pratibandha-s – part 7 of 10

Read Part 6 1/2

Apologies for the delay in continution of this series. I had to do some more background research and I have also been switching to Windows 10 and a new PC for the past 3 weeks!

Post-Shankara contributions to the concept

(I am indebted to Ref. 195 for many of the scriptural citations in this section.)

It is certainly true that there are few references to the word pratibandha in prasthAna traya and Shankara bhAShya, although a number of discussions can be interpreted as referring to the concept. One can certainly argue that the idea of jIvanmukti itself strongly implies that of pratibandha-s. Being ‘in a body’ is clearly a limitation compared to not being so constrained. Indeed, having a body to begin with is said to be the result of ignorance, so the fact that there is still one present implies that there must be some aspect of ignorance still present.

Accordingly, whether or not you accept the idea of prArabdha karma being the reason for the j~nAnI continuing to inhabit a body, it seems that ‘freedom’ cannot be total until the body drops. It is therefore reasonable to think that this body-mind might be susceptible to ‘obstructions’ of various types, while this embodiment continues. The body has needs, after all, and even though there is no longer any identification with the body post-enlightenment, the mind is still very likely to be affected. And the j~nAnI still continues to utilize the Atman-animated-buddhi, as described above.  I.e. pratibandha-s are implicit in the differentiation between jIvanmukti and videha mukti. 

This idea is supported by Chandogya Upanishad 8.12.1: “Surely, for that which remains embodied, there can be no elimination of the desirable and the undesirable. But the desirable and the undesirable cannot surely touch (It) which has become unembodied.” (Ref. 23) Shankara quotes numerous other shruti statements in his bhAShya on Brahmasutras 1.1.4 and concludes: “Hence it is proved that the unembodiedness, called liberation, is eternal.” I.e. unembodiedness (asharIratvam) is not something to be achieved (sAdhya); it is already the case (siddhi).

Sub-section j, above, discussed the idea that the ‘person ceases to exist’ on enlightenment. And Chandogya Upanishad 6.14.2 was quoted, which could be interpreted to mean that the body-mind actually comes to an end on, or shortly after, gaining enlightenment. But Shankara used the metaphor of an arrow shot from a bow to claim that prArabdha karma was responsible for the continued existence of the body. Since that has been brought into play in this life, the body has to continue until the karma is exhausted.

Writers/scholars/sages post Shankara endeavored to provide explanations which support or refute this contention.

maNDana mishra
In his brahmasiddhi (3.53), maNDana mishra (around 660 – 720CE) says that is saMskAra-s that are responsible, rather than prArabdha itself:

“Just as trembling at a serpent may continue after the knowledge that it is really a rope, because of the influence (saMskAra) of the fear, so the body continues for a while because of traces (saMskAra). In a similar manner a potter’s wheel keeps spinning after the potter has ceased moving it, because of the saMskAra of motion. But the fact that it continues does not mean that it continues long. Nothing besides the knowledge of the real rope already possessed is necessary to make the trembling caused by the imagined serpent stop; the root cause having ceased, the effect eventually ceases. Likewise, the body eventually ceases once the Self is known.” (Ref. 28)

And he specifically rejects Shankara’s idea of prArabdha karma:

“Just as an arrow already in motion may be stopped, works that have already begun to be enjoyed can be destroyed; we do not need to await their destruction by enjoyment… Therefore the persistence of the body after knowledge has been obtained is from the impression (saMskAra) alone (not from past works).” (Ref. 28)

So, in the case of maNDana mishra, we could equate saMskAra-s with pratibandha-s. This nomenclature was also adopted by prakAshAtman (see later). He objected to the notion that Self-knowledge could destroy some types of ignorance but not others (i.e. not prArabdha). To get around this, he argued that it was not prArabdha itself that was left but a ‘trace of ignorance’, like the smell of flowers left behind when the flowers themselves have been removed. This he equated with saMskAra-s. And it seems that all the metaphors – trembling, potter’s wheel, smell of flowers – were carefully chosen to reflect his belief that the jIvanmukta state would last only a short time.

maNDana also uses another metaphor that specifically tallies with the idea of pratibandha-s. He says that if we look at our reflection in a mirror and see a scar on our face, we are not concerned if we know that this is due to a blemish on the mirror. Similarly, if we encounter a body or mind-related problem post enlightenment, we do not suffer because we know that this only affects the appearance and not the Self.

vimuktAtman
vimuktAtman (around 1000 CE) in his iShTasiddhi (1.9) makes an explicit concession to the possibility of pratibandha-s:

“Objection: There is no problem with accepting a residuum (leshya) of ignorance capable of producing the appearance of karmic results even in the liberated knower.

Answer: True, but that residuum is not strong enough to produce rebirth in a new body.” (Ref. 141)

He was also possibly the first to point out that there could be no (qualified) teaching of Advaita if a would-be teacher died as soon as Self-knowledge was gained:

“Enlightenment is received from an enlightened teacher (AchArya). And an enlightened teacher is both enlightened and alive. Perhaps you will object and say that, if a teacher remains alive, he cannot have had direct experience of the final reality. But that would not be correct. For the Lord taught in his Gita ‘Those enlightened ones who have directly perceived reality will teach you knowledge’ (B.G. 4.34), emphasizing that metaphysical knowledge is the means to gain the true end of man, provided it is taught by one who himself had direct experience of reality. If you claim that as soon as anyone has direct experience of reality his body falls dead forthwith, then that would mean that there could be no enlightened teacher and so no receiving of enlightenment and so no liberation.” (Ref. 201)

sarvaj~nAtman
sarvaj~nAtman , supposedly one of Sureshvara’s disciples makes very similar statements in his saMkShepashArIraka (4.38-46):

“When liberation occurs one is immediately separated from one’s body. Upanishadic passages speaking of liberation while living use constructions which refer to one who has realized the Self and retains a trace of ignorance. This trace is automatically removed by the jIvanmukta’s final experiences.” (Ref. 141)

sarvaj~nAtman clearly means, by jIvanmukta, someone who has remaining traces of ignorance (or pratibandha-s), and that some further experience is necessary before dropping the body and gaining videha mukti. He also has yet another term for this final stage of ‘ignorance’, calling it somewhat romantically a ‘scent of darkness’ (dhvAnta-gandha). I.e. the enlightenment gained from shravaNa gives us the knowledge of non-duality but does not prevent the continuing experience of duality.

chitsukha
The major work of chitsukha (1220 CE) is called chitsukhI or (pratyak)tattva(pra)dIpikA. In the closing paragraphs of the work, he addresses the topic of jIvanmukti. He initially quotes from the work of his teacher (j~nAnottama), nyAyasudhA 5.10-11:

