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AVIDYA IS NOTHING BUT SAMSKARA

jnAna-nishtha and jnAni (Was Re:A matter for Adjudication)


brahmavidya destroys avidya by terminating in ... Acharya-s mean by the term avidya lesha: it is nothing
but samskAra that holds ...

[Advaita-l] Avidyalesa and Jivanmukti


Thus samskara connotes the viksepa of avidya which sustains the ... First option is nothing but
knowledge itself which serves no purpose to ...

Avidy (Buddhism)
For treatment in Hindu thought, see Avidya (Hinduism). .... People tend to take ignorance as
pejorative, but it more precisely refers to a lack ... Therefore, the second nidana process, which is called
samskara...is ... has nothing to do with that.
Avidy (Sanskrit; Pli: avijj; Tibetan phonetic: ma rigpa) is commonly translated as "ignorance" or
"delusion". It can be defined as not understanding the full meaning and implication of the four noble
truths or as a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of reality. Avidy is identified within the
Buddhist teachings as follows:
The first link in the twelve links of dependent origination.
One of the three poisons within the Mahayana Buddhist tradition.
One of the six root kleshas within the Mahayana Abhidharma teachings
One of the ten fetters in the Theravada tradition
Equivalent to moha within the Theravada Abhidharma teachings
Within the context of the twelve links of dependent origination, avidya is typically symbolized by a
person who is blind or wearing a blindfold.
Contents
[hide]
1 Overview
2 Traditional definitions
o 2.1 Theravada
o 2.2 Mahayana
3 Within the twelve nidanas
4 Uprooting avidya
5 Etymology
6 See also
7 Notes
8 References
9 Sources
10 Further reading
Overview[edit]
Avidya is explained in different ways or on different levels within different Buddhist teachings or
traditions. On the most fundamental level, it is a misunderstanding of the nature of reality; more
specificallya misunderstanding or mis-perception of the nature of self and of phenomena. On a more
general level, avidya can be defined as not understanding the full meaning and implication of the four
noble truths.[a]
Ron Leifer explains:
From the Buddhist point of view, the unwillingness or failure to see the facts of life as they are, to see
ourselves as we are, and to conduct ourselves in harmony with these realities, is the chief cause of our
self-inflicted suffering and, therefore the chief obstacle to our happiness. This state of denial, or lack of

realization of the facts of existence, is called avidya in Sanskrit--literally, "the failure to see or know"-translated as "ignorance". One of the great contributions of Gautama Buddha was the realization that
ignorance is the primary cause of the sufferings we impose on ourselves and others.[8]
Ringu Tulku explains the nature of avidya (ignorance) as follows:
In the Buddhist sense, ignorance is equivalent to the identification of a self as being separate from
everything else. It consists of the belief that there is an "I" that is not part of anything else. On this basis
we think, "I am one and unique. Everything else is not me. It is something different."... From this
identification stems the dualistic view, since once there is an "I," there are also "others." Up to here is
"me." The rest is "they." As soon as this split is made, it creates two opposite ways of reaction: "This is
nice, I want it!" and "This is not nice, I do not want it!" ...[1]
Traditional definitions[edit]
Theravada[edit]
Bhikkhu Bodhi provides the following definition based on the Theravada Abhidharma teachings:
Ignorance (avijja) is the cetasika delusion (moha), which obscures perception of the true nature of things
just as a cataract obscures perception of visible objects. According to the Suttanta method of
explanation, ignorance is non-knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. According to the Abhidharma
method, ignorance is non-knowledge of eight things: the Four Noble Truths, the pre-natal past, the postmortem future, the past and the future together, and dependent arising.[2]
Bhikkhu Bodhi explains the relationship between the terms avijja and moha as follows:
Ignorance (avijja) is actually identical in nature with the unwholesome root "delusion" (moha). When
the Buddha speaks in a psychological context about mental factors, he generally uses the word
"delusion" (moha); when he speaks about the causal basis of samsara, he uses the word "ignorance"
(avijja).[9]
Nina van Gorkom states:
Moha is ignorant of the true nature of realities, it does not know nma and rpa as they are. Moha is
lack of knowledge about the four noble Truths: about dukkha, the origination of dukkha, the ceasing of
dukkha and the way leading to the ceasing of dukkha. So long as ignorance has not been eradicated we
have to continue to be in the cycle of birth and death, we have to be born again and again. The Pli term
avijj is used for ignorance in connection with the Dependent Origination, the conditional arising of
phenomena in the cycle of birth and death. Avijj is the first link in the chain of conditions for the
continuation of this cycle. At the attainment of arahatship ignorance is eradicated and then there are no
more conditions for rebirth.[10]
Mahayana[edit]
Mipham Rinpoche provides the following definition based on the Mahayana Abhidharma:
Ignorance means not knowing the [law of] actions and their effects, the [four] truths, and the virtues of
the Precious Ones. It causes all affliction to occur.[11]
The Abhidharma-samuccaya states:
What is ignorance (avidya)? It is a lack of being aware to one's fullest capacity and it covers the three
realms of life. Its function is to serve as it basis for mistaken stubbornness, doubt and emotionality
about the entities of reality.[12]
In the Mahayana tradition, two levels of ignorance (avidya) are identified. Dzigar Kongtrul explains:
There are two levels of ignorance: ignorance of the absolute, or the essential nature of phenomena, and
the ignorance that prevents us from taking an accurate reading of the relative world. These two kinds of
ignorance are like two kinds of thread: When they are tightly woven together, they are not easy to
identify, yet they make up the fabric of delusion.
As a result of the first type of ignorance, we lack wisdom. Lacking an understanding of our true nature,
we perceive that which is illusory and spacious to be solid and real. The second type of ignorance is the

