Mayavada Darpanam

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Attack on vishaya of Advaita - 2


Prostrations to all.

To recap: The very first attack of Dvaitin was on the Vishaya of Advaita. The dvaitin gives three reasons for the objection that Advaita cannot be started – he hasn’t yet completed his attack on the Vishaya of Advaita. We are currently analyzing on the first part of Mayavada Khandana which is “Attack on vishaya of Advaita” among the six parts of the work mentioned in the posting #5 of this series.

The three reasons for not starting Advaita philosophy are as below:
1. As Advaita propounds something different from the vishaya of sruthi which is dvaita alone.
2. As Advaita’s subject-matter of Brahma Atma Aikya itself is sublated after realization
3. As Advaita’s subject-matter is contradicted and contrary to sruthi statements and sruthi’s import.

As a result of the above three, the Dvaitin concluded through anumaana or inference that Advaita cannot be started.

We will now see as to the response from Advaita on the same from the work of Mayavada Darpanam. The original text will be in green and the translation as well as explanation will be in normal font.

The text goes thus:
Vimatham aarambhaneeyam,
avidyayaa brahmano vishayatva angeekaaraat,
yathaa vismritham.

The philosophy of Advaita (which is what is under discussion) has to be started (or can be started) because it is what sruthi propounds, as Brahman is considered and accepted as a vishaya or subject when in ignonrance and since it is logical – like the state of forgetfulness or forgotten state.

The above is an anumaana or inference used which provides three different reasons to prove that advaita can be started. The parts of the anumaana are as such:

Pratijnaa – (vimatham aarambhaneeyam) Advaita can be started
1. (Sruthi uktatvaat) as sruthi propounds Advaita
2. (Avidyayaa Brahmano vishayatva angeekaaraath) – as a result of avidya or when avidya (ignorance) is there, Brahman is accepted as the vishaya or subject
3. (upapatteh) as it is logical
Like the forgotten state

SRUTHI UKTATVAAT – As Sruthi propounds Advaita
There are innumerous sruthi statements which clearly propound Advaita. Some of the most famous are quoted below:

Sarvam khalu idam brahma – everything is verily Brahman (chandogya)
Sarvam brahma mayam – everything is Brahman alone (brihadaranyaka)
Tat tvam asi – THAT THOU ART (chandogya)
Sarvam hi etat brahma, ayam atma brahma – everything is Brahman alone, this atman is Brahman (Mandukya)
Brahmaiva idam amritam purasthaat brahma paschaat – everything is verily this eternal Brahman, left is Brahman, right is Brahman, top is Brahman, bottom is Brahman, front is Brahman, back is Brahman (Mundaka)
Mattah parataram na anyat kinchit asthi dhananjaya – there is nothing whatsoever different from me O Arjuna (Gita 7th chapter)
Brahma arpanam brahma havih – Brahman is the oblation and that which is poured into the homa kunda of activities (Gita 4th chapter)
Aham atma gudakesha sarva bhootaashaya sthithah – I alone am the Atman secretly placed in all beings (Gita 10th chapter)

The above statements beyond doubt propound Advaita and hence it is wrong to say that what Advaita propounds is different from sruthi. Thus through the counter hetu of sruthi uktatvaat, the Dvaitin’s first argument of “anyathaa prathipaadakatvaat” is refuted.

If it is questioned that if Advaita alone is real, then why does the sruthi propound duality in many places and explain about the creation process etc. which are illusions, then the answer for the same is thus: it is really tough for an initial seeker to directly contemplate on the ultimate reality of non-dual Brahman which contradicts perception and experience in the external world. Instead of coming into Advaita, an initial seeker will blindly discard it if he is told that whatever seen is a mere illusion in the reality of Brahman. Thus the sruthi gradually takes the seeker from the external world to the creator or the substratum of Brahman and then negates the world as a mere illusion in Brahman. This approach is the famous Chandra Shaakha nyaaya – the logic of showing a small child the moon through a nearby branch. The child is incapable of directly seeing the moon as it will not get it clearly – thus the mother shows a nearby branch and through the branch points out the moon.

Similarly sruthi initially propounds creation process to distinguish the illusory creation from the eternal creator who is the substratum of the creation. This is the vyaavritta lakshana of Brahman – the characteristics that distinguishes or differentiates Brahman from other illusory and currently experienced entities. Thus even while propounding creation theories, sruthi clearly mentions the creator who is not created and who ever remains the same and from whom creation starts. Sruthi doesn’t just mention creation and the worldly objects but clearly points out that these entities are temporary as they are created and thus will die off one day. Thus through this temporary nature of the worldly objects, sruthi indirectly points out that the worldly objects are mere illusions in the substratum or creator of Brahman. Once a seeker progresses, sruthi points out that Brahman is ever unchanging substratum of the creation – pointing out the thatastha lakshana which is the kutastha bhaava or unchanging nature of Brahman amidst the changing entities of the world. Next, sruthi clearly points out the svaroopa lakshana of Brahman as kevala sat chit ananda or absolute Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute.

We can clearly find such a progressive explanation in the Mundaka Upanishad considered as an exhaustive and clear Upanishad by the Dvaitins. The Upanishad starts with the disciple asking the Guru as to what is that by knowing which everything is known. The Guru tells that there are two knowledge – one being para or ultimate knowledge which is knowing the akshara or immutable entity of Brahman, the second is aparaa knowledge which is worldly knowledge that includes even the Vedas, Vedangaas etc. Then the Guru tells about creation of the world from the ultimate reality of Brahman – the creation of different entities from Brahman is clearly and deeply explained. Then the Guru ends by telling that everything is Brahman. Next Guru gives the procedure of knowing Brahman and finally ends by giving the statement that “whoever knows Brahman verily becomes Brahman”. Thus we find the Guru proceeding from the world and then terminating in the adviteeya Brahman.