“In liberation while living (jIvanmukti), a little fraction of ignorance (avidyAlesha) continues on. It is responsible for carrying out worldly activities after liberation. It continues because of the powerful karma that has already begun working (prArabdha) which obstructs knowledge.” (Ref. 141)

 He then goes on to expand on this:

“This little fraction includes elements of three sorts: 1) that which is responsible for the belief that worldly existence is real; 2) that which creates things which lead to fruitful activity (arthakriyA); and 3) that which creates the form of an object that appears in direct cognition. 1) is destroyed by the definite realization that non-duality is real; 2) is removed by the realization of the truth about things. 3) continues even during the released state, presents before the realized self the appearance of a body and the world, and is removed only in the final absorption in meditation (samAdhi) when the prArabdha karma is spent out.” (Ref. 141)

bhAratItirtha and/or vidyAraNya

Vidyaranya, putative author of pa~nchadashI and jIvanmukti viveka, lived around the 14th Century CE and his ideas, distorted as they were by Yoga philosophy, have already been discussed at length in 3.o above. Since he is clearly better known today than the other authors dealt with in this sub-section, his ideas have obviously been more influential. This is seen especially in ideas such as knowledge gained from shravaNa being only ‘intellectual’, the need to ‘destroy the mind’ and ‘get rid of desires’, enlightenment being reached through samAdhi, the need for saMnyAsa following gain of Self-knowledge. It is indeed unfortunate that Shankara was no longer alive to defeat him in debate! But the fact that Vidyaranya firmly believed that further action was needed post-enlightenment shows that he believed in some form of pratibandha.

bhAratItirtha is either an Advaitin who was contemporaneous with vidyAraNya or literally the same person (opinions differ). They either co-authored or singly wrote the vivaraNaprameyasa~Ngraha (VPS) in the 14th CE. They (or he) “describe the continuance of the residual impression of ignorance as a defect (doSha) and prArabdha karma as an obstacle (pratibandhaka). The final mokSha is not attained until the prArabdha is exhausted and the body falls.” (VPS 1.165-166) (Ref. 195) and Vidyaranya states in his pa~nchadashI (7.245-6):

“[After enlightenment] The fructifying karma does not end abruptly but wears off slowly. In the course of the enjoyment of its fruits the yogi is occasionally visited by such thoughts as ‘I am mortal’. Shortcomings like this do not nullify the realization of truth. jIvanmukti does not depend on any special rule of life; its main characteristic is the establishment of the soul in the knowledge of Brahman.” (Ref. 99)

Read Part 8

26 thoughts on “pratibandha-s – part 7 of 10

  1. Thank you very much, Dennis, for this well-substantiated write up rich with quotes. Cannot really wait to see the next part chronicling the changes that got introduced in the post-Vidyaranya period.

    BTW, will you please let us know to which publication does Ref 195 allude to?

    Thanks again,

  2. Thanks, Ramesam! Yes – apologies for various numbered references; as you know, this entire series is an extract from my next book: Volume 1 of ‘Confusions… for the seeker in Advaita Vedanta’. So there are also references to other sections (such as jIvanmukti, manonASha and saMnyAsa).

    Ref. 195 is “Living Liberation in Sankara and Classical Advaita: Sharing the Holy Waiting of God, Lance E. Nelson, Contained in Ref. 194.”

    And Ref. 194 is: “Living Liberation in Hindu Thought, Edited by Andrew O. Fort and Patricia Y. Mumme, Sri Satguru Publications, 2002. ISBN 81-7030-768-6”.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

    • Dennis writes:

      “Accordingly, whether or not you accept the idea of prArabdha karma being the reason for the j~nAnI continuing to inhabit a body, it seems that ‘freedom’ cannot be total until the body drops. It is therefore reasonable to think that this body-mind might be susceptible to ‘obstructions’ of various types, while this embodiment continues. The body has needs, after all, and even though there is no longer any identification with the body post-enlightenment, the mind is still very likely to be affected. And the j~nAnI still continues to utilize the Atman-animated-buddhi, as described above. I.e. pratibandha-s are implicit in the differentiation between jIvanmukti and videha mukti. “

      —————————————-

      In fact, it seems to me that even if the mind is only “likely to be affected” by the dawning of knowledge, there is no question it remains central to life after “realization” just as it was before that “realization”. This is obvious from the conduct of “realized” beings, Shankara, or Janaka or Ramana or who you will.
      I find this a great source of comfort in coming to terms with the rather unintelligent actions/speech emanating from such “realized” beings whether it is Sankara denigrating the Jains or Ramana certifying the jivanmukti status of a cow, or Krishnamurti raving about being worked over by Advanced Beings (capitalization, the old Aldous Huxley trick)….

      Thoughts prompted by the current state of the world and hard determinism.

      • Hello Shishya,

        Interesting and accurate observations about the mind of realized beings. I have often wondered about some of the very actions you have noted.

        In all my comments I try to bring out the fact that there is no point doing anything with the mind because mind is Maya (changing, perishable, incomplete and imperfect). Except for firm, direct knowledge of Self, rest all is insubstantial. Mind being a product of Maya will always display the duality of intelligent and unintelligent actions. In Advaita terminology, it shall always be bound by gunas of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva, so one should never fall for the personality of a realized being which is bound to have quirks.

        Advaita is also great in this regard because it underplays the individual person/teacher and his personality and gives utmost predominance to the teaching tradition or sampradya.

        Warm wishes,
        Anurag

        • Anurag, thank you very much for your response.

          I think this quote by Albert Einstein covers it all without bringing in mind, intellect, memory, etc, etc.

          “Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”

          But the following quote of his, which is in direct contradiction shows how it all appeared to him…(he had agency, he had “knowledge” that protected him, he could take things seriously or not, etc, etc, etc….!!!!)

          “This knowledge of the non-freedom of the will protects me from losing my good humor and taking much too seriously myself and my fellow humans as acting and judging individuals,”.

          Regarding Advaita, I try not to throw the baby out with the bath water but that, I know, immediately reveals my lack of shraddha, etc, etc. In the words of the occasionally gaseous Aurobindo, shraddha is – “”the soul’s belief in the Divine’s existence, wisdom, power, love and grace.”

          Hope I have not offended too much.

          • Hello Shishya,

            I am not very aware of your spiritual sadhana so I don’t know your views on Advaita. I am not figure them out either in these comments.

