70. Lot has been said so far; false allegations and baseless surmises were brought to light; statements factually incorrect were exposed; citations substantiating certain statements were shown to be out of context and in some cases self-defeating; statements attributed to Swamiji, but not found in the originals were discovered; incomplete and incorrect understanding of not only Śan@kara and Swamiji but also the views of traditionalists were enumerated; quotations made partially and out context were pointed out; issues raised, even though extraneous to the admitted scope were reviewed; withholding of complete facts and resort to partial reporting were singled out; how finding fault in Swamiji amounts to finding fault in Śan@kara was shown; translations not faithful to the original were pointed out; self-contradictory statements were laid bare; most important of all, how not a single ground of Swamiji against the tenability of Mūlāvidyā is controverted, was shown; however, what is yet to be shown is the final outcome of the question – fidelity to Śan@kara, admitted to be the main focus of M’s paper. In this regard attention of readers is drawn to the following statements of M.
(a) He (Swamiji) bases this (avidyā means mutual adhyāsa of the self and the not-self) on a definition of avidyā given by Śan@kara in his introduction to BSBh. (Page 215)
(b) It (Swamiji’s understanding of mithyā) is based on satya and anr.ta in the Taittirīyopanis_ad Bhās_ya (2.1) BSBh (2.1.11), Kāt_hakopanis_ad Bhās_ya(1.2.14) and Upadeśasahasrī – prose (2.81) (page 224)
(c) For Satchidanandendra, on the other hand the focus is entirely on Śan@kara.
(d) The question that informed his entire life’s work can be formulated as “What did Śan@kara say?” (Page 236).
(e) He deals with possible points of contentions in the wake of other commentaries by measuring them against Śan@kara. (Page 236)
(f) The difference between Satchidanandendra and the tradition on this point (measurement with reference to Śan@kara) is a radical one. (Page 236)
(g) Satchidanandendra effectively places Śan@kara above the tradition and is willing to separate Śan@kara from tradition on a point of conflict. (Page 236)
The verdict is clear. M has vindicated Swamiji, though inadvertently, by stating that Swamiji follows Śan@kara out and out. No qualms on account of Swamiji being treated as an outcast from the ‘Advatic tradition’ so long as he is admitted to follow Śan@kara. What more can the earnest seekers want, than the confirmation of unflinching loyalty of Swamiji to Śan@kara and Śan@kara alone?
- From ‘Vedantins Meet’, by SSSS
‘Adhyasa is mistaking one thing for another, and avidya is the mutual superimposition of the Self and the not-self… there is no other Ignorance worth the name… since no human thought process is possible without the presupposition of adhyasa, this latter is pre-eminently entitled to be called avidya… thinkers who assert that the source of all ills spoken of by Shankara is the Mullavidya alone [the traditionalists], have to maintain their position only by going against the express statement of Shankara, and shrutis, and quietly ignoring the essential nature of knowledge which can never destroy exisiting things… All human proceeding, whether secular or sacred, is prompted by, and is wholly within, the sphere of this avidya… . Enlightenment… is also within the purview of this avidya… All this distinction of vidya and avidya, avidya and maya, is only a concession to the empirical view, and only a device adopted for the purpose of teaching the truth… [they] never existed… nor is there any need for vidya to destroy either of the two… [then quotes Gaudapada: “There is neither dissolution…”]
(from a different source & Dennis W.) ‘P.S. SSS did write a much shorter, earlier version of his ‘Method’ and A. J. Alston has also translated this under the title ”The Heart of Sri Shankara’. It is, relatively speaking, much more readable! Here is a quote:
- ‘The existence ot Ignorance is itself imagined.
Perhaps you will suggest that Ignorance can have a positive and existent object and locus. These, you may say, do not come to an end when Ignorance does.
Well, that might have been possible if Ignorance was a reality which actually came to an end. But the reality of Ignorance itself is something that is merely imagined. How could one speak of it (properly) as coming to an end? Not only is Ignorance not found in dreamless sleep and similar states – but even in waking and dream, when there is belief in its existence, adequate reflection shows that in reality there is no ‘Ignorance’ over and above different forms of (wrong) knowledge.’ Dennis (To be continued)