knowing consciousness, then the absence of the knowable is the same as absence of knowledge (of that absence). If it is said: the knowable is different from the knowing consciousness, but the knowledge is not different from the knowable, then it is mere words without any difference in content. It is akin to saying ‘vahni (fire) is different from agni (fire) but agni is not different from fire’. If the knowledge is different from the knowable, then in the absence of the knowable, the defect of absence of knowledge is certain.

If it is said that in the absence of the knowable, the knowing consciousness too is absent, this is not admissible since the Buddhist has admitted the presence of the objectless consciousness in the state of deep sleep. If it is said that they admit the objecthood of even that consciousness by that very consciousness itself, then we do not admit that since the difference (between the known and the knower) is quite apparent. This is because the bheda, difference, is verily present. There is indeed the difference between the knowable absence and the knowledge that comprehends this knowable absence. The knower-known difference cannot be ignored. Nor is there the defect of infinite regress in the case of those other than the Buddhists. The Ved?ntins admit of only the whole group of known, jñeya, and the consciousness that objectifies it, jñ?nam. That is all. No entity other than this jñ?nam is admitted and hence there is no infinite regress. If it is objected that ‘if the knowing consciousness is not an object of any other distinct knower, there is no way of being omniscient.’ This is no defect for the Ved?ntin and hence he need not labor to refute it. The defect of infinite regress is unavoidable for the Bauddha. His knowledge is undoubtedly a knowable one. But he holds it to be not a knowable one. If he turns this objection on to the Ved?ntin, we have a remedy to it: Jñ?nam is indeed One. It is One Consciousness that appears, owing to avidy?-created name-form up?dhis, as varied at various times and places just as the sun appears variously as reflected in different water bodies. This is no defect.

Objection: The Puru?a is limited in the body, just as berries placed in a vessel, as per this very mantra.

Reply: Not so. It is because of His being the cause of the parts such as the pr??a. He who is confined to the body cannot be admitted to be the cause/knower of the effects such as pr??a and ?raddh?. The body too is only an effect of the parts. The body, which is itself the effect of the parts that are themselves effects in turn of the Puru?a, cannot be held to confine within itself (the body) the Puru?a who is the ultimate Cause (of the body), just as berries are confined within a vessel.

Objection: Why can’t it be a case akin to the seed-tree? A tree which is the effect of a seed, confines within itself the fruit which is an effect of the tree, and the ultimate cause, the seed, of the fruit too, such as the mango. [The mango tree is an effect of a seed. The tree has within itself its effect the mango fruit. The seed (inside the fruit) is the ultimate cause of the tree and even the fruit] Similarly, why can’t the body, the final effect, be admitted to be confining within itself its ultimate cause, the Puru?a?

Reply: No, since there is this difference between the example and the case on hand: that seed which is the ultimate cause is different from the seed(s) that the fruit confines within itself. Not so the Puru?a who is the ultimate cause any different from the one who is stated to be within the body. The Upani?ad teaches that that very Puru?a who is the ultimate Cause is the one that resides within the body. Also, in the case of the seed, trees, etc., since they are objects with parts, s?vayava, there can be the relation of ?dh?ra-?dheya, support and the supported. On the contrary, the Upani?adic Puru?a is niravayava, without any parts. And the parts (kal?-s) and the gross body are endowed with parts. Thus, while even the idea that ether, ?k??a, is ‘supported’ by (confined within) the body is unreasonable, what to say about the Puru?a who is the cause of even ether? Hence, the analogy is unequal.

Objection: What is the use of an analogy here when the very ?ruti says clearly that the Puru?a is confined to the gross body?

Reply: No, the ?ruti is not an impeller, inducer, of action. The Vedic word does not bring about the distortion of the thing on hand. Then what does it indeed do? It produces the right knowledge, as it is. Thus, the ?ruti instruction ‘the Puru?a resides ‘inside’ the gross body’ only means the same as what is meant by saying ‘space exists inside the egg.’ The idea is that space, which is really without any limitation, does exist in a boundary. By that much it does not become confined or limited to the boundary. Also, there is another important reason why the Puru?a is taught as existing in the body. It is to enable the aspirant to know, cognize, realize, the Puru?a within his body, very close to himself, as really himself. All the actions the j?va performs such as seeing, smelling, thinking, speaking and going take place only with the sentient entity, the Consciousness, called the Puru?a, existing within. That which impels all action is this Puru?a though without doing anything really. It is by mere presence does the Puru?a enable all these activities in the body, in the person. Hence the ?ruti specifies that the Puru?a is within the body. It is impossible to cognize and realize the Puru?a outside the body, in the physical, inert, world of matter. Never even a fool, much less the ?ruti which is the ultimate pram??a (means of right knowledge) would ever say that the Ultimate Cause of the entire creation, including the most subtle and limitless ether, is confined to the gross body like berries placed inside a bowl.

Mantra 6.3

? ???????????? ???????????????????? ??????????? ????????? ????????? ??????????? ????????????????? ? ? ?

? He ???????????? reflected/deliberated ??????? by whose ???? I ??????????? departing ??????????? depart ????????? will I ??????? by whose ?? or ??????????? stay ??????????????? will I stay ??? thus

  1. 3. The Puru?a reflected, “What is it by whose departure I shall depart and by whose staying I shall stay?”

The sixteen parts, kal?s, have been taught as originating from this Puru?a. And this was stated with a view to identify the Puru?a. Since the Upani?adic Puru?a is absolutely beyond all attributes, it becomes impossible to instruct about Him. Hence, identification marks are to be presumed, superposed, on Him solely with a view to enable the aspirant to identify Him; appreciate His presence. The other purpose of the specifying that the sixteen parts have emerged from the Puru?a is to also teach the order, krama, in which they manifested. It is also to inform us that the creation is from a sentient entity and not any inert source. That Puru?a of sixteen parts of whom the sixth aspirant Bh?radw?ja was asked (by the prince Hira?yan?bha), deliberated on the creation, its fruit and the order of manifesting. How did he deliberate? ‘Upon whose (particular doer’s i.e. j?va’s) departing (from the gross body) will I too depart and upon whose stay (in the gross body) will I too remain?’

Delineation of the S??khya doctrine:

Objection: ?tm? is akart?, devoid of any action and the Pradh?na is the kart?, doer/performer. Keeping in mind the supreme benefit of the ?tm? the Pradh?na initiates the creation in the form of mahat, etc. Hence it is inappropriate that the Puru?a (sentient being) is independently the cause of the creation by deliberation. When the creator Pradh?na that is the state of equilibrium of the gu?a-s sattva, etc. is present as backed by authority (pram??a) , or while the subtle atoms, param??u-s, are present impelled by an ??wara, it is unreasonable to propose a creation by the ?tman. Why? The ?tman is admitted as One only without any instrument/material with which he could create. Also, ?tman would not logically bring about a creation where everything is detrimental to the ?tman’s interest. In other words, a sentient ?tman would not create a world full of misery and other defects. Therefore it would be correct to conclude that it is the Pradh?na, though insentient, is taught, by courtesy, in this Upani?ad to indulge in a creation preceded by deliberation of the benefit to the sentient ?tman, as though a sentient entity would. This is akin to holding an officer to be the king, by courtesy, by virtue of the former performing everything required by the king.

Part 1, Part 13, Part 15 Coming Soon…


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