by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1940 | 232,512 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081
This page describes the philosophy of ramanujadasa alias mahacarya: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the eighteenth part in the series called the “philosophy of the ramanuja school of thought”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.
Rāmānujadāsa, called also Mahācārya, was the pupil of Bādhūla Śrīnivāsācārya. He is not, however, to be confused with Rāmānujācārya II, the son of Padmanābhārya and the maternal uncle of Vedānta-deśika—who was also known as Vādi-hamsa-navāmbuda.
He wrote at least three books:
In his Sad-vidyā-vijaya, in refuting the Śaṅkarite doctrine that the existence of positive nescience (bhāva-rūpā-jñāna) can be known by the different pramāṇas of perception, inference and implication, he says that intuitive experience of ignorance, such as “I am ignorant,” cannot be regarded as an experience of nescience as such in its entirety (kṛtsnā-jñāna-pratītis tāvad asiddhā), for it can never refer to all objects as negativing all knowledge. A perceptual mental state of the antaḥkaraṇa is not admitted by the Śaṅkarites to refer to entities past and gone. Even when a man intuits that he is ignorant, there is at that stage an illumination of his own ego and the fact of his being ignorant, and it cannot be said that in such an experience the nescience in its entirety has been illuminated, for the ego is also illuminated at the time.
If nescience in its entirety is not illuminated, then the nescience is only illuminated with reference to particular objects, and if that is so the assumption of a positive nescience is useless. Again, if nescience or want of knowledge refers to a particular object, then there is a knowledge of that object implied in it; and therefore nescience as such is not experienced and a supposition of a positive nescience is no better than the ordinarily accepted view that in such cases there is only a negation of the knowledge of an object except in deep dreamless sleep. In all other stages all experiences of ignorance refer to the negation of knowledge of particular objects. All cases of ignorance mean that their objects are known only in a general manner, but not in their specific details.
Again, it cannot be said that nescience is regarded as positive merely to denote that it is of the nature of a stuff that is opposed to knowledge in general (jñāna-sāmānya-virodhī) ; for in such experiences as “I am ignorant” there is the knowledge of the subject to which the ignorance belongs and also some general content regarding which there is the ignorance. Further, since the nescience has the pure consciousness as its support and since the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) is not regarded as its support, how can the experience “I am ignorant” be said to refer to the experience of this stuff? If it be held that since the mind is an illusory construction on the pure consciousness which is the support of the nescience (ajñāna), the latter may appear as a mental function, for both the ego and the nescience, being illusory impositions on the pure consciousness, may shine forth from the same identical basis of consciousness.
The reply is that such an explanation is obviously wrong, for if both the ego-consciousness and the ajñāna shone forth from the same basic consciousness, the latter could not appear as the predicate of the former. If the one pure consciousness manifests both the ego and the ajñāna, they would not appear as different and arranged in a definite subject-predicate order. Again, if it is held that the ajñāna shines only as a predicative to the ego because they are based on pure consciousness, then how can such an ajñāna refer to the objective things (w hich are independent impositions on pure consciousness) in such experiences as “I do not know a jug?” If it is said that since there is the one identical consciousness on which the objective entities, the ajñāna and the ego-entity, are all imposed, and the ajñāna is always in relation with the objective entities, then it may be said that even when a jug is known, the ajñāna, being in relation with other entities (such as cloth) and through them with the pure consciousness underlying them, is also in relation with the pure consciousness on which the jug is a construction.
As such it would also be in relation with the jug, with the result that there would be the experience that the jug is not known. It may be argued that the very fact of the positive perception of the jug may be an obstacle to the association of ajñāna with it. To this the reply is that just as when one says “I do not know this tree” there is knowledge regarding the “this” and ignorance regarding the nature of the tree, so here also there may be a partial knowledge and ignorance in different aspects of the same jug. In cases of doubt one has to admit knowledge and ignorance subsisting in the same entity, and this is true in all cases of inquiry where a thing may be known in a general way and yet remain unknown so far as its specific details are concerned.
