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Dr. Sadananda

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Puurvapakshi-s claim that subject matter is not Brahman
« on: February 22, 2015, 02:00:55 PM »
Puurvapakshi-s claim that subject matter is not Brahman

      Here the puurvapakshi-s include all those who claim that the subject matter of Vedanta shaastram is other than Brahman. Who are those puurvapaksha-s? Obviously it includes only those who analyze the Vedanta shaastram. Hence naastika-s are not of concern here since they do not believe in Veda pramaaNa. Hence the puurvapaksha-s are the aastika-s, that is those who accept Veda pramaaNam. There are six aastika darshhanam - saa.nkhya, yoga, nyaaya, vaisheshhika, puurva miimaa.nsaa and uttaramiimaa.nsa or vedaanta (see Introductory chapter for details). The first five are the possible puurvapaksha in relation to Vedanta. Of these we reduced them to three since saankhya and yoga are practically the same and they are bunched as one as saa.nkhya-yoga system. Similarly nyaaya and vaisheshhika are almost the same and together are referred to as nyaaya-vaisheshhika system. Hence the three puurvapaksha-s; saa.nkhya-yoga, nyaaya-vaisheshika and puurvamiimaa.nsaa are negated using the word 'tu'. Vyasa has to negate each one. He considers saa.nkhya-yoga as the most powerful puurvapaksha. Hence he spends the rest of the first chapter, from fifth to one-hundred & thirty four, for two tasks; establishing Vedanta that is brahma samanvaya and negating saa.nkhya-yoga puurvapaksha. Hence the rest of the 130 suutra-s in this chapter is a commentary on the word 'tu'. He extends this negation of saa.nkhya-yoga even to the second chapter. The nyaaya-vaisheshhika is not looked upon as that powerful but only a weak puurvapaksha for refutation. In the second chapter nyaaya-vaisheshhika is discussed very briefly. In one suutra Vyasa says it is not at all relevant.

      puurvamiimaa.nsaa is only left out. It is the ritualistic section of the Veda and is analyzed using sutra format by Jaimini maharshi, who was in fact a disciple of Vyasacharya. There is a bhaashhyam also for this suutra by shabara swami - shaabara bhaashhyam. Shankara holds this bhaashhyam with high regard. We normally do not consider the puurvamiimaa.nsaa and shaarbara bhaashhyam as puurvapaksha at all, since the puurva bhaaga of Veda-s are relevant and useful since it is a means for dharma, artha and kaama - dharma artha kaama purushhaartha siddhyarthaM puurvamiimaa.nsaa atyantam upakaarakam. In addition it is useful for chittashuddhi, for purification of the mind. Hence it is called dharma shaastram. It is helpful to obtain the saadhana chatushhTaya sampatti, discussed with reference to suutra 1. Hence puurvamiimaa.nsaa is not really a puurvapaksha. But we emphasize that puurvamiimaa.nsaa cannot give moksha. According to Vedantins, Jaimini as well as Shabara muni also accept this. However later there were subcommentators who wrote subcommentaries on the shaabara bhaashhyam and presented the puurvamiimaa.nsaa as a means of moksha. Subsequently the subcommentators pushed their arguments further to claim that puurvamiimaa.nsaa alone gives moksha, and uttaramiimaa.nsaa is utterly useless. Therefore the puurvamiimaa.nsaa as presented by these subcommentators forms puurvapaksha. Here puurvapaksha does not include other vedantins such as vishishhTaadvaita and Dvaita but only with non-vedantins. The difference of opinions among the vedantins in the interpretation of Brahmasuutra comes under yaadaviiya kalahaM, internal differences only in interpretations since all vedantins come under one category as uttaramiimaa.nsaka-s. Here all the puurvapakshins are aastika anyottaramiimaa.nsaka-s. Vyasacharya is going to negate elaborately the saa.nkhya-yoga and to some extent the nyaaya-vaisheshhika in the first and second chapters, since those two were considered important at that time. Since Vyasa does not discuss the puurvamiimaa.nsaa to that extent, Shankara uses this opportunity to cover also the puurvamiimaa.nsaa elaborately in his bhaashhyam under the pretext of the word 'tu', Brahman alone or only. This is because of the renewed emphasis on puurvamiimaa.nsaa or karmakaanDa at the time of Shankara, due to the influence of Prabhakara and Kumarila Bhatta, who were the two influential sub-commentators of the shaabara bhaashhyam of the Jaiminisuutra-s. The story of the debate between Shankara and Mandana Misra, the disciple of Kumarila Bhatta is well known. Kumarila Bhatta's subcommentary is in the form of vartikam or verses known as bhaTTa vaartikam-s and the philosophy that was expounded based on the puurvamiimaa.nsaa is called bhaaTTamatam. Similarly Prabhakara's commentary which is in prose form is called bR^ihatii. There he presents another version of puurvamiiimaa.nsaa called praabhaakaramatam. Hence bhaaTTamatam and praabhaakaramatam form the puurvamiimaa.nsaa puurvapaksha-s for our analysis.

      First the discussion of puurvapaksha. Under this we will first discuss the common views of both matam-s and later point out where they differ. Later we negate the puurvapaksha using siddhaanta. This is like exercise while learning atomic theories; first we learn about Rutherford model and then later we discard it for the better quantum mechanical model. It provides the glimpse of the logic of the thought that went in the analysis. As noted in the very introduction of the suutra-s, all this analysis and the study of Brahmasutra is not necessary for a saadhak for self-realization, but would help in confirmation of his understanding, particularly when the mind is still full of doubts about the nature of the reality and means to accomplish the goal.