chAndogya, 3.14.1:

We have had a long discussion on the mantra at 3.14.1 of the chAndogya Upanishad in Oct 2020. We examined its significance from both epistemological and ontological angles. We had also noted that the full thrust of the mantra can be appreciated only if the entire section, and the mantra at 3.14.4 and particularly Shankara’s commentary there on are also taken into account. Otherwise, there is a danger that one may try to read into the mantra a meaning which is not its purpose at all!

Somehow all of us missed a very highly relevant and meaningful point that Shankara makes about this mantra at 1.3.1, BSB . It has a clear bearing on our discussions and settles the issue, IMHO, without any scope for even an iota of doubt. I like to bring it to the attention of all the interested members.

Shankara says: “As for the use of “all” and “brahman” in apposition in the text, “All this is (but) brahman” (chAndogya, 3.14.1), it is meant for the elimination of the universe,(**) and not for proving heterogeneity (in brahman).”

Swami Gambhirananda, considering the possibility that some readers may still misinterpret Shankara’s intention, very helpfully adds a footnote explaining the purport of the mantra as follows in his translation of BSB:

(**) –  To remove the false conception of a stump as a thief, somebody may say, “Your thief is a stump”, which statement denies the existence of the thief, and is not meant to establish the identity of the thief and the stump. So, in the present case, the apposition does not imply that brahman and creation are equally true.

In other words, we cannot simply conclude that “I cognize a multitude of objects and I take what I see is brahman.” A similar point was made by Shankara at 4.24, BGB too.

25 thoughts on “chAndogya, 3.14.1:

  1. Ramesam,

    Your impatience seems to be almost as bad as mine. I have already said that I am in the process of summarizing, consolidating and rationalising all of our discussions. I have promised to respond to your questions in good time (hopefully before Christmas but maybe not).

    Also, might I ask that you stop using the ‘royal we’ in your posts. It can be misleading, especially in a post such as this one. You certainly made the point about the context of Ch. Up. 3.14. 1 but I don’t recall that I agreed that it was as significant as you suggest.

    I will comment on this post but could you please first provide the correct reference for your quote. BSB 1.3.5 does not tally in my version of Swami Gambhirananda’s commentary. This sutra in my copy is: “(And) because there is a mention of difference”. None of the subsequent Shankara or Gambhirananda comments are there.

    • Hi Dennis,

      I happened to come across Shankara’s comment and my intention was to bring it to the attention of all our Members reading/participating in the thread under reference. I meant to use the ‘we’ to refer to all the participants.

      2) You are right, my citation was wrong. I guess my vision has further deteriorated! 🙁

      It should be 1.3.1 and not 1.3.5, BSB.
      Sorry for the mistake.
      I corrected it in the Post.

      regards,

  2. Dear Ramesam,

    Thanks for this reference. It is pretty clear – though Sankara’s commentary takes place at 1.3.1 in my edition.

    A pertinent para here is:

    “The Self is not to be cognized as a heterogeneous thing comprising the manifold created universe.
    How is It then to be cognized?
    The meaning is that, after eliminating, through knowledge, the universe conjured up by ignorance, you should know that one and homogeneous Self alone that appears as the repository.”

    I suspect though, that Sankara meant this figuratively?

  3. Thanks Venkat.

    Yes, I too feel the expression “appears as the repository” is figurative as Shankara denies any of such models for brahman at many places of his bhAShya.

    I hope you had time to see my comment of Dec 03, 2020 @ 13.35 at my previous post.

    regards,

  4. Ramesam,

    We did indeed briefly discuss Chandogya 3.14.1. I had made the comment that the scriptures tell us that ‘All this is Brahman’ (sarvam khalvidam brahma) and you suggested that this section of the Chandogya was concerned with upAsanA and that therefore it was not relevant to our discussion. I pointed out that the statement is repeated by Shankara in his introduction to Chandogya Chapter 6 and I don’t recall that you provided any contradiction of this (I may be wrong).

