Mayavada Darpanam

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Attack on vishaya of Advaita - 1


Prostrations to all.

We will start with the starting statement of Madhvacharya's Mayavaada Khandanam and will deal with the reply given in Mayavaada Darpanam (the work written refuting or defending Advaita by me with the grace of AMMA) in the next mail.

Madhvacharya starts the work of Mayavada Khandanam with an anumaana or inference to prove that “Advaita is something that cannot be really started”.

Madhva says thus:
"Vimatham anaarambhaneeyam, anyathaaprathipaadakatvaat, yad ittham tat tathaa, yathaa samprathipannam"

Vimatham is the subject-matter which is being discussed. Here vimatham is “whether advaita can be started or not”. The subject-matter is anaarambhaneeyam or it cannot be started.
Why “advaita cannot be started”?
Anyathaa prathipaadakatvaat – as it propounds something different from the subject-matter of scriptures or advaita deviates from the sruthi.
And an example is also given by Madhva to prove this – as it is in the case of shoonyavaadins and jains who dont have any use out of their scriptures (which advaita also accepts) and they dont have any subject-matter at all.

Any anumaana or inference has three parts or components which are:
1. Prathijnaa – statement which is to be proved
2. Hetu – reason or proof for the statement
3. Udaaharana – example supporting the reason and statement to be proved

The very common inference taken is inferring from the smoke seen on the top of a hill that there is fire on top of the hill.

There is fine in the hill, (Pratijnaa)
Because there is smoke, (hetu)
As in chimney (udaaharana).

In Madhva’s anumaana the parts are thus:
1. Prathijnaa – advaita cannot be started
2. Hetu – since it propounds things different from sruthi
3. Udaaharana – as buddhist and jain systems propound different from sruthi & they are not to be started or followed, similar is the case with advaita also.

Jaya Teertha and other commentators give two additional hetu or reasons for the same. The reasons thus are:
1. Anyathaa prathipaadakatvaat – advaita says that it follows sruthi whereas the subject-matter of advaita deviates from sruthi as sruthi supports dvaita satyatva and the pancha bhedaas too.
2. Baadhitha vishayatvaat – due to the subject-matter being sublated or vanishing after some time. Advaita propounds that the subject-matter of Brahman also vanishes once realization dawns as then there the seeker realizes that there never was any vishaya at all but Brahman alone existed.
3. Vedaadeh tat paratva niraasaya prathijnaa saadhyathe – the statement is proved as vedas propound something contrary to what advaita propounds.

The difference between hetu 1 and hetu 3 is that 1 propounds that advaita deviates from sruthi whereas 3 states that sruthi proves things contrary and against advaita.

1. Anyathaa prathipaadakatvaat
Here the dvaitin points out that the various sruthi statements like “Dvavimau purushau loke” – there are two purushas which are the kshara or changing purusha and the immortal or akshara purusha. The uttama purusha or Bhagavan is different from both kshara and akshara as per Gita’s statement (15th chapter) and Katha Upanishad statement. Most of the sruthi statements propound the jeeva to be mortal, limited and dependent on the Lord whereas Ishara is immortal, unlimited and independent. There are more sruthi statements which point out that the world is real and that the pancha bhedhaas real than the advaitic sruthi which are very less. Even those few advaitic sruthi can be shown to point out bhedham only. For eg: the most famous sruthi statement of “Sa yo ha vai tat paramam brahma veda brahmaiva bhavathi” (Mundaka Upanishad) which means that “He who knows that ultimate Brahman verily becomes Brahman” can clearly be shown to point out dvaita through the word “Paramam” which means “Supreme”. This means that there is something which is inferior or not Supreme with respect to the Supreme Lord or Ishwara. Thus since most of the sruthi statements point out dvaita only and the advaitic sruthi also can be shown to point out dvaita, therefore what advaita points out as the import of sruthi is wrong. Thus advaitic vishaya is something different from that of the sruthi, sruthi being dvaitic in import.

2. Baadhitha vishayatvaat
The vishaya that advaita points out is something which is sublated after realization. Here sublation means that the vishaya itself becomes unreal or invalid after realization. Once realization dawns, there is nothing but Brahman alone – then the search which was done by the seeker also becomes invalid even like dream world experience and waking up from the dream world. Thus the vishaya of Brahma-atma aikya which advaita points out becomes unreal once a person realizes. Thus advaita’s vishaya is baadhitham or sublated or becomes unreal or vanishes after realization. Since advaita’s vishaya is unreal, therefore it is futile to go after such a philosophy whose vishaya or subject-matter itself is unreal.

