Mayavada Darpanam

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Attack on prayojana of Advaita - 2


Prostrations to all.


Prostrations to all.

We saw in the last mail the arguments of Madhva and Jayateertha against the prayojana of advaita which was termed as ajnaana nivritti or removal of ignorance. Madhva argued that since atman is the very nature of a person, therefore moksha which is atman (ajnaana nivritti is mentioned as atman alone by advaitins) will become established even before it is attained. Thus moksha will be present always & there is no need to seek moksha or liberation as advaita claims. Moreover ajnaana itself being not established ajnaana nivritti is totally out of scope.

Madhva continues his attack on prayojana thus:
Ajnaana asambhavena chathurthaprakaara abhaavaat panchamaprakaarathaa api nirasthaa

Since ajnaana itself is not possible (established), therefore the fourth type (ontological status) for ajnaana is not possible – hence there is no question of a fifth type (ontological status) of ajnaana nivritti.


It is very tough to translate Sanskrit words into English and that too when it is crisp like that of Madhva, it is very tough indeed. As we saw in the last mail in the series as to the usage of minimal words by Madhva which was explained in depth by Jaya Teertha, here too we find Madhva following the same pattern of usage of very few words.

Pardon the logical analysis going to follow.

There are four ontological statuses to which entities can cater to – these four are:
1. Sat – that which exists at all times (trikaala abhaadhitam sat – that which is not negated in three times of past, present and future is Sat). An example of Sat is the ultimate reality of Brahman accepted by all systems as ever existing beyond time.
2. Asat – that which doesn’t exist at all times. An example of this is the son of a barren woman, a cottage in space (gandharva nagaram), horns of a hare etc. These are entities which never exist in the past or present or future.
3. Sat and Asat – that which is both Sat as well as ASat. This is a kind of definition with respect to sat and asat – this type of definition is never valid as we cannot find sat and asat together in any entity as both are contradictory to each other.
4. Neither sat nor asat – that which is neither ever existent nor ever non-existent. This is what Advaita calls as anirvachaneeya or indescribable – that which can never be mentioned as either real or unreal.

Advaita says that illusions are anirvachaneeya or indescribable. An illusion like water seen in desert is not SAT because it ceases to exist once the substratum is known. It is not ASAT because it is currently perceived (at the time of illusion). It cannot be SAT-ASAT because such a combination is not at all possible even as darkness-light combination is not possible. Thus the illusion is mentioned as anirvachaneeya or “neither sat nor asat” – the word anirvachaneeya means that it can neither be mentioned as SAT nor as ASAT. An illusion is thus neither sat nor asat. Ajnaana or avidya is anirvachaneeya or neither sat nor asat – it is not sat because it vanishes after knowledge dawns (as proclaimed by Gita and the Upanishads). It is not asat because it is currently perceived or experienced directly as well as in the form of its effect of the world (asat is that which is not there in all the three times of past, present and future).

Thus ajnaana is mentioned in Advaita as of the fourth type or anirvachaneeya (which is the fourth type of ontological status).

This fourth type has been criticized by the dvaitins and vishista advaitins through the statement that an entity can be either sat or asat – there cannot be any fourth-type as such. The anirvachaneeya or mithyaa definition of various advaita acharyas was criticized by Vyaasa Teertha in Nyaayamritha and more than sufficiently answered by Madhusudana Saraswathi in Advaita Siddhi.

Madhva here mentions that since ajnaana itself is not possible, therefore the fourth-type status is also not possible or valid for ajnaana. Thus ajnaana itself being invalid, ajnaana nivritti is out of question. Therefore prayojanam of advaita as ajnaana nivritti is ruled out. Thus advaita is without any prayojanam and hence cannot be started (anaarambhaneeyam).

