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Advaita - For Layman

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KRS

Active member
Folks,

I am continuing the discussion from the scholarly thread here. I am going to base my answers to various criticisms leveled at Advaitham, from various sources, mainly though ideas from two books: 1. 'The Seven Great Untenables' by John Grimes (who received his Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Madras and now teaches Vedanta at Michigan State University (MSU), Michigan, USA) published by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Publishers Private Ltd., Delhi - First Edition - 1990.

This is Professor Grimes home page at the University:
https://www.msu.edu/user/grimesj/resume.html

The second book 'Advaita Vedanta' is by Professor Emeritus Eliot Deutsch, Professor of Philosophy at University of Hawaii, which was originally published by the University of Hawaii press in 1969.

While Professor Grime's book follows the Indian tradition of debating metaphysics, by point by point refutation and reply, Professor Deitsch's handling of the material is to treat Advaita on the well defined western philosophical framework in metaphysical, epistemological and ethical aspects of the philosophy.

Info about him can be found here:
http://www.hawaii.edu/phil/index.ph...2:eliot-deutsch&option=com_content&Itemid=114

Since both these and other sources are copy righted, I can only synthesize and post here my own words; but I will strive to cite the relevant pages.

My postings will only about Advata and offering explanations to questions posed here by folks much more well informed than I.

I will strive to show that there are no inconsistencies within the framework of Advaita and any perceived inconsistencies and 'untenables' arise mainly because of not understanding Advaita's axioms properly.

I can go in to length about why Acharya Ramanuja or Acharya Madhwa raised the objections, but I will not. Nor will I go in to allegations (because they can not be proved beyond doubt) that Acharyal Shankara somehow 'borrowed' the concept from Buddhism. Whether it happened that way or not it does not matter. Because there are clearly verses in the Vedas (and I consider Upanishads as part of Vedas) where Abheda references occur. Just the fact that Bheda and Bheda-Bheda references are more numerous do not by itself lend to the theory that Abheda concept does not have Vedic validity. Such an assumption in my opinion, would be wrong. Professor Grimes states that the concept of Advaita is as old as the Vedas themselves.

Let me also say that while my knowledge is very limited, the knowledge of folks who have posted here, while is much higher than mine, we all need to understand we are talking about the three jewels of our philosophical systems and world view. We are talking about thinkers, who were intellectual and spiritual giants and are considered as prime Gurus for the folks in Sampradhayams they started. So, my defending the tenets of Advaita should in no way be construed as any attack on any other Sampradhaya.

Then with your permission I will address the first untenable:The Locus of Avidya in a day or two.

Regards,
KRS
 
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renuka

Well-known member
I posted this in the other thread and posting same thing here:


Maya is also known as Trigunatmika for it has 3 Gunas/Attributes.
Nirguna Brahman as we know is free from any Guna/Attribute/Form but many people think as if this state is powerless or not capable of anything but thats not true.

Attributes and Forms limit anything and being sans attributes and forms is a state that is Unlimited and hence called the Supreme State.

When Nirguna Brahman acquiesces with Maya it is known as Saguna Brahman.

What I want to stress is its not that Nirguna Brahman changes to Saguna Brahman as in changing one form and losing the original form but its merely a projection or reflection.
Nirguna Brahman remains ever pure in its original state.

For example when we go to a house of mirrors..we see different mirrors that reflect our image differently.
Some make us look fat..some make us look thin..some make us look distorted but our true body remains the same isnt it?

Thats how Maya works and Maya is the Trigunatmika mirror in which if the :

Sattva Guna reflected in the mirror of Maya is Iswara(Saguna Brahman)
Rajo Guna reflected in the mirror of Maya is Jeevaatma
Tamo Guna reflected in the mirror of Maya is Prakrithi.
 
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Advaita or non-dualism as propounded by Sankara has been misunderstood and misinterpreted, according to some brAhmaNas who led an austere life and spent their time in AtmajnAna, and who tried to share their knowledge with small neighbourly groups.

