pratibandha-s – part 10 of 10

Read Part 9

Other Related Teachers

bhAskara was mentioned briefly earlier in respect of the related philosophy of bhedAbheda vAda. He was probably approximately contemporaneous with Shankara and addressed similar issues. Regarding the continuation of ‘obstacles’ post-enlightenment, he had this to say (in his commentary on the Brahmasutras 1.3.20):

“There is no escape from experiencing the whole of the portion of merit and demerit which initiated the body through which liberation is attained. And one who supports a body inevitably undergoes pleasure and pain. Therefore those who say that there can be no liberation for one who is yet alive go beyond the teaching of the Veda. They also contradict perceived experience.” (Quoted in Ref. 100)


Swami Dayananda’s influence today is considerable, so it seems perfectly admissible to include his views on the subject here. After Self-knowledge has been gained from shravaNa and any doubts have been removed by manana, it is necessary to eliminate any habitual modes of behavior that prevent enjoyment of the fruit of that knowledge (j~nAna phalam). Swami Paramarthananda, one of his direct disciples, says:

“And then comes fifth and final stage of sAdhana called nididhyAsana, which is meant to remove my habitual reaction; the removal of vAsanA, because of my regular unhealthy responses in life, I have developed a habit. And habit is developed in-time and habit can go only in-time. This deliberate invocation of the Vedanta, so that I can get rid of un-Vedantic reactions in life. Every disturbing reaction is un-Vedantic reaction. So anxiety, frustration, self-pity, sense of insecurity, fear, attachment; all of them are unhealthy vAsanA-s. This vAsanA nivRRitti or viparIta bhavana nivRRitti is the fifth and final stage called nididhyAsana.” (Ref. 208) [The first 4 stages are karma yoga, upAsanA, shravaNa and manana.]


T. M. P. Mahadevan summarizes the position expressed in this topic very well when he says:

“Knowledge is not the destroyer of prArabdha, since it does not bring about the resolution of the world. It reveals only the illusory nature of the universe, and by that the latter is not resolved… The obstinacy of prArabdha is in compelling the jIva to enjoy pleasures and suffer pain, and not in postulating the reality of the objects of enjoyment.” (Ref. 198)

The ‘enjoyment of pleasures and suffering of pain’ are the consequences of what is called ‘pratibandha-s’ in this topic; the ‘obstacles’ to the experience of the total freedom that comes from jIvanmukta or videha mukta.

dharmarAja adhvarIndra in his vedAnta paribhAShA says that: “One who has realized the unconditioned Brahman… experiencing pleasure and pain till his fructifying work is exhausted, he is afterwards liberated.” (Ref. 202)

As a final ‘proof’ of the validity of the concept of pratibandha-s, consider this: embodiment is caused by ignorance – identification with the body.  Ignorance is the nature of the causal body of the jIva. Therefore, it is entirely logical to conclude that, while a jIva remains (as if) embodied, there is some degree of ignorance remaining. This would explain why Shankara did not differentiate between a j~nAnI and a jIvanmukti. Both still have prArabdha by definition, since they still have bodies. When we say that either or both are ‘unembodied’, what is meant is that there is now mental detachment rather than ahaMkAra identification. The extent to which the still-present mind may present pratibandha-s (obstacles) may well vary from significant to virtually non-existent, but these must still be there. Only when the body drops is there ‘final’ liberation (as Shankara said in Chandogya bhAShya 6.14.2).

It is unfortunate that the word pratibandha translates as ‘obstacle’ because of course there are no obstacles to liberation for the j~nAnI. By definition, the j~nAnI now knows that he/she was always free and never embodied. pratibandha-s only affect the behavior of the j~nAnI in what is now known to be a mithyA world. They may prompt or hinder actions and trigger fleeting emotions in the mind, but the identification or attachment is attenuated. For the j~nAnI, any elation or distress will be minimal; for the jIvanmukta, they will be virtually non-existent. But they must still be there because the body is still there.

Topic concluded

30 thoughts on “pratibandha-s – part 10 of 10

  1. Dennis says:
    T. M. P. Mahadevan summarizes the position expressed in this topic very well when he says:

    “Knowledge is not the destroyer of prArabdha, since it does not bring about the resolution of the world. It reveals only the illusory nature of the universe, and by that the latter is not resolved… The obstinacy of prArabdha is in compelling the jIva to enjoy pleasures and suffer pain, and not in postulating the reality of the objects of enjoyment.” (Ref. 198)
    Wonderfully apt, indeed, and to think that he never asked a SINGLE question ! ….in link.

