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Thread: Paradvaita Doctrine of Kashmiri Shaivism

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    Arrow Paradvaita Doctrine of Kashmiri Shaivism

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    Do you hold jagat to be absolutely real? If so, how do you account for multiplicity seen with the senses? Is ignorance and evil also Shiva?
    1. Absolutely Real (Sat) is only Anuttara or Paramashiva, God, pure Consciousness, Brahman. In this point Paradvaita agrees with Advaita-vedanta: brahma satyam.
    The world is real, but relatively: its reality is totally dependent upon Consciousness. As Abhinavagupta puts it, “The absolute monism is that principle that neither refutes nor establishes diversity” (Malinivijaya-varttika, I.123). And, “Therefore, only the Atman shines [everywhere] taking as its form the whole objective existence known as the universe, and appearing as all this without any break” (Ishvarapratyabhijna-vimarshini with Bhaskari, I.51). This doctrine is called Abhasa-vada.
    Paradvaita rejects doctrines of Vivarta and Parinama.
    2. The perception of multiplicity is possible due to Self-concealing of God, which He performs in His total freedom, svatantrya. “But Almighty God, being able to do even the impossible, and possessing pure independence, is skilled in playfully concealing His real Self” (Tantraloka, IV.10).
    3. As B.N. Pandit explains, “According to the absolute non-dulaism of Paradvaita, He (God) and He alone exists in all the various scenes of this play. All creation has its real and eternal existence within God in the form of the divine potency of His pure consciousness. Once creation becomes manifested as apparent phenomenal existence, it has a beginning and an end. Even so, perfect yogins see only the existence of one Absolute God in both the apparent phenomenal existence and the pure noumenal existence of absolute Consciousness. Siva yogins must not only know this truth, they have to actually feel it as well. Then and then alone do they attain perfect and complete Self-realization.
    God is God in both His noumenal and phenomenal aspects” (Specific Principles of Kashmir Saivism. Delhi, 1997. P. 7)
    To sum up, “Consciousness alone has an independent existence, and Consciousness alone shines as the whole phenomenal world” (ibid., p. 9).

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    Also, do you accept that Brahman is changeless and perfectly homogeneous? If yes, how are you reconciling the changing nature of the world as percieved through the senses.
    Brahman is changeless.
    “Saivas do not accept that there is any transformation of either Siva (the transcendent) or Sakti (the immanent). Rather, they explain that the immanent aspect of Consciousness is an outwardly reflectional manifestation of the inwardly existent divine powers of the transcendent (Siva)” (Specific Principles of Kashmir Saivism. Delhi, 1997. P. 18).
    “God is like a mirror in that reflections shining in Him do not transform Him in any way. […] God, bearing the whole psycho-physical existence as reflections, is also not involved in any transformation of His essence. He remains pure Consciousness alone while appearing as infinite phenomena” (ibid., p. 19).

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    I am not finding realism as wrong, but that position would not be compatible with vedantic ideal of changeless and ekapada Brahman. My only doubt in this regard is, what should be considered a change in the Brahman. Is Brahman subject to change, due to the apprent changes we percieve. By Human logic, if something changes and it is Brahman, Brahman also changes.
    “If the absolute monistic existence of pure Consciousness is accepted, then its independent activity of bearing diverse forms can not be explained at all. But all this can be justified and explained if it be accepted as endowed with freedom in the form of Self-awareness” (Ishvarapratyabhijna-vimarshini with Bhaskari, II.203).

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    Classical advaita tries to prove that Brahman does not change, since the changes are not real. Advaita based on realism try to prove that Brahman is not changed even if we consider the jagat as real. This is a hard nut to crack, and human logic may not be applicable to Brahman at all. So both positions maybe correct.
    Abhinavagupta analyses views of Advaita-vedanta, saying:
    “If it is argued that the unity of absolute Consciousness is a reality, and that [the appearance] of diversity is due to the disturbance caused by avidya, then it is not possible to resolve who is responsible for this defect of ignorance (avidya). For on the one hand, how could Brahman, who is pure knowledge, assume the form of ignorance? And on the other hand, in reality there is no other creature to whom ignorance could occur” (Ishvarapratyabhijna-vimarshini with Bhaskari, II.202).
    And adds, “If a Vedantic aspirant identifies avidya with Maya and takes the latter as the divine potency of Brahman, he also can attain the highest perfection” (Ishvarapratyabhijnavivriti-vimarshini, III.405).