inability to clearly understand the laws of karma and interdependence, which then results in an
inaccurate relationship to the world.[13][b]
Within the twelve nidanas[edit]
Avidya is identified as the first of the twelve links of dependent origination (twelve nidanas)a
sequence of links that describe a karmic process that keeps being bound within samsara (cyclic
existence).
Ajahn Sucitto explains:
The sequence of dependent origination begins with the condition of unknowing or ignorance (avijj),
which in Buddhist iconography is depicted as either a blind man or someone wearing a blindfold. This is
the driver of the bus to dukkha [i.e. suffering]. If you have to choose the one determining factor for
suffering, its this ignorance. People tend to take ignorance as pejorative, but it more precisely refers
to a lack of gnosis or insightful seeing. It is summarized as not understanding the four noble truths
or, perhaps more accurately, not understanding their implications. That is, as long as there is the
condition of ignorance, the mind still expects to find an experience that is completely satisfying and feels
disappointed when things go wrong. There is a parable of a man eating a bag of chili peppers one by
one, weeping at their fiery taste as he does so. When asked why he continues to eat the peppers, he
replies, Im looking for the sweet one. This is ignorance.[6]
Chogyam Trungpa states:
The twelve nidanas begins with what's called ignorance. It is ignorant in the sense that our own struggle
has not been seen. We are unable to see our own struggle properly and completely, therefore there is
this notion of blindness. The imagery for this is what's called the blind mother principle. A blind
grandmother has no chance to see her grandchildren. She has her own concepts and ideas about how
the world should function in her particular period of time in history and her particular social setup. All of
that is on one level, that of blindness. And within the blindness, the grandmother struggles enormously,
trying to communicate with her grandchildren constantly. The blind grandmother is also highly
inquisitive and extremely interested in any kind of gossip that involves the grandchildren. Her way of
maintaining power over her grandchildren is to maintain her intelligence of the gossip, which is what is
called subconscious gossip: who got married, who had children, who got divorced, who got killed, who
had cancer, who had an accident--that and this, this and that, this, this, that... That kind of gossip is
endless...it goes on like a wheel which revolves again and again and again, maintaining constant
eternity. Therefore, the second nidana process, which is called samskara...is traditionally analogized by a
potter's wheel...This represents conceptual mind forming itself in a certain situation, and this is the
point at which the creation of karma begins.[15]
Uprooting avidya[edit]
The antidote to avidy is the development of correct knowledge and perception: "wisdom" (Skt.: praj;
Pali: paa). This can be achieved by training in ethics, concentration, and logical analysis of reality.
More generally, wisdom is developed by following the Eightfold Path.
In a bit more elaborate way, ignorance is the antithesis of correct knowledge and correct perception.
The ontological, epistemological, and metaphysical differences between Buddhist schools of practice
and philosophy are hotly debated by scholars, both Buddhist and Western; however, philosophically and
practically one can assert that all the schools use both concentration (Samatha) and analysis (Vipassana)
to negate impossible modes of existence which appear to our ordinary, naive mind during the course of
ordinary activity.
In the case of the Theravada, in general, one is analytically negating a permanent, unchanging self or
phenomenon using logical analysis and single-pointed concentration. In the cause of the Mahayana, in
general, one is analytically negating an inherent, truly existent, or dual self of persons and phenomenon
using analysis and single-pointed concentration (see Diamond Slivers and Concentration Training). The
object being negated in both cases is a unitary, unchanging, eternal, self-sustaining, self-arising

