Technicality on avidyA

Recently, during an effort to save books from termites, I found a printed article, a kind of thesis material, on a part of advaita vedanta that has been debated upon endlessly and still continues not only between vishishTa advaita and kevala advaita vedanta paths but also among staunch advaitins! Much to my habit, I reread the article and gave it to satsanga friends, ignoring the debatable points that, to me, are of no practical value in sAdhana. However, its not so for everyone, especially my satsanga elders. I can ignore that Bhaskara (indirectly) calls the Bhagavatpada a drunkard on a particular interpretation of Brahma Sutra. I add no value to such cheap comments, be it by scholars or even saMpradAyis; I prefer to ignore them too if need be. However, not everyone can and satsangis got angered. Perhaps, I did the same thing when I heard it the first time.

I'm a traditionalist in my sAdhana and have been blessed with no confusion in reconciling views of bhAmati and vivaraNa about avidyA, its nature and locus. What people think as contradictory, unnecessary and harming the saMpradAya, I see only as detail, contextually necessary and utmost important to saMpradAya. There are many that opine that if the locus of avidyA had not been commented upon at all, Ramanuja wouldn't have been able to come up with his seven tenets. I personally don't think so. First of all, Ramanuja's tenets are no reason for advaitins to pull themselves down. Bhaskara tends to call Shankara a drunkard since he comments that avidyA is unreal, the article's author says that it wasn't Shankara who said so but Sureshwara did, indicating perhaps that Bhaskara's comment applies to the latter then! Thats unimportant; lets just try and understand whether the translation unreal itself means what it means. As advaitins know that there are three levels of realities: sat, asat and mithyA. sat is satasya satya thats trikAla satya which is brahman; asat can never be such as horns of a hare, son of a barren woman or a square circle; mithyA is something that is true at a certain time and/ or place and false otherwise such as a mirage, blue sky, i.e. something that appears the way it is not. mithyA is an oft misunderstood category that is variously translated as illusion, delusion, not real or unreal. Now in what way has unreal been talked off? If its mithyA, then thats exactly what Shankara meant and the saMpradAya follows, whether the Bhagavatpada said it or Sureshwara did. If the unreal is meant as in asat, then the context is to be understood as pAramArthika, where everything is false/ unreal: everything other than brahman, since everything is brahman.

If Sureshwara indeed says something that Acharya didn't say, it doesn't at all amount to contradiction, its just addition. Only if one said something opposing what the predecessor said, its contradictory. As long as that addition doesn't go against the main advaita philosophy of brahmasatya jaganmithya..., there cannot be a contradiction. You may well ask why was it necessary to even add. To my understanding, its for the same reason that you are interested to know *why* it was necessary to add. Human tendency to find faults originates from a doubting mind. The *why* that I marked earlier comes from the same mind that questions *whence*, *what*, etc about avidyA and itself due to avidyA. For questioner's satisfaction, such additions are necessary. The saMpradAya is there to resolve doubts of the followers and guide them to their individual sAdhana. If an addition to Shankara's words helps in understanding Shankara better and one focuses back on the main principle, there is no harm at all; mere parroting of Shankara's words to someone who's unable to stop his questioning, or someone who's not ready for grasping Shankara readily will do no good. The advaita parampara has the power to come down to the level of the sAdhaka and take him to the highest.

On the same chord, to some, the locus of avidyA as jIvAtma is convincing, while to others brahmAshraya avidyA is. Mind ya, both are really, truly, perfectly in tune with Shankara: jivobrahmaiva nAparA. So Padmapada and Vacaspati Mishra are also inline with each other. Those that think that the parampara itself has issues couldn't have been more wrong. They are either looking through a different coloured glass than advaita mUlatattva or are ill-intended. There's no third possibility, of course discounting misunderstanding, which is the root of avidya anyway.

Lastly, I want to point out some potential for errors to creep into such scholarly theses. There is not a total consensus on the date of Shankara and his works too beyond the prasthAna traya, so how can there be no differences in why Shankara said only a little on avidyA?

Nonstandard life

This is one of those rare blogs where I go on rambling about yours truly, so feel free to skip it; I just feel better on doing so, not that I'm feeling any worse now though. Its only something to do: look back on life going in a predictable pattern. Its funny that I see a pattern in things that I've been doing, but others see a random series of events. If I start narrating the way I see things in my life, they see my viewpoint too... thats one of the reasons for me to not only think back upon the things I recall now, but also note it down. I've rambled enough about rambling, lets start already!