3. Vedaadeh tat paratva niraasa
The vishaya of advaita itself is negated in sruthi statements where advaita is clearly negated through propounding dvaita and the pancha bhedaas. For eg: the 15th chapter of Gita which clearly propounds the three purushas of kshara (the worldly objects which are perishable), Akshara (which are the jeevas which are imperishable) and Uttama (which is the Supreme or the Lord alone) shows the bhedhaas are real which is against advaita and refuting advaita directly. Since sruthi itself clearly negates advaita or advaitic vishaya, therefore advaita is not to be started.

Here the dvaitin is trying to show that the vishaya of advaita is invalid and hence the system itself is not to be started through the above mentioned three reasons.

We will learn advaita’s response to the above three arguments or anumaanaas of dvaitin through study of Mayavaada Darpanam and its statements in the next mail.

PS: Dvaitin's statements are in brown with Madhwa's work in bold and mayavada darpanam text in bold green.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Introduction to Madhwacharya's work

The counter work of Mayavada Khandana is titled Mayavada Darpanam meaning that which is the mirror reflecting Mayavada or the mirror that illumines the theories of Mayavada and shows that Mayavada is logical and beyond all logical fallacies.

We ended the last mail with the discussion of Anubandha Chathustayam and saying that Madhva in this work of Mayavaada Khandana attacks the Anubandha Chathustayam of Advaita showing that each of these is not possible for Advaita.

Thus we will have a very small introduction of Madhva's work in the current mail. Madhva's work can be split into different parts as such:

1. Attack on Vishaya of Advaita
2. Attack on Ajnaana
3. Attack on Prayojana or Phalam of Advaita
4. Attack on Adhikaari and Sambandha (there is no direct logic for the same given but indirect and inferred attack).
5. Sruthi, Smrithi and Purana quotings
6. Conclusive statement from Mahabharatha

1. Attack on Vishaya of Advaita
As we have already seen, the Vishaya or Subject-matter of Advaita is Brahma Atma Aikya or oneness of Brahman (the TAT or THAT in the Mahavakya Tat tvam asi) and Atman (the TVAM or THIS in the Mahavakya Tat tvam asi). Madhva starts by questioning whether this Brahma Atma Aikya is real or unreal. Madhva goes on to prove that both ways lead to illogical conclusions only. Similarly is the Brahma Atma Aikya different from one's own Self or same as one's own Self. Both ways it leads to logical errors only. Thus Brahma Atma Aikya itself cannot be really propounded and thus Vishaya itself is invalid in the case of Advaita.

We will learn each of these parts of Madhva's work in short as if we learn in depth, it will lead to confusions and will be like getting into the work in depth (which we will doing from the next mail in the series).

2. Attack on Ajnaana
Ajnaana is one keypoint in Advaita. Ajnaana is the cause for all sorrows and sufferings. Ajnaana is forgetfulness of one's own very nature of Self or Brahman. This Ajnaana is the reason or answer as to why the seeker who is Brahman doesn't realize his nature of Brahman or eternal bliss. Sankara and other Advaita acharyas have clearly propounded that Ajnaana is something inexplicable or anirvachaneeya - it cannot really be explained (we will see as to why this is the case later). The moment a person tries to explain Ajnaana, he is in Ajnaana and hence cannot come to a clear conclusion about it. A person cannot explain about a forest when he is inside the forest. Only when he comes out of the forest, he can explain in detail as to what it is, what it has etc. Similar is the case with a person who is immersed in the ocean of samsaara (caused out of Ajnaana) -- he cannot really speak about it until he comes out of the ocean. Once he comes out of the ocean, there is nothing to speak about as there is only Brahman, one without a second. Thus both ways, ajnaana can never be spoken clearly of -- even though acharyas give explanations about it for the benefit of the doubting and answer-requiring seekers.