phenomenon which appears (to our naive ordinary day-to-day mind) to provide identity to the
experiencer or to the objects of experience. In other words, there appears to be a real "I, me" which sits
behind our mind and body somewhere which is having our experiences and is the real "I, me" which
makes decisions for the body and mind.
There also appears to be objects and people outside of ourselves who project identities and qualities
that we just happen to be there to experience: there seems to be a "real table quality out there" which
makes the table what it is. Commonly people would say, "It is what it is." Meaning, that there is
something in the object or about the object which makes it what it is, and that the observer (you, me,
cat, dog, cockroach, etc.) has nothing to do with that. That type of inherent, unchanging identity is
termed Avidya. The misperception of an inherent or unchanging phenomenon and an inherent or
unchanging "I, me" allows the mind to generate all sorts of negative emotions (see Kleshas (Buddhism)).
In terms of correct analysis to overcome this mistaken perception, the actual experience which is
perceived by all Buddhist is identical: a mere absence or negation of the impossible modes of existence
which appear to the conventional, naive mind. However, after the inferential or direct experience of
that, when the practitioner returns to a non-concentrated, non-analytic state they are once again privy
to philosophical training received prior to that experience. Therefore, one practitioner will describe that
experience as being a mere lack of inherent existence, another will say it is a mere lack of true existence,
another will say it is an inseparability of mind and reality, and another will say it is a mere lack of
permanence/stasis. In terms of correct philosophical language, only one school can be correct, but in
terms of direct valid experience all schools may or may not be correct. This is a debate point among the
different schools and sub-schools.
Etymology[edit]
The term vidya means "to see" or "to know". The term a is a negation. Therefore, avidya means to "not
see" or "not know".
The word is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *weid-, meaning "to see" or "to know". It is a
cognate with the Latin verb vidre' (to see)' and English "wit".
Roshi Enkyo OHara states that the Chinese and Japanese symbols for this term show the character
mu, a barrier, next to the characters for the sun and moon: meaning no sun and moon, no light, no
clarity, no knowinga completely deluded state
Notes[edit]
1. Jump up ^ Avidya can be defined on different levels; for example, it can be defined as a
mis-perception of the nature of reality, or as not understanding the four noble truths.
For example:
Ringu Tulku states: "In the Buddhist sense, ignorance is equivalent to the
identification of a self as being separate from everything else. It consists of the
belief that there is an "I" that is not part of anything else. On this basis we think,
"I am one and unique. Everything else is not me. It is something different."...
From this identification stems the dualistic view, since once there is an "I," there
are also "others." Up to here is "me." The rest is "they." As soon as this split is
made, it creates two opposite ways of reaction: "This is nice, I want it!" and
"This is not nice, I do not want it!" ...[1]
Bhikkhu Bodhi states: "Ignorance (avijja) is the cetasika delusion (moha), which
obscures perception of the true nature of things just as a cataract obscures
perception of visible objects."[2]
Jeffrey Hopkins states: "[Ignorance] isn't just an inability to apprehend the truth
but an active misapprehension of the status of oneself and all other objects
one's own mind or body, other people, and so forth. It is the conception or
assumption that phenomena exist in a far more concrete way than they actually

do. Based on this misapprehension of the status of persons and things, we are
drawn into afflictive desire (raga) and hatred (dvesha)..."[3]
Sonam Rinchen states: "Every actions leaves its imprint on the mind, and later
craving and grasping activate the imprint to bring about its result. Underlying
this kind of action is our ignorance, namely our innate misconception of the self,
the root of all our troubles. The only way to rid ourselves of this misconception
is to understand how the self truly exists, which is diametrically opposed to how
that misconception perceives it.[4]
Sonam Rinchen also explains avidya in the context of the twelve links as follows:
"[Ignorance] does not mean merely a failure to understand reality nor does it
mean a failure to understand something other than reality. Rather it is the
opposite of the understanding that the person or other phenomena lack
intrinsic existence. Those who are affected by this ignorance create actions
which precipitate them into further worldly existence."[5]
Ajahn Sucitto states: "People tend to take ignorance as pejorative, but it more
precisely refers to a lack of gnosis or insightful seeing. It is summarized as not
understanding the four noble truthsor, perhaps more accurately, not
understanding their implications. That is, as long as there is the condition of
ignorance, the mind still expects to find an experience that is completely
satisfying and feels disappointed when things go wrong."[6]
Zen master Takuan Soho (writing in the 16th century) states: "The term
ignorance means the absence of enlightenment, which is to say delusion."[7]
See the section #Traditional definitions for more definitions.
2. Jump up ^ In the Mahayana tradition, two levels of ignorance are identified. For
example:
Jeffrey Hopkins states: "There are two types of ignorance: a basic form and a
secondary form that is involved only in nonvirtuous, or negative, actions. The
first is a consciousness that misconceives the status of persons and other
phenomena. It imagines that persons and other phenomena have a
concreteness beyond that which they actually have, thereby inducing all
afflictive emotions (kleshas). [...] The other form of ignorance--the type that is
involved only in nonvirtuous, or negative actions--is a misconception about the
effects of actions. In this case, there is also obscuration with respect to even the
course relationship of actions and their effects--no understanding that if a
certain action is performed, a certain result will follow, and developing
misconceptions such as that only please will arise from a theft."[14]

The Advaita Vednta of Brahma-siddhi


apprehension and the samskara of avidya persist in deep dreamless sleep. ... is perhaps due to his
thinking that if nothing but non- apprehension persists

Mind--Its Mysteries and Control - The Divine Life Society


But, through the wrong deluded notion that objects will give happiness, man searches for it outside. The
result ..... Mind is nothing but a collection of Samskaras.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2.12-2.25: Breaking the alliance of karma


Patanjali created no new Yoga, but rather, systematized existing Yoga into the ... Ignorance, or avidya
(2.5), is the cause of this alliance (2.24), and eliminating this ... Usually, those individual impressions in
the repository are called samskaras. .... or herself that the entire process is bringing nothing but pain in
the long run.

Yoga: The Ultimate Spiritual Path


Ego is nothing but the karmic conglomeration of various characteristics acquired ... They are: (i) avidya
(ignorance), (ii) samskara (subliminal impressions), (iii), ...

