Author Topic: Adhyaasa  (Read 442 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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« on: February 22, 2015, 10:03:24 AM »

      Adhyaasa means error or mistake. This is the basis of Advaita Vedanta and of Shankara's interpretation of the Brahmasuutra. The doctrine of Advaita Vedanta rests upon the four aphorisms in the Vedas: consciousness is Brahman; that thou art; I am Brahman; this self is Brahman. Shankara's aim is to show that the Brahmasuutra is compatible with Advaita Vedanta. His claim is that adhyaasa causes the cycle of birth and death with its concommitant suffering. Once the error is removed, that is the end of the cycle.

      Errors can arise for various reasons. When I act without knowledge, I commit an error. Even if I know that I am ignorant I am still making a mistake. For example, lack of knowledge of Sanskrit can cause errors in these notes. Even if I know the word I may still make typographical mistakes. Here the error is due to lack of awareness, which is also effectively ignorance, since I am not conscious that what is being typed is not what was intended. Errors may also arise if the instruments of knowledge are defective, for example if I am colour-blind or if there is insufficient illumination. In all of these cases, I am ignorant of the truth and, more importantly, I take the false as real and possibly the real as false.

      The price of these mistakes is suffering. Ignorance is the source of error and error causes suffering. The solution is therefore knowledge - knowledge of Brahman (Brahmavidya) brings realisation and release from suffering. All techniques, yoga, paths etc. are only methods for preparing the mind to receive that knowledge.