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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Upadana and maya as the entity evolving in pari@nama


This

being the relation of cause and effect or Brahman and the world, the different followers of S'a@nkara Vedanta in explaining the cause of the world-appearance sometimes lay stress on the maya, ajnana or avidya, sometimes on the Brahman, and sometimes on them both. Thus Sarvaj@natmamuni, the writer of _Sa@nk@sepa-s'ariraka_ and his followers think that the pure Brahman should be regarded as the causal substance (_upadana_) of the world-appearance, whereas Prakas'atman Akhan@dananda, and

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Madhava hold that Brahman in association with maya, i.e. the maya-reflected form of Brahman as Is'vara should be regarded as the cause of the world-appearance. The world-appearance is an evolution or pari@nama of the maya as located in Is'vara, whereas Is'vara (God) is the vivartta causal matter. Others however make a distinction between maya as the cosmical factor of illusion and avidya as the manifestation of the same entity in the individual or jiva. They hold that though the world-appearance may be said to be produced by the maya yet the mind etc. associated with the individual are produced by the avidya with the jiva or the individual as the causal matter (_upadana_). Others hold that since it is the individual to whom both Is'vara and the world-appearance are manifested, it is better rather to think that these are all manifestations of the jiva in association with his avidya or ajnana. Others however hold that since in

the world-appearance we find in one aspect pure being and in another materiality etc., both Brahman and maya are to be regarded as the cause, Brahman as the permanent causal matter, upadana and maya as the entity evolving in pari@nama. Vacaspati Mis'ra thinks that Brahman is the permanent cause of the world-appearance through maya as associated with jiva. Maya is thus only a sahakari or instrument as it were, by which the one Brahman appears in the eye of the jiva as the manifold world of appearance. Prakas'ananda holds however in his _Siddhanta Muktavali_ that Brahman itself is pure and absolutely unaffected even as illusory appearance, and is not even the causal matter of the world-appearance. Everything that we see in the phenomenal world, the whole field of world-appearance, is the product of maya, which is both the instrumental and the upadana (causal matter) of the world-illusion. But whatever these divergences of view may be, it is clear that they do not in any way affect the principal Vedanta text that the only unchangeable cause is the Brahman, whereas all else, the effect-phenomena, have only a temporary existence as indefinable illusion. The word maya was used in the @Rg-Veda in the sense of supernatural power and wonderful skill, and the idea of an inherent mystery underlying it was gradually emphasized in the Atharva Veda, and it began to be used in the sense of magic or illusion. In the B@rhadara@nyaka, Pras'na, and Svetas'vatara Upani@sads the word means magic. It is not out of place here to mention that in the older Upani@sads

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the word maya occurs only once in the B@rhadara@nyaka and once only in the Pras'na. In early Pali Buddhist writings it occurs only in the sense of deception or deceitful conduct. Buddhagho@sa uses it in the sense of magical power. In Nagarjuna and the _Lankavatara_ it has acquired the sense of illusion. In S'a@nkara the word maya is used in the sense of illusion, both as a principle of creation as a s'akti (power) or accessory cause, and as the phenomenal creation itself, as the illusion of world-appearance.


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