    But the same pronouncement is made elsewhere:
    . vivekachUDAmaNi 231: “This universe is verily Brahman…
    . vivekachUDAmaNi 237: “Hence whatever is manifested, namely this universe, is the Supreme Brahman Itself…
    . muNDaka 2.1.10: “This universe… is Brahman alone.”
    . muNDaka 2.2.12: “The immortal Brahman alone is all this in the front, as well as all that is behind. Brahman alone is on the right as well as on the left. Brahman pervades below and above also. This universe is the supreme Brahman alone.”

    Regarding BSB 1.3.1, this sutra is based on Mundaka 2.2.5 and is part of an argument with Sankhya philosophers about ‘support’ (material cause) of the world. The dualistic Sankhyas claim it is pradhAna, whereas Advaitins say it is Brahman. Shankara quotes Chandogya 6.8.4 and Katha 2.1.11 as sources to substantiate his claim.

    Mundaka 2.2.5 doesn’t say that the world is non-existent; it says that Brahman is the substratum of the world (and the body-mind). It uses the metaphor of cloth and thread – world is the cloth woven with the thread of Brahman; i.e. Brahman is the material cause of the world and the world is mithyA (not illusory). Shankara points out that it is knowledge alone that will bring the realization of this and not rituals or mantras etc.

    Chandogya 6.8.4 is simply a primitive (from the point of view of modern science) explanation of how the mithyA, name and form of all material objects have Brahman as the essential substratum of their existence. The more usual metaphors are 1) ring, necklace and bangle all having gold as their reality (satyam); 2) chairs, tables, shelves etc. all having wood as their essential substance; wave, foam, river etc. all being water. It refers back to the vAchArambhaNa sutras which explain how, through ignorance, we superimpose forms onto the non-dual Brahman, giving them names and thus effectively creating Non-Duality. Shankara says that all things ‘have speech as their basis’ because of this. If one is interpreting this literally, rather than figuratively, one is obliged to say that, if the j~nAnI continues to speak after gaining enlightenment, he or she will continue to ‘create’ duality. I.e. since j~nAnI-s continues to live in the world until death of the body-mind, there will still be a world-appearance for them.

    Katha 2.1.11 is very useful because it highlights the misconception that one has somehow to overcome or destroy the mind in order to become enlightened. The idea there is that the mind cannot ‘know’ Brahman so that, by nullifying the mind, it becomes possible for Atman to know Brahman directly. The mantra says that Brahman has to be attained through the mind alone and that one who still thinks that the world of plurality is real will remain bound to saMsAra. Shankara adds that:

    “Once Brahman is known as oneself (Apte cha), that knowledge will cause the elimination of ignorance (avidyAyA nivRRitti), which is the projector or producer of plurality (nAnAtva PratyupasthApikAyAH).” (Ref. 245)

    I.e. the knowledge eliminates the ignorance that was causing the mind to think that the world was real in itself; it is now known to be mithyA with its existence deriving from Brahman.

    I hope that this signifies the end of this discussion, although I am bound to admit that at the same time I don’t hold out much hope…

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  5. Dear Dennis,

    Thank you for the Comment.
    You ended your observations very prophetically.
    And I have to agree there! (:

    That is because you addressed all issues but for the one which myself and Venkat have been at pains to point out for the last few months.

    Yes, Sir. What you say is one more time. One more round. Still squarely missing the target. Don’t you, the English, call it “beating around the bush”?

    But before taking it up, let me clarify for the 5th time or so that I did answer your point of Shankara referring to chAndogya 3.14.1 in his Intro to ch: 6 of chAndogya. Let me copy my past comment below:

    Shankara opens his commentary on the 6th chapter of chAndogya with a very brief intro. bringing out the context of Svetaketu’s story and its relationship (sambandha) to the rest of the Upanishad. He says that the 6th chapter explains two important points, which are:

    “How this whole universe proceeds from, subsists in and becomes absorbed (or merged) into brahman because the seeker has been previously ASKED TO MEDITATE, free from all love and hate and being self-controlled, upon that universal brahman to be the source, sustainer and dissolver at 3.14.1 of the Upanishad”; and,

    “How when the Knower of the Truth has eaten, the whole universe becomes satiated.”