            The only thing I know is that you are in an Advaita forum so I am assuming you have either an intention to learn, discuss or teach Advaita. You can help me know your intention 🙂

            There are two points I wish to stress. Firstly, Advaita is not a viewpoint ultimately. It is non-duality: beyond space and time. It’s teachings are a viewpoint that ultimately leads you to non-duality which is free from all viewpoints. Thereby, after finishing its job, Advaita is also seen as a teaching functioning in duality.

            Secondly, Aurobindo was not a proponent of Advaita but his own system called Integral Yoga. He did not consider Maya to be unreal. In his own words, he was closest to Tantra.

            Warm wishes,
            Anurag

            • Hello Shishya,

              I don’t see how your quote does not bring in mind/intellect/memory etc. when Einstein is talking of “thinking, feeling and acting” 🙂

              Your quote shows that Einstein perceives no freedom in the world of phenomena, something which aligns quite closely to the view of Maya of Advaita. In ignorance no one is free but subject to laws of Maya. This helped him to develop some ‘tolerance’ towards other’s actions.

              But it also shows that he did not know the freedom of non-duality (Self) – reality where no phenomena exists.

              Warm wishes,
              Anurag

  3. Hello Dennis, Vidyaranya said that one does get Jivanmukti by ending of mind and desire. I don’t think he mentions prarabdha coming in the way of Jivanmukti. I know you have not mentioned your stance on Jivanmukti anywhere but do you have a stance like Vidyaranya?

  4. Dennis, just to substantiate what I said about Vidyaranya, here is a quote

    “When through the continuous practice of meditation a man is established in the knowledge of Brahman, he becomes liberated even while living. Then the fate of his body does not matter”

    ~ Panchadasi, verse XIII.81

    However, as you know I am closer to Shankara’s views than Vidyaranya’s views, hence I don’t think Jivanmukti has got anything to do with any state of mind.

    You mention that you wished Shankara was alive to debate Vidyaranya, but you see, you have provided Shankara’s answer to Vidyaranya in your post itself. You have quoted Shankara

    “Shankara quotes numerous other shruti statements in his bhAShya on Brahmasutras 1.1.4 and concludes: “Hence it is proved that the unembodiedness, called liberation, is eternal.” I.e. unembodiedness (asharIratvam) is not something to be achieved (sAdhya); it is already the case (siddhi).”

    This is Shankara’s answer to Vidyaranya. For Shankara, Jivanmukti is not a particular state of mind, it is knowledge of Self/Witness. The Jivanmukta knows himself as Self/Witness and not as Buddhi/intellect. The Jivanmukta does not consider himself as liberated but comes to know liberation to be his true and eternal nature. The Jivanmukta comes to know that he was never the body. The body is dissolved in sleep and arises again in dream and waking state. How can he be the body?

    Prarabdha karma is also not the true nature for a Jivanmukta. Self/Witness is his true nature, on which the prarabdha karma plays out as a film on a screen. Prarabdha Karma is Causal Body and Self/Witness is the substrate of the Causal Body.

    I guess Vidyaranya was emphasizing the experience of bliss in the subtle body as Jivanmukti. This is where Shankara and Vidyaranya differ. (Though even Vidyaranya, not for a moment denies the primacy of knowledge of Self.)

    Technically, one can see that Shankara can never be refuted 🙂

  5. Thanks for those comments, Anurag. I will actually be saying more about Vidyaranya under ‘Yogic Advaita’ in the next part. Apologies for delay – still researching and going more slowly than usual. Also there may actually be 9 parts by the time I finish…

    • Thanks Dennis. I was actually worried for your health when I did not get your reply. Relieved to know that things are fine with you.

      Shall await the other parts of this series.

  6. Hi Anurag,

    You wrote to Shishya:

    “Mind being a product of Maya will always display the duality of intelligent and unintelligent actions”

    This is not taught by Sankara or Gaudapada. It is the mind that is the source of ignorance, and it is the mind in which enlightenment occurs. To the extent the body-mind continues to perform actions in the world, it is in the context of Self-Knowledge.

    For example, Gaudapada in MK3.35 states:

    MK2.35: “By the wise who are free from attachment, fear and anger . . .”
    Sankara comments on this: “The Supreme Self can be realised only by the Sannyasins who are FREE FROM ALL BLEMISHES [ie attachment, fear, anger]”

    MK3.34: “The behaviour of the mind that is under control, ie free from all imaginations and that is endowed with discrimination should be known.”

    MK3.35: “THAT MIND OF A JNANI BECOMES IDENTICAL WITH FEARLESS BRAHMAN”

    Also Sankara:

    Aitreya Up Bhasya, 1.1: “Action is inconceivable in one who has the knowledge of Brahman as his Self as comprised in the realisation, “I am the supreme Brahman in which all desires are fulfilled and which is above all the worldly shortcomings”, and who has no idea of results because he feels no need for anything to be got for himself from actions done or to be done (by him)”

    BG Bhasya 4.19: “He is a monk, who acts merely for the purpose of maintaining the body. Being so, he does not engage in actions although he might have done so before the dawn of discrimination. He again who, having been engaged in actions under the influence of past tendencies, later on becomes endowed with the fullest Self-knowledge, he surely renounces (all) actions along with their accessories as he does not find any purpose in activity.”

    Gangolli / SSSS in “The Essential Adi Shankara” writes:

    Note 214: “In case there is any impediment for the Jnaani to take recourse to or adopt the way of life of Paarivraajya, the Jnaani will invariably be performing the respective Karma for the sake of Loaka Sangraha (general welfare of or well-being of the society around him). BUT HE WILL NEVER BEHAVE AS HE LIKES, ACCORDING TO HIS WHIMS AND FANCIES.”

    Note 217: “Because a Jnaani is Nitya Trupta (eternally content), he Is Jitendriya (one who has completely conquered and thereby exercises full control over his senses); he has acquired a perspective of treating all things, like a lump of clay or a stone or an ingot ofgold, with equal value; in fact, he is full of Adwesha (absence of hatred), Maitree (friendship or camaraderie) and l{aruna (compassion. kindness). In him no defects like anxiety, agitated or perturbed mental state and fear, whatsoever, are to be found. Because he has surpassed or gone beyond the realm of Gunatraya (the three psychic qualities ofSattwa, Rajas and Tamas), the effects ofthese three Gunas cannot ever affect or taint him. In truth, his psyche is fully established or rooted in Paramaatma Swaroopa”

  7. Dear Venkat,

    Just one quote of mine from Gaudapada will suffice for your long comment.

    Mandukya Karika, Verse 2.32

    “There is neither dissolution, nor birth; neither anyone in bondage, nor any aspirant for wisdom; neither can there be anyone who hankers after liberation, nor any liberated as such. This alone is the supreme truth”

    In effect, ignorance, enlightenment, body, mind etc. all are products of Maya or duality. This is the final truth. Non-Dual Self is the only reality that is ever existent.