Again, it is wrongly contended by the Śaṅkarites that during deep dreamless sleep there is a direct intuition of ajñāna; for if ajñāna were then known in its own nature as such, a man could not wake up and remember that he knew nothing. He should then have remembered that he had a direct intuition of ajñāna. If during deep dreamless sleep the pure consciousness illuminated ajñāna, it must have also illuminated all known and unknown things in the world, which is absurd, for then these would have been remembered during the waking period. It cannot be said that during deep dreamless sleep only ajñāna is manifested and nothing else, for according to the testimony of waking consciousness time is also perceived during dreamless sleep which accounts for the memory of the waking stage “so long I did not know anything.” Further, if it is held that whatever is illuminated by pure sāfoz-consciousness (i.e. without passing through the vṛtti stage) then the ajñāna also would not be remembered.
If it is held that the objects of ajñāna only are not illuminated by the sāfoz-consciousness but only the ajñāna, then that could not account for the memory in the waking stage “I did not know anything,” where “anything” definitely refers to some object of ajñāna. Moreover, if the above supposition were correct, then the pure bliss could not be illuminated during dreamless sleep and remembered later in the waking stage. If in reply to this it were contended that certain specific characters were remembered during the waking period in addition to the ajñāna because they were represented through the modes of avidyā, the reply is that instead of assuming that there were specific modes of avidyā one might as well admit them to be due to mental modes or states, and the experience of ajñāna might well be accounted for as being the experience of absence of knowledge. Since absence of knowledge is acceptable to all, there is no justification for admitting a new entity such as a positive ajñāna.
Again, in the case of loss of memory of a perceived object, a person might say that he did not know the object, but that does not prove that while he knew the object he had an intuition of the ajñāna of that object. After an illusory perception of conch-shell-silver one says “I did not know silver so long”; and how is this to be explained? Moreover, when one sees an object at the present moment, one may say “I did not know this object so long.” How is this to be explained? The obvious reply is that in all such cases we infer only that there was an absence of knowledge of those entities. In the instance under discussion also we may hold the same view and say that we infer that during dreamless sleep we had no knowledge. But we cannot say that we then intuited directly a positive ajñāna. The Śaṅkarites say that the existence of ajñāna as a positive stuff can be proved by inference also, for according to them just as light manifests things by removing the positive stuff of darkness, so knowledge also manifests things by removing the ajñāna stuff that was hiding them. In refuting this, Mahācārya enters into a long discourse of formal and scholastic criticism of the Śaṅkarite mode of syllogism which cannot appropriately be treated here.
The main point that is worthy of our notice here and which has a philosophical significance is the view of the Rāmānuja school that the illumination of things by knowledge does not presuppose that some positive stuff of ajñāna must have been removed. The Śaṅkarites object that unless ajñāna is admitted as a separate stuff, hiding the pure bliss of the self, it is difficult to explain emancipation. To this Mahācārya’s reply is that emancipation can well be explained as cessation of bondage. People are as anxious to gain positive pleasure as to remove negative pain. It is wrong to suppose that unless the bondage were false it could not be removed, for it is well known that the effects of poison can be removed by the meditation of the mythical bird Garuda. So worldly bondage can also be removed by the meditation of God, though it be real. Meditation as knowledge can remove not only ignorance but also the real fact of bondage. Emancipation may thus be regarded as the eternal manifestation of bliss and it is not indispensably necessary that all manifestation of bliss or happiness must be associated with a body like other ordinary bodily pleasure.
The Śaṅkarites say that since the unchangeable self cannot be the material cause of the world phenomena nor anything else, it comes by implication that there must be an ajñāna stuff which is the material cause of the world, for it is only such a material cause that can explain the ajñāna characteristics of the world-phenomena. Brahman has often been designated as the material cause of the world, and this is true only so far as it is the basic cause (adhiṣṭhāna - kāraṇa), the pure being that underlies all phenomena. The ajñāna is the changing material cause (pariṇāmi-kāraṇa), and as such the world participates in the nature of ajñāna in its characters.