    As you can see, it doesn’t impinge on what our discussion is here on. So we may treat that topic as “closed.”

    Coming to the actual difference between our viewpoints:

    I have absolutely NO DISAGREEMENT AT ALL with what you say in your comment above.

    I did bring to your kind notice earlier too an important point that you still give us the impression that you seem to ignore and not acknowledge it. And the Point is:

    When it is said that, “whatever is manifested, namely this universe, is the Supreme Brahman Itself…,” what does the word “universe” stand for?

    I pointed out that one has to take it metaphorically and it stands for the ” satta sAmAnya” (the Universal characteristic of the Beingness-Knowingness Combo) which is the invisible substratum and not “the particular perceptual form” that is available to the 5 senses + mind.

    But you give the impression in your subsequent writings and inferences that you draw that the universe in that sentence means the touchy-feely objective percept that is sensed external to a ‘me’ through the 5 senses and mind.

    The Universal Existence-Consciousness cannot be perceived at all by the senses and mind – whether one has an understanding of the Advaita teaching or not.

    Will you agree on the above point?

    Regarding the other point of jnAni’s mind – post Self-realization:
    Certainly it is more messy a topic. I suggest we better deal with it separately. Just to let you know, various opinions of the stalwart Sages are quoted in the pAda 4 of the 4th chapter of BSB and Shankara says there that even mind and other organs too can be possessed by a jnAni – but it is all with reference to a jnAni who follows the saguNa brahman, i.e., a devotee adopting the upAsana mArga. We shall discuss it separately.

    regards,

  6. Dennis

    “Mundaka 2.2.5 doesn’t say that the world is non-existent; it says that Brahman is the substratum of the world (and the body-mind). It uses the metaphor of cloth and thread – world is the cloth woven with the thread of Brahman; i.e. Brahman is the material cause of the world and the world is mithyA (not illusory).”

    But Mundaka 2.2.5 actually reads
    “Know that Self alone that is one without a second, on which are strung heaven, the earth, and the inter-space, the mind and the vital forces together with all the other organs; and give up all other talks. This is the bridge leading to immortality.”

    There is no talk here of cloth and thread?

    Later Mundaka 2.2.11 says:
    “All this that is in front is but Brahman, the immortal. Brahman is on the right, as well as on the left; above and below, too, is extended Brahman alone. This world is nothing but Brahman, the highest.”

    This verse would seem to support your contention. But Sankara comments:
    “All ideas of non-Brahman are but ignorance like the idea of the snake superimposed on a rope. Brahman alone is the supreme truth”

    Sw Gambhirananda added a footnote here to clarify:
    “The identity of Brahman and the universe, implied by the sentence, is by way of elimination of the latter. We say, ‘‘That (supposed) ghost is but a stump”, meaning thereby that the stump alone exists, the idea of ghost being false. So when we say, “The world is but Brahman”, we mean that Brahman alone exists, and nothing else.”

    So Brahman alone exists, and the world is but a false appearance, conjured up by ignorance. The snake has never existed; it is an ignorant superimposition on the rope. In the absence of duality, what world can be spoken of, and by whom? Saying the world is Brahman is like saying the dream world is me. In a sense it is true, the dream arises in me; but it is a meaningless statement – dreams are self-evidently not the substratum that is me, just as an illusory snake is not a rope.

    Gaudapada makes this abundantly clear in MK.

  7. Ramesam,

    Of course, I agree that “Universal Existence-Consciousness” cannot be perceived AS BRAHMAN. Rather it is perceived as universe, which is name and form of Brahman.

    Venkat,

    Mundaka 2.2.5 uses the word ota, which means ‘woven’, not ‘strung’. And this refers directly to the cloth-thread metaphor. Brahman is ‘woven into the world’ as thread is woven into cloth.

    What you say still seems to be implying that you think I have been claiming that the world is real IN ITSELF. I have never done this. I have always agreed that the world is an appearance and is really Brahman. What I have denied is that this appearance disappears on enlightenment.