    So, the first statement by which you start out your comments is nullified by this quote.

    At any rate, whatever I write – Venkat – is from direct knowledge of Self. As per logic, I can show you that the body/mind/intellect, all get dissolved in sleep. They are all unreal. There is no renouncer or doer present in sleep. All your practices belong to the waking state. And all practices are meant only to get direct knowledge of Self, after which all doership is seen as Maya of body/mind. It is your identification to mind/body that keeps you engaged with doership, whether it is tamasic, rajasic or sattvic. The Jnani is Self/Witness to whom mind/body/intellect appear as objects.

    Also one never ‘becomes’ the Self. One “IS” the Self. One just has to remove the superimposition of Maya/Ignorance (mind/body/intellect) of one’s true nature through Self knowledge.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  8. Dear Venkat,

    Honestly, I find Note 217 hilarious. I concur with Shishya. All these notions of absolute friendship, compassion are just vain constructs of human mind. I have not seen one individual in the entire history of mankind who did not display antagonism in one way or the other, whether it be Shankara, Budhha, Mahavira, Krishna, Christ……..and the list can go on. Is there an absolute, standard definition of terms like compassion, friendship etc? These are all terms of duality. How can they be eternal, absolute or perfect at any time?

    By the way, the exact quote from Brihadranyaka Upanishad for which Gangolli has written note 214 (perhaps) is,

    “Therefore the knower of Brahman (1st mention – indirect knowledge), having known all about scholarship, should try to live upon that strength which comes of knowledge; having known all about this strength and scholarship, he becomes meditative; having known all about both meditativeness and it’s opposite, he becomes a knower of Brahman (2nd mention – direct knowledge). How does that knower of Brahman behave? However he may behave, he is just such. Except this, everything is perishable.”

    So Gangolli is not happy with the last two lines 🙂 Even Shankara is not very happy with the last two lines. But they are there in the Sruti.

    At any rate, here are some quotes from Krishna, priming up Arjuna to fight the battle and kill people (out of compassion :-)) And Krishna seems to be pointing out the same thing ‘in these quotes’. At other places, he too lectures about qualities of jnanis.

    Verse 2.11

    You have grieved for those that should not be grieved for; yet, you speak words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.

    Verse 2.18

    They have an end, it is said, these bodies of the embodied-Self. The Self is Eternal, Indestructible, Incomprehensible. Therefore, fight, O Bharata.

    Verse 2.19

    He who takes the Self to be the slayer and he who thinks He is slain, neither of them knows. He slays not, nor is He slain.

    Verse 2.20

    Whatsoever knows Him to be Indestructible, Eternal, Unborn and Inexhaustible, how can that man slay, O Partha, or cause others to be slain.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  9. Anurag

    Sankara’s comment on the last two lines of Brhad 3.5.1: “The expression ‘howsoever he may behave’ is intended for a tribute to this state of a knower of Brahman, and does not mean reckless behaviour.” Elsewhere he goes on to extensively elucidate how a knower of Brahman would behave.

    Your quotes from BG are taken out of context: Arjuna, out of some mixture of attachment to family/firends and cowardice, no longer wanted to fight a righteous war. Krishna, was therefore teaching him not reckless or immoral behaviour, but ultimately naiskamya karma – desireless action, for the sake of what is right.

    The sadhanas of Advaita go to great lengths to emphasise desirelessness and desireless action. Desireless action is by its very nature ‘pure’ – since there is no ego-driven motive therein. Having pursued such sadhanas, it seems somewhat perverted logic to argue that one who has attained jnana would continue to act unintelligently through his gunas. Vide:

    BG2.45: O Arjuna the Vedas have the three qualities (gunas) as their object. You become free from worldliness, free from the pairs of duality, ever-pointed in the quality of sattwa, without desire for acquisition and protection, and self-collected.
    Sankara: You become free from the three qualities, free from desires.

    BG18.53: That person having discarded egotism, force, pride, desire, anger and superfluous possessions, free from the idea of possession and serene is fit to become Brahman.

    As for your compassion comment, here is Bhagavad Gita again:
    6.31 O Arjuna, that yogi is considered the best who judges what is happiness and sorrow in all beings by the same standard as he would apply to himself.

    Suresvara in Naiskamya Siddhi writes in his concluding verses:
    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?
    Self-willed activity is not remotely possible in the case of one who has known the supreme reality, and is not even possible in the case of one who sincerely desires release.

    4.68: He who is intent on “humility, etc’ and is equipped with virtues such as non-enmity, acquires knowledge, but not he whose mind is turned outwards.

    4.69: In the case of one who has achieved enlightenment, virtues like non-enmity persist naturally and without effort. They are no longer practised as a means to an end.

    There seem to be a proliferation of self-proclaimed jnanis that run around saying “you are the non-dual consciousness, and that is the Knowledge that needs to be attained; once you understand this, continue with your life as previously”. And they all seem to quote Gaudapada’s MK 2.32, arguing if it is all Maya, it doesn’t matter what you do. But as Gaudapada also said, mind becomes Brahman; Brhad Up says the particular consciousness dissolves into universal consciousness.

    Therefore understanding MK2.32, leaves one with no desire to act for any purpose – as evident from Suresvara’s 4.65 above. This is also why – as I sought to evidence in the articles on renunciation that I posted – Sankara says that, logically, action is incompatible with Knowledge; and therefore a jnani is likely to be a parivrajya Sannyaasin; but if he has to act, it would be for the sake of others (since there is no ego for self-motivated action).

    For someone who proclaims he is a follower of Gaudapada / Sankara, it seems you cherry-pick what they teach. To be fair you did say:
    “At any rate, whatever I write – Venkat – is from direct knowledge of Self”
    This direct knowledge though – I trust it is not just indigestion?

    • Dear Venkat,

      I have given my last words in my quotes from Shankara and Gaudapada.

      Regarding this comment from you, you are choosing to ignore the Brihadranyaka Upanishad I quoted directly.

      I did not cherry pick passages as I clearly said that Shankara and Krishna have said different things at different times. But the highest truths are what I was pointing to. I clearly mentioned that Krishna has elsewhere enunciated the qualities of Jnanis BUT he also says this…..and he is not talking to Arjuna in these statements psychologically. He is making statements about the ultimate nature of reality.

      Well I have provided quotes where Shankara says that the mind and it’s actions do not matter to a Jnani. You also, for some reason, are consistently not seeing the logic that mind and acts do not act in deep sleep so they are Mithya.