We till now discussed about ajnaana having the status of anirvachaneeya. There is yet another discussion on the status of ajnaana nivritti. Ajnaana nivritti has to be of a different status than that of ajnaana which is anirvachaneeya. Many advaitins accept that ajnaana nivritti is atman alone and hence need not be termed as anirvachaneeya or asat but as sat itself at the empirical level (this was criticized by Jaya Teertha through attack of different variations of the same definition of ajnaana nivritti as atman). But Vimuktatman who wrote the Istasiddhi opines that ajnaana nivritti cannot be anirvachaneeya as ajnaana is anirvachaneeya. Thus ajnaana nivritti is neither sat nor asat and not even anirvachaneeya. Instead ajnaana nivritti is of a fifth type which is different from the four types of sat, asat, sat-asat, neither sat nor asat. This view is commonly known as “panchamaprakaara” of ajnaana nivritti.

Madhva here says that since ajnaana itself is not valid and fourth-type of anirvachaneeya is neither valid nor logical, therefore there is no question of ajnaana nivritti being of a fifth type. Thus the explanation of advaitins that ajnaana nivritti is of a fifth type also has been refuted – thus says Madhva.

We will see the reply to the arguments raised by Madhva and Jayateertha against the prayojanam of advaita in the next mail through the advaitin’s reply on the same. If possible, we will also try to see the various views which Jayateertha and Madhva have refuted (for which there should be sufficient research required).

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Attack on prayojana of Advaita - 1


Prostrations to all.

We saw in the last mail the advaitin’s answer of madhva’s and jaya teertha’s argument regarding “difference of two entities becoming real if the unity is illusory”. The advaitin had pointed out through the example of rope-snake that difference of two entities would not become real if the unity is illusory. The unity of Brahman and Atman (jeeva here) is illusory only because there is no duality whatsoever & not because there are two entities of Brahman and Atman. The unity of Brahman-Atman is propounded by sruthi as the vishaya and is valid as long as ignorance is experienced. This unity becomes illusory only after realization of one’s own nature of Brahman through removal of ajnaana or ignorance. This removal of ajnaana is the prayojana or fruit of learning the scriptures and attaining of the vishaya of Brahman-atman.

Madhva after attacking the vishaya of advaita and ajnaana, enters into attack of prayojanam of advaita which is moksha or liberation.

Madhva continues thus:

Evameva prayojanamapi nirastham – svaroopatvaat mokshasya poorvameva siddhatvaat

Through this, prayojana or fruit is also negated – since moksha is the svaroopa, it is already established (hence prayojana is not possible).


Prayojana or fruit is something which is newly achieved or newly attained. In the case of advaita, moksha is realization of one’s own nature or svaroopa. This svaroopa is already there. Since this moksha is nothing newly attained, therefore it ceases to be a prayojanam.

What madhva is pointing out here is that since the fruit of liberation as one’s own nature is already there, therefore there is no need of a new fruit through learning of scriptures. Learning of scriptures as well as the fruit of learning the scriptures is invalid because the fruit is already and always there. Thus advaita cannot claim any prayojana or fruit for scriptural study.

If advaita argues that prayojana of moksha is ajnaana nivritti or removal of ajnaana, then this is also not valid. Ajnaana nivritti roopa moksha is illogical because ajnaana itself is illogical.

Madhva had previously mentioned that ajnaana is not possible through sruthi or yukthi, therefore ajnaana nivritti is also not possible. Thus moksha characterized by ajnaana nivritti is also not possible. Since moksha is not possible, prayojanam is also not possible. Thus advaita cannot have any prayojanam at all. Any activity is not possible without prayojanam – thus study of scriptures is not possible as there is no prayojanam for study of scriptures in advaita.

To show the depth of jaya teertha’s commentary as well as to point out the depth of logical arguments used, we will see jaya teertha’s commentary on the same and a running translation of the same.

Ajnaananivrittilakshano hi mokshah parena aatmasvaroopatayaa istah

Moksha characterized by “removal of ignorance” and as the very nature of atman is what is accepted by advaitins.

Yathaah ‘atmaiva ajnaana haanih’ ithi

Thus has been said ‘atman alone is removal of ajnaana’.

Aatmasvaroopam cha praageva shaastrapravritteh siddhameva ithi katham tatprayojanam syaat? Na hi kaschitsiddhasya saadhanaaya yathathe naapi tat saadhana arham

Before study of scriptures & following of scriptural path itself, atma svaroopa (the Self in itself) is established & thus how can there be any proyojanam?