  2. “For the j~nAnI, any elation or distress will be minimal; for the jIvanmukta, they will be virtually non-existent. But they must still be there because the body is still there.”


    This whole philosophy of pratibhandas is really both untrue and unhelpful to the seeker… it promotes a kind of subtle or shadow belief in the reality of karma. Karma is unreal. Totally unreal. Not “unreal but, but, but….”

    There is full liberation immediately and at all times. That is what the seeker ought to seek, realize, and focus on… and not believe that ‘things go on and on until physical death.’

    As Ramana Maharshi says in Guru Vachaka Kovai, ““Though their doership has been destroyed, is it proper to call those who are wearing a body, who are eating [making a living] by other activities and who are doing actions [karma-bandha] ‘a liberated one’? We also see that, being victims to the allotted karma [i.e. to their prarabdha karma], even those Great Ones suffer, [so how can it be said that they are free from the experience of pleasure and pain, which are the results of action?]” If it be asked thus, [the reply is that] their sufferings are merely according to the outlook [drishti] of the onlookers [the ajnanis]; tell me, do they [the Jivan-muktas] say that they are suffering?”

    • You are still failing to differentiate ‘levels’ of reality. As has been said many times, from the standpoint of absolute reality, you can say nothing. It is non-dual – no birth, no karma, no death, no world.

      From the standpoint of empircal reality, people are born and die. Some of them are (apparently) enlightened and become teachers. And so on.

      Traditional Advaita addresses both aspects. Some modern teachers attempt to bypass the empirical. And it does not work!

  3. Shishya – thanks for the link.


    I tend to agree with Akilesh. You seem to be confusing prarabdha – the circumstances in which the body finds itself in (whether a battlefield or the luxury of a palace) – with how that jiva vs jnani responds to those circumstances. This is the reason why Sankara does not differentiate between a jnani and a jivanmukta; no further action is necessary for moksha after jnananishta is what the sruti says.

    I think Ken Wilber dreamt up a 2×2 consultants matrix for his spiral dynamics; you too have come up with a 2×2 with knowledge on one axes and sadhana on the other. But Sankara / Suresvara say that the sadhana is required beforehand to purify / attenuate the ego-mind, so that it can appreciate the knowledge when it is communicated, and live on the strength of that knowledge. Brhad Up Bhasya 3.5.1 makes that clear.

    In any event we can disagree about the interpretation of this.

    Honest feedback though, is that this whole series has been somewhat confused. You seem to be trying to prove your concept of jnani – pratibandha – jivamukta, both through sources you believe, and through sources you don’t believe (like Vivekananda, yoga Advaita and Ramanamaharishi); and in the same breath try to show that these latter are ‘non-credible’ sources or teachers. And, in my view, you have misunderstood / mis-stated Vivekananda’s and Ramanamaharishi’s position on jnani – pratibandha – jivamukta (as I pointed out).

    For the purposes of your book, you might be better of separating out your two streams of arguments – it would have certainly made for a tighter, more logical argument to discuss?

    best wishes,

  4. Hi Venkat,

    I agree that there seems to be a lacuna as the series is presented. That is because this topic is only one aspect of the book as a whole. I have already shown at length the problem with Vivekananda for example. And there is an entire topic earlier on the subject of jIvanmukti. But I’m afraid I do not intend to post the entire book (volume 1 of which is currently over 100,000 words)!

    I also added the material on Post-Shankara authors for completeness only. Whether or not they support the notion of ‘obstacles’ is not relevant, since I have already shown that their treatment of Advaita is not reliable.

    Best wishes,

    • Dennis,

      Which book of yours you are referring to here and when it will be available?
      By the way I got your Answers book which is very well written.


      • Hi Umesh,

        The book will be called ‘Confusions: for the seeker in Advaita Vedanta’ and, because it will be rather long, it will be in two volumes: ‘Vol. 1 – Knowledge, Experience and Enlightenment’ and ‘Vol. 2 – The World of Ignorance’. I hope to complete Vol. 1 in the next 2 – 3 months so the book should hopefully be available before the end of next year. Vol. 2 would be at least a year later, probably more, as I have a lot of research to do on the topic of ‘ignorance’.

