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Alavandar's Siddhitrayam - Part 4

From: Venkatesh K. Elayavalli (vke_at_cypress.com)
Date: Fri Aug 06 1999 - 07:35:07 PDT

Dear Members,

In this post we conclude the Introduction to Atma Siddhi by Sri R.
Ramanujachari.
For those, who might have missed the earlier posts, these will be
archived at
both Bhakti List archives as well as the Sri Vishnava Acharya's page,
under
Sri Alavandar's page.

Since the text is extremely long, I'll post the intorductory part for
the three Siddhis
only. The actual text will go onto the WEB site and I'll forward the
link to the
bhakti list and save some bandwith. Please let me know if this is not
ok, and you
would need the entire text in email.

Thanks

----------------------------

Atma Siddhi - Intorduction - continued.
by  Sr R. Ramanujachari

Then Yamuna establishes that the soul is self-luminous counsciousness in

itself and possessess knowledge as its attribute. In its very essence
(svarupa)
the soul is consciousness; and it has consciousness as attribute
(dharma). To
distinguish consciousness, which is of the nature of dharma or attribute
from
that which is the svarupa of the soul, it has come to be called
dharmabhutajnana
(attributive consciousness). Attributive consciousness is eternal and
natural to the
soul ass luminosity is to the sun. This doctrine, special to
visistadvaita vedanta,
offers a satisfactory solution for many a knotty problems.

The objections, mostly from the Nyaya-Vaiseshika and MImamsa darsanas,
to
the view that concsiousness is eternal and natural to the self are next
considered.
Among other things, it is said, if knowledge were eternal there would be
no
distinction between one item of knowledge and another. Moreover,
knowledge is
known to be caused only when there is sense organ contact. Further,
there must
be knowledge even in deep sleep. These and other objections are suitably
met. It is
pointed out that if, as the opponent says, knowledge is an occasional
property of
the soul, it would amount to despiritualising it. After an elaborate
discussion into
the nature of prakasa (manifestation) Yamuna concludes that it is
anubhava
duratvam (not remote from experience). In this he is adopting the
definition offered
by Nathamuni. This conception offeres an easy explanation for all facts
of knowledge
and shows how the past and the future could come under the purview of
knowledge.

>From the foregoing discussion, Yamuna concludes that the soul has
consciousness
for its essential nature and is aware of itself at all times; and it
knows objects
besides itself, with the aid of dharma-bhuta-jnana working through the
medium of
manas and senses. Since the perception of external objects depends on
various
casual condition, it is said 'He knows', He does not know.

Though the soul shines forth as having consciousness for its essential
nature,
yet, like the fish which moves about in the deep lake or the milk
mingled with water,
the soul does not shine forth clearly and directly. That is why the
arguments
advanced by teachers of old consistently with the nature of the soul and
with
scriptural teachings are held in esteem. But these don't satisfy fully;
for they
could after all provide only indirect, mediate knowledge (paroksha
jnana). To
secure immediate knowledge (aparoksha jnana), persons seek to get rid of
the
veiling obscurities and evils, by the practice of yoga and to purify
themselves
through fire (puta paka) as it were by mental control allowing the
sattva quality
to predominate. Immediate knowledge arises only at the culmination of
the highest
stage of concentration. Thus with the aid of scriptural testimony,
inference and
perception resulting from the practice of yoga, such a disciplined
person cognises
the soul, which is in itself self-luminous, most clearly and explicitly
(bhavana prakarsha
paryante cha paroksha jnanamudayata iti sarva vadi nirvadam iti).

Next the inquiry into the duration of the soul (Kalavaccheda pariksha)
is taken up.
The Buddhist view that the soul is mementary (kshanika) is taken up for
consideration.
The rest of Atma-siddhi has been lost.

Yamuna refres to certain sections of Atma-Siddhi which are not
available. i) the
section called sambandhavimarsa where the nature of the reation of the
finite soul
to the infinite Self is determined is lost. ii) Again, the section where
he  establishes
that the soul is svatssukhi (blissful in its pristine purity) is also
lost. This being the
last item in the pratijna (what he set out to establish) it is clear
Yamuna completed
the work; but a good part has been irretrievably lost.


Alavandar ThiruvadikalE Saranam