This Ajnaana has come under severe attack starting from Ramanuja in his Sri Bhashya. This has been hit from all sides by Vishista advaita and Dvaita acharyas. Thus we find Ramanuja giving Sapthavidha anupapattih (seven types of logical problems for Ajnaana) in his Sri Bhashya. All these attacks arise because of lack of proper understanding and practice of the teachings of Upanishads and Advaita acharyas works. We find ajnaana being explained clearly and beyond doubt in Sankara's Gita Bhashya (13th chapter 2nd sloka -- here explanation is that it is inexplicable and beyond all logic). Sureshwaracharya has clearly spoken about Ajnaana in his Brihadaranyaka Bhashya Vartika (Sambandha Bhashya Vartika) and Naishkarmya Siddhi. But even then, if people start attacking Ajnaana, it is nothing but foolishness alone.

Here we find Madhva attacking Ajnaana on a broader aspect unlike Ramanuja who thoroughly criticizes it. Madhva also criticizes that Ajnaana is not at all possible as the Self can never be veiled. The age long discussion of Ajnaana Nivritti or removal of Ajnaana is also scrutinized and criticized. The different opinions on the same from Advaita has been attacked Madhva as well as Jaya Teertha.

3. Attack on Prayojana or Phala
Prayojana of Advaita is moksha which is poorna dukha vimochana or complete cessation of sorrow. This is nothing but removal of ajnaana alone. Madhva attacks by telling that Ajnaana itself is inexplicable, so how is Ajnaana Nivritti define or explained? Thus he says that there is Ajnaana Nivritti possible -- so there is no moksha or prayojana for Advaita.

4. Attack on Sambandha and Adhikaari
Sambandha is relation between Prayojana and Vishaya. Since there is no prayojana and vishaya for advaita, it just follows that there is no Sambandha at all.

Since there is neither vishaya nor prayojana or sambandha, there is no adhikaari also. Dvaitin goes to the extent of saying that no wise person will follow Advaita.

5. Sruthi, smrithi and purana quotings
Madhva quotes the very famous 15th chapter statements of Gita where Lord Krishna explains the Kshara or perishable Purusha, Akshara or imperishable Purusha and Uttama Purusha (16th sloka to 20th sloka). It is but natural that different acharyas have different interpretations to these slokas even though Sankara beyond doubt shows how these point to Advaita. Madhva takes the other extreme viewpoint that Kshara is the perishable entities, Akshara is the individual Selfs and Uttama Purusha is Lord Vishnu alone. Ramanuja differs from Madhva in that he considers the kshara and akshara purushas as part of Vishnu whereas Madhva accepts complete or poorna bhedha (difference) between the three purushas (the system of Madhva accepts the pancha bhedhas which are 1. difference between Ishwara and Jeeva, 2. difference between Ishwara and jada or the world of insentient objects, 3. difference between one Jeeva and another Jeeva, 4. difference between Jeeva and Jada, 5. difference between one jada and another jada).

These statements of Lord Krishna are from the Katha Upanishad. Since Gita is a smrithi, we can find most of the statements either directly or indirectly in some or the other Upanishads.

Madhva also quotes the Brahma Sutras to support the Dvaita system.

6. Conclusion
Madhva concludes the work with a statement from Veda Vyaasa's Mahabharatha. Thus he gives quotings from Sruthi (Katha Upanishad), Smrithi (Bhagavad Gita), Sutras (Brahma Sutras) and Puranaas (Mahabharatha which is considered as the fifth Veda and a purana too).

Thus it is concluded that Advaita is full of logical errors and no wise person will follow it. Instead it is Dvaita which is propounded by the scriptures & hence any seeker should follow Dvaita alone.

We will start with the first part of Madhva dealing with attack on vishaya of Advaita and the counter argument of the Advaitin in Mayavada Darpanam.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Anubandha Chathustayam

Before getting into the work of Madhvacharya, we need to have an introduction as to what is being mentioned by Madhva as well as splitting the work into smaller parts.

Any work or philosophy before it is started has four introductory parts or components that need to be addressed. These are called the Anubandha Chathustayam -- the four things are:
1. Vishaya or subject matter
2. Prayojanam or fruit
3. Sambandha or relation between vishaya and prayojanam
4. Adhikaari or eligible person

We shall see in brief the four parts so that it helps us in understanding Madhvacharya's work easily.