There never can be any sadhana done for that which is already established (meaning that there cannot be any study of scriptures for attaining atman which is already established).

Also such a prayojanam can never be capable of being achieved through sadhana (such moksha of atma svaroopa can never become the sadhya or fruit through any sadhana).

‘jnaatha aatmaiva ajnaanahanir na aatmamaatram’ ithi kaschit tadasat

Some people claim ‘known Self alone is the result of removal of ajnaana and this is not atman alone’, this is not true (here jaya teertha points out that some claim that atman is not the result of ajnaana nivritti but jnaatha atman or known self is the result of ajnaana nivritti).

Why is this not true (that known Self is the result of removal of ajnaana)???

Aatmano jnaanakarmathaa anangeekaaraath

Since atman is not accepted to have jnaanakarmathaa (attained through activities of jnaana – here jaya teertha means to show that atman is not accepted as an entity which is attained through sravana-manana-nidhidhyaasana which are the actions for jnaana – this is because advaita doesn’t accept attainment of atman but only realization). (Since atman or Self is not accepted as something to be attained therefore the quality of jnaata or known even if given to the Self will not make it something that is achieved through jnaana – thus there cannot be any prayojanam for atman of advaita).

‘vrittivishayathaa asthi’ ithi chet, tathaapi ‘vrittivishista aatma moksha’ ithyuktham syaat

If it is said that there is ‘vritti vishayathaa’ (the atman becoming a subject to vritti or modification of the mind), then it would lead to the statement that ‘moksha is atman qualified by vritti’ (that which is subject to vritti is qualified by the vritti – the pot which is subject to the vritti of a person is qualified by the vritti as the pot is limited by the vritti or modification of the mind).

What is the fault of accepting vritti vishayathaa???

Tathaa cha vritteh nivrittau mokshanivritti prasangah

In that case (if vritti vishayathaa is accepted), when vritti is removed or negated, removal or negation of moksha will also happen (since vritti vishista atman is moksha therefore when vritti is removed, the moksha characterized by vritti vishista atman will also be removed – in such a case, moksha would become anitya or non-eternal which is quite against the term of moksha itself).

‘vritti upalakshita aatma moksha’ ithi chet tathaapi jeevanmukthao prasanga ithyeshaa dik

If it is argued that ‘atman which has the upalakshana of vritti is moksha’, then it would lead to jeevanmukthi for all people (jeevan mukthi is the atman realized even though subject to various vrittis as the jeevanmuktha does all activities).

Jaya Teertha goes on to attack the topic of avidhya asthamaya or ajnaana nivritti & its ontology (existence status) which is explained in different ways by advaitin. It is the same thing that Madhva also attacks in the main work. We will see this in the next mail in the series.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Monday, October 16, 2006

Final attack on Advaita vishaya - 10


Prostrations to all.

We saw in the last mail Madhva as well as Jaya Teertha attacking the view that brahma atma aikya is mithya and trying to prove the illogical or contrary conclusions arising out of such a proposition. We will see as to how the advaitin answers through his words in mayavada darpanam. We have already seen prior that brahma atma aikya is not yaathaarthyam (real) but as long as avidya is experienced, brahma atma aikya is real only. It is taking into consideration the bhedha or duality created by avidya (avidya kalpitha bhedha) that the shastra propounds the vishaya of brahma atma aikya through the various mahavakyas. Sankara quite clearly mentions this in his sutra bhashya as “avidya kalpitha bhedha nivrittitvaparatvaat shaastrasya – due to shastra leading to removal of duality which is created by avidya”.

Just to recap, the dvaitin had argued that if brahma atma aikya is mithyaa, shastra becomes invalid as well as this would lead to brahma atma bhedha becoming real – as the identity of Rama with Krishna is mithya would lead to the difference between Rama and Krishna becoming real. This would lead to the contrary conclusion of bhedha becoming real or dvaita or this would lead to advaita haani (that which madhva had mentioned in the starting itself).

Let us now enter into the words of the advaitin. Advaitin continues thus:

Yattu jayateerthena uktham ‘aikyasya mithyaatve bhedasya satyathaa cha syaat’ tad na satyam

What Jaya Teertha has mentioned as to the bheda becoming real if aikya is illusory (brahma atma aikya if illusory would lead to brahma atma bhedha becoming real), it is not true.

