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AdvaitaA Contemporary Critique$
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Srinivasa Rao

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198079811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198079811.001.0001

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On Ignorance

On Ignorance

(p.130) Chapter 8 On Ignorance

Srinivasa Rao

Oxford University Press

No one believes that he does not know himself or the world around him because everyone is familiar with both these. Therefore the question naturally arises as to what exactly is meant by the Advaitin’s claim that no one really “knows the Self” and hence everyone must attain Self-knowledge. What is this “Self-knowledge” which everyone is said to be ignorant of? It is argued in this chapter that according to the non-duality thesis, there cannot really be “another” besides the non-dual Self and therefore not knowing this is itself ignorance. If so, naturally, knowing that whatever exists is the Self alone and nothing else (sarvātmabhāva) must truly constitute “Self-knowledge”. Therefore ignorance must truly be not knowing that whatever is, is the Self itself and nothing else. Then, obviously, not only the jīva but the world too is the Self.

Keywords:   Sarvātmabhāva, Self-knowledge, non-duality, ignorance, jīva

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