    Regarding your Mundaka 2.2.11 quotation, did you also read the following in Shankara’s bhAShya?:

    “(Objects burn by borrowing that capacity from fire.) Similarly, by the borrowed light of Consciousness alone this whole universe (sarvam idam jagat), like sun etc. shines (vibhAtI), and not on its own (na svataH). Thus that Brahman (tadeva brahman) shines by itself (bhAti) and also shines out throughout its product, the universe, in many different manifest forms.” And so on.

    You say that “Gaudapada makes this abundantly clear in MK.” Yes, he does. Have a look at 2.37 where he and (possibly) Shankara describe how the enlightened man should act in the world.

    I notice that neither of you have addressed my other quotations:

    But the same pronouncement is made elsewhere:
    . vivekachUDAmaNi 231: “This universe is verily Brahman…
    . vivekachUDAmaNi 237: “Hence whatever is manifested, namely this universe, is the Supreme Brahman Itself…
    . muNDaka 2.1.10: “This universe… is Brahman alone.”

    There is also Aitareya 3.1.2: All the creatures “are impelled by Consciousness; all of these have Consciousness as the giver of their reality; the universe has Consciousness as its eye, and Consciousness as its end. Consciousness is Brahman.” (Gambhirananda translation)

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  8. Dear Dennis,

    Thank you for that.

    That’s a Great progress.
    We can travel together hand in hand from now on.
    But before that, a couple of small side issues:

    You say that I did not respond to the vivekacUDAmaNi etc. quote. I did! The word “universe” as used there too refers to the sattA sAmAnya – Consciousness-Existence Combo and not to the percepts. It does not require any especial mention.

    The second point is just incidental.
    Twitter used to have many years ago a restriction of 120 or so characters per message. Prof. S. Carroll challenged people to express Quantum Physics in one Twitter message. One clever guy came up with: “See, it’s a particle; don’t see, it’s a wave.”

    I adopted it to Advaita to say:
    “See, it’s a world; don’t see, It’s brahman.”

    Now, to our discussion:

    For you to be able to see a thing, you have to be a “perceiver.” The thing seen is said to be the “perceived.” The corresponding Sanskrit words are, as you know, pramAta and prameya.

    And it goes without saying, as Advaita siddhAnta tells us, that there is a “mutual dependence” between pramAta – prameya relationship. There cannot be a pramAta when there is no prameya and vice versa.

    On Enlightenment, I know I am not a pramAta, the seer who sees a prameya which is illuminated but that “I am brahman, the very Illuminator.” [As you quoted from muNDaka.]

    It is like saying that the Sun “does not see” the objects that the sunlight falls on. Sun is the light itself. In other words, if the Sun were to speak, he does not say, “I am the Sun shining all things and I see them all in my own light.”

    I guess I do not have to labour any more and you got the rest.

    regards,

  9. Ever optimistic, Ramesam! 😉

    Firstly, you seem to imply that either I have changed my view or (and) you have convinced me of something. Neither is the case I’m afraid.

    Secondly, I do not recognize the term ‘satta sAmAnya’. As far as I am aware, it does not occur in any prasthAna traya text or any Shankara bhASya. It comes from yoga vasishTha and I definitely recall telling you that I did not accept this as an authority for traditional Advaita.

    Thirdly, whilst I accept that, on enlightenment, the now j~nAnI knows that there is no pramAta-prameya distinction, his body-mind continues to function and his organs of perception contiune to relay subject-object differentiation for his mind to process.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  10. Hi Dennis,

    Aren’t you fond of Square 1! 🙁

    My response to your points, seriatim:

    1. I will not make a claim for any credit. All the credit is only yours for any change or no change!

    2. I am not stuck with any word or person or personality. I do not mind if you like to ditch “sattAsAmAnya.” But trust you will not discard the equivalent sat-cit or Existence-Consciousness.

    3. The most important point is the third one.
    You say, “… I accept that, on enlightenment, the now j~nAnI knows that there is no pramAta-prameya distinction, …”
    Excellento! The question is:

    Where does the jnAni’s identity lie – with the body-mind OR me-mine thought (I am the seer-this is my body) OR with the imperceptible all-pervading Existence-Consciousness?

    regards,

  11. Dennis,

    Can I say, whether it is a situation of communication or thinking etc. etc., the stand you seem to express is that “I know I am brahman; and also I know I possess this body-mind entity for my use”?

