Mayavada Darpanam

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Attack on vishaya of Advaita - 4


Prostrations to all.

We learnt in the previous mail as to the arguments Madhva raises against Advaita on the Vishaya of Brahma Atma aikya. Now, we will see the reply of the advaitin to madhva’s criticism.

The advaitin replies thus:

Brahma atma aikya jnaanam yathaarthyam na bhavathi

“The knowledge of oneness of Brahman-Atman is not eternally real.”

Vrittitvaat, mithyaatvaat, avidyaa kalpitha bhedha nivrittitvaat, bhedha angeekaaraat cha

“Due to being a vritti or modification of the mind, illusory or not eternally real, removes the duality caused illusorily due to avidya & as duality is accepted in that knowledge.”

Kinthu yaavad avidyaa asthi, taavad brahma atma aikya jnaanam yaathaarthyam bhavathi, kalpitha bhedha prathyakshatvaat, svapnavadeva

“But as long as avidya seems to exist or exists, so long brahma atma aikya jnaanam is real – as the illusory difference (which is caused by avidya) is experienced or perceived, like the dream state.”

Here the advaitin states his position about the reality status of the vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya. Madhva had argued that Brahma Atma aikya cannot be unreal as in such a case it would lead to the vishaya itself being unreal thereby making the study of such a philosophy futile. Madhva further argued that Brahma Atma aikya cannot be real too because if it is real and different from the Self, then it would lead to two realities or dvaita. If Brahma Atma Aikya was same as the Self, then it would lead to siddha sadhanathaa dosha or establishing what is already established. Thus Madhva argued that whatever way we take, the vishaya of Advaita itself is illogical and thus advaita cannot be started.

The above argument of Madhva itself is incomplete because he only considers the options of Brahma Atma Aikya being unreal or real. Madhva is here forgetting that there is an intermediate status of illusory. It may be argued as Ramanuja does in his Sri Bhashya that there is nothing which is neither real nor unreal. That there are illusory things is proved through Lord’s own statement in Gita where he says that “the unreal has no existence at all and the real never ceases to exist”.

Let’s take the case of water seen in desert. Water seen in desert is not unreal as it is currently perceived (unreal is that which has no existence at all in the three times of past, present and future). Water is not real also because it vanishes once the reality is known that there is no water at all (and verified by going close to the perceived-water – real is that which never ceases to exist). Thus water seen in desert (mirage) is neither real nor unreal. Such an entity is called as illusory or anirvachaneeya or indescribable (cannot be really described as real or unreal).

Since Madhva’s argument doesn’t take into consideration such a reality status, therefore it is incomplete. Also since as per Advaita, anirvachaneeyatva is there for everything except Brahman or Self – therefore Madhva’s argument is completely wrong.

Advaita says that the vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya is present as long as a person has ignorance and therefore seeks the Self or realization. But once a person realizes his own very nature of Brahman, and then he realizes that there never was any such vishaya at all. Thus vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya is present in ignorance state but vanishes after realization. This means that Brahma Atma Aikya is not unreal as it is currently experienced (when in the state of ignorance) and it is not real also as after realization it vanishes. It cannot be argued that ignorance is not there now as the question or objection itself shows that ignorance is there – if there was no ignorance, question wouldn’t have been raised. Thus when the reality status of the vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya is restated as anirvachaneeya or illusory – then the objections raised by Madhva completely fall off. It is but incomplete analysis or judgement of this reality status of the vishaya which causes such objections to be raised.

Now let us see the answer of the advaitin in detail. The advaitin uses anumaana to show that Brahma Atma Aikya is not real. Brahma Atma Aikya jnaanam is a vritti jnaanam or modification of the mind because the svaroopa jnaanam or Consciousness is ever present. This svaroopa seems to be veiled by vritti ajnaana (modification of the mind) and this vritti ajnaana is removed through vritti jnaana which itself is not real but only a vritti. When vritti jnaana removes vritti ajnaana, what remains behind is svaroopa alone.