        Glad you enjoyed ‘Answers’. A review on Amazon would be much appreciated if you felt able to do that! 😉

        Best wishes,

        • Thanks Dennis. Yes I have reviewed the book Answers on Amazon.

  5. Dennis

    The whole concept of empirical reality, somehow continuing in parallel to absolute reality, is confused. This is a bit like the idea of some abstract consciousness watching the activities of the body-mind in the world, and a jnani somehow identifying with the former, and watching the latter continue.

    There is no duality is what Advaita says. There is just non-duality. That is the logic of why Sankara said a jnani is most likely to be a wandering monk – because he no longer is taken in by your empirical reality.

    I think Sadhu Om got it spot on when he wrote:

    “since after Self-realisation nothing (neither body or world) can exist as other than the single, unbroken Self-consciousness, even the limited knowledge ‘the body is not I’, which existed during the period of sadhana will be removed, and the unlimited knowledge, ‘the body is also I’ will be attained”.

    • Venkat,

      It can be confusing, I agree. In fact, it is the souce of considerable confusion on a number of issues. Unfortunately, it also cannot be denied. Ideas such as the person and the world disappearing when someone is enlightened are self-evidently ridiculous.

      The reality is one thing; the appearance is another. It is one of the supreme achievements of traditional Advaita that it is able to speak of both these things and reconcile them. It is necessary to speak of both if the seeker is to be brought to a realization of the truth. Why would you want to deny it?

      Indeed, you cannot deny it. Your ‘wandering monk’ is wandering where? From A to B. Dressed (or undressed) in what? Eating? Drinking? Speaking? (To whom?) Is this non-duality??

    Talk 286, 18th November 1936

    D.: Why can we not remain in sushupti as long as we like and be also
    voluntarily in it just as we are in the waking state?
    M.: Sushupti continues in this state also. We are ever in sushupti. That
    should be consciously gone into and realised in this very state.
    There is no real going into or coming from it. Becoming aware of
    that is samadhi. An ignorant man cannot remain long in sushupti
    because he is forced by nature to emerge from it. His ego is not
    dead and it will rise up again. But the wise man attempts to crush
    it in its source. It rises up again and again for him too impelled by
    nature, i.e., prarabdha. That is, both in Jnani and ajnani, ego is
    sprouting forth, but with this difference, namely the ajnani’s ego
    when it rises up is quite ignorant of its source, or he is not aware of
    his sushupti in the dream and jagrat states; whereas a Jnani when
    his ego rises up enjoys his transcendental experience with this ego
    keeping his lakshya (aim) always on its source. This ego is not
    dangerous: it is like the skeleton of a burnt rope: in this form it is
    ineffective. By constantly keeping our aim on our source, our ego
    is dissolved in its source. like a doll of salt in the ocean.

    D.: Sri Ramakrishna says that nirvikalpa samadhi cannot last longer
    than twenty-one days. If persisted in, the person dies. Is it so?
    M.: When the prarabdha is exhausted the ego is completely dissolved
    without leaving any trace behind. This is final liberation. Unless
    prarabdha is completely exhausted the ego will be rising up in
    its pure form even in jivanmuktas. I still doubt the statement of
    the maximum duration of twenty-one days. It is said that people
    cannot live if they fast thirty or forty days. But there are those who
    have fasted longer, say a hundred days. It means that there is still
    prarabdha for them.

    D.: How is realisation made possible?
    M.: There is the absolute Self from which a spark proceeds as from
    fire. The spark is called the ego. In the case of an ignorant man
    it identifies itself with an object simultaneously with its rise. It
    cannot remain independent of such association with objects.
    This association is ajnana or ignorance, whose destruction is
    the objective of our efforts. If its objectifying tendency is killed,
    it remains pure, and also merges into the source. The wrong
    identification with the body is dehatmabuddhi (‘I-am-the-body’
    idea). This must go before good results follow.

    D.: How to eradicate it?
    M.: We exist in sushupti without being associated with the body and
    mind. But in the other two states we are associated with them. If
    one with the body, how can we exist without the body in sushupti?
    We can separate ourselves from that which is external to us and not
    from that which is one with us. Hence the ego is not one with the
    body. This must be realised in the waking state. Avasthatraya (the
    three states of waking, dream and deep sleep) should be studied
    only for gaining this outlook.
    The ego in its purity is experienced in intervals between two states
    or two thoughts. Ego is like that caterpillar which leaves its hold
    only after catching another. Its true nature can be found when it is
    out of contact with objects or thoughts. Realise this interval with
    the conviction gained by the study of avasthatraya (the three states
    of consciousness).