As a last-ditch attempt to persuade people not to deform or ravage this magnificent philosophy (though it has some weak-spots, caused, imho, mainly because Sankara had to write bhAshyas to get his ideas over to the people in general) I am giving below the core ideas which my limited intelligence has been able to absorb from the aforesaid "chamber pravachanams or discourses" by people who shunned publicity and were contented to live in peace and go away.

1. jeevAtmA is no different from the parabrahman.
Dear Sri sarma-61 ji,
please help me fit aVidya and mAya under this explantion:
2. The jeevAtmA resides in all living things as untaintedly as the Supreme Brahman. But once the jeevAtmA is associated with or covered by the physical body-mind-intellect (and the five kOSas, according to some), the jeevAtmA becomes clouded in its vision and is no longer able to express its inherent nature through all these filters (five kOSas, or intellect-body-mind trio~ Chinmayananda often used this BMI acronym in his Gita lectures).
3. If a type of cataract operation were possible to be performed on the clouded ‘vision’ of the jeevAtmA, people could get brahmajnAna on order, may be even through internet ordering!
thanks
 
I posted this in the other thread and posting same thing here:


Maya is also known as Trigunatmika for it has 3 Gunas/Attributes.
Nirguna Brahman as we know is free from any Guna/Attribute/Form but many people think as if this state is powerless or not capable of anything but thats not true.

Attributes and Forms limit anything and being sans attributes and forms is a state that is Unlimited and hence called the Supreme State.

When Nirguna Brahman acquiesces with Maya it is known as Saguna Brahman.

What I want to stress is its not that Nirguna Brahman changes to Saguna Brahman as in changing one form and losing the original form but its merely a projection or reflection.
Nirguna Brahman remains ever pure in its original state.

For example when we go to a house of mirrors..we see different mirrors that reflect our image differently.
Some make us look fat..some make us look thin..some make us look distorted but our true body remains the same isnt it?

Thats how Maya works and Maya is the Trigunatmika mirror in which if the :

Sattva Guna reflected in the mirror of Maya is Iswara(Saguna Brahman)
Rajo Guna reflected in the mirror of Maya is Jeevaatma
Tamo Guna reflected in the mirror of Maya is Prakrithi.

Dear Renu,
Is maya a manifestation of Brahman? If no, how did it get those Gunas?
 
I am so and so. I know to some extent who am I. What is my personality, my attitude, my motives, my own priniciples to live my life, what I want in my life, what is may tactics to protect my interest, to what extent I can manage myself and when I would require others help to help myself etc..etc..

While living in this physical world of Maya, the same "me" can project myself in a different personality in my official/professional environment, can project mayself in a totally different personality in my social envirnoment and can be totally different in my domestic environment. I may keep changing or mixing my projections in all different environments from time to time as the need be. BUT, the reality is "It's ME". I am the ONE and myself alone can know well as "who am I in totality".

Myself alone can be the own best self critique and can not cheat myself. Can not hide myself from myself.

I might have projected myself differently in different environment with good intentions for the better or with bad/selfish intentions and mislead others. BUT it's "ME" in ME who can not conceal what my intentions are.

My purest inner consicous is the ABSOLUTE REALITY.

My different projections is only "RELATIVE REALITY"

The best skills or lack of skills that I possess to project different personality in different environment can be termed as MAYA in me that may mislead MYSELF and OTHERS.

Having within "ME" the ABSOLUTE REALITY (my inner consciousness), the RELATIVE REALITY (projecting "ME" differently in different living environment) and MAYA (the tricky / manupulative skills that I employ to help different projections/interchanging projections/mixing projections), can it be right to say that -

I AM DIFFERENT/I HAVE NO OWNERSHIP to/of my DIFFERENT PROJECTIONS and my different TRICKY/MANUPULATIVE SKILLS?

The "I ness" in me is the sum total of my "Absolute Reality", "Relative Reality" and "MAYA" - the skills that helps me to be manupulative.

The highest level of Spirituality/Saadhana helps me to reckon my true innerself and explore -

"Who am I? / For What am I? / Why and What is my Motive? / Why I need to feel Happy and Sad? / What exactly is Happiness and Sorrow? / What I Need exatly and What I don't need at all? / What and Why should I achieve with my different projections? / Where/what is the absolute "ME" and where/how the "ME" can feel the Absolute Bliss?

