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Ishta Siddhi – A Work On Advaita By Vimuktatman

Ishta Siddhi derives its name from the fact that the author, Vimuktatman, fulfilled his desire to establish the validity of the Advaitic theory of maya by writing (Ishta Siddhi, invocatory verse and VIII-28). Not only do Advaita scholars regard the work as an authority, but even leaders of rival work as an authority, but even leaders of rival schools of philosophy deem it to be a challenging treatise. Ramanujacharya takes up Ishta Siddhi as an authentic work of Advaita, for refutation of his rivals’ theories in his Sribhashyam.

The first five chapters of the work deal with anirvacaniyatva (the theory of indeterminability) of the world – neither real nor unreal. It is not real in the sense that it is underlying substance, Brahman, is the only reality. It is not unreal because it can be realized.

The sixth and seventh chapters of the work deal with the problems of nescience, such as its locus and content, its beginning lessness and positive character, its being manifest to sakshin (witness – consciousness) and its removability by knowledge.

The work has come to be associated with what is called the fifth mode of the removal of nescience. If removal of nescience is real like Brahman, it will militate against the Advaita theory that Brahman is the only reality. If it is not real, it will not be a removal at all. If it is neither real or unreal, it will be indistinguishable from nescience. It cannot be both because of contradiction. Therefore Vimuktatman prefers a fifth mode. However, Ishta Siddhi also mentions

  • That the removal of nescience is the same as Brahman.
  • That though the removal of nescience is none of the alternatives, yet it is not removable by knowledge and hence differs from nescience, which is removable.

The work has:

  • A defense of liberation while one is alive
  • A critique of the notion of difference and dualism
  • Critique of materialism.




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