(Why isn’t this true?)
Rajju sarpa aikyasya mithyaatve sati tayoh bhedasya satyathaa na syaat, rajjudarshanaparaath aikyasya mithyaatva angeekaaraath

Even though Rajju sarpa aikya (identity of rope and snake) is mithya or illusory, the difference between rajju and sarpa is not real (in this case, rajju and sarpa being the same rajju alone) and once rope is known as such, the identity of rope-snake is accepted as illusory only.


This part is a bit logical as was jaya teertha’s argument on the same. The advaitin says that what Jayateertha says as to the bhedha becoming real if aikya is unreal is not right. This logic what Jaya Teertha is mentioning is not valid in the case of the illusion of snake in rope.

The rope-snake logic to prove adhyaasa and the relation between the world and Brahman is quite often used in advaita. A person due to dim light sees a snake in the rope. There is no snake there but only rope but he sees a snake in the rope. This seeing of snake causes the person to fear the rope, runaway from it etc. But once a learned person takes him near to the rope & shows him that there is no snake but only rope, the person realizes that there is and there was only the rope. The snake is thus known as a mere illusion in the substratum of rope.

The rope-snake identity or aikyatva which makes the person realize that there is no snake but only rope is accepted as mithya. The identity of rope-snake is illusory because there is no snake at all in the rope. Only if there is a real snake in the rope, can we speak about the rope-snake identity. But since there is only the rope, therefore the aikya or identity is illusory or mithya. Even though rajju-sarpa aikya is illusory, their difference doesn’t become real. Why? Because there are no two entities of rope and snake. Thus even though the identity of rope-snake is illusory, the difference between rope-snake is not real. But this difference of rope-snake is also an illusion which depends on the identity not known as such or not knowing that there is only rope there.

Here it can be argued that the identity of rope and snake is accepted as real and hence this argument cannot be raised for jaya teertha’s statement. Anticipating this argument the advaitin says that the argument of advaitin is valid because we accept the identity of rope and snake as an illusion once the reality of rope is known.

Extending this rope-snake analogy to brahma-atma, even though brahma atma aikya is mithya, still this doesn’t make brahma atma bhedha as real because there are no two entities at all but there exists only one entity.

We have to remember here that jaya teertha’s argument is valid in case of empirically real analogies but in the case of illusions, the argument is invalid.

Here the dvaitin might argue that brahma-atma aikya is considered as an illusion and hence your argument is invalid (in dvaita brahma atma aikya is mithyaa because Brahman is different from the atman). To this argument, we ask thus: “Are you speaking about your system’s interpretation of brahma-atma or our system? If you speak about your system, then that is invalid here because here the subject-matter is advaita siddhantha and not dvaita siddhantha. If you say that dvaita siddhantha can be raised so long as it is valid, then there cannot be any vada at all as there is no common stand for the vada (a discussion requires common ground or commonly accepted rules). You cannot say here that shaastra is the common ground as shaastra is not discussed in depth here whereas yukthi is what is discussed by madhva. It can be and has been proved through yukthi that bhedha is untenable (in bhedha dhikkara among other works). Thus yukthi support is there for what we are preaching. If on the other hand (instead of speaking about your system’s interpretation), you are speaking of our interpretation then our interpretation accepts brahma atma aikya which is the vishaya of shastra as unreal at the paaramarthika level. This has been shown through sankara’s words itself. Moreover sruthi proclaims duality as illusory (whether it is of brahma-atma or brahma-jagat) through the statements of “neha nana asthi kinchana” (there is no duality whatsoever here), “sarvam khalu idam brahma” etc.”

Thus whatever way the dvaitin argues, it is but true that brahma atma aikya is an illusion only or mithyaa alone. Since brahma atma aikya is mithya, therefore the analogy used (rope-snake) is apt in this case. This analogy as we have already shown proves jaya teertha’s statement as wrong. Thus the objection of madhva as well as jaya teertha has been answered.

