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Re: SMS chari is in town

From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan (
Date: Mon Jul 10 1995 - 13:32:56 PDT

> However, since he thinks that the Upanishads do not embody
> one distinctive philosophy, an opinion shared by most Western
> scholars, he thinks Sankara's distinction of a higher and lower
> Brahman and two teachings is a most ingenious one and solves


I tend to think that the various bhAshyakAras were quite aware
of the fact that various lines of thinking co-exist in the upanishads. 
Their way of putting this is slightly different, given the apourusheyatvam
of Sruti. 

As for the two teachings, isn't it in the upanishads itself that all vidyas
including the Vedas are called apara and Brahmavidya is parA vidyA? From 
there it is no big leap to distinguish between two teachings and two levels
of reality. 

Furthermore, Sankara uses mAyA synonymously with daivAtmaSakti. avidyA is 
an individual thing, which causes the individual to be ignorant of Reality. 
The many cues in the upanishads which say "na sa veda", "na vidyate" etc. in
various places gives rise to a natural use of avidyA. 

Interestingly, some modern scholars see difference in emphases between
Sankara's BMS bhAshya and Br. up. bhAshya. BMS bhAshya is perceived to be 
more "traditional" than the Br. up. bhAshya, where he puts forth advaita in
more original terms. 

As for vivarta and pariNama, Sankara himself is not very helpful one way
or the other. He tends to mix the two in some places. As a vAda, vivarta
seems to be post-Sankaran. There is also another important vAda, that of
ajAti, as in Gaudapada's karikas, within advaita.