When the "ME" in me get into deep investigation, I find that "NOTHING" is the absolute reality. SHOONYAM is the absolute reality and this SHOONYAM has the absolute BLISS.

The "ME" and my different Projections can well "Dissolve" into NOTHING and be in absolute bliss ful state. I have "nothing" and I am "no where". I had my origination from "0" (zeero), gone through the vrious process / experiences / feelings / emotions / desires / attachemtns / detachments etc and having found no true happiness, atlast found myself complete in "0".

The atma gets dissolved into the ABSOLUTE. The absolute Bliss ful state/energy. And Subtly contributes/participates in/merges with the ONE Supreme Blissful Consciousness-Brahman-the absolute reality.

With the highest spiritual level and saadhana the Atma realizes itself as nothing BUT the part and parcel of the BRAHMAN.

AHAM BRAHMASMI.

MAYA / Physical World / Saguna Brahman are all the manifestation of the Absolute reality-Brahman for a Jeevatma to work towards Gnyaanam from Agnyaanam.



We can come out with many anologies, explanations, interpretations etc..etc..BUT all these can/are happening as and in a relative reality.

Each jeevatma need to undergo Sadhana individually and get to know - "Whats the TRUTH?".

We can pose plently of questions. Can give 1000s of explanations/anologies. But neither the questions nor the explanations/anologies can completely satisfy our inner consiousness that wants to seek the TRUTH.

Honest Spirituality/Saadhana/Mounam/Self experiences alone can let us know - WHAT IS THE TRUTH?

---------------------------------

Explanations, anologies, guidence from Guru etc..etc. can help deepen one's spiritual practices and self realization BUT can never provide the TRUTH convincingly / satisfactorily, as a product. It's only self experiences / purifications / saadhana / realizations with which one can satisfy onself as what is the TRUTH.

Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi has attempted to make some seekers/questioners understand this, by keeping himself silent. Ramana Maharishi made them understand two things. 1) How to be patient and trust a Guru or can say how to trust/understand the Supreme Power AND 2) that one has to sincerely make personal attempts to find the TRUTH and that alone can give one a convincing reply to oneself.


 
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sravna

sravna

Well-known member
Dear Renu,
Is maya a manifestation of Brahman? If no, how did it get those Gunas?

Dear Shri Ozone,

In my opinion it is better to think of maya as the illusive power of brahman and not as a manifestation of brahman. The effect of maya is that the three gunas are manifest in all the entities in the material world.
 
Dear Shri Ozone,

In my opinion it is better to think of maya as the illusive power of brahman and not as a manifestation of brahman. The effect of maya is that the three gunas are manifest in all the entities in the material world.
that doesnt seem to be in line with my understanding. I think its rather the other way.
The illusive nature of Maya prevents the realisation of Brahman
And Maya is born is out of ignorance, which is aVidya?
 
Doesn't advaita also not have clear convincing answers about Brahman as well? It is not this, not that, not nothing, not something (neti neti, not very different to anatta it seems!). When one asks more one is told you cannot perceive it with your senses as Brahman is beyond what we can perceive in this physical world. So can one "realise" something that one cannot perceive? Can we realise something that is beyond our perception?

Smt. Amala,

imho, "advaitam" is not something which can be discussed and understood through a web forum like this one. But Shri sravna seems to have an obsession with making public his knowledge of advaitam (whatever it is) and getting approval for it from at least like-minded people. While I do not hold Sankara's advaitam as fault-free, and think that almost the whole world believes in either dualism (dwaitam) or VA, the way Sankara could make a leapfrog in philosophical thinking is something commendable, according to me. I only wish that Sri sravna comes forward and says clearly that what he discusses here is his notion/version/brand of advaitam. But he seems to feel that those who point out that this is not original advaita as propounded by Sankara, are "detractors who seem to put a lot of thought into dissuasion". (I don't know whether this is not personal accusation as per forum rules.) Hence, I am not giving a detailed response to your above post.