Pointwise, not in any particular sequence:
i) Mostly, I don't treat people who love me any different than those who do me harm. Mind ya, I'm not saying I treat all of them well, I'm equally neutral, for good or bad. I'm unable to swallow the concept of "our people" well.

ii) Due to the above flaw, I trust strangers. The way our courts say that unless proven guilty, everyone's a gentleman. To me, I don't care getting cheated and so I get cheated in everything, material to emotions. Off late, its become sort of a rule; even if the fella isn't a cheat, I get cheated anyway. Examples will follow as I recall.

iii) I bought a computer in urgency and took it far, assembled it and got a faulty piece of hardware, costing more time and money. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It does, but there's another difficulty here. As you can see from this blog title, I buy nonstandard things. The masses buy Intel, I buy AMD. Of course, classes buy AMD too. AMD ain't available in a village here, so I scout cities just for that!

iv) Masses use MS, some play with Mac, I chose Linux. Classes choose Linux too, but classes have access to modern technology to get what they want on Linux. I stay remotely and have limited tools to get things in time for the OS to run. But I don't give up.

v) I'm an exception among the old generation, like many of us are; I'm an exception in the next generation too, like many of us are... but, I'm an odd man out in the current generation itself. I'm too religious for the new generation and too spiritual for the old, but I'm just lazy for the current one.

vi) Masses work till they die... most die at work, many from work! ... I gave up work when "young", though I felt kinda old.

vii) Car lovers like new luxury cars, I poured money into an out-of-production beast, obviously for which, parts are not available. At least not easily in cities, even worse I drive it in villages. I got cheated in getting the car serviced multiple times at various places in a matter of two months.

viii) A Mumbaite won't survive well outside, while I ran away to Bangalore instead. Many a technologist won't leave this technology hub, while I stepped into a village.

ix) People crave to do BE in top engineering institutes, I gave one up to pursue a post diploma and a PGD.

x) Folks out here love cricket, while I stay indoors at a chess board or laze with M*A*S*H.

xi) I bought a piece of land and lost two years without land or money. I'd put 80-90% of my cash holding. When the fella who cheated me said it himself that he didn't cheat me, I replied that I didn't care if he cheated me, but the fact remained that I got cheated anyway.

xii) I left Mumbai with a job transfer to US at hand and went to Bangalore, under the false pride of principles since I'd commited myself to a job at Tek.

xiii) Under the same set of principles, I told L&T fellas to get lost, wrote my PF away and jumped my one year bond after serving 50% of slavery time, fighting tooth and nail. Earlier, I'd refused a 3 year term with an exciting training and travel opportunity but still worked on a mega equipment, without training. I lost 40 grands in private PF. (Despite the sick crowd I reported to back at L&T, and the huge sum I lost there, I immensely respect the co. and am invested long term in its stocks).

xiv) At an interview at Blore, when asked what I'd like to work on, I listed what I didn't like to work on and said I'd agree to anything other than those. At another interview last year at Blore for work at Noida, I answered a question but refused to write it on paper since it involves some useless math proof.

xv) My car insurance cover note expired even after continuous follow-up and haven't received insurance even after 2 months. Funnily, Bajaj Allianz have been able to "trace out" the issue as of yesterday: they need nearly 1.7k more over already paid 6.6k since the insured value is less than the valuation they have made. Mind ya, that money is anyway a waste since parts are hardly available for the vehicle; all I want is 3rd party coverage, not comprehensive. They won't proceed now without more money thrown away and won't refund until after a long time after I mandatorily make another insurance cover. Seemingly, thats the rule that they follow. (Its resolved now though.)

xvi) Limited internet is useless for me, so I prepay for unlimited use on another sick connection called Reliance netconnect. Its a useless piece of junk chinese hardware called ZTE USB modem with Reliance's painful and non-working services. I bought it in April and paid 1501 bucks that month just for services; the hardware and activation cost me another 3.5k. The connection worked for 12d out of 30, after a lot many complaints and follow ups. I went back to limited use of charge when needed and wasted more money. Now unlimited usage is down to 999 p.m., so I tried that again in July; its worked only for 13d this time and they didn't know/ care what the problem was. They say its corrected now and asked me to do a recharge of 999 again. Meanwhile, they'd also asked me to recharge for Rs. 50 so that they could drain that away too, and they did it so. Well, they have given me a compensation of 13 more days of "free" usage, since I lost a lot of money and 25d of usage!!! I can't be so sure that it would work though.

xvii) I'd bought a car earlier on, with the seller telling me that the car had comprehensive insurance. Later on, when I paid the balance, I'd to pay for insurance too since it expired the day after I'd paid advance. The seller justified it since he was "technically" correct and the car did have c.i. on the selling day!

xviii) I'd bought another car Astra while I'd put the 1st one, Wagon-R for sale. That didn't sell and the faulty Astra gave me 4kmpl! The fella cheated me telling me it gave a mileage of 10. Funnily enough, this seller was a 2nd level contact for me... hah, "our people". He took a few months to return my money. The good ol' Wagon-R got sold much later, cheaply, and that fella too gave me the money after much follow-up and much much later.

xix) All my belongings are in a village at my aunt's place; they were to be there till I find a place to hide myself. But every few months, something goes for a toss due to termites, weather or because they remain unused. First, the protective boxes, then the PC, some books, the fridge... this time around the termites have reached the books climbing the wooden cot. The last string of attachment is with the books and that too seems to be dying off.

Due to a short memory, I don't remember much, ahem, thankfully. :D