Mayavada Darpanam

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Anubandha Chathustayam

Before getting into the work of Madhvacharya, we need to have an introduction as to what is being mentioned by Madhva as well as splitting the work into smaller parts.

Any work or philosophy before it is started has four introductory parts or components that need to be addressed. These are called the Anubandha Chathustayam -- the four things are:
1. Vishaya or subject matter
2. Prayojanam or fruit
3. Sambandha or relation between vishaya and prayojanam
4. Adhikaari or eligible person

We shall see in brief the four parts so that it helps us in understanding Madhvacharya's work easily.

1. Vishaya or subject matter -- any work or philosophy when it is started should have a vishaya or the subject matter which it addresses. Advaita works have the vishaya or subject matter as Brahma Atma Aikya or Jeeva Brahma Aikya -- oneness of the seemingly individual Self and the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. Jeeva is nothing but seemingly appearing reflection of Brahman on the antah karana (to be specific - on the intellect or buddhi). There is no reflection apart from the original -- thus there is no jeeva apart from Brahman. Jeeva is just a seemingly appearing existence and it exists as long as the upadhi or adjunct of buddhi exists. Once buddhi vanishes when avidya or ignorance vanishes (buddhi is caused out of avidya or maya), there is nothing but the Self or Brahman alone. Thus we have OC or Original Consciousness of Brahman and RC or reflected Consciousness of Jeeva. Both are one and the same only because there is no RC without OC. OC seems to be reflected as RC because of ignorance. But when ignorance vanishes, OC is experienced as the adviteeya Brahman. When RC seems to be present, OC is the Kutastha or the unchanging witness of all activities. Thus as per Advaita, the main goal of human life is to realize the ultimate reality of Brahman as OC or Consciousness or Kutastha or witness which is one's own very nature of "I". If we take any work of Advaita, this is the subject matter of the work. As per Advaita, Vedanta or upanishads also have the same subject matter only.

2. Prayojanam -- any work will have a fruit which will be achieved by the seeker or the one who follows the sadhanas as per the work. This fruit as per Advaita is Moksha or liberation or realization. Moksha is nothing but poorna dukha mochanam or complete cessation of sorrow. Dukha mochanam is possible only when the ignorance about one's own very nature of eternal bliss is removed. Ignorance is removed only through the real knowledge that "I am the non-dual Brahman".

Thus Moksha -> poorna dukha mochanam -> ajnaana naasham (removal of ignorance) -> atma saakshaatkaaram

Thus everything is based on realizing one's own very nature of Brahman -- realizing this is Moksha as when a person realizes the Self, ignorance vanishes. When ignorance vanishes, sorrow vanishes completely as sorrow is just because of lack of one's own nature of eternal bliss. Thus Atma Saakshaatkaaram or realizing one's own Self is Moksha or liberation. Here the word realization is very important because there is nothing new gained or achieved or known. The very Self which was forgotten is again remembered or realized. Vedanta and Sankaracharya in his bhashyas mention the story of a lion cub for the same. The story goes thus:

Once a flock of sheep were passing by and a lioness saw them. The lioness pounced upon the sheep but the lioness was pregnant at that time. The lioness gave birth to a lion and died because of the jump. The lion fall amidst the sheep. It also started bleating and behaving like a sheep. It started living like a sheep. When it grew up, still it was thinking that it is a sheep. One day, a lion saw this young lion walking with sheep. The lion caught the young lion which started crying like a sheep. Then the big lion took the other lion to a river and showed that he was a lion and not a sheep.

This story shows that the lion was always a lion - it never was a sheep. It just had forgotten its own very nature of lion. When another lion revealed the same, the lion realized its nature of lion. Similarly we all are Brahman alone but we have forgotten our own very nature of Brahman. This forgetfulness is removed when the Guru comes to us and tells us that "you are that" or "TAT TVAM ASI" -- then the realization dawns that "I am Brahman". "I" never was different from Brahman but just realized what I had forgotten. Thus MOKSHA is not something gained or newly achieved but it is just realization of one's own very nature.

Vidyaranya mentions about the ten fools story in Panchadashi which also explains the same. If possible, we will try to analyze the story along with the verses of panchadashi in a different mail (hope everybody knows the story -- if someone doesn't know the story, it can be mentioned in the forum so that any person who knows the story can explain the same again in the forum).