      Whatever I say is logical and also supported by all the quotes I have drawn from Shankara and Gaudapada. There is no work by any person where there shall not be contradictions. Such is the nature of duality. I am only pointing out that all phenomena is Maya. Perfection is only found in Self.

      No one can prove whether anyone’s Self knowledge is Direct or Indigestion. This is for others to judge. Of course I can speak for myself as having direct knowledge of Self. I can also state with utmost directness that anyone who talks of mind/behaviour etc is not enunciating the highest truth of Advaita, for which I have provided ample quotes from Scriptures. The scriptures speak at various levels. There are highest truths and intermediate and lower levels in them. The highest truth is only Non-Dual Self.

      Warm wishes,
      Anurag

  10. Dear Venkat,

    Finally in response to your quote from Mandukya Verse 3.35 , here are three further quotes from the Mandukya Karika ending with Shankara’s Bhashya and Anandgiri’s Tika, which should seal all your doubts about the need to control the mind to attain liberation.

    Verse 3.37
    This Self is beyond all expressions or words, beyond all acts of mind. It is all peace, ever effulgent, free from activity and fear. It is attainable through concentrated intellect.

    Verse 3.38
    There, in the Self, which is final fulfilment of actions of mind, there is neither any perception nor any self projection into ideas. Established in the Self, the Jnana reaches the state of immutability and homogeneity.

    Verse 3.39
    This Yoga, called the Asparha Yoga (contactless yoga), I hard to be attained by all seekers. Yogins are afraid of this path, for they feel frightened in That – where alone one can experience the true state of fearlessness.

    All these verses, indubitably show that fearlessness is not and can never be found in the mind but in Self/Witness.

    Now, in the next verse Gaudapada talks about those who cannot follow ONLY THE PATH OF KNOWLEDGE DEPEND UPON CONTROL OF MIND AND ALSO KNOWLEDGE OF SELF.

    Verse 3.40
    Yogi-s who do not follow the Path of Knowledge as declared in this Karika depend upon the control of their mind for fearlessness and destruction of misery, and also the knowledge of the Self and eternal peace.

    And following is Shankara’s commentary on the same

    Those who regard mind and the sense-organs, when seen apart from their identity with the very nature of Brahman, as mere imagination,—like that of the snake when seen apart from its identity with the rope—and who thus deny the sole reality of the mind and the sense-organs (independent of Brahman), i.e., those who look upon themselves as of the very nature of Brahman, spontaneously enjoy, as quite natural to them, fearlessness and eternal peace known as Freedom, (perfect knowledge) for which they (the Jñānis) do not depend upon any mechanical effort (such as the control of the mind, etc.). We have already stated that no duty (effort), whatsoever, exist for the Jñāni. But those other Yogis who are also traversing the path (leading to Truth), but who possess inferior or middling understanding and who look upon the mind as separate from but related to Ātman, and who are ignorant of the knowledge regarding the reality of Ātman—the Yogis belonging to this class can experience fearlessness as a result of the discipline of the mind. To them the destruction of misery is also dependent upon mental control. The ignorant can never experience the cessation of misery, if the mind, (considered) related to Ātman, becomes active. Besides, their knowledge of self is dependent on their control of the mind. And similarly, eternal peace, known as Mokṣa (or liberation), in their case, depends upon the mental discipline.

    And following is Anandgiri’s gloss :

    Anandagiri Tika (glossary)
    This Kārikā applies to those who look upon the mind as separate from Ātman and think that peace, knowledge, etc., depend upon its control.

    1 Those, etc.—The Jñāni knows the mind and sense-organs to be identical with the non-dual Brahman. It is like the identity of the snake with the rope. As the snake in the illusion of the snake in the rope has no existence apart from the rope, similarly, the mind has no existence separate from Brahman. To see the mind as separate from Brahman is a freak of imagination. They, the Jñānis knowing this truth, do not care for the control of the mind. For, the mind, as such, does not exist for them. One who realises mind as Brahman, finds spontaneously, peace, fearlessness, etc. Fear, misery, etc., are the outcome of duality. Duality is seen on account of the activity of the mind. But the Jñāni sees the identity of the mind and Brahman. Therefore duality does not exist for him. Hence he does not experience any fear, misery, etc. Therefore, peace, fearlessness, etc., in his case are natural.

    2 Inferior, etc.—That is to say, they do not possess the sharp intellect that can distinguish the real from the unreal. For them the Yogic practices are recommended.

    3 Who, etc.—It is because they find the mind as separate from Brahman that they try to keep it under control. According to them, the mind is acted upon by Ātman.

    4 Who are, etc.—For they see a duality of the Ātman and the mind.

    5 To them, etc.—The Yogis think that misery is caused by the activities of the mind. Hence they direct all their energy to the suppression of the Vṛttis of the mind. But the Vṛttis reappear if the attempt is slightly relaxed. The Yogis, on account of their ignorance of the real nature of the mind, fight with their own shadows. The Jñāni, on the other hand, realises the mind as well as all its activities as identical with the non-dual Brahman. Hence, the activities of mind do not stand in the way of his eternal happiness.

  11. Thanks Anurag – your quotes are consistent with mine. As Anandagiri says, from your quote:

    “One who realises mind as Brahman, finds spontaneously, peace, fearlessness, etc. Fear, misery, etc., are the outcome of duality. Duality is seen on account of the activity of the mind. But the Jñāni sees the identity of the mind and Brahman. Therefore duality does not exist for him. Hence he does not experience any fear, misery, etc. Therefore, peace, fearlessness, etc., in his case are natural”

    And as Krishna says in my BG quote:
    2.45: “O Arjuna the Vedas have the three qualities (gunas) as their object. You become free from worldliness, free from the pairs of duality, ever-pointed in the quality of sattwa, without desire for acquisition and protection, and self-collected.”

    Contrast with your comment to Shishya:
    “Mind being a product of Maya will always display the duality of intelligent and unintelligent actions. In Advaita terminology, it shall always be bound by gunas of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva”

  12. Dear Venkat,

    I don’t quite see what you are saying. Please read further

    Anandagiri says,

    The Yogis think that misery is caused by the activities of the mind. Hence they direct all their energy to the suppression of the Vṛttis of the mind. But the Vṛttis reappear if the attempt is slightly relaxed. The Yogis, on account of their ignorance of the real nature of the mind, fight with their own shadows. The Jñāni, on the other hand, realises the mind as well as all its activities as identical with the non-dual Brahman. Hence, the activities of mind do not stand in the way of his eternal happiness.

    1. Yogis think miseries are caused by mind
    2. Hence they try to suppress these vrittis thereby fighting shadows

    Therefore, and here is the punchline of this quote of this quote. Janani realized the mind as identical with Brahman and hence the activities of mind do not stand in the way of his eternal happiness.