Re: jeeva's waking from sushupti & avidyA in sushupti


Re: [advaitin] Re: jeeva's waking from sushupti & avidyA in sushupti, < Prev ... So the sushupti saMskAra
what we are talking here is nothing but
praNAms Sri Rishi prabhuji
Hare Krishna
If we look at waking, dreaming and deep sleep as a sequence of states that follow each other in time,
then it is appropriate to say that there is a seed ignorance present in deep sleep. Since ignorance was
present before entering into deep sleep and ignorance was present after re-emerging from deep sleep,
we can infer that ignorance was present in some form in between too (I think Bhaskarji accepts this).
However, I think he is saying (correct me if I am wrong) that this analysis only applies when we are
looking at the three states in a temporal sequence (and this is something that we do only in the waking
state).
> Yes, when sushupti is viewed from the waking state, jeeva with avidyA enters the sushupti state and
comes back with the same avidyA. Hence same jeeva wakes up from sushupti with same BMI (upAdhis), kAma & karma. Thus, shankara says in sUtra bhAshya, iha tu vidyate vivekakAraNaM karma cha
avidyA cha. and in kArikA bhAshya too shankara accepts tattvAgrahaNa in prAjna (
tattvApratibOdhamAtrameva hi beejaM prAjnatve nimittaM). So, from the vyAvahArika jAgrat drushti
where jeeva has the association with upAdhi-s, thinks that sushuptAvAsta is another subsidiary state like
dream and infers avidyA in that state also. Shankara & gaudapAda too accept this tattvAgrahaNa in
sushupti from this stand point. However, fact remains that this tattvAgrahaNa does not come in the
way of ekata/svarUpAnand/brahmAnanda.
From the point of view of the actual experience in deep sleep, there is no ignorance in deep sleep, only
pure consciousness is present and there is no experiential distortion because of any kind of ajnAna.
> Yes, this is not my opinion, it is clearly said by shankara himself. etasmin kAle avidyAkAma karma
nibandhanAni kArya karaNAni shAntAni bhavanti. teshu shAnteshvAtma svarUpaM
upAdhibhiranyaThAvibhAvyamAnaM adhvayam ekaM shivaM shAntaM bhavati. and in br. up. bh. he
makes it further clear : idAneeM yOsau sarvAtmabhAvO mOkshO vidyAphalaM kriyAkAraka
phalashUnyaM, sa pratyakshatO nirdishyate yatra avidyAkAmakarmANi na santi, and elsewhere : atra
chaitatprakrutaM ' "avidyAkAmakarma vinirmuktameva" (see the visheshaNa 'vinirmuktameva')
tadrUpaM, yatsushupte AtmanO gruhyate pratyakshatAH" iti. So, when sushupti is seen from that view
point with the help of shruti & shankara there is absolutely no room for us to infer the existence of
avidyA in sushupti.
The standard argument against this is based on the fact that we have a memory of the experience in
deep sleep. My understanding of how memory works is that: 1) a vritti arrises, 2) the vritti leaves a
samskAra, 3) the samskAra manifests as a vritti of the same type (this is the smriti-vritti). If this is
correct, then the memory of deep sleep must have arisen from a samskAra of the deep-sleepexperience and the fact that there is a samskAra means that there must have been a deep-sleep-vritti.
Personally, I feel that this reasoning is quite compelling. I would like to know what Bhaskarji's reply to

the argument would be. In particular, I think he would have to explain how a memory-vritti can arise
without a samskAra.
> kArikA says prAjnA in sushupta is 'sarvajnA' (esha sarveshvara, esha sarvajnaH etc.) And this Atma
svarUpa could see without eyes, could hear without ears. shankara explains this prAjna in
sushuptAvastha as 'ayameva hi sarvasya sarva bedhAvastO jnAtA'. He (sushuptAtma) is the one who
knows the bedhAvastA in jAgrat & svapna. So the sushupti saMskAra what we are talking here is
nothing but svarUpAnanda of Atman which is being worded through the jAgrat mana (waking mind) in
the light of THAT.
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
bhaskar
Dear Sri Bhaskar Prabhuji,
Initially I thought that my understanding on the issue of deep-sleep and mula-avidya was different from
that of yours. Then later it appeared to me that you were saying the same thing that I was. Later, I again
starting having doubts whether we were saying the same thing or different things. I think I have finally
traced the source of where we agree and where we may be seeing things a bit differently, though I am
not sure about it. So, let me point out where I fully agree with you and where I seek further clarification
from you.

First, this is where I fully agree with you.

> Yes, when sushupti is viewed from the waking state, jeeva
> with avidyA enters the sushupti state and comes back with
> the same avidyA. Hence same jeeva wakes up from sushupti
> with same BMI (upAdhi-s), kAma & karma. Thus, shankara
> says in sUtra bhAshya, iha tu vidyate vivekakAraNaM karma
> cha avidyA cha. and in kArikA bhAshya too shankara accepts
> tattvAgrahaNa in prAjna ( tattvApratibOdhamAtrameva hi
> beejaM prAjnatve nimittaM). So, from the vyAvahArika jAgrat
> drushti where jeeva has the association with upAdhi-s,
> thinks that sushuptAvAsta is another subsidiary state like
> dream and infers avidyA in that state also. Shankara &
> gaudapAda too accept this tattvAgrahaNa in sushupti from
> this stand point. However, fact remains that this
> tattvAgrahaNa does not come in the way of ekata/svarUpAnand
> /brahmAnanda.

Now this where my doubt comes in.