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    Question

    Namaste Arjuna,

    How do you see that Paradvaita is essentially different from Shankaracarya's Mayavada?

  3. #3
    Namaste Arjuna,

    The world is real, but relatively: its reality is totally dependent upon Consciousness. As Abhinavagupta puts it, “The absolute monism is that principle that neither refutes nor establishes diversity” (Malinivijaya-varttika, I.123). And, “Therefore, only the Atman shines [everywhere] taking as its form the whole objective existence known as the universe, and appearing as all this without any break” (Ishvarapratyabhijna-vimarshini with Bhaskari, I.51). This doctrine is called Abhasa-vada.
    Paradvaita rejects doctrines of Vivarta and Parinama.
    Advaita vedanta is Abhasa-vada only. Read BSB 2.3.50. Both vivarta and parinama are different ways of viewing this, and are not really opposed to each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna
    2. The perception of multiplicity is possible due to Self-concealing of God, which He performs in His total freedom, svatantrya. “But Almighty God, being able to do even the impossible, and possessing pure independence, is skilled in playfully concealing His real Self” (Tantraloka, IV.10).
    How is this essentially different from vivarta? Self concealing is nothing but vivarta put in a dignified way! Infact, it is not even different from lila or sport, which is the activity of a personal God!

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna
    Brahman is changeless.
    “Saivas do not accept that there is any transformation of either Siva (the transcendent) or Sakti (the immanent). Rather, they explain that the immanent aspect of Consciousness is an outwardly reflectional manifestation of the inwardly existent divine powers of the transcendent (Siva)” (Specific Principles of Kashmir Saivism. Delhi, 1997. P. 18).
    “God is like a mirror in that reflections shining in Him do not transform Him in any way. […] God, bearing the whole psycho-physical existence as reflections, is also not involved in any transformation of His essence. He remains pure Consciousness alone while appearing as infinite phenomena” (ibid., p. 19).
    Abhasa vada has its own share of logical problems, because it has to introduce artificial concepts like mirror etc. When Brahman alone exists, where from come such "mirrors"? Paninama vada has its own set of issues. Brahman being Upadana Karana itself has its own issues. Changes only in the internal potency or consciousness could be argued as no different from parinama vada.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna
    If the absolute monistic existence of pure Consciousness is accepted, then its independent activity of bearing diverse forms can not be explained at all. But all this can be justified and explained if it be accepted as endowed with freedom in the form of Self-awareness
    Self awareness of the Brahman has been rejected by Adi Shankara due to the logically fallacy of dualty arising from the concept of seer and the seen. "I" ness arises only when there is dualty.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna
    “If it is argued that the unity of absolute Consciousness is a reality, and that [the appearance] of diversity is due to the disturbance caused by avidya, then it is not possible to resolve who is responsible for this defect of ignorance (avidya). For on the one hand, how could Brahman, who is pure knowledge, assume the form of ignorance? And on the other hand, in reality there is no other creature to whom ignorance could occur” (Ishvarapratyabhijna-vimarshini with Bhaskari, II.202).
    And adds, “If a Vedantic aspirant identifies avidya with Maya and takes the latter as the divine potency of Brahman, he also can attain the highest perfection” (Ishvarapratyabhijnavivriti-vimarshini, III.405).
    There are advaitins who think that the distinction between Avidya and Maya is an unnecessary one. Perhaps just different shades of Maya? Avidya has been used to denote the state of existance where divinity is not known in anyway, except from the books. Maya denotes a state where divinity is experienced. When Maya is transcended Isvara is experienced. When Isvara is transcended, the highest perfection is attained.