Brahma Atma Aikya jnaanam is not real because of the following reasons:

1. Vrittitvaat – as it is a vritti or modification alone. The vishaya of advaita is a modification of the mind as this vishaya is to be heard, reflected and contemplated upon.

2. Mithyaatvaat – as it is illusory – this vishaya is illusory because it is present now but will vanish after realization. After realization, there will be no vishaya to be really achieved and the seeker will realize that there never was any vishaya at all as in the case of dream (wherein the some dream object causes the dreamer to wake up but after waking up, the dreamer realizes that there never was such a vishaya or object which was helpful in waking up – he also realizes that there never was a dream world itself but it was only an illusion in him).

3. Avidyaa kalpitha bhedha nivrittitvaat – as it removes the bhedha or duality caused by avidya. Avidya itself is not ultimately real but only illusory. The vritti jnaana or vishaya helps in removing bhedha or duality. It is but dual perception that hinders the underlying non-dual reality to be realized or grasped. Thus when dual perception or bhedha is removed, the non-dual reality is realized or the seeker gets liberated. Thus the vishaya helps in removing dvaita or bhedha. But this bhedha itself is an effect of avidya. Avidya or ignorance causes the seeker to think that the different things which he perceives is real --- but once avidya vanishes, he realizes that there is nothing but non-dual Brahman alone. This avidya which causes bhedha is also unreal. Thus since vishaya helps in removing the bhedha caused by avidya, therefore it is not real (as bhedha as well as avidya are also not real, therefore the vishaya which removes such an illusory bhedha is also not real).

4. Bhedha angeekaaraat – when vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya is accepted, this means the duality is accepted as the two entities of Brahman and Atman are accepted – also the vishaya is accepted as different from the seeker. Thus vishaya in itself accepts bhedha. Since bhedha is not real, therefore the vishaya which depends on bhedha also has to be not real.

Because of the above mentioned four reasons, the vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya is not real (ultimately real).

But as long as avidya or ignorance is accepted as existing, the vishaya has to be accepted as real. The above four reasons are invalid when avidya itself becomes invalid or unreal (not at all present) – but when avidya is accepted as currently present or existing, the vishaya is also valid or currently exists.

The following anumaana is used to prove that as long as avidya is accepted as real (empirically real), the vishaya also has to be accepted as real:

As long as avidya is there, vishaya is real
Because of perception of imagined duality (perceived duality)
As in the case of dream.

In dream, dream is valid or real as long as the person is dreamer. But only when the dreamer wakes up, the dream becomes unreal. Similarly as long as a person is dreaming in the long dream of avidya, the vishaya also is real. But the vishaya becomes unreal only after realization that there is no avidya at all. Thus since bhedha is perceived at the empirical level, therefore avidya which causes bhedha is also empirically real which makes the vishaya also empirically real.

Thus Brahma Atma Aikya even though eternally not real, but still empirically is real as long as avidya is there or as long as the seeker hasn’t realized his own very nature of Brahman.

This in no way affects advaita or adviteeya Brahman because even though a person might be in ignorance and thinking that he has to realize, still he is always the adviteeya Brahman only even as the dream world even while the person is dreaming is nothing but the non-dual dreamer alone.

Thus advaita’s stand point that Brahma Atma Aikya vishaya is not eternally real but empirically real as long as avidya is there has been emphasized – which in turn refutes madhva’s arguments defending advaita’s own stand. Thus the vishaya of Brahma Atma aikya is devoid of any logical faults instead is logical – thus advaita can be and should be started by any seeker seeking eternal bliss or seeking to know the ultimate reality behind the world and temporary existence.

We will see advaita’s answer to madhva’s argument of whether vishaya is same as self or different from self. Even though this argument is automatically refuted by the above statements of advaita but still it is good to clearly establish advaita’s stand point as to the nature of brahma atma aikya. In this mail, we have discussed advaita’s view point on the reality status of the vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya whereas in the next mail we will discuss the nature of the vishaya of Brahma Atma Aikya (as to whether it is same as or different from Brahman or Atman).

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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