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Lecture

Typed up lecture note

9 pages132 viewsWinter 2009

Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG205H5
Professor
David Miller

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The Life and Thought of Shankara-Advaita Vedanta pt. 2 of 2
Sources for the study of Advaita Vedanta
1.Vidhushekhara Bhattacharyya, the Agamasastra of Gaudapada
2.Eliot Deutsch and J.A.B/ Van Buiten, a source book of Advaita Vedanta
3.Surendranath Dasgupta, a history of Indian philosophy, Vol I call number: B 131
D37
4.Karl Potter (ED) Encyclopedia of Indian philosophies, Vol II call Number: B131E5
5.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Indian philosophy, Vol II
II. B. Shankaras commentary on the Vedanta Sutra
1.Presuppositions
a)Shankara had experience through Raja Yoga and intuitively realized (Jnana)
the state of non-dual (Advaita) Brahman Nir-Guna-Brahman-Neti, Neti
b)Shankara holds that other mystics have had mystical experiences of Jnana.
Hence, the mystical utterances of the Upanishads (Vedanta) are cited as the final
authority in matters of right knowledge (re-view Radhakrishnan + Moure pp356-
357)
Pramanas-theory of knowledge. Therefore, Sabda-Verbal knowledge (Sruti-Vedas-
Upanishads) is superior to:
1.Perception (senses)
2.Reason
3. Inference
RK p.520 Shankara stresses this point: that Shabda (verbal knowledge; Shruti-
heard ie. the Vedas-Upanishads) is the ultimate source of knowledge. Hence,
Shankara quotes Shruti-Scripture:
1.Ch.UP.VI.ii.1 being (sat) only was in the beginning, one without a second
(Advaita)
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2.BRUP. II. Iv.6 this everything is that self (Atman) also from Smriti
(remembered)
3.B.6.VII.19 Vasudeva (Vishnu) is all this this passage is, however, Sa-guna-
brahman or Ishvara as Vishnu, which later is declared to be Maya-illusion-see
p.529; 532
II.B.1) c) Shankara affirms that the knowing self (atman) cannot be doubted”-read rk.506;
511 everyone is conscious of the existence of (his) self (atman cf. Buddhist an- atman)
Rk p.506- Radhakrishnans comment highlights the problem. He wirites: the objects
of knowledge may be open to doubt, but the doubter cannot be doubtedthe slef is
self-established and is different from all else, physical and mental(Jump in
logic)-“it (self consciousness) is undifferentiated consciousness, which, remains
unaffected even when the body is reduced to ashes and the mind perishes. The self
(atman) is existence (sat), knowledge (cit) and bliss (ananda). It (?) is universal and
infinite.
II.B.2) philosophical method shankara sets-up his opponents to whom he refers by name
or simply as the objector (purvapaksin)
Shankara then takes apart each argument by proving that his opponents
argument is not logically sound or is in conflict with Shabda and Shruti, i.e. the
Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. When the text states By no means. We reply
the text refers to Shankaras argument.
Good examples:
Rk.p.511 we reply that Brahman is known
Rkpp.517-520 Audulumi thinksKasakrtsna thinks
p.519 by no means, we reply
p.520: refer to page 14 of notes
Rk.p.522: scriptural passage”-“reasoning as a subordinate auxiliary of intuitional
knowledge (Jnana)
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III.B.3) the principal philosophical problem of Advaita Vedanta
A)Read rk p.532 By that appearance of plurality (multiplicity) which is the product of
ignorance (Avidya), which is characterized by name + form (individual things which
is evolved as well as non-evolved, which is not to be defined ether as being (sat) or
non-being (A-sat) -nir-guna-brahman becomes the basis of this entire apparent world
(maya) with its changes and so on, while in its true (satya)—(satyam-truth) and real
(sat) nature it (Brahman) remains unchanged lifted above the phenomenal
universe. Hence, Avidya (ignorance) is neither real (sat) nor un-real (a-sat). But,
what is Avidya? Vidya=Jnana=knowledge
B)Article by Daniel H.H.Ingalls: Samkara on the question: whose is Avidya
it is by the concept of Avidya that these monistic (Advaita Vedanta) philosophers
explain the apparent diversity of the world. They claim that in truth there is one
indivisible reality (nir-guna-brahman) (advaita Brahman). The experience we have
(who are ignorant of diversity is due to Avidya. The use of this concept leads to a
logical dilemma. If this Avidya is a real entity, then monism ends. To say that Avidya
is an imaginary entity is to destroy the very doctrine of Avidya. Hence, also,
Moksha i.e. Jnana-mystical knowledge of nir-guna-brahman.
III.B.3.b) Ingalls’ article cont
Solution to problem: a new truth value, Anir-vacani-yatva, that which cannot be
said to be either true or false. post Samkara hence, a new multivalue system of
logic:
1)That which is absolutely real (sat) + true (satya): nir-guna-brahman-advaita
Brahman
2)That which is absolutely unreal (a-sat) + false (asatya)
child of a barren woman
a hare with horns
a round square
3)That which is Anirvacaniyatva not describable as either real (sat) or unreal (asat).
True (satya) or false (asatya) Shankara uses analogies like:
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