Thus it is only for the benefit of the initial seeker and to progressive lead the seeker to the ultimate reality of Brahman that sruthi propounds duality as well as creation in many places. These in no way affect the adviteeya statements as well as advaita being the main import of sruthi.

This particular argument also refutes the dvaitin’s third argument that sruthi itself contradicts advaita – instead it is proved now that sruthi not only propounds advaita but is fully advaitic in import even though propounding dvaita in many places.

AVIDYAYAA BRAHMANO VISHAYATVA ANGEEKAARAAT – as Brahman is acceped as a vishaya when avidya is there
The second argument of the Dvaitin was that advaita propounds the subject of Brahma-Atma aikya which is sublated or negated after realization. Thus the subject-matter of Advaita was said to be something which is unreal.

The argument of Dvaitin is right – the vishaya of advaita is valid only until avidya is there and realization hasn’t yet dawned. This statement itself is a bit wrong as realization is ever there but it is not known by the ignorant seeker. Thus it all depends on avidya – so long as avidya is there, Brahman has to be and can be accepted as a valid vishaya. The Advaitin gave the example of vismrithi or forgetfulness to support this. Rama has forgotten his identity. As long as he has forgotten his identity, the goal or subject of “his very nature of Rama” is valid and he has to work towards it. But once he realizes his own very nature of Rama, then there is no forgetfulness and there never was forgetfulness. Since after remembering his identity of Rama, forgetfulness itself is negated completely as an illusion (since a person can never forget his own very nature and this forgetfulness is also a mere illusion like the dream state), therefore there is no problem in accepting “himself” as the subject-matter so long as forgetfulness is there.

Similarly there is no problem of accepting Brahman as the vishaya so long as avidya is there – and since avidya is not at all accepted once realization dawns, therefore there is no contradiction and the dvaitin’s argument itself is negated or refuted. So long as avidya is there, Brahman has to be vishaya and advaita accepts Brahman as the vishaya so long as avidya is there. Since Brahman is not accepted as vishaya once realization happens and avidya itself is negated in three times of past-present-future, therefore there is no question of pointing out that vishaya is sublated. There is no question of sublation after realization as after realization the state of ignorance as well as ignorance itself is considered as unreal and never having existed.

Thus from paaramaarthika level, since there is no vishaya at all accepted & at the vyaavahaarika level when avidya is there, vishaya is accepted – there is no fault at all starting advaita so long as avidya is there. If there is no avidya, then there is no need for sruthi itself – if a seeker comes to sruthi, that itself shows that there is avidya & hence vishaya also automatically exists. This vishaya is not something positive but it is something which denotes negation or sublation of avidya through contemplation on Brahma-Atma aikya. Sureshwaracharya as well as Madhusudana Saraswathi point out clearly that there is “no destruction of avidya” but “only sublation” because avidya never really exists to be destroyed but it only “seems to exist” like water in desert or dream world.

Thus with the above two reasons, the dvaitin’s three reasons or arguments have been refuted and advaita’s viewpoint supported and defended.

Upapatteh – as it is logical
There is one more reason given which tells that Advaita’s standpoint is logical enough and hence Advaita can be started.

Thus here the Advaitin provides one extra reason than what Dvaitin gives – as well as this reason is strong enough to refute any other arguments. This reason translated simply means “as it is logical” but it has deeper imports to it.

The reason means that Advaita’s vishaya is very much logical and hence cannot be neglected or refuted based on some false or not much thought reasons. Advaita’s vishaya has been shown to be valid as long as avidya is there – and once avidya is not there or it is known to have not at all existed, the vishaya itself completely vanishes. Since these both are at different planes or levels of reality, therefore both cannot be compared as such. Since these levels of reality are logical enough, therefore the conclusion based on them for vishaya of advaita is also logical only.

Since advaita’s vishaya is logical enough from both empirical plane as well as ultimate plane, therefore there cannot be any particular reason to either neglect it or refute it by other reasons.
Let us briefly try to analyze the three levels of reality that Advaita propounds and whether it is logical enough or illogical as the dvaitins argue.

Advaita speaks about three levels of reality:
1. Praathibhaasika satyam or temporary reality as in dream state or in normal illusions of water in mirage etc. This has a very limited time duration only.
2. Vyaavahaarika satyam or empirical reality as in waking state – this seems to be of more longer duration than temporary reality and this seems to be having some purpose but really has no purpose at all.
3. Paaramarthika satyam or ultimate reality which is after realization – Vedanta clearly says that Brahman is ekam eva adviteeyam in Chandogya. Since mundaka says that one who knows Brahman verily becomes Brahman, a person after realization realizes non-duality alone which means that the world he currently perceives vanishes. Thus vyaavahaarika satyam vanishes after realization. Thus the world cannot be real as it vanishes after realization.

Thus it is very clear that there needs to be categorization of the three levels of reality. Since this is logical and supported by sruthi too, thus we have to accept that the vishaya of Advaita also is logical. Thus since vishaya of Advaita is logical, Advaita can very well and should be started by all seekers seeking eternal bliss.

Thus through three reasons it has been showed that Advaita can be started and dvaitins arguments for the statement that “advaita cannot be started” has been refuted thereby advaita’s stand being supported and defended beyond all criticisms and arguments.

We will continue with Madhva’s further arguments on vishaya of Advaita in the next post.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


Post a Comment

<< Home