Mayavada Darpanam

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


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