> there is lot of difference in saying jeeva gets sva-svarUpa


> jnAna in sushupti and jeeva without upAdhi will be in
> sva-svarUpa in sushupti. If you have any doubt on the later
> part, please refer sUtra bhAshya. saMprasAdasabdodithaM
> jIvam 'svena rUpena abhinishpadyate; iti brahma svarUpAnAm
> darshayati - the jIva who is in deep sleep is called by the
> name 'saMprasAda'. He enters his own real nature which
> means he has become brahman himself..I quoted this last
> week in another mail.

From what I understand, you are saying that jeeva gets sva-svaroopa in sushupti but does not get svasvaroopa jnana in sushupti. You also equate sva-svaroopa to the real nature that is without any upadhi.
But when you say that the jiva does not get sva-saroopa jnana in sushupti, doesn't this limitation, i.e.
lack of sva-svaroopa jnana, itself constitute an upadhi. The upadhi here is 'lack of knowledge' which may
be termed as 'lack of wakefulness' or a kind of 'deep-sleep'. Isn't this deep-sleep the anadi-bija-nidra
which, unlike normal deep-sleep which ends with normal waking, continues to persist in all the three
states? And the fact that there is 'lack of knowledge' in the other two states of dreaming and waking
also, implies that the 'lack of knowledge', or 'lack of sva-svaroopa jnana', which was there in sushupti is
not different than the 'lack of sva-svaroopa jnana' which exists in the dreaming and waking states too.
Thus, this anadi-bija-nidra may be said to persist right until there is sva-svaroopa jnana when the upadhi
called 'lack of sva-svaroopa jnana' disappears.
Please correct me if i have not understood something properly. You are far more well-versed in the
Shastras than i, and i look forward to your comments.
Warm regards,
Chittaranjan
Dear Sri Bhaskar Prabhuji,
> praNAms Sri chitta prabhuji
Hare Krishna
Initially I thought that my understanding on the issue of deep-sleep and mula-avidya was different from
that of yours. Then later it appeared to me that you were saying the same thing that I was. Later, I again
starting having doubts whether we were saying the same thing or different things. I think I have finally
traced the source of where we agree and where we may be seeing things a bit differently, though I am
not sure about it. So, let me point out where I fully agree with you and where I seek further clarification
from you.
> you know something prabhuji, my only fan in advaitin list, wrote to me off the list same thing and
subsequently made an open remark : you are confused and your presentation is 'all over the place' &
your opponents are far better than you in handling the subject :-)) In reply, I cautioned him & told him

that you should not find any fault with your 'hero', & your hero is always tough to understand :-))
Anyway, here is my continued confusion for your consideration :-))

From what I understand, you are saying that jeeva gets sva-svaroopa in sushupti but does not get svasvaroopa jnana in sushupti.
> Yes, as explained in my earlier mails, for sushuptAtma brahman (not sOpAdhika ofcourse :-)) is the
ONLY abode. But even though this state is ekeebhutaM (prajnAna ghanaeva says shankara in kArika),
we cannot get that mOksha jnAna or sva-svarUpa jnAna or ekeebhUta jnAna in sushupti since the
karaNa is conspicuous by its absence in that state. To get that jnAna, karaNa like mind which is purified
through shAstra-AchArya upadesha, shama-dama etc. ( manasaivedamAptavyaM neha nAnAsti
kiMchana says shruti and shAstrAchAryOpadeshashamadamAdisaMskrutaM manaH Atma darshane
karaNaM says shankara in geeta bhAshya). Since the tool is not there in sushupti, it is said that it is not
possible to get sva-svarUpa jnAna in sushupti. Kindly note this has been said that for the jeeva bandhamOksha or avidyA - vidya are two different states and jeeva is in bandha and needs the liberation and to
get that liberation, jeeva needs the knowledge (Atma jnAna) and this jnAna we have to gain with the
help of karaNa called mana.
You also equate sva-svaroopa to the real nature that is without any upadhi.
> Yes, it is based on again shankara, sushuptAtma is ashareeri since he is devoid of any upAdhi,
ashareeraM vAva santaM na priyApriye sprushataH says chAndOgya. and as we have discussed recently
'this ashareeratvaM' is svabhAvika for the Atman, only due to avidyA, with the association of upAdhi-s
Atman will be said as sashareeri (tattusamanvayaat sUtra bhAshya)
But when you say that the jiva does not get sva-saroopa jnana in sushupti, doesn't this limitation, i.e.
lack of sva-svaroopa jnana, itself constitute an upadhi.
> No, jeeva is no more jeeva in sushupti, he is one with brahman which is his sva-svarUpa, and this
mergence of jeeva in brahman is not like water in a wet cloth, it is like fruit juice in honey..chAndOgya
bhAshya explains this beautifully.
The upadhi here is 'lack of knowledge' which may be termed as 'lack of wakefulness' or a kind of 'deepsleep'.
> Yes, kArika says tattvAgrahaNa is a kind of nidra, anyathAgrahaNa is svapna and svarUpa jnAna is
wakefulness..In that sense, we are all in 'svapna' now :-)) Coming back to avasthAtraya prakriya, lack of
knowledge is not upAdhi, lack of knowledge (or vishesha jnAna of external things) is because of nonexistnece of second-entity apart from THAT.
Isn't this deep-sleep the anadi-bija-nidra which, unlike normal deep-sleep which ends with normal
waking, continues to persist in all the three states?
> yes prabhuji, if we take anAdi beeja nidra as agrahaNAM like kArika does, it pervades all the three
states.

