Mayavada Darpanam

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Attack on Ajnaana of Advaita - 1


Prostrations to all.

We saw in the last mail in the series the defense of advaita against Madhva’s attacks on the vishaya of advaita. We have thus come to an end to the first part of the work which was Madhva’s attack on the vishaya of Advaita.

Next is the part where Madhva attacks Ajnaana. This is an important part as if Ajnaana is properly explained and understood then there remains nothing else to be explained. Ajnaana can be said to be one of the key component in the journey of a seeker from bandha to moksha. But it is a wrong argument and notion that once Ajnaana is attacked & proven to be illogical, Advaita falls to pieces. As acharyas have propounded clearly and as Sri Harsha proclaims at the end of Khandana Khanda Khaadhyam, even if a person refutes each and every thing in the world, still the refuter or the Subject of Atman or Brahman will ever remain the same as it is the Kutastha Chaitanya – a mere witness to all illusions which seem to be present in it.

Before entering into an analysis of Ajnaana from Advaita’s perspective, let us see what Madhva and his followers have to say on the same:

Madhva proclaims thus:

Ajnaana asambhavaadeva tanmatham akhilam apaakritham

As Ajnaana is not all possible (or cannot be proved), therefore all his theories are to be renounced.

Ajnaana of Advaita can never be really explained and hence the theory of Advaita which bases itself on Ajnaana has to be totally renounced. Thus Advaita is not worthy to be followed by a seeker to attain moksha.

Ajnaana has to veil the Self if it is to be really explained. But Advaita doesn’t accept the Self to be veiled as veiling means it is against the Self’s ever-established and self-luminous nature. Thus since the Self cannot be veiled, Ajnaana of the Self or for the Self is not at all possible. Thus Ajnaana is not at all possible for Advaita.

Let’s say Ajnaana is accepted, is Ajnaana real or unreal? Ajnaana cannot be real because in that case, it would affect the adviteeyatva of Atman. On the other hand, Ajnaana cannot be unreal because in that case, it would be like the son of a barren child & such an entity has no purpose in life.

If it is claimed that Ajnaana is anirvachaneeya or indescribable, what is this anirvachaneeyatva???? If Ajnaana is anirvachaneeya, then it cannot be experienced as well as that which can be described alone can be experienced. We never experience anything that is neither real nor unreal. Whatever is present or experienced is either real or unreal – it cannot be distinct from both.
Advaitins explain Ajnaana as the answer to all of the questions and doubts of the seeker but when it comes to explaining Ajnaana, they try to do so. But when they are trapped, they take the easier way out of saying that “Ajnaana is indescribable”. If Ajnaana is indescribable, why do we find the Lord mentioning about Ajnaana in Gita Chapter 5 where he proclaims that “the Self is veiled by Ajnaana”. This is totally against Advaita’s concept that Ajnaana cannot be described as well as that Ajnaana cannot veil the Self.

We also find Sankara, Sureshwara, Vimuktatman etc. going into depths to explain about Ajnaana, Ajnaana Nivritti etc. How can they enter into all these analysis if Ajnaana is anirvachaneeya?

If Ajnaana is anirvachaneeya like dream world, then it has to be totally renounced or ignored like dream. But we don’t find the same in works of Advaita where Ajnaana is given so much importance that the system itself goes by the name of Mayaavaada (wherein Maya is a synonym to Ajnaana).

Because of the aforesaid reasons, Ajnaana cannot be really explained in a logical way – thus the system of Advaita which bases itself on Ajnaana has to be totally renounced by a seeker desirous of moksha or liberation.

We will answer all the above objections through the reply of the Advaitin on Madhva’s attack on Ajnaana in the next mail in the series.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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