    D.: How do we go to sleep and how do we wake up?
    M.: Just at nightfall the hen clucks and the chicks go and hide
    themselves under her wings. The hen then goes to roost in the nest
    with the chicks in her protection. At dawn the chicks come out and
    so does the hen. The mother-hen stands for the ego which collects
    all the thoughts and goes to sleep. At sunrise the rays emerge forth
    and are collected again at sunset. Similarly, when the ego displays
    itself, it does so with all its paraphernalia. When it sinks, everything
    disappears with it.

    D.: What does sushupti look like?
    M.: In a cloudy dark night no individual identification of objects
    is possible and there is only dense darkness, although the seer
    has his eyes wide open; similarly in sushupti the seer is aware of
    simple nescience.
    Sri Bhagavan is said to have remarked to an inquisitive person: “What
    is the meaning of this talk of truth and falsehood in the world which
    is itself false?”

  7. Could I please make a request to everyone that they state what point they are making BEFORE incorporating lots of quotations (from any source). This then means that the reader can decide whether or not they want to read corroborating material. In the exmple above, one has to read all the material in order to try to work out what point is being made!

    The material I am presenting endeavors to go back to Shankara for the traditional stance on all these topics. Ramana was addressed in Part 9 and I have shown elsewhere that we cannot rely what he wrote for the traditional viewpoint. Even less can we rely upon what others report and translate what he said.

  8. Hi Dennis

    Just to remind you that Swami Paramarthananda has stated (and I have pointed out the source in the past) that Ramana was a traditional acharya. And the quotes provided by Shishya are all in keeping with Sankara.

    With respect to the points that you made to me (which I think Shishya was addressing through his quotes) is the proposition that non-duality means that the world disappears on enlightenment. I did not assert this – though if one subscribes to eka jiva vada, that is the natural conclusion. However, let’s not get into that debate.

    I think you would agree with the proposition that self-realisation is the understanding that the world as made of separate, independent things is false, but rather that the world is non-different from Brahman; and that ‘I’ am That, and not a separate, independent body-mind.

    That realisation implies a revolution in how one sees, is involved in, and responds to the world, hence:
    – Krishna talks in BG about considering others as one considers oneself;
    – Sankara talks about a jnani being either a wandering monk or working for the welfare of others;
    – Sadhu Om wrote, ” the unlimited knowledge, ‘the body is ALSO I’ will be attained”
    – as Shishya’s quote points out, Ramana saying ‘the ego is like a burnt rope’

    So empirical reality for Sankara’s jnani is totally transformed, with respect to how he RESPONDS to it.

    You were originally critiquing Akilesh’s comment on no karma, as confusing levels of reality. But Karma is just a story that is provided to people to help them cope with the world and explain their situation in it; and why they need to ‘improve’ their behaviour. I don’t think it is even correct to say that it is an empirical reality; it is just a teaching concept, that is subsequently sublated.

    Best wishes,

  9. Hi Venkat,

    On enlightenment, the world is realized to be not real IN ITSELF. It is still real, but its reality derives from its ‘substrate’ – Brahman. Concepts such as karma explain the behavior of this empirical reality. Of course, Brahman is totally unaffected by any of this. But we need these ‘explanations’ to enable us to make sense of the world, which continues to appear irrespective of our knowledge or ignorance. Just like the mirage continues to appear even though you know that there is no water there.

    Best wishes,

  10. There must be a middle position between those of Dennis and Venkat [Beyond being + being and only Beyond being respectively]. Or duality within non-duality and only non-duality. There was a philosopher in the last Century whose name may have been Davidson (I am not sure, but that name seems to ring a bell) whose philosophy or method he called, ‘The philosophy of As If’ (he must have used more than three or four pages to expound on it, for sure). Namely, it is as if (Eva?) there is a multiplicity of humans and beings. It is as if these individuals have freewill being able to take decisions, etc. It is as if there is a world, etc, etc. In retrospect, I like that philosophy and the enunciation thereof.