And the fact that there is 'lack of knowledge' in the other two states of dreaming and waking also,
implies that the 'lack of knowledge', or 'lack of sva-svaroopa jnana', which was there in sushupti is not
different than the 'lack of sva-svaroopa jnana' which exists in the dreaming and waking states too. Thus,
this anadi-bija-nidra may be said to persist right until there is sva-svaroopa jnana when the upadhi called
'lack of sva-svaroopa jnana' disappears.
> yes, from the 'lack of knowledge' stand point, we need to have the knowledge, until then we have to
see agrahaNatmaka avidyA beeja in sushupti..but whereas if we see the sushuptA from the
anubhavAtmaka 'sAkshi' drushti, shruti & shankara says : the reason for 'this lack of knowledge' is not
due to upAdhi but due to 'ekatvaM' (ekatvameva tadajnAnadetuH says shankara in br.up. bhAshya).
yAjnAvalkya confirms this to janaka in br.up. maNtra : yadvai tanna vijAnAti vijAnan vai tanna vijAneeti
na hi vijnAtuH vijnAteH viparilOpO vidyatevinAshitvAt, na tu tat dviteeyaM asti tatO anyat vibhaktaM
yadvijAneeyAt.
Please correct me if i have not understood something properly. You are far more well-versed in the
Shastras than i, and i look forward to your comments.
> I am no way qualified to correct anything prabhuji since my knowledge in shAstra & gurUpadesha is
well below the average. Hence getting stick from all corners of the world whenever I open my mouth to
talk advaita vedAnta :-)) even my fan does not want to spare me :-))
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
Bhaskar
Dear Sri Bhaskar Prabhuji,
Thank you for your clarifications. As i see it, the crux of the entire matter seems to be: whether 'lack of
jnana' may be called an upadhi or not. Let me do more manana on this.
Meanwhile let me inform you that i am also your fan. So now you have two fans. :-)
Warm regards,
Chittaranjan
praNAms Sri Rishi prabhuji
> Hare Krishna
>
> If we look at waking, dreaming and deep sleep as a sequence of states
> that follow each other in time, then it is appropriate to say that there
> is a seed ignorance present in deep sleep. Since ignorance was present
> before entering into deep sleep and ignorance was present after
> re-emerging from deep sleep, we can infer that ignorance was present in
> some form in between too (I think Bhaskarji accepts this). However, I
> think he is saying (correct me if I am wrong) that this analysis only
> applies when we are looking at the three states in a temporal sequence
> (and this is something that we do only in the waking state).
> > Yes, when sushupti is viewed from the waking state, jeeva with avidyA

> enters the sushupti state and comes back with the same avidyA. Hence same
> jeeva wakes up from sushupti with same BMI (upAdhi-s), kAma & karma. Thus,
> shankara says in sUtra bhAshya, iha tu vidyate vivekakAraNaM karma cha
> avidyA cha. and in kArikA bhAshya too shankara accepts tattvAgrahaNa in
> prAjna ( tattvApratibOdhamAtrameva hi beejaM prAjnatve nimittaM). So,
> from the vyAvahArika jAgrat drushti where jeeva has the association with
> upAdhi-s, thinks that sushuptAvAsta is another subsidiary state like dream
> and infers avidyA in that state also. Shankara & gaudapAda too accept
> this tattvAgrahaNa in sushupti from this stand point. However, fact
> remains that this tattvAgrahaNa does not come in the way of
> ekata/svarUpAnand/brahmAnanda.

Namaste.
That tattva agrahaNa does not come in the way of the jiva experiencing the peace and bliss of deep
sleep has been stated by me already in an earlier post where avidya type 1 and type 2 were discussed. It
is only because avidya type 2 that is adhyAsa (projection of nAnAtva that is not there in deep sleep and
that too because the mind (as vijnAnamaya) and the sense organs are at rest (shAnta) that the jiva
experiences the relatively great bliss then. It is something like a great peace prevailing at home when
the children have all gone to school or away on vacation. The 'noise' of the dvaita prapancha is not
experienced in deep sleep and hence the peace/bliss.

> From the point of view of the actual experience in deep sleep, there is no
> ignorance in deep sleep, only pure consciousness is present and there is
> no experiential distortion because of any kind of ajnAna.
> > Yes, this is not my opinion, it is clearly said by shankara himself.
> etasmin kAle avidyAkAma karma nibandhanAni kArya karaNAni shAntAni
> bhavanti. teshu shAnteshvAtma svarUpaM upAdhibhiranyaThAvibhAvyamAnaM
> adhvayam ekaM shivaM shAntaM bhavati. and in br. up. bh. he makes it
> further clear : idAneeM yOsau sarvAtmabhAvO mOkshO vidyAphalaM
> kriyAkAraka phalashUnyaM, sa pratyakshatO nirdishyate yatra
> avidyAkAmakarmANi na santi, and elsewhere : atra chaitatprakrutaM '
> "avidyAkAmakarma vinirmuktameva" (see the visheshaNa 'vinirmuktameva')
> tadrUpaM, yatsushupte AtmanO gruhyate pratyakshatAH" iti. So, when
> sushupti is seen from that view point with the help of shruti & shankara
> there is absolutely no room for us to infer the existence of avidyA in
> sushupti.

