V Subrahmanian, Friday, July 1, 2016 4:19 pm

The S?tasamhit? – Part 13

S?tasamhit? Ch?ndogya Upani?ad

Part 13

Continuing verse 88…

[??? Of existence ?? alone ?? indeed ??????? existence (is admitted) ? not ???? of non-existence ….] 

Objection: Why not admit existence of ignorance on the strength of vyavah?ra, parlance? That is, all of us experience vyavah?ra, worldly activity.  The Ved?ntin admits that this is ignorance. So, on the strength of this common experience, why not admit the existence of ignorance? 

Reply: One can admit existence of what Exists alone and not of that which is distinct from it.

Objection: But then do we not experience existence in all perceptions such as ‘The pot is, the cloth is, the wall is, etc.?’

Reply: Upon closer examination of such perceptions it would be realized that it is the Existence which is the Substratum that alone appears as the existence of the superimposed. The Substratum is Brahman, the Existence, Sat. When a person perceives a cloth, pot, etc. it is the Is-ness that is the Substratum that appears as the Is-ness of the objects.

Objection: Then, since the experience born of perception is to be kept alive, why not accept ignorance, ajñ?nam, as sadasadvilak?a?am, that which is distinct from both existence (sat) and non-existence (asat)?

Reply: No. Even the admitting of the category called ‘sadasadvilak?a?am’ is only to show that such a category cannot really exist.  And the aim is not to establish that a category called sadasadvilak?a?am really exists. Therefore, only when thus shown, one will realize that even that category (object such as the illusory snake) is not really perceived. What alone really shines in every objective perception is Brahman that is Shine, Consciousness, that is completely free of any connection whatsoever with ignorance. Hence, the appearance and perception of ignorance is never a possibility.          

Verse 89

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

??????????? in connection with Consciousness ????? ‘shining’ ??? thus ?????? proposal ??? too ?????? incongruent

Objection: Let there be no shine of ignorance by itself. However, why not we accept that ignorance can very well be perceived owing to its connection with Brahman, the Consciousness?  

Reply:

Verse 90

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

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

?????????????????  existence owing to the connection  ??? in case ??????????? the occurrence of connection ???????  ??? if exists ??????????? the one that has connection ?????? is Brahman ?? alone ?????? without a second

For a connection, sambandha, to be possible, there have to be two entities that connect with each other. These two have to be Brahman and ajñ?nam, of equal status. However, the latter has no existence of its own and has to depend on the substratum Brahman for its very being. Brahman is the sole existing entity that can be admitted. Since ajñ?nam is devoid of existence, there is no way one can establish a sambandha involving two entities. The superimposed (snake) cannot be counted as a second entity along with the substratum (rope).  

Verse 91

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

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

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

????????????? as unproven form ??????? existence ??? thus ???? if ???? admitted ?????????????? of the unproven  ???? form ?? however ?????? Brahman ?????? alone ?????? Brahman ?? alone ???? form ? not ?? indeed ?????? anything else ?  not ????? form ?????? of anything else ?? indeed

Objection:  Let there be no absolute existence to ajñ?nam similar to Brahman.  Since there is an illusory existence to ignorance, what is wrong in forging a sambandha, connection, with Brahman? The existence that is accorded to ajñ?nam is owing to its inability to stand scrutiny.  That is, when one enquires into the nature of ajñ?nam, it will no longer remain; it gets dispelled the moment it is put to test. 

Reply: Ajñ?nam enjoys existence only as long as it is not put to test. Such a precarious existence is none other than illusory, a superimposition. Naturally, the substratum, adhi??h?nam, that is the bedrock on which the superimposed ajñ?nam appears, is the true nature, content, svar?pam of the latter. The rope is the truth of the illusory snake. Ajñ?nam, the cause, and its effect, the world of variety, being superimposed, have no true existence of their own; Brahman alone appears as the cause-effect duality which is what the manifested world is.