You may perhaps get better idea of advaita from Shri sravna's version than from Sankara's version which is more than 1100 years old and probably, beyond its expiry date now!


 

tbs

0
hi renuka,
according.....BRAHMA SATYAM ...JAGAT MITHYA.....JIVO BRAHMAIVA NA APARAH......simple advaitam for lay man....
 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Renu,
Is maya a manifestation of Brahman? If no, how did it get those Gunas?

Dear ozone,

Bhagavad Geeta has the answer to this:

“You must know that whatever belongs to the states of sattwa, rajas and tamas, proceeds from me. They are contained in me, but I am not in them. The entire world is deluded by the moods and mental states which are the expression of these three gunas. That is why the world fails to recognize me as I really am. I stand apart from them all, supreme and deathless. (Bhagavad Gita 7:12, 13)
 
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sravna

sravna

Well-known member
that doesnt seem to be in line with my understanding. I think its rather the other way.
The illusive nature of Maya prevents the realisation of Brahman
And Maya is born is out of ignorance, which is aVidya?

Yes you are right. Maya obstructs the realization of brahman but it is borne from brahman and hence it is a power of brahman.
Better than saying that maya is born out of ignorance we can say that the effect of maya is ignorance or avidya.
 

renuka

Well-known member
hi renuka,
according.....BRAHMA SATYAM ...JAGAT MITHYA.....JIVO BRAHMAIVA NA APARAH......simple advaitam for lay man....


TBS garu,

What are you doing in Layman thread? You have Phd in Advaita isn't it? You should be debating away in the Scholar thread..which is going on interestingly and I am begining to wonder whose garland is going to fade when the debate is done at the Scholar Thread.
 
AVIDYA

What is Avidya? Does it just mean "NOT KNOWING"? How and who can say that he/she or onself having Avidya?

First we have to see what is Vidya? Does any subject knowledge means Vidya? What sort of Vidya is the highest Vidya and how can one occomplish it? Are there any lower level Vidhya that serves no purpose?

Who is the founder of Vidya? Who is holding on or causing Vidya and Avidya?

How Vidya is gained and how Avidya is created? What's the purpose of both Vidya and Avidya?

What can cause Avidya?? Is that Maya that causes Avidya? If it is the fact that Maya causes Avidya then Who Creates and Governs MAYA?

Can Maya be a seperate entity outside the scope of reality and have no creator?

Is it possible to explore what is Vidya and Avidya just being a mere human being with desires and ambitions to live with satisfaction?

What is Life? Just to eat, drink, be merry and die one day? What's the level of happiness? What's the limit of satisfaction? What is the level of peace and what is the limit of idleness?


Is there any one important thing, knowing which, Everything else can be known? If yes what is that one knowledge and how that can be gained?

What level of Vidya can answer all the questions? And by that can say that Vidya has been obtained.

-------------------------------
I am full of AVIDYA. I wish I can know What is Vidya and How I can be complete with Vidya?

Is it possible for me to occomplish Vidya living a life, full of desires? Is it possible for me to have and enjoy the bliss of Vidya without experiencing the "lack of Vidya"?


------------------------------------


As a child we are extremely happy and pampered with Toys. We are happy with all the toys in the form of duplicate Car / bike / train / Airplane / dog / cat / bear / girl / boy / money / house etc..etc..Having tender brain of a child we are satisfied with these toys and get immense pleasure. Is it Avidya of the KID?

When we grow up, we are happy with the real stuffs. The stuffs that we can fully utilize and that serves the purpose. Is that Vidya of a grown up brain?


As a grown up adult, livng different phases of life, we start desliking the real stuffs we have/had (subjective and objective) and try to obtain the better version of the same real stuffs or any new stuff. Is it Vidya or Avidya?

At the ripe old age we find pleasure with peace of mind and some comfort to manage ourself. We don't yearn for something that can provide us some mind blowing pleasures. Does that constitues gaining of Vidya or Avidya?

Kindly help me what is Vidya and when I can gain it? How can I escape from Avidya? What is the way towards gaining Vidya? Should I bother to know what is Vidya and to have Vidya? Should I be scared of influenced by Avidya?