To this Mahācārya’s reply is that even though the world-creation may be supposed to be false, that does not necessarily imply the assumption of a positive ajñāna. Thus the illusory silver is produced without any cause, or the self may be regarded as the material cause of the world-creation, which though partless may appear as the world through error. It cannot be said that a false effect must have a false entity as its cause, for no such generalization can be made. The presence of the common characteristic of falsehood cannot determine the supposition that a false entity must necessarily be the cause of a false effect, for there must be other common characteristics in other respects too and there is certainly no absolute similarity of characteristics between the cause and the effect. Moreover, an effect does not necessarily possess the same identity of existence as its changing material cause; it is therefore not impossible for the Brahman to be the material cause of the world, though its purity may not be found in the world.
If the Brahman is regarded as the pariṇāmi-kāraṇa of the world, it cannot of course have the same identical existence as the world, but if an entity can show itself in another form we may call it a pariṇāmi-kāraṇa, and it is not necessary for it to have the same existence as that effect. Thus, destruction and the cessation of avidyā are both regarded as effects and yet they have not the same existence as their causes. It cannot therefore be argued that if Brahman be regarded as the pariṇāmi-kāraṇa of the world, the world would thereby be as real as Brahman. Again, the non-appearance of the Brahma-character of the world may well be explained as being due to the influence of karma. Even for explaining the non-appearance of the Brahma-character of the world the assumption of an ajñāna is not necessary. It is also not necessary to define emancipation as the cessation of ajñāna, for that stage, being itself a state of bliss, can thereby be regarded as an object of our efforts, and the supposition of avidyā and its cessation is wholly groundless.
Mahācārya also made a vigorous effort to show by textual contents that the existence of avidyā as a positive ignorance is not admitted in the Vedic scriptures.
In the second chapter Mahācārya attempts to 6how that there is no necessity to admit an ajñāna as an independent hiding stuff. The Śaṅkarites argue that though the self is experienced in the notion of our ego, yet the self is not expressed in our ego-experience as identical with Brahman as the fullness of bliss, and for this it is necessary to admit that there is an ajñāna stuff which hides the pure character of Brahman. To this Mahācārya’s reply is that since ajñāna is regarded as beginningless its hiding capacity will also be eternal and no emancipation is possible; and if Brahman could be hidden, it will cease to have its own nature as self-luminous and will be ignorant. Moreover, the experience is of the form “I am ignorant” and as such the ajñāna seems to have reference only to the ego. If it is held that the existence of the veil is admitted only to explain the limited appearance of Brahman through mind (antaḥkaraṇa), then it may well be pointed out that the limited appearance of Brahman as ego may well be explained through the limitation of the antaḥkaraṇa through which it manifests itself, and for that it is not necessary to admit a separate veil of ajñāna.
Again it may be asked w’hether the veiling is identical with ajñāna or different from it. In the former case it would ever remain unmanifested, and the manifestation of the world-appearance would be impossible. If the veiling is something different from ajñāna, then since that something is not in any way related with pure consciousness its operation would not explain the world-illusion. If this veiling is supposed to render the ajñāna indefinable, then it may be asked if this veiling is something different from ajñāna or identical with it; in the latter case it would not depend on it and in the former case it is meaningless to regard ajñāna as antagonistic to Brahman. Thus, since the limitations through which the Brahman manifests itself are sufficient to explain the limited appearance of Brahman as world-objects, it is unnecessary to admit a separate ajñāna.
Again, if ajñāna can veil the pure sākṣi-consciousness, then the whole world would be blind and there would be no knowledge at all. If the sāfoz-consciousness cannot be veiled, then the Brahman also cannot be veiled. Further, if Brahman is always self-luminous, then it can never be hidden by ajñāna. If it is said that the selfluminosity of Brahman means that it cannot be the object of cognition (a-vedyatva) or of immediacy (aparokṣa), then it is unnecessary to indulge in the conception of veiling, for the non-cognizability is neither of the two. Again, the Śaṅkarites hold that the ajñāna hides the bliss part of Brahman but not the part of its consciousness. This is obviously impossible, for they hold that bliss and pure consciousness are identical; and if that were so, how can the bliss part be covered without covering also the part of consciousness, and how can one identical partless being, the Brahman, be divided into two parts of which one is covered while the other is not? Again, if the self is admitted to be of the nature of pure bliss, and if our love of pleasure is explained as being due to the illusory construction of the ego on this self, then since all things of the world are but illusory impositions on the self, all things in the world would be dear to us and even pain would be pleasurable.