VS:
All said and done, the jiva who is defined by Shankara as:

//avidyAkAmakarmavAsanAshrayalingopAdhi AtmA ..// in the Mundaka Up. mantra dvA suparNaa


(3.1.1) [the jIva is the consciousness endowed with the upAdhi of ignorance-desire-action and the
vAsanas that rest in the lingashareera ..]
is never free of this upAdhi till mokSha through Self-knowledge. At no time during the samsAra avasthA
is Atma, jIva, free of this upAdhi. And the suShupti avasthA is never a stand-alone state like turiya. The
kArikA 1.11 says very clearly how the three states are related and conditioned:
kArya-kAraNa-baddhau tau iShyete vishva-taijasau
prAjnaH kaaraNabaddhastu dvau tau turye na vidyataH
Those two, Vishva and Taijasa (waker and dreamer consciousness) are held to be conditioned by cause
and effect. PrAjna is *conditioned* by *cause*. But both these (cause and effect) do not exist in Turiya.
nAtmAnam na parAn chaiva na satyam nApi cha anRtam
prAjnaH kinchana samvetti, turyam tat sarvadRk sadA 1.12
PrAjna does not comprehend anything - neither himself nor others, neither truth nor falsehood. But
that Turiya is for ever everything and the witness.
The Bhashya clarifies: How is prAjna conditioned by the causal state and how are the *bondages* of
non-apprehension and misapprehension impossible in the case of Turiya?
[Here Shankara calls the state of prAjna as endowed with 'bondage'. And that bondage is 'nonapprehension' of Reality.] He further says: //he (prAjna) is conditioned by the darkness of nonperception of Reality, which is the seed of false perception.//
When Shankara has stated that the prAjna is 'bound' and 'conditioned by the darkness of tattva
agrahana which is the seed for adhyAsa' how can we assert that the jiva in deep sleep is 'free of all
upAdhi-s?' Evidently, Shankara, Gaudapada and the Shruti will not be contradicting themselves. The
visheshaNa word 'vinirmuktaH' (exceedingly, verily, freed) is therefore to be taken only as qualifying the
jiva in the deep sleep state as being relatively free from the problems of vyakta dvaita. If this is not
admitted, then Shankara will have to bear the charge of self-contradiction and misleading the student.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is aiming at creating a simulated scenario by taking up the deep sleep
state to teach the state of mOkSha. A person who has not seen an ocean can be shown a huge lake and
said the ocean is several times bigger than this. It would be a folly if he takes the lake to be no different
from an ocean and concludes that the unseen ocean is no different from the lake seen by him. Such is
the situation if we conclude that there is no difference absolutely between the experience of a jiva in
deep sleep and moksha. The greatest difference is that the jiva in deep sleep has the potential samsara
in seed form. This can never be obliterated from the jiva by any amount of wordy gymnastics. That is the
writing on the wall. Shankara has very explicitly stated in the kArikA 1.2 bhashya that 'in ALL places the
reference to Brahman as kAraNa/layashthAnam is ONLY after admitting the seed-state.' This cannot be
overlooked. All shrutis describing the state of the jiva in deep sleep will be subservient to this
declaration of Shankara. And therefore, that 'being one with Brahman/freed of all upAdhi-s' etc. will
have to be subjected to the scanner that is this above declaration of Shankara.
It would be beneficial in this context to look at what Shankara says in the bhashyam for Br.Up.4.3.21:

//Why does he (the sleeping jiva) not know (anything) despite he is (fundamentally) of the nature of the
light of Consciousness?
Reply: It is because he has attained oneness, like the man and woman in embrace. Here, by contextual
meaning, the (absence of) multiplicity is the cause of the (absence of) specific knowledge. And the cause
of multiplicity is the ignorance, avidya, that projects things other than the Self, as apart from the Self.
{One can recall the kArikA / BhAshya where the prAjna was said to be endowed with 'only' the causal
ignorance and not the 'effectual ignorance' (nAnAtva, multiplicity)}. So, Shankara is only saying that the
sleep state is free of the avidya (type 2) which is the projector of this multiplicity. In other words, the jiva
in sleep state has no adhyAsa rUpa avidyaa. This by no means amounts to say that the jiva is
'completely' free of avidya. What has not said by Shankara here is that the jiva is not divested of the
tattva agrahaNa rUpa avidya (type 1). The silence of Shankara on this information should not, cannot be
taken as His, the Shruti's approval of the jiva's being freed of avidya in the sleep state.
Shankara further goes on to say here: When there he is separated, praviviktaH, from avidyA, then he
becomes none other than one with everything. And then comes the most crucial sentence: tatashcha
jnAna-jneyAdi-kAraka-vibhAge asati kuto visheShavijnAnaprAdurbhAvaH, kAmo vA sambhavati
svAbhAvike svarUpasthe AtmajyotiShi?
[Therefore, there being no such division among factors of an action as knowledge and known, whence
should particular consciousness arise, or desire manifest itself, in the natural, immutable light of the
Self?]
What is to be noted is the mention of 'factors of action as knowledge (pramANa) and known
(prameya).' This is what is called the tripuTee. This can exist only in the states of waking and dream and
not in sleep. And we have seen in the kArikA/bhashya that waking and dream are states where kArya
avidya is present (of course, along with the kAraNa avidya) and sleep is the state where ONLY the
kAraNa avidya is present and not the kArya avidyA. Shankara, in the above Br.Up. bhashya sees no
occasion to talk about the kAraNa avidya, for it is not useful/relevant there, to bring out the peace/bliss
attained in sleep as an illustration to the moksha state where also the botheration of tripuTee, desire,
etc. is absent. It would be wrong to conclude, by this silence of Shankara with regard to the causal/seed
avidya, that the jiva is free of avidyA itself, unqualified.