P.S. The above is just in general as what a person can ponder about vidya and avidya. The "ME" and "I" in the above statements are not pertaining to Myself.

 
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renuka

Well-known member
AVIDYA

What is Avidya? Does it just mean "NOT KNOWING"? How and who can say that he/she or onself having Avidya?

First we have to see what is Vidya? Does any subject knowledge means Vidya? What sort of Vidya is the highest Vidya and how can one occomplish it? Are there any lower level Vidhya that serves no purpose?

Who is the founder of Vidya? Who is holding on or causing Vidya and Avidya?

How Vidya is gained and how Avidya is created? What's the purpose of both Vidya and Avidya?

What can cause Avidya?? Is that Maya that causes Avidya? If it is the fact that Maya causes Avidya then Who Creates and Governs MAYA?

Can Maya be a seperate entity outside the scope of reality and have no creator?

Is it possible to explore what is Vidya and Avidya just being a mere human being with desires and ambitions to live with satisfaction?

What is Life? Just to eat, drink, be merry and die one day? What's the level of happiness? What's the limit of satisfaction? What is the level of peace and what is the limit of idleness?


Is there any one important thing, knowing which, Everything else can be known? If yes what is that one knowledge and how that can be gained?

What level of Vidya can answer all the questions? And by that can say that Vidya has been obtained.

-------------------------------
I am full of AVIDYA. I wish I can know What is Vidya and How I can be complete with Vidya?

Is it possible for me to occomplish Vidya living a life, full of desires? Is it possible for me to have and enjoy the bliss of Vidya without experiencing the "lack of Vidya"?


------------------------------------


As a child we are extremely happy and pampered with Toys. We are happy with all the toys in the form of duplicate Car / bike / train / Airplane / dog / cat / bear / girl / boy / money / house etc..etc..Having tender brain of a child we are satisfied with these toys and get immense pleasure. Is it Avidya of the KID?

When we grow up, we are happy with the real stuffs. The stuffs that we can fully utilize and that serves the purpose. Is that Vidya of a grown up brain?


As a grown up adult, livng different phases of life, we start desliking the real stuffs we have/had (subjective and objective) and try to obtain the better version of the same real stuffs or any new stuff. Is it Vidya or Avidya?

At the ripe old age we find pleasure with peace of mind and some comfort to manage ourself. We don't yearn for something that can provide us some mind blowing pleasures. Does that constitues gaining of Vidya or Avidya?

Kindly help me what is Vidya and when I can gain it? How can I escape from Avidya? What is the way towards gaining Vidya? Should I bother to know what is Vidya and to have Vidya? Should I be scared of influenced by Avidya?



P.S. The above is just in general as what a person can ponder about vidya and avidya. The "ME" and "I" in the above statements are not pertaining to Myself.


Raviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, so many questions yaar..Vidya Vidya Vidya and then there is talk about childhood(bala) also..I can only think of Vidya Balan now!!

Just kidding..good post BTW.Thought provoking.
 
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sravna

sravna

Well-known member
We defined brahman as existence-consciousness-bliss or famously as sat-chit-ananda. Let us endeavor to dwell into this and try to understand more. We will try to look into each of these. I request members like Renuka and other learned members to contribute their knowledge towards a better understanding of this.
 

renuka

Well-known member
We defined brahman as existence-consciousness-bliss or famously as sat-chit-ananda. Let us endeavor to dwell into this and try to understand more. We will try to look into each of these. I request members like Renuka and other learned members to contribute their knowledge towards a better understanding of this.

Dear Sravna,

I will contribute more next week cos I am busy studying now and by next week I will be more free.
In fact I was planning to rope in some verses from Ashtavakra Samhita cos it has lots of salient points on Advaita.
 
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sravna

sravna

Well-known member
Sure Renuka

Dear Sravna,

I will contribute more next week cos I am busy studying now and by next week I will be more free.
In fact I was planning to rope in some verses from Ashtavakra Samhita cos it has lots of salient points on Advaita.
 