It is essential over here to mention a few words about the analysis of brahma atma aikya. Brahma atma aikya as the rajju sarpa aikya is valid and real only until realization dawns. Once a person realizes the adviteeya atman, then there is no “other” entity to even compare. Thus during that state (we are considering it from vyaavaharika level) brahma atma aikya is mithyaa. Brahma atma aikya is mithyaa not because the bhedha of brahma atma is real but because there are no two entities of Brahman and atman. This dual perception of Brahman and atman as different is only due to avidya. This difference perception results in shastra’s propounding of aikya through which it will be realized that there is no dvaita but one alone exists.

For a person who doesn’t realize the reality of rope, he is mentioned that rajju and sarpa are one alone (rajju means rope and sarpa is snake). Through this aikyatva (which itself is mithyaa as there is ultimately only rope), he realizes that there is only rope. Thus this aikyatva doesn’t lead to bhedha satyatvam but leads to adviteeya rajju saakshaatkaara.

Thus has been mentioned in Advaita Pancharatnam (an English commentary has been written by me on the same and available at

Rajju ajnaanaath rajjau bhaathi yathaa ahih
Svaatma ajnaanath aatmani jeevo bhaavah
Aptha ukthyaa ahi bhraanthi naashe sah rajju
Jeevo naaham deshikokthyaa shivoham

As ignorance of rope causes a person to get deluded into seeing a snake, similarly atma ajnaana causes a person to think the atman as jeeva. As by the words of an elderly person there is realization that it is rope alone, similarly I am not the jeeva but the shiva propounded by the acharya.

In brahma atma aikya, atma word’s direct meaning is jeeva whereas the lakshya artha (implied meaning) is kutastha. Since sruthi is concerned with the jeeva (who thinks he is different from Brahman), therefore the atman (in brahma-atma wordings used in this mail) here denotes jeeva only. Thus the above sloka of advaita pancharatnam quite clearly explains this brahma atma analysis. More detailed analysis can be had from the English commentary on the same.

We will enter into the next argument of madhva in the next mail. Had mentioned in the previous mail about quoting from the vartika tika of anandagiri, would do the same over the weekend & hence the mail will be there only in the next week – sorry for the same.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Final attack on Advaita vishaya - 9


Prostrations to all.

With the last mail we completed the analysis on ajnaana of advaita by answering the arguments of madhva through the beautiful exposition of ajnaana by sureshwaracharya from the sambhandha bhashya vartika.

Even though there was the copy of the bhashya vartika with anandagiri’s commentary but that was in Chennai & hence didn’t have access to the same now. But of late, glanced upon an online version of the same scanned & hence have the bhashya vartika verses with anandagiri’s tika on the same – also found the brihadaranyaka vartikasaara of vidyaranya which is one of the base works of the vartika prasthaana. Will go through the same over the weekend & we will have a couple of mails next week on the same.

Continuing with the mayavada khandana of madhvacharya, madhva makes one final statement thereby closing the attack on the vishaya of advaita.

Mithyaatve chaikyasya aatatvavedakatvam aagamasya syaat – satyataa cha bhedasya

If Brahma-Atma aikya is mithyaa then sruthi would be propounding about something which is not real (as advaita accepts that sruthi propounds brahma atma aikya which in this case is mithyaa or not real).

Also in this case, as brahma atma aikya is mithyaa therefore bheda or difference between Brahman and atman becomes real which causes duality or dvaita.

Let us see Jaya teertha’s commentary on this part of the work as he explains this well:

Aikyam hi shaastrasya vishayathayaa parasya abhimatham

Aikya is accepted as the vishaya of the scriptures by others (here means advaitins).

Tatkimaatmasvaroopa athiriktham? utha tanmaatram?

Whether that aikya is different from the nature of atman or same as it?

Aadhye api satyam mithyaa vaa?

In the first case (if aikya is different from the nature of atman), is it real or illusory?

Na adhyah advaita haani prasangaath

It is not the first (aikya is not real and different from the nature of atman) as then it would lead against advaita or destruction of advaita.
Na dviteeyah

Nor even the second (aikya is not mithyaa and different from the nature of atman).