    I may be wrong - but I think your views appear to fall mid way between monism and dualism. Are you sure you are speaking of a Yogi attaining complete identity with Shiva here, or just percieves Shiva everywhere? In the latter case, it is Vishistadvaita only.

    Because:

    Even so, perfect yogins see only the existence of one Absolute God in both the apparent phenomenal existence and the pure noumenal existence of absolute Consciousness. Siva yogins must not only know this truth, they have to actually feel it as well. Then and then alone do they attain perfect and complete Self-realization.

    does not looks like perfect non dualism of Shankara advaita. On the face of the description, it appears closer to Vishsitadvaita. But I may be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarabhanga
    Namaste Arjuna,

    How do you see that Paradvaita is essentially different from Shankaracarya's Mayavada?
    Namaste Sarabhanga,

    As far as i know, in Shankara's Advaita-vedanta there is an unresolved problem of status of Maya. If it is not inherent in Brahman itself (which will lead to Shaiva/Shakta view), what can be its origin and what is the object of its effect? Since there is no clear answer to these, Maya was claimed to be unexplicable.

    However, from a note of Abhinavagupta it is clear that he accepted that Shankara's Vedanta view is close to Shaiva one, but mistaken is some issues.

    If my understanding of Shankara's position is inaccurate, U may correct me. Then we can see what is the difference of Paradvaita and Advaita-vedanta (or there is none).

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    Namaste TS,

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    Namaste Arjuna,
    Advaita vedanta is Abhasa-vada only. Read BSB 2.3.50. Both vivarta and parinama are different ways of viewing this, and are not really opposed to each other.
    Yes, i know: but this Abhasa is different. Acc. to Pandit's definition:
    Abhasa-vada of Vedanta — the theory that the phenomenon is merely a vision without any substance.
    Abhasa-vada of Kashmir Shaivism — the theory that everything exists within the light of consciousness, and appears as different on account of the playful will of the infinite consciousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    How is this essentially different from vivarta? Self concealing is nothing but vivarta put in a dignified way! Infact, it is not even different from lila or sport, which is the activity of a personal God!
    This is Lila, but of Brahman Himself.

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    Abhasa vada has its own share of logical problems, because it has to introduce artificial concepts like mirror etc. When Brahman alone exists, where from come such "mirrors"? Paninama vada has its own set of issues. Brahman being Upadana Karana itself has its own issues. Changes only in the internal potency or consciousness could be argued as no different from parinama vada.
    Brahman is Self-aware, and only in this case He is really ONE (and no other force, entity or anything is there, like "unexplicable" avidya) and GOD (and not mere void).

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    Self awareness of the Brahman has been rejected by Adi Shankara due to the logically fallacy of dualty arising from the concept of seer and the seen. "I" ness arises only when there is dualty.
    Atman needs not anything apart from itself for its own shining as Prakasha and self-awareness as Vimarsha, since these "two" are but linguistic figures to describe its Nature.
    If one rejects Self-awareness inherent in Brahman, there arises two problems: Brahman becomes same as unsentient void, and the appearance of phenomena cannot be explained. This leads to subtle dualism of Brahman + avidya.

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    I may be wrong - but I think your views appear to fall mid way between monism and dualism. Are you sure you are speaking of a Yogi attaining complete identity with Shiva here, or just percieves Shiva everywhere? In the latter case, it is Vishistadvaita only.
    Because:
    does not looks like perfect non dualism of Shankara advaita. On the face of the description, it appears closer to Vishsitadvaita. But I may be wrong.
    Shaiva view is of pure Monism.
    Since all phenomena is just Consciousness, same God is undividedly experienced both as Saguna and Nirguna. And Shiva-yogin is Shiva.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna
    As far as i know, in Shankara's Advaita-vedanta there is an unresolved problem of status of Maya. If it is not inherent in Brahman itself (which will lead to Shaiva/Shakta view), what can be its origin and what is the object of its effect? Since there is no clear answer to these, Maya was claimed to be unexplicable.
    True, but the followers of Shankara advaita have clarified the position.