OP
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sravna

sravna

Well-known member
Dear Sravna,

I will contribute more next week cos I am busy studying now and by next week I will be more free.
In fact I was planning to rope in some verses from Ashtavakra Samhita cos it has lots of salient points on Advaita.

btw, good luck for the exam!
 
Raviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, so many questions yaar..Vidya Vidya Vidya and then there is talk about childhood(bala) also..I can only think of Vidya Balan now!!

Just kidding..good post BTW.Thought provoking.

hmmmm...Thought provoking?? I thought its thought wrecking!! LOL.

btw, good luck for the exam..
 
Dear Sri sarma-61 ji,
please help me fit aVidya and mAya under this explantion:

thanks
Shri ozone,

As you may well know mAyA is a later term which became more popular than its earlier substitutes in advaita literature, like adhyAsa, adhyArOpa, avidyA, etc.

The main weakness of advaita is also its dependence on the mAyA-avidyA concept while at the same time insisting that there is only one single Reality which they call nirguNa brahman (a brahman which has no features or characteristics, absolutely.).
As for your doubt (query) I will say that the avidyA or mAyA (A/M)arises once the jeeva comes into contact with the B-M-I.

But the history of advaitic thought and how the advaitin scholars have answered the objection raised by Ramanuja about the locus of A/M, is a really convoluted one. As an example, let me state that the vivaraNa school of advaita holds that brahman is the locus of A/M, whereas the bhAmati school states that A/M is located in the jeeva.

It will thus be seen that even among the immediate disciples and commentators of Sankara there was confusion about the A/M concept. That was why nAthamuni, Ramanuja etc., called advaita as mAyAvAda.

May be Shri sravna's tenet viz., the brahman has mAyA as its weapon (and creates jeevas deluded by mAyA and is feeling happy - satchit Ananda concept - to see these countless jeevas suffering in samsAra and some learned people calling all these as "leelA" or play of the brahman or god, is the true explanation (I don't know) making the nirguNabrahman a clear sadist;) .


 
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sravna

sravna

Well-known member
Dear Shri Sarma,

I do not imply that brahman is a sadist:) That's a twist. What I meant was that the totality of all the experiences in the physical world creates a state of mind which is blissful.


Shri ozone,

As you may well know mAyA is a later term which became more popular than its earlier substitutes in advaita literature, like adhyAsa, adhyArOpa, avidyA, etc.

The main weakness of advaita is also its dependence on the mAyA-avidyA concept while at the same time insisting that there is only one single Reality which they call nirguNa brahman (a brahman which has no features or characteristics, absolutely.).
As for your doubt (query) I will say that the avidyA or mAyA (A/M)arises once the jeeva comes into contact with the B-M-I.

But the history of advaitic thought and how the advaitin scholars have answered the objection raised by Ramanuja about the locus of A/M, is a really convoluted one. As an example, let me state that the vivaraNa school of advaita holds that brahman is the locus of A/M, whereas the bhAmati school states that A/M is located in the jeeva.

It will thus be seen that even among the immediate disciples and commentators of Sankara there was confusion about the A/M concept. That was why nAthamuni, Ramanuja etc., called advaita as mAyAvAda.

May be Shri sravna's tenet viz., the brahman has mAyA as its weapon (and creates jeevas deluded by mAyA and is feeling happy - satchit Ananda concept - to see these countless jeevas suffering in samsAra and some learned people calling all these as "leelA" or play of the brahman or god, is the true explanation (I don't know) making the nirguNabrahman a clear sadist;) .


 
I have read that Shankara's advaita doesnt dwell too much on the cause of avidya as once its recognised and removed, it is as if avidya never existed! Apparently this is why Shankara himself didn't bother too much about it with detailed discussion on where does avidya come from, the locus of avidya, whom does it belong too etc as these are totally irrelevant once atman is known. Apparently its the later disciples and followers of his that refused to let this matter be and created elaborate theories on avidya wrt the root cause, locus etc.

If Shankara was around he would have told them of that its about Brahman not avidya and to not get distracted! :).

Is this correct ?
 