Aikyasya mithyaatve tat prathipaadakasya shaastrasya aatatvavevdakatvam syaat tathaa cha apasiddhanthah syaat

Aikya if it is mithya then shastra which propounds aikya will be propounding about unreal things – this will thus lead to apasiddhantha (deviation from one’s own theory – advaita propounds that shastra has the vishaya of brahma atma aikya and shastra is ultimate pramaana which will be wrong now as shastra will propound unreal things).

Jaya Teertha now explains about the words “satyataa cha bhedasya” thus:

Parasparavirudhayoh anyatharanishedasya anyatharavidhinaa vyaaptatvaad aikyasya mithyaatve bhedasya satyathaa cha syaat

Those which are mutually contradictory (brahma atma aikya and brahma atma bheda) & which is negated through a different way (brahma atma aikya is negated); its concomitance in a different way leads us to the fact that if aikya is mithya, then the bhedha (between Brahman and atman) becomes real.


Please bear with the last sentence of Jaya Teertha which is a bit logical but will explain it a bit depth later in the mail.


The argument of brahma atma aikya being illusory and thereby sruthi propounding illusory brahma atma aikya has already been discussed previously and answered as well. Here just we need to understand that apasiddhantha happens when a person goes against his own definitions or his own theory. When “I” say that “vedanta is the final philosophy” and still follow the sankhya system (which believes in dvaita), it is apasiddhantha – as here I accept prakrithi (maya in Vedanta) as an illusory power of Brahman as per Vedanta but still hold the sankhya view that prakrithi and purusha are independent, eternal and separate. Hope the term apasiddhantha is clear now.

Jaya teertha tries to show that advaitins accept sruthi pramaana above all other pramaanas (even pratyaksha or anubhava which is considered as the strongest pramanaa but other systems). If they then accept brahma atma aikya as mithyaa, then sruthi would become invalid as it is propounding about an unreal thing or theory. Thus sruthi though is accepted as faultless and ultimate propounds faulty as well as illusory things.

This explains the first part of madhva’s argument which can be understood very well by jaya teertha’s tika on the same (which has been put above).

Bhedasya satyathaa – bheda becoming real

We will now try to see madhva’s argument of bheda becoming real if brahma atma aikya is mithyaa. We have here two entities of Brahman and atman. Brahman is the ultimate reality whereas atman is the seemingly limited kutastha (as per later advaita acharyas words). Brahman is pointed out through the word TAT whereas atman is pointed out through the word TVAM in the mahavakya TAT TVAM ASI.

Advaita propounds that the vishaya of scriptures is brahma atma aikya or oneness of Brahman and atman. If this brahma atma aikya is mithyaa, then automatically it gets proved that Brahman and atman are different.

Let’s consider this example:
A -> tree
B -> rock
A=B -> aikya

A=B is mithyaa, then A!=B.

If the oneness of A and B is mithyaa, then it means that A and B are different. Thus A-B aikya is mithyaa if A and B are different. If A and B are same, then the aikya cannot be mithyaa.

Extending this to Brahman as A and Atman as B:

A -> Brahman
B -> Atman

A=B -> Brahma Atma Aikya
A=B is mithyaa means A!=B or Brahman is not equal to Atman

A!=B means A and B are different
Brahman not equal to Atman means Brahman is different from Atman.
Brahman is different from Atman means “difference between Brahman and Atman is real”.

If the difference between Brahman and Atman is real, then this goes against advaita & hence Brahma-Atma aikya cannot be mithyaa. Brahma-Atma aikya cannot be real as well because it will lead to another entity of Brahma Atma Aikya as real other than Brahman (which will lead to two real entities). Thus advaita has to accept Brahma Atma aikya as svaroopa alone (brahma atma aikya as not svaroopa has been proved illogical even if brahma atma aikya is considered as real or unreal).

If Brahma Atma aikya is svaroopa, then the faults which madhva raised as to nirvisheshatva etc. will come & hence advaita cannot escape from this as well.

Thus the Brahma Atma Aikya vishaya of advaita is illogical.

The above argument of madhva and jaya teertha as the bheda being real if brahma atma aikya is mithyaa will be proved wrong through the advaitin’s reply to the same. We will see that in the next mail in the series.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God