    Put in other words, ‘I know I am both brahman and the individual.’

    Wouldn’t that make one a distinguished card-holding honorable Member of Asmarathya-Bodhayana-Ramanuja club?

    [BTW, trust it is not forgotten that the discussions are not about one who is studying Advaita but one who is “Self-realized.”]

    regards,

  12. Dennis

    You noted: “I have always agreed that the world is an appearance and is really Brahman. What I have denied is that this appearance disappears on enlightenment”

    So, here is the rub:

    (1) If the world and the jiva is an appearance and the ultimate truth is non duality, then why insist that the jnani’s “body-mind continues to function and his organs of perception continue to relay subject-object differentiation for his mind to process”. Why insist that the appearance of duality, continues – why not simply “don’t know”? Why should an appearance, which is realised to be false, necessarily continue?

    (2) If the appearance does continue, and a jnani has an intellectual conviction of non duality, in what way is it more than a learned conceptual structure from scriptures? All that one can say in your schema is not this, not this . . . until one is left with the (reflected) personal consciousness, which you say continues. But one has no ‘experience’ of universal consciousness, beyond the concept taught in sruti. So then enlightenment is a concept.

    Interesting discussion.

    best wishes,
    venkat

  13. Apropos this topic, I found Dennis’ earlier reply to me both unreasonable and baffling.
    ———————————————-
    Dennis on November 27, 2020 at 15:08 said:

    No, Shishya. I did NOT say that ‘I know Brahman’. I said that ‘I know that I AM Brahman’ – slight difference!
    ———————————————-
    from which I concluded that Dennis is using the word “know”, which he indicates is based in the intellect, in a way that only he knows. (!!!)

    Shishya

  14. I also found Talk 399 with Maharshi Ramana very interesting ..I have capitalized part of Radhakrishnan’s quote in that talk.
    ——————-
    Sir S. Radhakrishnan writes:
    “The general idea pervading Gaudapada’s work that bondage and
    liberation, the individual soul and the world are all unreal, makes
    a caustic critic observe that the theory which has nothing better
    to say than that an unreal soul is trying to escape from an unreal
    Supreme Good, may itself be an unreality. It is one thing to say that
    the unchangeable reality expressing itself in the changing universe
    without forfeiting its nature is a mystery, and another to dismiss
    the whole changing universe as a mere mirage. If we have to play
    the game of life we cannot do so with the conviction that the play
    is a show and all the prizes in it are mere blanks. No philosophy
    can consistently hold such a theory and be at rest with itself. THE GREATEST CONDEMNATION OF SUCH A THEORY IS THAT WE ARE OBLIGED TO OCCUPY OURSELVES WITH OBJECTS THE EXISTENCE AND VALUE OF WHICH WE ARE CONTINUALLY DENYING IN THEORY. It only shows that there is
    something else which includes and transcends the world but it does
    not imply the world is a dream.”
    ———————-

    • Not so much that he didn’t understand Mandukyakarika. He just couldn’t accept its conclusion: the utter meaninglessness of life. And the need to achieve and have goals. But most people don’t really accept this point – vide the acrobatics to disclaim sannyasa; or that it is figurative.

  15. Ramesam and Venkat,

    You both keep asking me to explain ‘my’ viewpoint as though it is wildly divergent from those expressed by scriptures and Shankara. These are not (just) ‘my’ views! I have given you some supporting quotations which you are studiously ignoring. Why not respond to those?

    Ramesam,

    My body-mind entity is just another name and form of Brahman following similar rules to the rest of the appearance. This is not vishiShTAdvaita – they believe that jIva-s and the world are real ‘parts’ of Brahman do they not. When the mind is enlightened, the form continues. The difference is that it is now known to be a form and not thought to be a separate real entity.

    Venkat,

    I asked you sometime ago to explain how you could use reason to justify your views on the matter but, as I recall, you preferred to use supporting quotations and complained that I was asking for reason when previously having insisted on quotations. Which way do you want to play this?