    Also, I have a book titled ‘Praises to a formless God’, whose followers were called ‘nirguni’ and flourished in Northern India in the middle ages, many of them being poets (Kabir and Gugu Nanak among them). IOW, they were devotees of nirguna Brahman. Another intermediate position? Neither theological nor empirical. But fideistic nevertheless!!

  11. Sounds interesting, Martin. A quick ‘Google’ gives the following:

    “Philosophy of as if, the system espoused by Hans Vaihinger in his major philosophical work Die Philosophie des Als Ob (1911; The Philosophy of “As If”), which proposed that man willingly accept falsehoods or fictions in order to live peacefully in an irrational world.”

    Is that it? I will continue looking.

  12. Interesting to note that Martin, who is an ardent student of SSSS, now seems to favor “fideism” and philosophies that are of ‘middle way’ — “being + only Beyond being.”

    The bheda + abheda schools of Bhaskara, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, ISKCON and the approach of Ramanuja’s Qualified Non-dualism do reflect those shades of having both the world and the beyond. Don’t they?
    Are those views not a sort of dilution, or a compromise, on the ajAti vAda of Advaita?

  13. Dennis, No, I think that what I had in mind can be found under George Kelly, but it could be Vaihinger. I’m still reading on it. Also by Google. (see below)*

    Ramesam, No, I am not a fideist, rather a Bhagya-ist (I have faith in Fate). Or necessity, ananké in ancient Greek (what is ordained by the gods, as it were (eva). Anyway, there must always be a middle term (or position) between to extremes (in Spanish it is said ‘no hay dos sin tres’ – not two without a third. You know, the triads, the Trinity, etc.). Two signals imbalance, three, back to unity, based on the symbolism of numbers.

    * Kelly, himself, credited Vaihinger with influencing his theory, especially the idea that our constructions are better viewed as useful hypotheses rather than representations of objective reality. His own words encapsulate the influence Vaihinger’s ‘as if’ philosophy had in the development of personal construct psychology.

  14. Ramesam, is there a difference between bhedabheda and tadatmya? I take the last as meaning discontinuous continuity (rather than ‘union-in-diversity’ or integral unity) – e.g. saguna Brahman is nirguna Brahman, but not vice versa. ‘All beings are in Me, but I am not in them’ (BG, 9, 4-5). The ‘mystery’ or metaphysical doctrine of transcendence-immanence.

  15. Martin,

    You leave me more confused with the two subsequent comments! ): (:

    You say that you are “a Bhagya-ist (I have faith in Fate).”
    You explain adding, “what is ordained by the gods, as it were (eva).”

    As BG tells us at 5.14:
    “Neither agency nor objects does the Lord create for the world, nor union with the fruits of actions.”
    Further at 5: 15, he says: “The Lord takes neither the evil nor the good deed of any.”
    So, the Vedic Gods (don’t know about Greek ones – never met them LOL!) do not bestow any destiny.

    Moreover, Sage Vasishta very emphatically says that destiny is just another name for action. In sarga 2, Chapter 2, Yogavasishta, he says, “Laziness and sloth are the enemies for human beings not only in spiritual matters but also in the worldly affairs.”

    Later in sarga 7, he observes:
    “Let me repeat what I have already said. Whatever people in the world may call as ‘destiny,’ it is nothing but the effect of what they did in the past. We have no objection if the word is used in that sense. We then would neither blame such usage nor speak against it. I find fault with the way ‘destiny’ is understood by ordinary people. They have harmed themselves by trusting a non-existent ‘destiny.’ I pity them.”

    There is an extensive discussion on “Destiny” in Ch 2 of Yogavasishta. I request you to please take a look at the Sections 28 to 34 at p: 38/111 to 48/111 at this link:

    Next you referred to the triads – “Anyway, there must always be a middle term (or position) between to extremes (in Spanish it is said ‘no hay dos sin tres’ – not two without a third. You know, the triads, the Trinity, etc.). ”

    You are well aware that we don’t go by the reality of any “triads” in Advaita – either the jIva-jagat-Ishwara or the observer-observed-observing. The question of a middle will arise only when there is a beginning and an end – based on time and space. But Advaita is prior to space-time. Hence, we cannot go with an idea of a middle path!


    Regarding bhedAbheda and tadAtmya:

    bheda is difference; abheda is non-difference; tAdAtmya is identity, absolute congruence.