    According to the bamathi school, Maya is not inherent in Brahman itself, and its status is unexplicable. The individual jiva is the locus of avidya ,, but it pertains to the individual, who is subject to it. brahman is never subject to avidya , but controls it in Its capacity as ISvara. Istasiddhi of Vimuktatman even says avidya is not an evil but an embellishment, which should be very close to the self concealment described by you!

    According to the vivarna school, since there is only the One brahman, that brahman Itself is both the locus of avidya and the object of avidya. You certainly cannot ignore this view from a true monistic perspective, because all other views are only disguised forms of this view.

    Both these solutions have their merits and issues. Appayya Dixita demonstates how both these schools are one in essence in attacking a logical problem with advaita.

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    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    True, but the followers of Shankara advaita have clarified the position.
    According to the bamathi school, Maya is not inherent in Brahman itself, and its status is unexplicable. The individual jiva is the locus of avidya, but it pertains to the individual, who is subject to it. brahman is never subject to avidya , but controls it in Its capacity as ISvara.
    This seems not to make complete sense. "Unexplicability" is just a logical fault, since every experience can be explained. What are jiva and Ishvara? Again, a product of avidya? If so, the problem remains; and if not and they are separate, it become dualism.

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    According to the vivarna school, since there is only the One brahman, that brahman Itself is both the locus of avidya and the object of avidya. You certainly cannot ignore this view from a true monistic perspective, because all other views are only disguised forms of this view.
    Yes, this seems to be close (or identic) to Shaiva position.
    What is the basis of vivarna school and its date of origin?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna

    This seems not to make complete sense. "Unexplicability" is just a logical fault, since every experience can be explained. What are jiva and Ishvara? Again, a product of avidya? If so, the problem remains; and if not and they are separate, it become dualism.
    Inexplicability is allowed because we are dealing with something beyond human understanding. In blunt terms, any monistic philosophy is faced with the challenge of explaining the apparent dualty without compromising the unchanging, blemishless nature of Brahman. Thus, these are only efforts in the direction. Bamathi tries to retain the svayam prakAshatva of Brahman, by shifting the locus of ignorance to jiva. Thus the locus of avidya is avidya itself, and is an infinite chain, yielding infinite number of jivas. Avidya is never traced out, and it is an infinite chain whose origin need not be discussed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna
    Yes, this seems to be close (or identic) to Shaiva position.
    What is the basis of vivarna school and its date of origin?
    vivarana gets its name after Sri Prakashatman (10th century) which is based on Sri Padmapada's Panchapadika. It seems more correct to me, but the base criticizm directed against this school is assigining opposites to the same Brahman, like omniscience and ignorance, omnipotence and finiteness etc.

    You must realize that any form of advaita is always on the defensive. No foolproof explanation can ever be offered for something that completely defies sense perception. You can only meet objections one by one, and try to answer it. Your answers are likely to be criticized again, and the cycle goes on. You can frequently see Dvaitins proposing an advaita khandana, and the advaitins coming up with an advaita bhushana and so on. To this day there is no final conclusion that has been mutually accepted. Dvaitins assume that they have comprehensive rebuttal of advaita, but advaitins dont agree. We reply that Dvatins do not understand advaita properly and some of their arguments are flawed. Atleast someone should be aware that Brahman is not in the realm of human logic to know for sure who is right.

    Thus, advaita has to rely more upon scripture and verbal testimony than logic which is not the case with dualistic schools. In any case, I dont have a problem in assigning the opposites to Brahman, since there is no escaping this fact anyway. If everything is Brahman, this has to be true. Avidya has to be Brahman only, what else could it be, if Brahman alone exists? You could argue that Avidya is "modified" Brahman, or "distorted" Brahman, but final conclusion is the same.

  9. #9
    What is avidya? I'm not fully understanding from the discussions of this thread...can anyone explain in more details. Thanks

  10. #10
    vidya is knowledge, and consequently avidya literally translates to opposite of knowledge, namely ignorance. It can take a number of meanings based on the context. Brahman is of the nature of pure undifferentiated consciousness, but that is not we see with our physical senses, and this multiplicity which we see is called avidya or ignorance of the true nature of the Self.

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