    (1) Reason dictates that the world appearance continue and I have given you some quotations to support that view. One obvious explanation is that the appearance is Brahman (sarvam khalvidam brahma et al). Since Brahman is eternal and changeless, how could it disappear? Also, Shankara points out in BSB 2.2.28 that external objects cannot be non-existent because they are perceived. And Shankara was a pretty enlightened guy!

    (2) You are partly asking what the difference is between belief and knowledge. This is not the subject of this discussion and I deal with this topic elsewhere. The other part of your question relates to the meaning of enlightenment. Again, this is not part of this discussion and I have dealt with it extensively in ‘Enlightenment: the Path through the Jungle’. But here is a quote from Shankara that was not in that book (bhAShya on the Mundaka Upanishad, 3.2.3):

    “For that wise man who chooses to attain AtmA, AtmA reveals its own superior real nature which is covered by ignorance. Just as objects like pot etc. reveal themselves when light falls on them, so also in the presence of AtmA j~nAnam [knowledge of Atman (Brahman)], born from shAstra pramANa [scriptures as the source of that knowledge], the ignorance cover having been removed from it, the AtmA becomes evident, as though it is revealing itself.” (Ref. 10)

    This also responds to Shishya’s sarcastic comment! I’m afraid that Radhakrishnan is not someone whose writings one can pay too much attention to. He may have had a brilliant intellect but he did not fully understand Advaita!

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  16. Hi Dennis

    In response to your question:

    We (body-mind-‘I’-thought) are part of the appearance (non-atman) on Brahman / Atman. The appearance has arisen as a result of mistaken mutual superimposition of atman and non-atman. This incorrect mutual superimposition is the cause of the ‘I’-thought.

    Knowledge eradicates this avidya, this mutual superimposition, this ‘I’-thought. Thus the proliferation of thoughts of me and mine ceases. No-mind.

    If you ask, how does a body-mind function without a mind – simple – it is always an appearance. The question pre-supposes that a mind is directing a body, and is therefore a doer-enjoyer. But the mind and everything else is an appearance. So logically speaking it is not possible to challenge this with ‘how can one function without a mind?’ It is just an appearance, which is not you!

    Best wishes
    venkat

  17. Eliot Deutsch wrote this nearly 50 years ago and, IMHO it is truer now than when he wrote it, IMHO. I have just substituted (21st century) for (Western).

    Advaita Vedanta: A Philosophical Reconstruction (Honolulu, 1969)
    ——————————————
    One of the major difficulties that we (in the West) in the 21st century have with Indian thought in general, and with Vedanta in particular, nevertheless, is to be found in what may be called its “traditional grounding.” A Vedantic system bases itself upon ancient texts, and one of its primary tasks is to show that these texts represent a consistent (and singular) viewpoint. Systematic Vedanta was thus formulated in terms of scriptural exegesis as much as it was formulated in terms of philosophical analysis. The exegetical dimension of Vedanta is of great interest to students of linguistics and Indian cultural history (and naturally to Indian scholars themselves), but it is of very little interest to 21st century (Western) students of philosophy. We do not accept the authority of the Veda (or, for the most part, the authority of any other scripture); consequently, we are not concerned whether one system or another best interprets certain obscure passages in it.Our criterion of philosophical truth or significance is not whether a particular system of thought is consistent with some other body of work; rather, it is whether that system of thought is “consistent”with human experience. Philosophically, we judge a system of thought in terms of its adequacy in organizing the various dimensions of our experience; in terms of its providing us with new ways of looking at, of gaining insight into, the nature of the world and of our life in it; and in terms of the kinds of arguments used to sustain these insights. Further, most of us who are acquainted with the ancient Indian religious-philosophical texts are quite convinced that they do not express a single, consistent viewpoint, but that they express a very rich diversity of experience and reflection upon it.
    ————————————–

  18. Shishya,

    The Deutsch book is very good BUT that does not mean that everything he says is valid. It is fundamental to Advaita and Shankara that the Vedas are the ONLY source of the basic truths. You cannot reason your way to these. The thrust of the teaching is that you initially accept them on faith and then use the other pramANa-s to demonstrate to yourself that what they say is not contrary to reason or experience. And of course you repeat shravana and manana until you fully realize their truth.

