Monday, October 02, 2006

Quiz - 2 - Answers


Prostrations to all.

At the outset itself let me thank each and everyone who has taken enough time to answer this subjective quiz. Expecting the same response and interest in the same in the future as well. The next quiz will be conducted by Mallika.

There were six responses in total which is quite good considering that this was a subjective quiz -- once again sincere request to everyone in the forum to find time to answer at least objective quiz. But even if people dont get time and thereby are not replying, still if they are going through the questions and answers, that itself is a great manana or reflection on Vedantic truth.

In order to know different answers, have attached a document containing the answers from the response of people in the forum (reason not to showcase the wrong answers of people but how different people have interpreted Vedanta beautifully in their own way -- some answers were quite unexpected but way beyond expectations of the quizmaster and really touching as well -- this is the reason why saints proclaim that Vedanta has different facets & appears in the way the seeker sees it though ultimately accepting that there is only one view alone) . There will be no marking for this quiz as it is more of subjective & participation is more important. But each person can gauge his own mark or how he has fared through reading the answers & comparing with his answer.

The answers below will be short and brief so that everyone will get enough time to read through & will not skip it terming it as long essays. If there is some doubt/contradiction about any of the answer, please get back & we can clarify the same from sruthi vakyas on the same.

Advaita Vedanta – Sankaracharya
Vishista advaita Vedanta - Ramanujacharya
Dvaita Vedanta - Madhvacharya

Brahma Satyam Jagan mithyaa jeevo brahmaiva na parah

(This was the expected answer but many people have explained the same through words that everything is Brahman, there is “no two” etc.)

Sankara mentions in Brahmajnaanaavaleemaala thus
Brahma satyam jaganmithyaa jeevo brahmaiva na parah
Anena vedhyam sat shaastram ithi Vedanta dindimaa

Brahman is the ultimate reality, the world is only an illusion, jeeva is Brahman alone & not different from Brahman – through these three things becomes known the truth of existence (reality as such), thus roars the lion of Vedanta.

3. Three main things that Vedanta schools deal
Vedanta deals mainly with
a. Ishwara
b. Jeeva
c. Jagat (can be called or termed as jada)

Different systems of Vedanta interpret these three differently. Advaita accepts everything as an illusion in the ultimate non-dual reality of Brahman whereas Vishista advaita accepts the jeeva and jagat as part of Ishwara – thus Ishwara is not non-dual as such but non-dual as there is nothing apart from Ishwara & jeeva, jagat are internal parts of Ishwara. Dvaita goes to the extreme end of accepting all these three of ishwara, jadas and jeevas as different from each other.

If we thoroughly analyze these three terms, with the explanation of the three terms everything in the world becomes explained. All the three are sapeksha or relative to each other. Ishwara word means one who controls things – controller is not there if there is nothing to be controlled. Thus even Ishwara is relative to the jeevas and jadas that he controls. Anything relative is not absolute or eternally real. Relationships lead to infinite regression and hence show that they are illusory. Thus these three terms are only illusions in the ultimate non-dual absolute reality of Brahman. This is propounded by the sruthi through various statements like Sarvam khalu idam brahma, sarvam brahmamayam jagat etc.

Thus it can only be true that advaita alone answers the three terms as empirically real and ultimately only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Brahman (no personal opinion but based on sruthi, yukthi and anubhava –anubhava has been personal as well).

4. Antah Karana and Bahih Karana
Antah karana includes inner equipments or the four-fold classification of manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkaara. Bahih karana includes the 5 senses of perception, action and five pranaas.

5. The three sub-schools of advaita are:
a. Bhaamathi based on the bhamathi subcommentary of Vachaspathi Mishra
b. Vivarana based on the Panchapaadika Vivarana of Prakaashaatman
c. Vartika based on the Vartikas of Sureshwara (basically depending on Sarvajnatman’s Sankshepa Sareeraka and Vidyaranya’s brihadaranyaka vartikasara as well).