    Also, you clipped Anandagiri’s quote 🙂

    The first part of the quote goes like this

    “The Jñāni knows the mind and sense-organs to be identical with the non-dual Brahman. It is like the identity of the snake with the rope. As the snake in the illusion of the snake in the rope has no existence apart from the rope, similarly, the mind has no existence separate from Brahman. To see the mind as separate from Brahman is a freak of imagination. They, the Jñānis knowing this truth, do not care for the control of the mind. For, the mind, as such, does not exist for them.”

    The mind is seen as the snake on the rope. As a freak of imagination and the Jnanis knowing this “do not care for the control” of mind.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  13. Anurag,

    Firstly, can I just clarify, what you have referred to as Anandagri’s gloss on Mandukyakarika is not that; the “gloss” is actually Swami Nikhilananda’s own explanatory notes.

    I have a great deal of respect for Sw Nikhilananda and his masterful translation of the MK: he is a Ramakrishna monk, and a follower of Vivekanada, who I believe you were dismissive of?

    Secondly, if you go back to read what I have written – I have never talked of suppressing mental activities. What I have pointed out is that sadhanas are clearly said to be a pre-requisite for jnana. And the sadhanas talked of are meant to attenuate the mind from its out-going tendencies, and to turn it inward, for the purposes of introspection and discrimination. Renunciation of actions, as explicitly enjoined by Sankara, is a logical concomitant in such turning away from the world.

    I have then gone on to observe that both Sankara and Suresvara point out that a jnani, who has turned away from the world, and has no interest or desires, will continue in such a direction. This is self-evident in Suresvara’s conclusions:

    4.68: He who is intent on “humility, etc’ and is equipped with virtues such as non-enmity, acquires knowledge, but not he whose mind is turned outwards.

    4.69: In the case of one who has achieved enlightenment, VIRTUES LIKE NON-ENMITY PERSIST NATURALLY AND WITHOUT EFFORT. They are no longer practised as a means to an end.

    So finally, how does one explain Sw Nikhilananda’s note:
    “The Jñāni, on the other hand, realises the mind as well as all its activities as identical with the non-dual Brahman. Hence, the activities of mind do not stand in the way of his eternal happiness”

    Quite simply – because a jnani, who by definition has completed his sadhana, has already attenuated the outgoing tendencies of the mind, and further has come to realise that all is Brahman. As he does not differentiate between his own body-mind and the rest of the perceived world, quite logically: he either has no reason to act (hence renunciation of all actions, a parivraajya ascetic); or if he acts, it is for the good of the whole (because he does not differentiate between himself and the rest).

    This is quite evident in Suresvara’s note 4.69, and other Karika verses of Gaudapada, for example:
    3.31: “. . . Duality is never experienced when the mind ceases to act”
    Sankara: “Duality is perceived when the mind acts and it vanishes when it ceases to act; that is to say when the activity (vrittis) of the mind is withdrawn unto itself by knowledge got through discrimination, repeated practice and renunciation

    3.46: “When the mind does not merge in the inactivity of oblivion, or become distracted by desires, that is to say, when the mind becomes quiescent and does not give rise to appearances it verily BECOMES Brahman”

    To reiterate, it is an attractive and seemingly ajata-consistent proposition for Swartz and the crop of neo-advaita teachers to propound a doctrine that there is only the nondual reality, and the mind and world are Maya; so let the mind-body do whatever, and just know that they are not real. But the mind that does whatever “intelligent or unintelligent actions” (as you put it) is NOT one with Brahman. Rather it is a mind that has come up with a thought to justify its egoic actions, by saying to itself it is always the ever-pure Brahman. That is not the jnana, the viveka/vairagya, of Gaudapada and Sankara; it is just self-deception.

  14. Dear Venkat,

    I have said what I wanted to say and with the help of logic and quotes. I see that you disagree. That is your freedom 🙂

    Let me put it another way now for you.

    Everything is Self. All of Maya is Self. In ignorance and enlightenment Self has remained Self. The mind was always Self. The outgoing mind, the ongoing mind…..all is Self. There is nothing but the Self.

    You are Self Venkat, even now 🙂 Your thoughts of disagreement with me are also Self. Do whatever, be whatever, you are always Self. Whether I am a Jnani or not, I am Self. Whether I am a follower of Shankara or a Neo-Advaiatin I am always Self. My self-deception is also Self.

    For there is nothing else but Self.

    So be happy !

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  15. Dear Venkat,

    Also, I wanted to mention one thing.

    I am not trying to prove anything by this. It’s a piece of nishkama karma 🙂

    I got Self Knowledge in 2012. I got it only by reading James Swartz. I had never met him or talked to him before. I then wrote a mail to him thanking him for his work and teachings. A week down the line I started having doubts about the whole Knowledge vs Experience issue of Enlightenment. I started feeling that it must be an Experience of some kind. James wrote back and we had a many exchanges back and forth. I got convinced. He made me a teacher for his website. I was amongst the first batch of teachers he chose to help him out with the large number of seeker queries coming to him, somewhere in 2013. I taught for sometime. But the doubt of experience vs knowledge returned again. I left teaching for his website calling his teachings false and deluded ( much as you say today)

    For seven years I went into other paths – Swami Vidyaranya, Krishnamurti, Buddhism, Direct Path. But with each path, I kept coming back to Self/Witness, because my knowledge of Self/Witness never left ( despite the mind’s doubts) It is well known in Advaita that there may be a phase for some seekers where Knowledge has to become firm (sthitha prajna). All these seven years I did everything to go against what James Swartz asserts – Enlightenment is Knowledge ( Intuitive Experience – the same as Ramana too describes in his death experience) but it is not any Experience for which one has to go for manonasha etc. or as you say mind ‘becoming’ Brahman. Mind is always Brahman. It just has to ‘know’ that it is Brahman. This is the meaning of Non-Duality.

    I even held a lot of anger towards James all these seven years for deluding me with a set of false teachings. I never, ever spoke to him in all those seven years. I can share all this because I have shared all this with James too. After having gone through all systems, all experience based paths etc. I found that they have contradictions from the highest truth – There is nothing but Self.

    So I reached my understanding, quite independently from James. And when I reached firm knowledge beyond all doubts, after seven years of shravana, manana, nidhidhyasana, post my Self Knowledge, I wrote to James. I acknowledged to him that he was right after all.