    The Deutsch view is certainly representative of Western interpretation but it is not traditional Advaita. It is, in fact, explicitly nAstika, since he says ‘we do not accept the authority if the Vedas’. This also means that it is, by his own confession, NOT Advaita!

  19. Hi Venkat,

    You seem to have several ‘chicken and egg’ situations in your analysis.

    If it is mutual superimposition that gives rise to the ‘I thought’, who is it who makes this superimpostion?

    And if the appearance of body-mind is also brought about by this superimposition, where was the body-mind before it made the superimpostion?

    If knowledge eradicates this mind and I-thought (which are only an appearance), where does the knowledge take place?

    And what exactly happens after it has taken place? If the body-mind (and everything else) was an appearance that has now been eradicated, why would it still appear, and to whom would it appear?

    I am having great difficulty trying to reconcile your understanding with the quotations from Shankara regarding the world-appearance.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  20. Hi Dennis,

    (1) I’d refer you to my post entitled, which addresses your chicken and egg:

    https://www.advaita-vision.org/ignorance-the-cause-of-the-world/

    Reiterating an SSSS quote there:

    “ ‘First they imagine, conceive’ does not mean first temporally. For a universe comprising the whole gamut of distinctions – like time, space, causation, action, means of action, fruit – is appearing co-evally, co-existentially with the waking state. Therefore the expression here – ‘They first of all conceive of Jivatwa’ – means that by forging ahead with the concept of Jivatwa, then on the strength, basis of that rudimentary concept (called ‘I’ concept), all other concepts are entertained.
    Thus beginning with the jiva-concept at the root of all other thoughts, and on the strength of that fundamental ‘I’ concept the other concepts are entertained – in fact for conceiving internal concepts and external percepts this basic ‘I’ concept is alone the support”

    (2) D: Where does knowledge take place?
    It doesn’t. It is neti, neti – the negation of ignorance, not a positive knowledge. Hence the dissolution of particular consciousness, of the ‘I’-thought, or disembodiedness.

    (3) D: If the body-mind (and everything else) was an appearance that has now been eradicated, why would it still appear, and to whom would it appear?
    That I think is what Ramesam and I have been challenging!!!

    Again drawing from that linked article above, from Sankara’s intro to BSB:

    “Since a man without self-identification with the body, mind, senses, etc., cannot become a cognizer, and as such, the means of knowledge cannot function for him; since perception and other activities (of a man) are not possible without accepting the senses etc. (as his own); since the senses cannot function without (the body as) a basis; since nobody engages in any activity with a body that has not the idea of the Self superimposed on it; since the unrelated Self cannot become a cognizer unless there are all these (mutual superimposition of the Self and the body and their attributes on each other); and since the means of knowledge cannot function unless there is a cognizership; therefore it follows that the means of knowledge, such as direct perception as well as the scriptures, must have a man as their locus who is subject to nescience.”

    (4) Sankara’s discussion about the world appearance, is part of a teaching process.

    As Brhad Up 2.4.14 says, in congruence with the BSB quote above:
    “Because when there is duality as it were, then . . . one knows something. But when to the knower of Brahman, everything has become the Self . . . then what should one know and through what?”

    Best wishes,

    venkat

  21. Hi Venkat,

    I think we are going round in circles.

    1) I didn’t understand that SSSS quote the first time I read it (or the 2nd, or 3rd…).

    2) I thought it was the ‘positive existence’ of ignorance that was questioned, not that of knowledge! (But ignorance is another huge topic for the 2nd volume of ‘Confusions’ and I am not even looking at it yet.)

    3) Can’t see what point you are making here.

    4) Yes? I think I made this point quite some time ago.

    I am continuing to write the section on creation for Volume 2 (Up to about 20,000 words so far!) and will respond to Ramesam’s 9 questions when I have finished. Meanwhile, I suggest we all stop re-posting the same arguments. No-one seems to be persuading anyone else from their existing viewpoints. And our readership must be pretty bored by now!

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.