Siddhantabindu of Madhusudana Sarasvati---12

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E text source- 68. Since the intellect in each body is different, the reflection of consciousness is also different. Therefore the consciousness identified with it also appears to be different. Nescience is however the same everywhere and so there is no difference in the consciousness reflected in it. So the witness-consciousness which is not discriminated from it does not ever appear different; i.e. it is only one.

Note: There are innumerable jivas because there are innumerable intellects. But there is only one nescience and so Isvara is only one.

69. According to this view (aabhaasa-vaada) the identity of ‘That’ and ‘Thou’ is only through exclusive secondary signification (jahal-lakshana), because the primary meaning of the limiting adjunct with the reflection of consciousness in it is totally abandoned and the reflection, being different from both sentient and insentient, is indeterminable. It has been said in Samkshepasariraka: If the words ‘Brahman’ and ‘aham’ primarily signify respectively avidya with the reflection of consciousness in it and the ego (intellect with the reflection of consciousness in it), then jahallakshana (exclusive secondary signifi-cation) has to be resorted to (for getting the import of the statement ‘aham Brahma asmi’). (I.169).

Note: Jahallakshana is applied when the primary meaning of a word has to be abandoned totally, as in the sentence “There is a hamlet on the Ganga”. Here the literal meaning of the word ‘Ganga’ cannot apply because there can be no hamlet on the river itself. So the word is interpreted as ‘the bank of Ganga’. In the present case, the primary meanings of the words ‘Brahman’ and ‘aham’ do not include pure consciousness which is the original (bimba). The primary meanings are, respectively, avidya with the reflection of consciousness in it and the intellect with the reflection of consciousness. Both these are indeterminable as either real or unreal. The reflection is indeterminable as either sentient or insentient. Therefore the primary meanings have to be abandoned and pure consciousness which is the basis for both has to be accepted as the meaning. The same is the case with the sentence “That thou art’.

70. It cannot be said that, since bondage is only for the reflection and liberation is only for the pure consciousness, the locations of bondage and liberation are different; and that no one would make an effort for his own destruction. This is because bondage has been attributed to the pure consciousness itself, through the reflection. It has been said by the revered Vartikakara: “This alone is our bondage that we look upon ourselves as a transmigrating entity”.

Therefore, the reflection of pure consciousness is itself the bondage and its cessation is liberation. There is nothing inconsistent in this.

Note: Identification of the jiva with the reflection of consciousness in the intellect, which is due to nescience, is bondage. The cessation of this identification is liberation.

71. Or, pure consciousness not discriminated from the reflection is also (to be included in) the primary sense of the terms ‘That’ and ‘Thou’. In that case, since a part of the sense is not abandoned, there is no inconsistency in holding that exclusive-cum-inclusive secondary implication is to be adopted. It is this view that is spoken of as aabhaasa-vaada.

Note: The alternative view stated here is that the primary senses of the terms ‘That’ and ‘Thou’ include pure consciousness in addition to the reflecting media (avidya and intellect) and the reflections in them. To arrive at the identity of these two, one part, namely, pure consciousness, is to be retained and the other part, namely, the reflecting media and the reflections, is to be abandoned.

72. The view of the author of Vivarana is that pure consciousness limited by nescience is Isvara and is the original which is reflected. Pure consciousness reflected in nescience limited by the internal organ and its samskaras is the jiva.

73. The view of the author of Samkshepasariraka is that pure consciousness reflected in nescience is Isvara. Pure consciousness reflected in the intellect is the jiva. Pure consciousness not limited by nescience, which is the original is pure (Brahman).

74. According to both these views (Vivarana and Samkshepasariraka), jivas are different from one another because their intellects (minds) are different. Since the reflection is considered to be real, exclusive-cum-inclusive implication is to be resorted to for determining the sense of the terms ‘That’ and ‘Thou’, etc. This is known as the reflection theory.

75. According to Vachaspatimisra, pure consciousness which is the content (object) of nescience is Isvara. The locus of nescience is the jiva. In this view multiplicity of jivas is due to multiplicity of nescience. Thus the universe is different for each jiva, because the jiva is the material cause of the universe since it has nescience as limiting adjunct. The recognition of the universe as the same by all is due to extreme similarity. Isvara is metaphorically described as the cause of the universe because of being the substratum of the jivas, nescience and the universe. This is the limitation theory.