Location: India

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jeeva as per Advaita Vedanta

Hari OM,


Dvaita – Self is Conscious but limited – it has the quality of Consciousness with it
Vishista advaita – Self has the quality of Consciousness and nature too – it is limited and different from Ishwara

In the above two systems, Self is anu or atomic.

Advaita – we will discuss this separately as different authors explain jeeva differently.

It’s long since we continued this thread and it’s time to give the finishing touches to it. As per Advaita, Jeeva is nothing but Brahman alone but seemingly different from it.

The authority for this statement is Chandogya Sruthi and other Mahavakyas which say that “Tat Tvam Asi” – That Thou Art.

Other than sruthi, the authority for oneness of jeeva and ishwara or Brahman is bhagavadpaada’s words in Brahmajnaanavalee maala and other works – Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithyaa, Jeeva Brahmaiva na parah (This jeeva is Brahman alone, not different from it).

Sankara didn’t give much analysis into Avidya and hence different schools of Advaita started coming in (after Sankara) which differed in the definitions of jeeva, ishwara, maya, avidya etc. at the empirical level. So also the way or means to establish Advaita was different in these systems. There was also resurge of the Nyaaya system which had to be attacked by Sri Harsha and Chitsukha – even along with this, rivals started attacking Advaita claiming that “There are differences among Advaitic acharyas itself”. These had to be defended and thus works like Bhashya Bhaava Prakaashika of Chitsukha, Madhusudana Saraswathi’s Siddanta Bindu, Appayya Dikshitar’s Siddhanta Lesha Sangraha were required where the authors showed clearly that these systems differ only in the approach or means while their goal of Advaita was still the same. As there paths to the reality which will lead to Brahma-Atma Aikya Jnaana, therefore these acharyas took those paths which were appealing to them for the welfare of the different seekers in the world. In the 15th century, there was again strong attack of Advaita by the Dvaitin Vyaasateertha which had to be refuted by Madhusudana Saraswathi and Brahmananda Saraswathi. The kind of attack these later dvaitins showed was different from what Sankara had in his time & what he himself had defended – hence it was essential to come up with such a defense of Advaita. Moreover, Nyaaya took a new shape in the hands of Gangesha Upadhyaaya in his Tattva Chintamani finally shaping up at the hands of Raghunaatha Shiromani in his Dhidhithi commentary on Tattva Chintamani. These latter advaita acharyas had to thus use navya-nyaaya logic rather than pracheena nyaaya which was prevalent during Sankara’s time.

The above are mentioned to show that these various diverse views of empirical entities was essential to counter the arguments of rival schools as well for the welfare of different types of seekers. There are a set of acharyas who claim that “Sankara and sureshwara alone were true to Advaita – all other later acharyas diluted Advaita and brought in their own theory while ascribing those foreign ideas to Sankara”. This is completely wrong and not required too – diverse opinions were required as per time and yes, these later acharyas might be deviating from Sankara but we have to remember that Advaita is that which encompasses all the systems under it & therefore claims of “false-hood” from an Advaita acharya is not worthy as we have to consider these later advaita acharyas as having explained the reality in different ways.

Anyway, we will not deal into this argument between Sachidanandendra Saraswathi of Holenarsipur (who claims that Sankara and Sureshwara alone were true to Advaita whereas other acharyas were not true) and other advaita saints.

Hari OM


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