I have read that Shankara's advaita doesnt dwell too much on the cause of avidya as once its recognised and removed, it is as if avidya never existed! Apparently this is why Shankara himself didn't bother too much about it with detailed discussion on where does avidya come from, the locus of avidya, whom does it belong too etc as these are totally irrelevant once atman is known. Apparently its the later disciples and followers of his that refused to let this matter be and created elaborate theories on avidya wrt the root cause, locus etc.

Smt. Amala,

As you may know, it is difficult for me to accept that Sankara would have answered his critics in the manner you say. Firstly, the argument that details like whence avidyA comes, its locus, etc., are not at all irrelevant in a grand philosophical theory or "darSanam"; every minuscule detail has to be fitted in absolutely logically like a perfectly fitting jigsaw puzzle.

May be Sankara would have taken the argument that once the jeevAtma in its untainted state gets associated with B-M-I, it gets under the illusion. This is what we see here also.

If Shankara was around he would have told them of that its about Brahman not avidya and to not get distracted! :).

Is this correct ?

You know I am not the proper person to answer this highly intelligent remark! :)
 
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sravna

sravna

Well-known member
Dear Amala,

I am fascinated by Sankara because his philosophy seems to have been developed something like, details will fill themselves in, if you get the big picture right. The consistency in his philosophy, helped him to win over all his opponents and so establish his philosophy. In contrast the later philosphers who purportedly demolished his philosophy were more in to details sometimes to the point of exasperating fastidiousness.

I am not saying avidya is a minor detail but generally talking about what seems to me the approach of the sankara when compared with those of others.
 
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Dear Shri Sarma,

I do not imply that brahman is a sadist:) That's a twist. What I meant was that the totality of all the experiences in the physical world creates a state of mind which is blissful.

Shri sravna sir,

I also did not intend to mean that you said so (brahman is sadist). But when you postulate ideas like the following, an ordinary intellect like mine, gets somewhat confused (and I feel that is also probably mAyA overdose:) ) and starts forming its own decipherment of all such deep and lofty ideas:—


Here,

When talking of maya it is important to talk about both:

(1) the lower reality in which the jivatma dwells
(2) The ignorance of the jivatma itself.

The former which is the physical world, as we have seen is due to the projecting power and the latter is the veiling power. Both are attributable to maya.

(1) is necessary because it is the basis of all the learning experiences so that reality cannot be a perfect reality

(My humble, dumb doubt - is it the aim that the reality should not be a perfect reality?)

(2) because learning experiences are necessary to become realized and so one starts from ignorance.
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/general-discussions/8242-advaita-layman-3.html#post121955

Second,

1. Physical reality is a Projection of brahman. Projection by its nature produces a lesser reality.
2. Projection is accomplished through maya.
3. Physical reality is also called relative reality because it is real only from the point of view of jivatma
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/general-discussions/8242-advaita-layman-3.html#post121951

Third,

Now comes the million dollar question, which is why should brahman use maya?

I base my answer on the words of none other than Adi Sankara who says that creation is a lila or an act of sport for brahman. So it can be interpreted that physical reality is intended to form the basis of brahman's blissful experience.

On the one hand the events a soul goes through in the physical world can be taken as self observation of brahman of the realization of the ultimate truth because jivatman is basically brahman. So jivatma realizing the truth is nothing but brahman's knowledge being filled with that truth.

On the other hand, the explanation of blissful state of brahman is this: as the realized soul experiences a blissful state we can premise the eternal state of brahman is also blissful. The realized soul achieves that state after going through innumerable and varied experiences and so brahman's bliss can said to have the basis on the physical reality.
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/general-discussions/8242-advaita-layman-4.html#post121977

Fourth,

In my opinion it is better to think of maya as the illusive power of brahman and not as a manifestation of brahman. The effect of maya is that the three gunas are manifest in all the entities in the material world.
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/general-discussions/8242-advaita-layman-6.html#post122061

Fifth,

Maya obstructs the realization of brahman but it is borne from brahman and hence it is a power of brahman.
Better than saying that maya is born out of ignorance we can say that the effect of maya is ignorance or avidya.
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/general-discussions/8242-advaita-layman-7.html#post122066
 
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