Verse 92

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

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

????? exists ???? if ?????? of the other ??? too ???? form ????? then ?????????? O Foremost of Gods! ???????? in the form of that form ???? form ? too ?????????? the Brahman-form ????? will be ??? indeed

The word ‘r?pam’ does not literally mean a form, but it means that which is amenable to be demonstrated or established by a process of delineation. If it is argued that such a characteristic is common to both Brahman and ajñ?nam, even then that characteristic is of Brahman alone.  This is because as being the substratum of that characteristic, there is no distinction between the two: Brahman and ajñ?nam.  

The idea involved here is: Brahman alone, if at all, can be delineated by the aid of the Veda and the logic subservient to it.  Ajñ?nam, being a non-entity, is not so amenable to delineation.

Verse 93

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

??????????? As Brahman ? not ??????? of the other ???? form ?????????? but by a distinct form ???? if thus

Objection: What is stated in the foregoing could be true if Brahman’s form is distinct on the basis of mere form and thus ajñ?nam derives a form that is distinct from Brahman. 

Verse 94

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

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

????? then ????????? the other form ?????? from form ?????? distinct ?? or ???????? non-distinct ?? alone ?? or ???????????? distinct-cum-non-distinct ? not ?? or ?????? distinct ??? if ?????? from form ??????? being distinct

The reply comes to refute the above objection. We raise three alternatives: Is that distinct form (of ajñ?nam) — (1) distinct or (2) non-distinct or (3) distinct-cum-non-distinct — from the true entity (Brahman) which alone is amenable to delineation? The first alternative is dismissed thus: ajñ?nam has no distinct form since it is different from the entity (Brahman) that alone is amenable to delineation. And such an aj?ñ?nam that is different from Brahman is no different from a hare’s horn.          

Verse 95

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

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

???????? like a non-existent  ??? it ????? without form ?????? maybe ??????? non-different ???? if ??? that ?? alone ??? that ?????????????????? fraught with the dual defect ???????????? different-cum-non-different ?  not ??? that ????? could be

The second alternative is now taken up: If ajñ?nam is non-different from Brahman, then it, having no existence apart from Brahman, has no being at all as a distinct entity. A pot is distinct from a cloth and has a distinct existence. Such is not the case with ajñ?nam which is only a superimposition. The third alternative (of ajñ?nam being both different-cum-non-different from Brahman) is thus rejected: the defects stated above in the case of the first two alternatives (distinct from Brahman and non-distinct from Brahman) will apply here. Thus all three alternatives stand rejected.

Verse 96

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

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

??? hence  ??  alone ???????????? O foremost Gods! ????????????? not being delineated  ??????? existence ??? thus ?????? statement ? too ?????? word ?? mere ??? indeed ?????? alone

The discussion on the status of ajñ?nam is concluded here.  Owing to the reason that ajñ?nam does not stand scrutiny when its status is enquired into, the claim that it exists does not hold water; it remains just an empty claim and nothing more. This is the state of anything that is admitted to be other than Brahman.

In the Ch?ndogya Upani?ad 6.1.4 we have the famous statement ‘v?c?rambha?am vik?ro n?madheyam…’ which means ‘all transformations that bring about distinctions such as cause-effect, distinctions across various effects, etc. are mere words and no more than that’.  We have seen above that ajñ?nam when posited as a distinct entity from Brahman, is no more than a mere word, and the idea of distinctness also is just a word with nothing to substantiate it.

Verse 97

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

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

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

??????? therefore  ???????? ignorance ?? alone ???? this ?????? Brahman ?? alone ????????? always shines ?????????? completely ignorance ?? alone ??? this ??????  entirely ??? thus ??? too ?????? saying  ? not  ?? ever ?????? a statement ????????????? since ignorance is non-existent ?? alone ???? ?iva ???? bereft of

Having thus shown that there is no separate existence to ignorance, even the preliminary admission of ignorance, in the vy?vah?rika state, too only culminates in establishing that it is Brahman alone that appears as ignorance. Even the statement ‘All this world is only a product of ignorance’ is also devoid of any meaning, being mere words. It is impossible to establish an existence for ignorance as distinct from the Supreme Substratum that is the Absolute ?iva, the Auspicious, Brahman.

Part 14 Coming soon…


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