In the third chapter Mahācārya refutes the Śaṅkarite theory of the support of ajñāna. It is held by some exponents of the Śaṅkara school that the ajñāna-constituents of the objects are supported in the pure consciousness underlying these objects. Though there are the modifications of these ajñāna entities, yet they may have relation with our ego-consciousness, for both the ego and the objects are but the states of a ground-aywāwa. To this Mahācārya says that if all objects of the world have separate and different ajñāna materials as their causes, then it is wrong to suppose that the illusory silver is produced by the ajñāna of the conch-shell. It would be much better to say that the ajñāna of the subject (pramātā) as it comes out with the antaḥkaraṇa has produced the illusory silver. Again, if the ajñāna of the conch-shell is regarded as beginningless, it is meaningless to regard it as being a modification of a ground- ajñāna, and if it is not regarded as a mode its perception cannot be explained.
There are again others who hold that the ajñāna constituting an external object in some sense subsists in the subject as well and thus there may be a connection between the subject and the object. To this Mahācārya says that such a view is impossible, for the consciousness underlying the object is different from that underlying the subject; and if it is held that pure consciousness is ultimatelv one, then all objects ought to be illuminated just as much as any particular object is illuminated at the time of any particular cognition. Again, if the consciousness underlying the objects and the subject is without any distinction, why should a man know himself to be ignorant when he says “I am ignorant”? There is no reason why this feeling of ignorance should be felt in the subject and not in the object when the consciousness underlying them are one and the same. Moreover, in that case where one person knows an object, there would be a knowledge of that object with all persons.
There are again others who say that the ajñāna constituent of the conch-shell has the consciousness underlving the ego-ex-perience as its support and the consciousness underlying the conch-shell as its object. To this Mahācārya says that the ajñāna supported by the consciousness underlying the ego-experience cannot undergo transformation, and, if this is so, it cannot explain the div erse objects.
There are others again who think that when a man says that he does not know the conch-shell his ignorance refers to the root- ajñāna; for though the ajñāna refers to the pure consciousness, that being identical with the pure consciousness underlying the conch-shell, the ajñāna also refers to the conch-shell and mav be so apprehended. One has also to admit that the illusory silver is also made up of the stuff of ajñāna, for since the illusory silver appears in perception, it must have some stuff as its material cause.
To this Mahācārya’s reply is that if the apperception of self-ignorance has a reference to the root -ajñāna, there is no justification for admitting separate ajñānas constituting the stuff of the objects. It cannot be suggested that the existence of such ajñāna may be proved by the fact that each perception implies the cessation of a particular ajñāna, for the disappearance of such an ajñāna is only a matter of inference, and it may as well be assumed that it does not mean anything more than that a particular cognition follows only the absence of that particular knowledge. A negation-precedent-to-a-production is always destroyed by the production of a particular entity.
When one says “I did not know the jug long, but I know it now,” the cessation of the absence of knowledge or the ajñāna has a direct and immediate reference to the subject, the knower. But the removal of the ajñāna hiding the objects is only a matter of inference from the fact of cognition, and it can never be immediate or intuitive. Again, if the root -ajñāna is supposed to veil the pure consciousness as underlying the objects, it is unnecessary to suppose the existence of separate ajñānas hiding the objects. If it is supposed that the pure consciousness underlying the objects, being identical with Brahman, which is referred to by the root-ajñāna, may appear in consciousness as being limited under the object-appearance, it may be asked how on account of the association of the root -ajñāna the object may appear to be unknown even when it is known. Again, the root-ignorance implied in such an experience as “I do not know” cannot belong to the mind (antaḥkaraṇa), for it is a material object and it cannot belong to the self-shining pure consciousness. Being what it is, it cannot be ignorant about itself.