    And I have great respect, love and gratitude for him today because he actually have me the “highest’ truth given by Gaudapada. I am proud to be his student and a member of the sampradya of traditional Advaita (though you think contrarily)

    There is nothing but the Self. ” To the knower of Self, all the Vedas are of so much use as a reservoir is, when there is a flood everywhere” (B.G – 2.46)

    This was my last comment to you Venkat. Since you are sure about what you are saying and I am sure about what I am saying, I do not wish to debate further. For me you are Self, anywhich way 🙂

    As long as I am a participant in this website, I shall continue to say what I have said in all my comments, if and when I feel like. Needless to say, you are as well free to give your contrary opinions, for which I shall just be silent.

    Being the site owner, I leave it to Dennis to decide whether he sees my contribution erroneous in any way whatsoever. I am most willing to exit this website, if he deems my thoughts erroneous. But that will not make any dent on my Self Knowledge.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  16. Dear Venkat and Anurag,

    An interesting discussion indeed. Sorry that I am so busy with other things that I have not been able to participate.

    A couple of general points I woild like to make on ‘protocol’. This has evolved over time from a ‘free-for-all’ to a reasoned, supported, polite interchange. Evolution has also been from any approach to Advaita to a primariliy traditional one.

    But it has become very apparent to me since beginning the ‘Confusions’ book that one cannot always rely on quotations even from scriptures or Shankara. This is because there is so much leeway in translating Sanskrit terms and writers tend to translate them in a way that corresponds with their already-existent understanding! Accordingly, when there is dispute over interpretation, it is necessary to compare translations and ideally go back to the original Sanskrit.

    But I diverge somewhat. My purpose in commenting here is really to applaud and thank both of you for your comments but also to add a word of caution. Please try to avoid any suggestion of ad hominem criticism and please do not use yourself as an authority. But please DO continue to post.

    It is often very difficult to retain a calm mind and maintain a cool tone in one’s posts when one feels that one’s points have been misunderstood or unreasonably affronted. (I know, because it has happened to me a number of times!) But it really is the only way to communicate when the object is to learn for oneself and to inform less knowledgeable visitors.

    I certainly do not want you to leave, Anurag. I have found many of your recent posts to be particularly useful in that they obviated any need for me to make similar points! But your last post relating your own learning process, whilst interesting, is relevant to a personal profile, not to this thread. Venkat has made some excellent points and you need to research scriptural or Shankara saMpradAya quotations to refute them if you disagree with them. (And, strictly speaking, James is not a saMpradAya teacher, although he did spend a number of years with Chinmayananda.)

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  17. Dear Dennis,

    Thanks for your considerations and for wanting me to stay. I did not talk about leaving per se. I said I would leave if you find my words untrue to the highest truth in the scriptures. I keep asserting the word “highest truth” because the scriptures and even Shankara and Gaudapada say things for intermediate level and beginner level seekers. We have to seggregate them.

    I had a reason to give a personal background. It is because Venkat keeps referring to me being a James follower and student. I wanted to say that though I share James’ central insight of Knowledge vs Experience, I came to it on my own accord, separately and individually.

    Also, I wanted to share with Venkat that unlike very basic and flippant Neo-Advaitic assertions he considers me to be making, I underwent a long and winding process of self inquiry, denying James, and then finding his interpretation to be correct from the highest teachings of Advaita.

    Dennis, if you consider Swami Dayananda Saraswati or Swami Parmarthananda as teachers of the sampradya then I don’t see how James is not one. He has been a student of Dayananda ( if you were unaware of this) and Dayananda was also a student of Chinmayananda. James also acknowledges his indebtedness to Swami Parmarthananda in his books. Last but not the least, his teachings don’t deviate from the truth of the highest truth of the scriptures. If they do, you may please show how and where.

    James has himself railed against Neo-Advaitins and constantly stuck to the scriptures. Contrary to what Venkat may think he has started teaching Mandukya very recently and almost never refers to Ajativada doctrine.

    I did not write whatever I wrote to Venkat with a feeling of being affronted. I have faced hundreds of such situations in the several groups and forums I have participated over the years. I wrote everything with utter deliberation and calmness and with no degree of error. Every word I wrote would stand the testimony of the scriptures. Nor did I make any personal remarks on Venkat which show any feeling of affront. As I say, he is Self.

    I wrote what I wrote to tell Venkat that I am not going to debate further because I don’t have this motivation left. Venkat is very sure of his position and he has not admitted anywhere that he is interested in learning or seeing what I am saying. So O don’t want to attain him or myself further.

    About quoting, Dennis, you have certainly seen that I have given quotes in numerous places but Venkat comes out with other quotes and sometimes with different interpretations for the same quotes. He has an experiential view of Enlightenment or the Yoga view, which Gaudapada has clearly shown as different from the knowledge view in verse 3.40. Shankara’s interpretation is also provided which says that mind control is not required for Jnana and Jnanis. This quote is staring at the face. What can I do if Venkat does not want to see it?

    Leave aside quotes; for the ultimate arbiter for truth is universal intuitive experience which the srutis appeal to. They can’t say things which cannot be validated by any individual. In deep sleep, the mind dissolves. So does dissolution of mind lead to knowledge of Self. No ! We get to see the following

    1. When the mind was active, Self existed as Self. Did it cease to exist when mind acts? No. So duality never covers non-duality. Only ignorance covers non-duality.

    2. When the mind dissolves in sleep, Self existed unchanged. The dissolution of mind or activity of mind did not make any effect on Self. The mind never touches or contacts the Self. This is Asparsha Yoga or Contactless Yoga or Jnana Yoga.

    3. It also shows that dissolution of mind in sleep does not lead to Self Knowledge. It is only ending of ignorance in mind about true nature of Self as Non-Dual Brahman that leads to Moksha.

    4. Duality does not end after enlightenment. Duality is seen but as Mithya and not Satya – the ultimate nature. The superimposition is there but is known to be only apparently real. This is what Shankara says in the Mandukya 3.40 comments

    Venkat keeps talking about intelligent actions, good actions, egoistic actions etc. These all are subjective, dualistic phenomena. Is there an absolute definition of good. Good according to which standard? All these definitions apply to a Karma Yogi who is taking himself to be a doer and preparing his mind to be sattvic and gain Jnana. Good and Bad are terms of duality. A Jnani is beyond all injunctions. Why? Because he knows he is not the doer. None of the actions stain him. None of the actions ever stain tbe Self. All this is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita quotes I made in my comments. But Venkat chooses to read them as psychological motivators to Arjun rather than ultimate facts. I can’t do much with this. The quotes are there

    Verse 2.19

    He who takes the Self to be the slayer and he who thinks He is slain, neither of them knows. He slays not, nor is He slain.

    Verse 2.20

    Whatsoever knows Him to be Indestructible, Eternal, Unborn and Inexhaustible, how can that man slay, O Partha, or cause others to be slain.

