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Vedanta Paribhasa Of Dharmaraja Adhavarindra

Vedanta Paribhasa of Dharmaraja Adhavarindra is a manual of Advaita Vedanta and its terminology. It is the work of Dharmaraja Adhavarindra (17th century CE). This work is in nine chapters, dealing, respectively, with the Advaita doctrines on – perception, inference, analogy, verbal testimony, implication, non-cognition, intrinsic validity of knowledge, objects of knowledge and release and the means thereto.

The work is a compendious statement of the Advaita epistemology and metaphysics. It does not stick to one position in Advaita dogmatically, but seeks to be objective in its judgment.

The main doctrines of Vedanta Paribhasa can be briefly summarized as follows –

Mind is not a sense organ and hence is not the cause of the immediacy of perceptual cognition, which is the result of the non-difference of the object known from the cognizing consciousness. Non-difference means ‘not having any reality over and above the cognizing consciousness.’ In all immediate perceptions this non-difference is revealed when the ignorance of the known object is removed by the functioning – vritti – of the mind. In short, the cognize, the function, the known object and knowledge itself are the all supreme consciousness – Brahman – and its diverse manifestations.

There is – sakshin – the indwelling witness-consciousness not only in the individual self but also in God. The latter is one only, while the former is separate in each individual due to limiting conditions.

Vedanta Paribhasha rejects the usual examples of exclusive non-exclusive implication like ‘this is that Devadatta’, where identity of Devadatta alone in the meaning of the terms ‘this’ and ‘Devadatta’ is kept, while the difference in place and time, when Devadatta was and is perceived, is ignored. The example given in the text is ‘let the curds be protected from the crows’, where the word ‘crow’ applies to crows and to non-crows alike. Secondary implication is determined by the non-intelligibility of purport or intention, not of syntactical or grammatical relation of words.

The text prefers to the doctrine that pure consciousness reflected in maya is God, while as reflected in the internal organ (mind) it is the individual self.

True knowledge is the sole means for liberation. Such knowledge arises only from the study of the texts of Upanishads like ‘That thou art’.

The binding ignorance is different in each individual, and hence when one is liberated all are not liberated.

The work has several commentaries – by Ramakrishna, son of Dharmaraja Adhavarindra; its sub-commentary called Maniprabha by Pedda Dikshita, nephew of Dharmaraja Adhavarindra; Bhushanam of Narayana Bhatta Shastri and Paribhasha Prakasika of Shivadatta. Paribhasha Samgraha by Ramavarma, a former ruler of Kochi, is an epitome of the work.