6. Jeeva
Jeeva is best defined by the words of Hastamalaka as:
Chidaabhasako dheeshu jeevah
The reflection of Chit or Consciousness in the intellect is JEEVA.

Vartika school explains Jeeva as a fallacious representation which is almost similar to a reflection except that here reflection is not real but unreal like the reflection from a crystal.

Vivarana school explains Jeeva as prathibimba of Chit on the antah karana. It is generally antah karana as different acharyas interpret quite differently some mentioning as antah karana, some as buddhi and some others as chitta.

Bhamathi school explains Jeeva as an avaccheda or limited thing of Chit. Jeeva is the pot-space whereas Chit is Maha akaasha (infinite space). This view has been criticized by Vivarana and vartika school followers – we find such arguments in Vidyaranya’s Panchadashi.

To put it quite short, Jeeva is something which is limited & associated with the body-mind – it is just a reflection of Chit on the buddhi – it is the ahankaara which has no existence apart from the original Chit which is the kutastha saakshi.

The thread on jeevas as per different systems can be referred for the same.

7. Maya and avidya
Maya is the power of Ishwara with which he creates the world.
Avidya is the individual ignorance which makes the kutastha atma forget his own nature and think himself to be the jeeva.

Many acharyas consider Maya as collective whereas avidya as individual.

Sacchidanandendra Saraswathi goes against this and defines Maya as the power creating the world through naama roopa whereas avidya is that which causes a seeker to not know real and unreal thereby leading to adhyaasa. Even though this seems appropriate as Sankara seems to have that view but still entering into such deep analysis and ignoring/criticizing other acharyas is wrong. Maya is that which never exists – avidya is that which never shines – both have the same meaning and are understood differently in the empirical view because both are anirvachaneeya or cannot be really explained – thus the different views on the same.

8. Relation of Maya to Brahman
Many people have beautifully explained that Maya is not at all related to Brahman – this is the ultimate viewpoint as Maya is not at all there. But at the empirical level, Maya is the illusory power of Brahman. Maya as illusory power of Brahman is valid at empirical and ultimate viewpoint & is one of the apt explanation of the relation between both – empirically it is illusory which in itself means that ultimately it is unreal.

But really great to hear explanations that “Maya is not at all related to Brahman” as this shows the mental state of the seeker which is fixed at the ultimate viewpoint.

9. Adhyaropa and apavada

Adhyaropa is superimposition whereas apavada is negation.

Superimposition is mutual as Sankara explains in his adhyaasa bhashya --- superimposition of real on unreal, unreal on real & superimposition of qualities of both as well.

Apavaada is negating the qualities of unreal from the real through neti, neti process.

The following sloka is very famous on adhyaropa and apavada:

Adhyaaropa apavaadaabhyaam nishprapancham prapanchyathe
Shishyaanaam bodhasiddhyartham tatvajnaih kalpithah kramah (instead of shishyaanaam, mumukshunaam is also used in some places)

Adhyaaropa-apavada is explained through explaining creation and then negating it – this is the process followed by knowers of the reality for mumukshus (first adhyaropa is explained and then apavada is done).

10. Three creation theories

Advaita basically accepts only ajaathi or ajaatha vaada at the ultimate level as many people have answered beautifully. But at the empirical level advaita also accepts the world as a vivarta or apparent transformation of Brahman.

The three theories which are famous in advaita are:
a. Ajaathi vaada – that there is no creation propounded mainly in Gaudapada karika and ultimate view accepted by all advaitins
b. Drishti sristhi vaada or yugapat sristhi (instantaneous creation) – here first dristhi and then sristhi happens. A person sees and the world is created – example is dream. This view is that the jeeva alone is the creator. A bit advanced view and closer to ajaathi vaada
c. Sristhi dristhi vaada or karma sristhi (gradual creation) – here first ishwara creates and jeeva sees it (sristhi first and then dristhi). This is the initial and general view which can be easily understood by the seeker.

Once again, thanks to everyone who participated in this quiz. Reminding again that the next quiz will be conducted by Mallika.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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