Further, it may well be said that though the self is manifested in self-consciousness yet it often appears as associated with the body, and though objects may generally be known as “knowable” yet their specific nature may not be known and it is this that often leads to doubt; all these are inexplicable except on the assumption of ignorance. They may all be admitted, but even then the assumption that ajñāna acts as a veiling agent is wholly unwarrantable. Uncertainty (anavadhāraṇa) and veiling (āvaraṇa) are not one and the same thing. In the appearance of water in a mirage there may be doubt due to uncertainty, and it cannot be denied that there is all the appearance of water which could not have been if the so-called ajñāna had veiled it. Nor can it be said that the uncertainty is due to the veiling, for it may well be urged that since veiling cannot manifest itself either as being or as self-luminous, it is itself a mere consequence or result of the factor of uncertainty.
If it is urged that the factor of indefiniteness or uncertainty itself constitutes the nature of veiling (anavadhāraṇatvam eva āvaraṇam), then it may be said that the fact that the individual ego is not felt to be identical is regarded as being due to the veiling operation; but that does not mean that there is any uncertainty in our experience as the limited individual. If there were any such uncertainty, then ego-experience would not have stood as an indubitable fact. Again, if ajñāna be itself of the nature of uncertainty, then there is no meaning in ascribing a separate veiling character to it. If it is held that ajñāna is supported only by pure consciousness, then there would be no reason why the individual selves should pass through the cycles of birth and rebirth, for such ajñāna would have no association with the individual selves. If it is urged that the same consciousness manifests itself through the individual self, then it may also be urged that since the consciousness underlies both the individuals and God, God may equally well be supposed to undergo the cycle of birth and rebirth.
It is sometimes said that it is the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) which experiences pleasure and pain and it is this that constitutes bondage. The mind itself being an illusory construction on the pure consciousness, the characters of the mind are felt to belong to the consciousness. To this Mahācārya’s reply is that if the bondage belonged to the mind, then the pure consciousness cannot be supposed to suffer bondage. For if the suffering of bondage is due to the false notion of the identification of the pure consciousness with the mind, the bondage is not due to mind but to that false notion. In a similar manner Mahācārya enters into a criticism of many alternative interpretations that are offered by various writers of the Śaṅkara school in support of the existence of ajñāna and such of its relations as may explain the world creation, and finally tries to establish his view that in whichever way the relation of ajñāna may be conceived it is fraught with diverse kinds of contradictions which bafHe explanation.
Again, in the fourth chapter Mahācārya contends that the avidyā cannot be regarded as ultimately real (pāramārthikī) for then there would be no monism. It cannot be regarded as the stuff of all that is cognized in practical experience (vyavahāriki), for then it could not be called the stuff of illusory experiences. It is sometimes urged that even from false things, such as a false fear, there may be real illness or even death, and so even from ignorance there can be real knowledge. Mahācārya points out that this analogy is false, for even in the above instances it is knowledge that produces the said results. If avidyā is false, then all its material transformations must also be false, for the effect is always identical with the cause. It is urged that since the world-objects are false their knowledge must also be false; then the Brahman, which is the knowledge which is itself a product of avidyā, is also false.
Further, if ajñāna be regarded as one, then with the knowledge of conch-shell all ajñāna should cease; for without the cessation of ajñāna the conch-shell could not have been known. It cannot be said that with the knowledge of the conch-shell only the veil hiding it has been removed and that the ajñāna did not cease, for experience testifies to the disappearance of ajñāna and not that of the veil. Thus one is forced to admit the existence of many ajñānas. For if it is held that knowledge removes only the veil, then even the last emancipating knowledge would also remove only a particular veil and that would not result in the destruction of the ultimate ajñāna. Again, ajñāna is defined as that which is destroyed by knowledge (jñāna). If that is so, it is obviously wrong to define knowledge as being itself a product of ajñāna. The effect cannot destroy the causal entity. Again, if at the time of emancipation of a man the ajñāna is supposed to be destroyed, such an ajñāna if it is one only would be wholly destroyed and there would be no other ajñāna left which could bind the other unemancipated individuals. It is supposed that ajñāna must be false, for it is destroyed by knowledge, but at the same time it is admitted that the ajñāna is destroyed by the true scriptures (śruti), and when a thing is destroyed by another real and true entity the former cannot be regarded as false.