    If there is a break, even for a short time, it cannot be continuity.
    brahman is avicchinna, akhandita (undivided and unbroken).
    The “saguNa” is only a superimposition. IMHO, the rising of a manifestation will not produce a ‘break’ (discontinuity) in the nirguNa aspect. Much like “turIya” continues in all the three stages of awake, dream and deep sleep. “turIya” is never not there.

    You referred to BG 9.4-5.
    The very first line of 9.4 says: “By Me all this world is pervaded, My
    form unmanifested.” And again in BG 13.2, “Know me as the Knower in all the kShetras (fields). Effectively, there is nothing where the Self is not.

    With regard to bheda abheda school, the main difference with respect to Advaita is that they believe that the individual, the world and brahman are real. As you are aware, Advaita takes the position that only brahman is real.

    “In Brahma Sūtra 2.3.43, The individual self is referred to as a “part” (aṁśa), and Bhedābhedavādins cite this passage whenever they require a textual support for their views. However, Advaitins take this description of the relation as a figurative, and not literal description of the status of the individual self. Otherwise, this passage will conflict with Brahma Sūtra 2.1.26, which says that Brahman is “partless” (niravayava). For Advaita, the world appears as if to be made of parts. But when it is understood correctly, all of the many entities in the world are seen to be false, and only one entity, a single, partless Brahman remains. Bhedābhedavādins, in their assertion of the world’s phenomenal reality, insist that multiplicity is real. Brahman is simultaneously one and many.”

  16. Ramesam, yesterday I was invaded by an impish, care-free type of humor part of which was an attitude or feeling of ‘I don’t (necessarily) have to believe in everything I say’. That may explain something of what I wrote.

    Anyway, here are a few powerful triads which are at least heuristic (you objected to triads – ‘we don’t go by the reality of any “triads” in Advaita’):

    Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva (Creator-Sustainer-Destroyer)



    Vaisvanara-Taijasa-Prajna (wakefulness-dream-deep sleep)


    Tamas-rajas-satva (Gunas)

    Gross-subtle- causal (bodies)

    Triputi – three elements resolving in unity


    Time past- future- in between (none of them real)

    And specially

    Related to

    Paramartha-Vyavahara-pratibhasa (ontological viewpoints)

    Everything is relative, sublatable, except direct intuition or anubhava, which is unsublatable.

    (there is no space here to write something about theistic elements and sort of determinism in the Upanishads – ‘man is but a puppet in the hands of God’ – Kaushitaki Up.)

  17. Dennis wrote:
    “Concepts such as karma explain the behavior of this empirical reality . . . But we need these ‘explanations’ to enable us to make sense of the world, which continues to appear irrespective of our knowledge or ignorance”

    Martin wrote (tongue-in-cheek):
    “There must be a middle position between those of Dennis and Venkat [Beyond being + being and only Beyond being respectively]. Or duality within non-duality and only non-duality”

    Surevara wrote (Naiskamya siddhi):
    4.54: Because this knowledge conforms to its object, the real, it is non-different from its object. It does not even recognise the existence of action or renunciation.
    4.56: THROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF REALITY, HE BRINGS EMPIRICAL BEING TO AN END. Right knowledge destroys the path of renunciation as surely as it destroys the path of action.
    4.61: Just as a tree has lost its roots withers away, so does the body of the one who has become awake to the real nature of the Self wither away through the cessation of ignorance.
    4.65: No one engages in activity in matters towards which he is indifferent. For what should the one desirous of liberation strive, seeing that he is indifferent to everything in the three worlds?

    best wishes,

  18. “HE BRINGS EMPIRICAL BEING TO AN END”. This just means that Self-knowledge brings an end to saMsAra, not that empirical reality ceases to exist.

    S. S. Raghavachar has a less misleading translation: “As perfect enlightenment destroys in reality the life of transmigratory existence, it eliminates prohibitions even as it does injunctions to action.”

