Avidya



(Sanskrit) Ignorance.

"The mind itself is a creation of Avidya (ignorance). It is a Karya (effect) of Avidya. It is filled with delusion. That is the reason why it deceives and tempts you. It makes you go astray. If you can destroy the cause of the mind, Ajnana, by getting Jnana (knowledge of the Supreme Self), mind is nowhere. It dwindles into an airy nothing. Manonasa (annihilation of mind) takes place when Jnana dawns.

"Avidya works through Upadhis (attributes, limiting adjuncts). All the special apparatus required by Avidya constitute the Upadhis of the soul . Mind is an Upadhi; Buddhi is an Upadhi and Ahankara also is an Upadhi.

"The sea of Avidya (ignorance) is in the mind of man. The explanation of the empirical concept must be sought in the nature of our cognitive faculty. Sri Sankara explains Avidya in this way. It is Naisargika; it is innate in our mental faculty. It is Mithyajnananimitta, based on wrong knowledge; and, knowledge is a function of the mind. It is Nityapratyayarupa; it consists in the form of a wrong conception. "All Jivas-human entities-which are really non-existent, are (with all concomitant appearance of birth, death, etc.) mere results of the objectivising tendency of the mind and nothing else."

"The whole experience of duality, made up of perceiver and perceived, is pure imagination. There is no Avidya apart from the mind. On destruction of the mind, all is destroyed. The activity of the mind is the cause of all appearance. On account of Avidya or Bhranti (illusion) in the mind, you see the objects, trees, etc., outside and feel as if they are separate from you and real.

"So long as there is mind, there are all these distinctions of big and small, high and low, superior and inferior, good and bad, etc. The highest Truth is that in which there is no relativity. If you can transcend the mind by constant and profound meditation on Atman, you will be able to attain the Nirdvandva state (a state beyond the pairs of opposites) wherein lies the supreme peace and highest knowledge.

"There is no Avidya outside the mind. The mind itself is Avidya. Imaginations and Sankalpas are products of Avidya. Ignorance is imbedded in the mind. The mind needs thorough cleansing with Japa, Pranayama, Satsanga, Vichara and Nididhyasana, just as a rusty copper plate needs cleansing with earth, ash, tamarind, powder, etc." - Swami Sivananda

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