There might be an objection here as to the forgetfulness -- what is the cause of forgetfulness? It is ignorance of one's own very nature of Brahman. What is this ignorance and wherefrom did it come???? Advaita answers to this telling that avidya is anirvachaneeya or inexplicable. Ignorance can never be explained as it is beyond any explanation. The main reason for the same is that there never is any ignorance at all -- because we all are always the Self and the Self can never be veiled by ignorance but it just seems to be veiled by ignorance like a person dreaming himself to be something different.

If it is again objected here that "it is a means of escapism when it is said that avidya is anirvachaneeya", then it is only logical to accept that avidya is anirvachaneeya. Let's say that "I am ignorant about maths". This statement itself is wrong because it means that I know something about maths as only then I can say that I am ignorant about a particular thing. If I know about maths, then I am not ignorant about maths. Thus ignorance of maths cannot really be explained at all. Similarly if I have to say when avidya started and where it started etc. these also are illogical. If I say that "yesterday ignorance started", it means that I was aware of the time when I became ignorant about maths. This itself means that I was aware of maths when ignorance started. Thus ignorance about a particular entity or thing cannot be explained. If this is the case with normal entities, it has to be the same with Atman too. Thus ignorance of Atman or Avidya cannot be really explained as it is illogical and that which is beyond explanation. Thus Sankara says that "Yukthi viheena prakaashasya samjnaa maayaa" - Maya is that which is beyond logic. We will discussing in detail about avidya while dealing with madhva's work.

Thus prayojanam of advaita or vedantic works in general is realization of one's own very nature of Self or Brahman.

3. Sambandha -- relation between prayojanam and vishaya is that when a person seeks out the vishaya of brahma atma aikyam, he realizes his own nature of atman or is liberation - thus he gets moksha (gets is a wrong word but still from the empirical viewpoint of ignorance, it is attaining or getting only).

4. Adhikaari -- the person eligible for learning Advaita is one who is endowed with the four-fold qualifications. The four-fold qualifications in short are
a) Viveka or discrimination between real and unreal - Real is Brahman alone and the world is unreal
b) Vairagya or dispassion -- dispassion towards the illusory world because of attachment to the real entity of Brahman
c) shamaadi shatka sampatti -- the six qualities of the mind which are sama or calmness of the mind, dama or control of external sense organs, uparathi or withdrawal of sense organs from their respective objects, titiksha or endurance or forbearance, sraddha or faith in the words of scriptures and guru and samaadhaana or tranquility of the mind as it is established in the Self.
d) Mumukshutva -- burning desire for liberation.

Even though the above four are exhaustive topics, am not dealing them in detail as that will go beyond one mail and since this will be covered in an english commentary on the Chatussutri portion of the Brahma Sutra (not complete yet).

Any person can learn Vedanta but only that person who is endowed with the four-fold qualifications also called saadhana chathustayam will be able to grasp the reality through the study of Vedanta. This particular point is important because else Vedanta can be learnt only by advanced seekers or realized saints who have the four-fold qualifications.

Madhvacharya in this particular work of Mayavaada khandanam attacks the anubandha chathustayam of Advaita trying to show that each of these are invalid for Advaita. He tries to point out through logic that there is neither Vishaya nor Prayojanam nor Sambandha nor adhikaari for Advaita as trying to show all these four for Advaita will lead only to illogical conclusions. This is achieved primarily through high-end logic. These logics are also based on wrong analysis and understanding of Advaita. Even though followers of Dvaita claim that they have clear knowledge about Advaita but still they forget basic things about Advaita. Also they forget the very basic fundamental of Advaita that Advaita is not just mere learning but it is aparoksha anubhava or direct experience of one's own very nature. For this, the sadhana propounded by Advaita has to be followed and a person who follows it will surely realize the adviteeya Brahman. Such a person will have no doubts or objects against Advaita because he himself will be in the advaitic state only. Instead of following the path and trying to find out whether the philosophy is right or wrong, if a person just uses logic to prove the system wrong -- it is very bad and such a seeker alone is loser. Sruthi clearly says that the Self cannot be realized through logic (Na esha tarkena matih aapaneya -- says Katha Upanishad) but still if high-end logic is resorted to and that too against a completely logical system, it is nothing but "utter ignorance and arrogance".

We are not here trying to attack the Dvaitins approach or to have anger towards them but just analyzing the objections which might very well be the doubts in the mind of one of us & trying to resolve it so that we can progress further in the spiritual path to the ultimate reality of Brahman.


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