  19. MK3.32 is one of the key verses here to understanding what Suresvara wrote. SSSS I think explicates this rather well:

    “One who discerns truth culminating in his anubhava, the truth that ‘the world in its entirety is Atman’ will spontaneously flash to the mind. Then as the jnana of the type ‘the phenomenon of the mid too is verily a distortion, a misconceived appearance in Atman’ is engendered, the mind does not remain as mind”

    So, if the mind is seen as a distortion, then the thoughts of a separate I must also be negated. The world in its enitrety (including ‘my’ body-mind) is atman. Surely then, if that realisation accrues, there can be no empirical reality, in which ‘I’ preferentially serve this body over others. Hence why Suresvara can write “no one engages in activity in matters towards which he is indifferent’; why a Janaka can only work for the welfare of others; and why Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha can say “The saṁnyāsin who has realised the Truth need not worry about food or death”.

    That perhaps is the difference between the intellectual knowledge (panditya) of the philosophical system of Advaita vs the mouna of Brhad 3.5.1

    Unless I have severely misunderstood, I don’t think that there is a middle path Martin.

  20. “So, if the mind is seen as a distortion, then the thoughts of a separate I must also be negated.”

    When the mind is realized to be mithyA, where is the need to do anything at all? It is like saying that you need to kill the snake after realizing that it is really a rope.

  21. Dennis

    You are talking about panditya.

    Suresvara in NS 4.51:
    “The enlightened man accepts everything and also negates it”

    in BU3.5.1 Sankara writes that balya (that follows from panditya) results from eliminating all ideas of non-Self.

    And Suresvara’s vartika:
    175-6: “Having secured the final condition of erudition in respect of the knowledge of the Atman, from scripture and/or the preceptor, a mendicant should rest himself on that strength; THE REMOVAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THE NON-ATMANS IS SIGNIFIED BY THE WORD BALYA; having obtained that strength, a person of purified intellect should have attained the nature of a wise person and then become the Brahman, ie Brahmana”

  22. Venkat, since we are partaking of life and are not pure Consciousness without remainder, there has to be a middle ground or midway for us to stand on or to follow (remember: ‘not two without three’) – EVEN Atman or the Self, which in essence we are, has an extension or projection – asat -: the world of phenomena (bodies and minds). ‘We’ are IN this world (though not OF it), while the Self is not in it (‘all beings are in Me, but I am not in them ‘ – transcendent aspect) – this is the relation of tadatmya or non-reciprocal relationship.

    Further, ‘we’ are not Vishistadvaitins, which is a middle ground or way, neither are ‘we’ devotees of Hiranyagarbha or Ishvara, who is an ‘intermediary Person’ (Aitareyan cosmology).

    So, whether we like it or not, householders or not, we are placed smack-on on this mid-ground which is the world of phenomena, partaking of vyavahara life. Hope this is acceptable to you and Ramesam– and Dennis.

  23. Hi Venkat,

    I am not aware of the terms panditya-balya-mauna being used anywhere else. Swami Paramarthanada indicates that they refer respectivley to shravaNa-manana-nididhyAsana. The translation that you give (Shoun Hino and K. P. Jog) would seem to accord with this. ‘Getting the knowledge from scripture or teacher’ is shravaNa or pANDitya. ‘Removing non-Atmans’ is removal of doubts, which is manana or bAlya. ‘Purifying the intellect (if necessary)’ to become a ‘wise person’ is nidihyAsana or mauna.

    In fact, Sureshvara corroborates the first two meanings in verses 169-170:

    “In the first instance, there is acquiring the meaning (of the words in the shruti statement)… This gives the meaning of pANDityam.”

    “…he should (rest on) the strength in a suitable way by the method of anvaya and vyatireka… [This is by bAlya]”

    I think the original point in question related to the continuation (or not) of empirical reality (i.e. the world experience) after gaining Self-knowledge. Regarding this, I couldn’t help noticing the following Shankara quotation from Br. Up. Bh. 3.5.1 while I was following up your comments:

    “In fact, all schools must admit the existence or non-existence of the phenomenal world according as it is viewed from the relative or the absolute standpoint.”

    Best wishes,

  24. Thank you Martin & Dennis for your considered responses.

    best wishes,

  25. Hi Dennis

    Another reference for you on this topic. Just re-reading SSSS” Essential Gaudapada, I came across 4.86:

    “For the wise the dignity is this alone; this alone is said to be the natural Shama; because by its very nature it is Danta this alone is Dama, one who has known this attains Shama”

    SSSS in commenting on this poses a question “even a jnani should be performing sadhanas”. His answer is that for a jnani, these qualities arise naturally in him; there can be no question of practising sadhanas for a jnani.

    Best wishes

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