>
> The standard argument against this is based on the fact that we have a
> memory of the experience in deep sleep.

VS:
Shankara very explicitly states that: bIjAvasthA api 'na kinchidavediSham' iti utthitasya pratyaya
darshanAt dehe anubhUyate eva iti tridhA dehe vyavasthitaH ityuchyate. (kA.1.2)

The kArikA which states 'the consciousness is available in three forms/states in the body itself' means
that (as prAjna) the jiva is endowed with the seed of samsara which is known/experienced by everyone
upon waking from sleep as 'I did not know anything'.

> > kArikA says prAjnA in sushupta is 'sarvajnA' (esha sarveshvara, esha
> sarvajnaH etc.)

VS:
That the consciousness as praajnA is non-different from the consciousness as Ishwara is of no avail in
practical terms to the jiva, for his samsAritva does not cease by knowing this. For, in the subsequent
mantra 7, even this Ishwaratva (sarvajnatva, etc.) is negated from the Turiya. And the Upanishad is not
aiming at teaching that prAjna is sarvajna which it has itself taught as 'prajnAnaghanaH' in the previous
5th mantra. Shankara says for that word there: '..avivekaapannam naisha tamograstamiva
ahaH..ekeebhUtam ityuchyate.' [not being aware of the distinct perceptions, like day enveloped by the
darkness of the night....']. One can see how absurd it would be to 'equate' such a prAjna with the
'sarvajna' that is Ishwara. In the Mundakopanishad mantra 'yaH sarvajnaH sarvavit' Shankara comments:
'One who knows everything in general and also in particular'. Clearly, the prAjna's state is devoid of the
knowledge of particularities of everything, which the Sarveshvara of the Mandukya 6th mantra has.
While the prAjna is in sleep state, the Sarveshwara of the 6th mantra is never in the sleep state.
Shankara says He is the jnAtaa, Knower of 'everything'. Thus, it would be wrong to invoke the
'sarvajna/sarveshwara' of the 6th mantra to prove that the prAjna is not endowed with ignorance in
deep sleep. Such a proposition is devoid of any support: shruti, yukti and anubhava and
Shankara/Gaudapaada.

>And this Atma svarUpa could see without eyes, could hear
> without ears.

VS:
This is no explanation for the prAjna recalling upon waking his ignorance in the deep sleep state. That
ability of the Sarvajna Ishwara is only due to mAyopAdhi. Without admitting any upadhi it is impossible
to explain any kind of knowingness, either of the jiva or Ishwara.

> shankara explains this prAjna in sushuptAvastha as 'ayameva


> hi sarvasya sarva bedhAvastO jnAtA'. He (sushuptAtma) is the one > >who knows the bedhAvastA in
jAgrat & svapna.

VS:

This is not the meaning of that sentence. What Shankara says there is: This consciousness who obtains
as the prAjna in the deep sleep state, is the one (consciousness) obtaining in His state of immanence in
all diversity (sarvabhedAvasthaH), is the knower of all, hence this one is Omniscient, sarvajnaH.
Sarvajnatva is spoken of here of Ishwara and not the prAjna. The prAjna never gets the realization,
either in the sleep or waking, that he is the one immanently obtaining in all diversity of creation and
therefore the Knower of all. The prAjna's knowing the svapna and jAgrat avasthA is also not correct. In
jAgrat and svapna the prAjna does not obtain; only the consciousness, with a different name of vishva
and taijasa obtains. Of course, it is not wrong to say that the chaitanya is the one that experiences all
the states. But this does not either lead to the conclusion or explain the waking up recollection of
ignorance in deep sleep state.

> So the sushupti saMskAra what we


> are talking here is nothing but svarUpAnanda of Atman which is being
> worded through the jAgrat mana (waking mind) in the light of THAT.
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar

VS: Shankara never brings in the svarUpaananda to explain the recollection upon waking 'I was ignorant
of everything in deep sleep'. He very clearly states in the Ma.kA.1.2 that the 'samsAra-beejAvasthA of
the prAjna is experienced by everyone in the recollection stated above.' Where is the room for
svarUpaananda in this recollection? Even in the Br.Up.Bhashya Shankara never said that the
svarUpaananda was the cause for ignorance. He clearly said that the nAnAtva was absent there and the
jiva was one with Brahman. And that / such Brahman also Shankara has categorically stated is only the
'conditioned' Brahman.
I sincerely thank those who have given out various views and in the exercise of commenting on those
views I got the opportunity to look into the Bhashya with more attention and derived deeper insights.
Best regards,
subbu