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[Vidyasankar Sundaresan: double pruning and other mysteries]

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani)
Date: Tue Aug 23 1994 - 12:28:16 PDT

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From: vidya@cco.caltech.edu (Vidyasankar Sundaresan)
To: mani@sgi.sgi.com
Subject: Re:  double pruning and other mysteries
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 23:46:35 -0700

Sankara would take offence with the statement 

No term applicable to the individual self is applicable only to it.
It must be extended to the Indwelling Divine too. 

By this reasoning, all the change and imperfections in the individual 
jiva would also be thought of as being applicable to Brahman. However
Brahman remains forever in its essential nature, so such change cannot
be really applicable to Brahman at all. 

Again, the whole problem boils down to whether the world is regarded 
as real as Brahman or not. For Sankara, the world is real but not 
ultimately real. Thus svatah pramana, paratah apramana. By itself, we
apprehend only the world, and so see only the world as real, but 
once Brahman is realized, the world takes on a new meaning. It is not 
ultimately real, as it cannot have an existence apart from Brahman,
which is sat itself. His analogy is particularly interesting. He says
"Has the power to burn an existence of its own apart from the existence
of fire?" The existence of the power is the same as the existence of the 
fire. We may think of them as separate, but in reality they are one. 

It is thus that this world is Brahman. Viewed apart from Brahman, which is
vyavaharika satya, man's understanding of the world is faulty. Because, apart
from Brahman, the world can have no existence. Still, man is able to look
at the world as existent, even without knowing Brahman. It is that which is 
anirvachaniya. On knowing Brahman, the world is also realized to be nothing
other than Brahman. This point is made very powerfully in the Vivekachudamani.

I think even some later Advaitins must have taken the maya term in its 
popular connotation. This is probably a hangover from the prakrti idea of
Samkhya. This must have been responsible for the very rejection of the 
idea by Ramanuja. 

vidya
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