Again, avidyā is sometimes defined as something the cessation of which can be produced by knowledge (jñānajanya). Now Brahman is itself the cessation of avidyā, but it is not produced by knowledge. If knowledge is regarded as a means to the cessation of knowledge (jñānasādhyatvāt), then it does not necessarily mean that it has produced the cessation (na ca sva-janyatvam eva sva-sā-dhyatvani). If the two concepts are regarded as identical, then the relationing of avidyā to which avidyā may be regarded as a means would also have to be admitted as being produced by avidyā, which is reasoning in a circle. Arguing on the same analogy, one might as well say that the cessation of the relationing with avidyā depends on the cessation of avidyā, but in that case since the cessation of avidyā itself means a relationing with avidyā it becomes a tautology only.
Again, in order to differentiate any ordinary erroneous view, which is removed by right knowledge from avidyā, it has been defined as being beginningless yet destructible by knowledge. Now, it may be asked, what is the nature of this knowledge which destroys avidyā ? Does it mean pure consciousness or only mental states? If it is pure consciousness, then it cannot destroy the root-im-pressions (saṃskāra); for it is only the mental states (vṛtti) which can destroy the mental root-impressions, and if avidyā is a beginningless saṃskāra it cannot be removed by knowledge as pure consciousness and thus the assumption of its being beginningless serves no useful purpose. The second supposition, that knowledge which destroys avidyā is only a mental state, cannot also be correct, for it is held that knowledge as mental state can remove only the veil of ajñāna but not the ajñāna itself. If it is said that the mental state removes both the veil and the ajñāna, then the definition of ajñāna as that which can be removed by knowledge becomes too wide, as it would also signify the veil (āvaraṇa) which is not intended to be covered within the definition of ajñāna.
Again, if ajñānas are regarded as many, then such cognitive states can remove onlv the ajñānas veiling the ordinary objects, and cannot therefore be applied to one undifferentiated ajñāna- whole which can be removed only by the intuition of the partless real, for this knowledge would not be a mental state which is always limited. Here also the ajñāna must be supposed to be hiding the nature of Brahman, and the cessation of the ajñāna is directly consequent upon the cessation of the veil. So, firstly, the direct cause of the cessation of the ajñāna is not knowledge but the removal of the veil; secondly, it is the removal of the veil that is caused by the knowledge, and so it is this that ought to be called ajñāna according to the definition, for the veil is both beginningless and destructible by knowledge. Mahācārya enters into a series of further criticisms of the definition of avidyā which are more or less of a scholastic nature and may therefore be omitted here.
In the fifth chapter Mahācārya disputes the possibility that the avidyā is illuminated or manifested. If avidyā was self-manifesting, then it would be real and spiritual like the Brahman. If the manifestation of Brahman were the manifestation of the manifestation of the avidyā, then the former being eternal the manifestation of the avidyā would also be eternal; yet avidyā is always regarded as existing only so long as it shines, and therefore as false (mithyā-rthasyapratibhāsa-samāna-kālīnatva-niyamāt). If the manifestation (prakāśa) of avidyā be regarded as its non-distinguishingness (1 abheda) with the manifestation of Brahman, then so long as the manifestation of Brahman remains, the avidyā would also remain and hence avidyā itself would be eternal.
Again, if it is urged that, when the avidyā ceases, its non-distinguishingness with the Brahma-manifestation would also cease, and hence Brahman would be eternal and avidyā would be destructible, a further difficulty may be pointed out to this contention, namely, that if the avidyā be indistinguishable from the Brahma-manifestation, then either the latter would be false or the former real. It would be absurd to suggest in reply that, though different, they have an identical being (bhinnatve saty abhinnas-attākatvam). The criticisms suggested herein will apply to the doctrine if the illumination of avidyā be explained as the manifestation of Brahman, as limited by avidyā (avidyā-vacchinnaṃ brahma-svarūpam avidyā-prakāśaḥ) or as conditioned by it or reflected through it.
