Mayavada Darpanam

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Introduction to Madhwacharya's work

The counter work of Mayavada Khandana is titled Mayavada Darpanam meaning that which is the mirror reflecting Mayavada or the mirror that illumines the theories of Mayavada and shows that Mayavada is logical and beyond all logical fallacies.

We ended the last mail with the discussion of Anubandha Chathustayam and saying that Madhva in this work of Mayavaada Khandana attacks the Anubandha Chathustayam of Advaita showing that each of these is not possible for Advaita.

Thus we will have a very small introduction of Madhva's work in the current mail. Madhva's work can be split into different parts as such:

1. Attack on Vishaya of Advaita
2. Attack on Ajnaana
3. Attack on Prayojana or Phalam of Advaita
4. Attack on Adhikaari and Sambandha (there is no direct logic for the same given but indirect and inferred attack).
5. Sruthi, Smrithi and Purana quotings
6. Conclusive statement from Mahabharatha

1. Attack on Vishaya of Advaita
As we have already seen, the Vishaya or Subject-matter of Advaita is Brahma Atma Aikya or oneness of Brahman (the TAT or THAT in the Mahavakya Tat tvam asi) and Atman (the TVAM or THIS in the Mahavakya Tat tvam asi). Madhva starts by questioning whether this Brahma Atma Aikya is real or unreal. Madhva goes on to prove that both ways lead to illogical conclusions only. Similarly is the Brahma Atma Aikya different from one's own Self or same as one's own Self. Both ways it leads to logical errors only. Thus Brahma Atma Aikya itself cannot be really propounded and thus Vishaya itself is invalid in the case of Advaita.

We will learn each of these parts of Madhva's work in short as if we learn in depth, it will lead to confusions and will be like getting into the work in depth (which we will doing from the next mail in the series).

2. Attack on Ajnaana
Ajnaana is one keypoint in Advaita. Ajnaana is the cause for all sorrows and sufferings. Ajnaana is forgetfulness of one's own very nature of Self or Brahman. This Ajnaana is the reason or answer as to why the seeker who is Brahman doesn't realize his nature of Brahman or eternal bliss. Sankara and other Advaita acharyas have clearly propounded that Ajnaana is something inexplicable or anirvachaneeya - it cannot really be explained (we will see as to why this is the case later). The moment a person tries to explain Ajnaana, he is in Ajnaana and hence cannot come to a clear conclusion about it. A person cannot explain about a forest when he is inside the forest. Only when he comes out of the forest, he can explain in detail as to what it is, what it has etc. Similar is the case with a person who is immersed in the ocean of samsaara (caused out of Ajnaana) -- he cannot really speak about it until he comes out of the ocean. Once he comes out of the ocean, there is nothing to speak about as there is only Brahman, one without a second. Thus both ways, ajnaana can never be spoken clearly of -- even though acharyas give explanations about it for the benefit of the doubting and answer-requiring seekers.

This Ajnaana has come under severe attack starting from Ramanuja in his Sri Bhashya. This has been hit from all sides by Vishista advaita and Dvaita acharyas. Thus we find Ramanuja giving Sapthavidha anupapattih (seven types of logical problems for Ajnaana) in his Sri Bhashya. All these attacks arise because of lack of proper understanding and practice of the teachings of Upanishads and Advaita acharyas works. We find ajnaana being explained clearly and beyond doubt in Sankara's Gita Bhashya (13th chapter 2nd sloka -- here explanation is that it is inexplicable and beyond all logic). Sureshwaracharya has clearly spoken about Ajnaana in his Brihadaranyaka Bhashya Vartika (Sambandha Bhashya Vartika) and Naishkarmya Siddhi. But even then, if people start attacking Ajnaana, it is nothing but foolishness alone.

Here we find Madhva attacking Ajnaana on a broader aspect unlike Ramanuja who thoroughly criticizes it. Madhva also criticizes that Ajnaana is not at all possible as the Self can never be veiled. The age long discussion of Ajnaana Nivritti or removal of Ajnaana is also scrutinized and criticized. The different opinions on the same from Advaita has been attacked Madhva as well as Jaya Teertha.

3. Attack on Prayojana or Phala
Prayojana of Advaita is moksha which is poorna dukha vimochana or complete cessation of sorrow. This is nothing but removal of ajnaana alone. Madhva attacks by telling that Ajnaana itself is inexplicable, so how is Ajnaana Nivritti define or explained? Thus he says that there is Ajnaana Nivritti possible -- so there is no moksha or prayojana for Advaita.

4. Attack on Sambandha and Adhikaari
Sambandha is relation between Prayojana and Vishaya. Since there is no prayojana and vishaya for advaita, it just follows that there is no Sambandha at all.

Since there is neither vishaya nor prayojana or sambandha, there is no adhikaari also. Dvaitin goes to the extent of saying that no wise person will follow Advaita.

5. Sruthi, smrithi and purana quotings
Madhva quotes the very famous 15th chapter statements of Gita where Lord Krishna explains the Kshara or perishable Purusha, Akshara or imperishable Purusha and Uttama Purusha (16th sloka to 20th sloka). It is but natural that different acharyas have different interpretations to these slokas even though Sankara beyond doubt shows how these point to Advaita. Madhva takes the other extreme viewpoint that Kshara is the perishable entities, Akshara is the individual Selfs and Uttama Purusha is Lord Vishnu alone. Ramanuja differs from Madhva in that he considers the kshara and akshara purushas as part of Vishnu whereas Madhva accepts complete or poorna bhedha (difference) between the three purushas (the system of Madhva accepts the pancha bhedhas which are 1. difference between Ishwara and Jeeva, 2. difference between Ishwara and jada or the world of insentient objects, 3. difference between one Jeeva and another Jeeva, 4. difference between Jeeva and Jada, 5. difference between one jada and another jada).

These statements of Lord Krishna are from the Katha Upanishad. Since Gita is a smrithi, we can find most of the statements either directly or indirectly in some or the other Upanishads.

Madhva also quotes the Brahma Sutras to support the Dvaita system.

6. Conclusion
Madhva concludes the work with a statement from Veda Vyaasa's Mahabharatha. Thus he gives quotings from Sruthi (Katha Upanishad), Smrithi (Bhagavad Gita), Sutras (Brahma Sutras) and Puranaas (Mahabharatha which is considered as the fifth Veda and a purana too).

Thus it is concluded that Advaita is full of logical errors and no wise person will follow it. Instead it is Dvaita which is propounded by the scriptures & hence any seeker should follow Dvaita alone.

We will start with the first part of Madhva dealing with attack on vishaya of Advaita and the counter argument of the Advaitin in Mayavada Darpanam.


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