Mayavada Darpanam

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Attack on prayojana of Advaita - 4


Prostrations to all.

As mentioned in the previous mail, we will try to see jaya teertha’s arguments in the light of the answering of the advaitin of the arguments against vishaya and ajnaana nivritti.

Jaya teertha mentioned that some people claim that “known atman alone is removal of ignorance and not atman”. He further argued that this is false because atman is not accepted as being attained through jnaana. So ‘known’ is not applicable to atman & hence ajnaana nivritti will never be possible.

This argument of jaya teertha is not valid in this case. As we have been explaining throughout, known atman is valid only as long as ajnaana is there. As per the vivarana school, the vritti ajnaana is removed by vritti jnaana which is “known atman” or atman subject to the vritti of knowledge. Hence the vritti jnaana can be attained through karma as here atman is not attained whereas vritti jnaana alone is attained. Thus the argument of jaya teertha is not valid.

Anticipating this particular answering, jaya teertha mentioned that “being subject to vritti is accepted” if thus the advaitin says, then it is as good as telling that the atman subject to vritti causes moksha. This means if vritti is removed, moksha is also removed. Thus moksha become non-eternal and temporary.

This argument of jaya teertha seems to be due to either incomplete knowledge of advaita or knowingly attacking advaita because the famous viewpoint of Gaudapada and Yoga Vasistha that there is neither bondage nor liberation for the ever-present atman clearly answers this objection. In Sanskrit and logical work terms, the answer to jaya teertha’s objection would be “ishtatvaat” or “as it is desired”.

What is desired???
It is desired to have moksha as temporary or non-eternal because bandha or bondage which is negated by moksha is also temporary. Advaita speaks about moksha from temporary bondage alone. Hence once moksha is achieved which is nothing but getting out of bondage or removal of bondage, moksha also becomes invalid. This is similar to the dream-lion (which is equivalent of moksha) causing the dreamer to wake up (from the bondage of dream) and then vanishes itself.

When jnaana vritti removes bandha, it is moksha which removes illusory ignorance. When ignorance is removed, the vritti which causes moksha also vanishes. This moksha is not the real moksha but only illusory moksha which removes illusory bondage. Moksha is atman alone which is ever present. Even the dvaitin accepts moksha as experience of bliss of oneself in order to not bring non-eternality to moksha.

Sankara gives the example of kaathaka powder cleansing the water & itself merging to show that when jnaana removes ajnaana, jnaana also vanishes & adviteeya atman alone exists. This is real moksha – that which is ever present.

Moksha as the ever-present Atman or realization of the ever-present Atman is eternal because it is ever present. Whereas moksha as removal of bandha or bondage is temporary as it is valid only as long as bandha is there. The dual notions of bandha and moksha are only valid at the empirical level so long as ajnaana seems to be experienced. This is what Sankara mentions in the nirvana shatkam as “na mukthir na bandhah – chidaananda roopah sivoham sivoham”.

The last argument that madhva and jaya teertha had raised was regarding the panchama prakaara ajnaana nivritti. We have to understand that this is just one particular way of explaining ajnaana nivritti without getting into any kind of logical issues. That was why Vimuktatman explained ajnaana nivritti in this particular way in Istasiddhi. The moment we accept moksha as atman alone, this question of whether to accept the fifth type of ajnaana nivritti or not doesn’t even come into picture. But for making the seeker understand it logically, we can say that ajnaana is anirvachaneeya and thereby the removal of ajnaana has to be different from anirvachaneeya – hence it has to be of the fifth type (different from the basic four types of sat, asat, sat asat, neither sat nor sat which is anirvachaneeya). This way of explanation can be meant to prove ajnaana nivritti at the empirical level. At the paaramarthika level, ajnaana nivritti is atman alone as at this level there is only the adviteeya atman – nothing else exists apart from the atman.

Hence the fifth type of reality status for ajnaana nivritti is only for easier understanding of the seeker. Madhva’s argument that since ajnaana itself is not proved, ajnaana nivritti of the fifth type is also not proved, is not right because ajnaana has been proved through sruthi, yukthi and anubhava by the advaitin. Hence the fifth type of ajnaana nivritti also is valid only.

With this we come to an end to the discussion of ajnaana nivritti as well as prayojana of Advaita. We will continue with Madhva’s work and the counter work in the next mail in the series.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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