In the next chapter Mahācārya tries to show the incompatibility of the conception that avidyā may be brought to an end. He says that pure consciousness cannot be supposed to destroy avidyā. Then avidyā can never exist, for the pure consciousness is eternally existing and as such by itself destroys avidyā and no other effort is necessary. If pure consciousness cannot destroy avidyā, it cannot do so when reflected through a mental state (vṛtti-prativimbitam), for it is not more than the unlimited consciousness (caitanyād adhika-viṣayatvā-bhāve tadvad eva mvarttakatvā-sambhavāt). If the pure consciousness reflected through a vṛtti cannot remove avidyā, then it cannot do so when limited by a vṛtti or conditioned by it. The vṛtti itself also cannot remove it, for it is itself material. If it is held that the knowledge which contradicts the illusory notion brought about by the ajñāna destroys it and not the intuition of the reality, then if that contradiction is something identical with pure consciousness, it is the pure consciousness which is to be supposed as destroying the ajñāna ; the objections against such a view have already been dealt with.
If knowledge and ajñāna are different, then it is wrong to suppose that knowledge destroys ajñāna ; for knowledge is the contradiction that is supposed to destroy avidyā and bysupposition avidyā is not knowledge. Moreover, since that illumination which destroys ajñāna cannot be supposed to have a further veil which is removed by it, it cannot rightly be called knowledge; for knowledge according to the supposition of the Śaṅkarites operates by removing a veil. Further, this knowledge is supposed to be opposed to all things in the w’orld, and if that is so how can it be said that by this knowledge only the ajñāna is destroyed? Again, if it is supposed that illusion consists in identifying everything with Brahman and knowledge is supposed to remove this false identification, then since knowledge is supposed to operate by removing a veil, it has to be supposed that ajñāna was veiling the false identification, and if that were so there could have been no knowledge in our world-experience.
Again, the cessation of avidyā is also incomprehensible in itself, for it cannot be different from the nature of Brahman; if it were there w'ould be duality and emancipation would be impossible. If it were one with the Brahman, then being so it would exist always and there would be no scope for making any effort about it. It cannot also be said that avidyā and Brahman mutually negate each other; for avidyā has Brahman for its support and as such is not antagonistic to it.
Footnotes and references:
Sad-zidyā-vijaya, pp. 39-75 (MSS.).
nanu upādāno-pādeyayoḥ sālakṣaṇya-niyama-darśanād eva tat-siddhir iti cet sarvathā sālakṣaṇyasya mṛd-ghaṭayoḥ apy adarśanāt yat kiñcit sārūpyasya śukti-rajatā-dāv api padārthatvā-dinā satvāt.
Ibid. p. 77.
yad uktaṃ brahmaṇaḥ pariṇāmitayā upādānatve pariṇāmasya pariṇāmi-samāna-snttākatva-niyumena kāryasyā'pi satyatva-prasaṅga iti. tatra kiṃ pari-ṇāma-śabdena kārya-mātraṃ vivakṣitam, uta rūpā-ntarā-pattiḥ; dhvaṃsasya avidyā-nivṛtteśca pariṇāmi-samāna-sattākatvā-bhāvāt na hi tad-rūpeṇa pariṇāmi kiñcid asti. na dvitīyaṃ rūpā-ntarā-patteḥ pariṇāmi-mātra-sāpekṣatvāt gauraveṇa sva-samāna-sattāka-pariṇāmy-apekṣā-bhāvāt.
Sad-vidyā-vijaya, p. 77.
ajñānasya caitanya-mātrā-śrayatve ive saṃsāra-hetutā na syāt vaiyadhi-karaṇyāc caitunyasyai’va jīve-śa-vibhāgāt sāmānādhikaraṇye īśvarasyapi saṃsāra-prasaṅgaḥ.
Sad-vidyā-vijaya, p. 107 (MS.).
Sad-vidyā-vijaya, p. 116.