    All these quotes again stare at the face. Anyone can see that these are not about psychological pep talk. These are statements about Atman never being the doer even when the doer is present.

    Dennis, I have Self Knowledge and I consider myself as a teacher (very recently) so I do consider myself to be an authority to teach about Non-Duality. Whatever I say is supported by direct Self Knowledge, scriptures and logic. Nobody becomes a teacher any other way. He has to say that he has Self Knowledge and the authority to teach it. No one but his Self Knowledge gives him this authority. No one can give it to him or take it from him. It’s other people’s call to see what I say as Truth or call me deluded.

    Which also explains why I am not very interested in debates beyond a point. I debate only till the point I see a possibility for a person to see what I am saying. I give logic, I quote scriptures, but at some point, when I see that the other person has a very strong held position, I exit the conversation.

    Dennis, do you think logic, debates or quoting scriptures can prove someone. A wise man does not disturb the world. Doesn’t Shankara have detractors? Haven’t Dualists and Qualified Non-Dualists got their own arguments and refutations of Shankara. Don’t Buddhist schools have their arguments against Shankara?

    Coming to Venkat’s Yoga view of Advaita, I is not “wrong”. Gaudapada clearly mentions that Yoga is undertaken by people who feel that they cannot keep their Self Knowledge firm till the mind is not held in control for them. Here is the quote

    Verse 3.40
    Yogi-s who do not follow the Path of Knowledge as declared in this Karika depend upon the control of their mind for fearlessness and destruction of misery, and also the knowledge of the Self and eternal peace.

    And Shankara absolutely clearly comments on this

    Those who regard mind and the sense-organs, when seen apart from their identity with the very nature of Brahman, as mere imagination,—like that of the snake when seen apart from its identity with the rope—and who thus deny the sole reality of the mind and the sense-organs (independent of Brahman), i.e., those who look upon themselves as of the very nature of Brahman, spontaneously enjoy, as quite natural to them, fearlessness and eternal peace known as Freedom, (perfect knowledge) for which they (the Jñānis) do not depend upon any mechanical effort (such as the control of the mind, etc.). We have already stated that no duty (effort), whatsoever, exist for the Jñāni. But those other Yogis who are also traversing the path (leading to Truth), but who possess inferior or middling understanding and who look upon the mind as separate from but related to Ātman, and who are ignorant of the knowledge regarding the reality of Ātman—the Yogis belonging to this class can experience fearlessness as a result of the discipline of the mind. To them the destruction of misery is also dependent upon mental control. The ignorant can never experience the cessation of misery, if the mind, (considered) related to Ātman, becomes active. Besides, their knowledge of self is dependent on their control of the mind. And similarly, eternal peace, known as Mokṣa (or liberation), in their case, depends upon the mental discipline.

    I don’t know what more to say, prove or convince Venkat. It clearly says that Yoga or mind control is not required for Jnanis who can keep firm Self Knowledge despite the mind’s activities because mind is known to them to be like a snake, never contacting Self.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  18. Dear Anurag,

    I am not a participant in this discussion, as I have already pointed out. I appreciate your frustration. I have felt it also, and in discussion with Venkat particularly. But there are unwritten rules for this sort of discussion. A quotes references from scriptures etc. to support his contentions; B quotes references to support her arguments. This repeats for as long as the participants still have energy and new supporting references. And the reader is left to decide who is the more persuasive.

    SInce your arguments are countering those of Venkat, you must address him directly, not speak of him in the third person. He is your pUrvapakShin if you like, not an observer. Also, it may well be that you ‘have Self-knowledge’ and are ‘an authority’ but you cannot claim this; you have to persuade the reader of this by your words. Indeed, claiming it is likely to make people think the opposite – it sounds like conceit. Even Shankara never made such a claim as far as I know!

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  19. Dear Dennis,

    I was most certainly responding to you. I had no illusions about this. I was responding to issues you had raised. I have said all that I had to say to Venkat and, I was, amongst other things, reporting to you all the quotes, logic etc which you ‘perhaps’ felt that I had not used.

    I get the spirit of your words. In the same breath I would say that perhaps you missed out on what I have said, because I have very obviously addressed all the issues you have raised in your last comment. ( motivation for debate, when should one debate, to what extent one should debate etc. And whether quotes can finally end an argument) The same quotes of scriptures has created three schools in Vedanta, which stand shoulder to shoulder till this date.

    Regarding Shankara claiming his Self Knowledge or not: he has clearly said that a Guru or true teacher is one who is established in Self Knowledge and has knowledge of scriptures as well as the traditional teaching methodology. And he certainly was a teacher. It certainly stands to undeniable logic that no one would even bother learning from Shankara if he did not claim Self Knowledge first. And no one can prove whether any person has Self Knowledge or not. Only when a student submits to the teacher, moves through his logic and then finally acquires direct Self Knowledge in himself, can he say that the teacher was right.

    So a teacher does not prove his Self Knowledge to his students first. That is impossible. The student has to put faith in him first or at least see some logic in the teaching to begin with. But what would a teacher do if a student begins and then continues to argue and fail to understand the logic 🙂 I did the same to James. There is no way but for the teacher to leave the student.

    There is no conceit involved in saying “I know Self” because then IF a person submits to my teaching method, I actually help him get direct Self Knowledge. It is then his/her discovery, which I facilitate. I am helping the student get the same knowledge as mine. Where is the conceit? It is absolutely democratic. And I am not holding anyone under gun point 🙂

    Do you think Shankara won over all his opponents? There were several rival schools during his time and continue to this date after his time. Debates have raged for centuries !

    Ultimately Dennis, the whole debate of Yoga Advaita vs Knowledge Advaita need not be resolved as both leads to Self Knowledge. Venkat just needs to appreciate the fact that there is the pure Knowledge Path in Advaita and it is not to be conflated with Neo-Advaita, for, if we go by the words of Gaudapada and Shankara in Mandukya Verse 3.40, the Knowledge Path is the more difficult path. I am addressing him in third person again because I have shown him this quote and he refuses to see, both what Gaudapada and Shankara have said. (I have also added Anansagir’s Tika, which, completely escapes my thinking, how he claims to be interpretation of Swami Nikhilananda when it is clearly mentioned as Anandgiri’s Tika.) At any rate, even if we exclude him – there can be nothing clearer than what Shankara and Gaudapada have said.

    Being the site owner I leave it up to you as to what is your stance on these two paths of Yoga Advaita and Knowledge Advaita. I have quoted Gaudapada, Shankara and have given irrefutable logic for the Knowledge Advaita path which is claimed by both to be the higher path. And I follow this path.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

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