1. Vishaya or subject matter -- any work or philosophy when it is started should have a vishaya or the subject matter which it addresses. Advaita works have the vishaya or subject matter as Brahma Atma Aikya or Jeeva Brahma Aikya -- oneness of the seemingly individual Self and the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. Jeeva is nothing but seemingly appearing reflection of Brahman on the antah karana (to be specific - on the intellect or buddhi). There is no reflection apart from the original -- thus there is no jeeva apart from Brahman. Jeeva is just a seemingly appearing existence and it exists as long as the upadhi or adjunct of buddhi exists. Once buddhi vanishes when avidya or ignorance vanishes (buddhi is caused out of avidya or maya), there is nothing but the Self or Brahman alone. Thus we have OC or Original Consciousness of Brahman and RC or reflected Consciousness of Jeeva. Both are one and the same only because there is no RC without OC. OC seems to be reflected as RC because of ignorance. But when ignorance vanishes, OC is experienced as the adviteeya Brahman. When RC seems to be present, OC is the Kutastha or the unchanging witness of all activities. Thus as per Advaita, the main goal of human life is to realize the ultimate reality of Brahman as OC or Consciousness or Kutastha or witness which is one's own very nature of "I". If we take any work of Advaita, this is the subject matter of the work. As per Advaita, Vedanta or upanishads also have the same subject matter only.

2. Prayojanam -- any work will have a fruit which will be achieved by the seeker or the one who follows the sadhanas as per the work. This fruit as per Advaita is Moksha or liberation or realization. Moksha is nothing but poorna dukha mochanam or complete cessation of sorrow. Dukha mochanam is possible only when the ignorance about one's own very nature of eternal bliss is removed. Ignorance is removed only through the real knowledge that "I am the non-dual Brahman".

Thus Moksha -> poorna dukha mochanam -> ajnaana naasham (removal of ignorance) -> atma saakshaatkaaram

Thus everything is based on realizing one's own very nature of Brahman -- realizing this is Moksha as when a person realizes the Self, ignorance vanishes. When ignorance vanishes, sorrow vanishes completely as sorrow is just because of lack of one's own nature of eternal bliss. Thus Atma Saakshaatkaaram or realizing one's own Self is Moksha or liberation. Here the word realization is very important because there is nothing new gained or achieved or known. The very Self which was forgotten is again remembered or realized. Vedanta and Sankaracharya in his bhashyas mention the story of a lion cub for the same. The story goes thus:

Once a flock of sheep were passing by and a lioness saw them. The lioness pounced upon the sheep but the lioness was pregnant at that time. The lioness gave birth to a lion and died because of the jump. The lion fall amidst the sheep. It also started bleating and behaving like a sheep. It started living like a sheep. When it grew up, still it was thinking that it is a sheep. One day, a lion saw this young lion walking with sheep. The lion caught the young lion which started crying like a sheep. Then the big lion took the other lion to a river and showed that he was a lion and not a sheep.

This story shows that the lion was always a lion - it never was a sheep. It just had forgotten its own very nature of lion. When another lion revealed the same, the lion realized its nature of lion. Similarly we all are Brahman alone but we have forgotten our own very nature of Brahman. This forgetfulness is removed when the Guru comes to us and tells us that "you are that" or "TAT TVAM ASI" -- then the realization dawns that "I am Brahman". "I" never was different from Brahman but just realized what I had forgotten. Thus MOKSHA is not something gained or newly achieved but it is just realization of one's own very nature.

Vidyaranya mentions about the ten fools story in Panchadashi which also explains the same. If possible, we will try to analyze the story along with the verses of panchadashi in a different mail (hope everybody knows the story -- if someone doesn't know the story, it can be mentioned in the forum so that any person who knows the story can explain the same again in the forum).

There might be an objection here as to the forgetfulness -- what is the cause of forgetfulness? It is ignorance of one's own very nature of Brahman. What is this ignorance and wherefrom did it come???? Advaita answers to this telling that avidya is anirvachaneeya or inexplicable. Ignorance can never be explained as it is beyond any explanation. The main reason for the same is that there never is any ignorance at all -- because we all are always the Self and the Self can never be veiled by ignorance but it just seems to be veiled by ignorance like a person dreaming himself to be something different.

If it is again objected here that "it is a means of escapism when it is said that avidya is anirvachaneeya", then it is only logical to accept that avidya is anirvachaneeya. Let's say that "I am ignorant about maths". This statement itself is wrong because it means that I know something about maths as only then I can say that I am ignorant about a particular thing. If I know about maths, then I am not ignorant about maths. Thus ignorance of maths cannot really be explained at all. Similarly if I have to say when avidya started and where it started etc. these also are illogical. If I say that "yesterday ignorance started", it means that I was aware of the time when I became ignorant about maths. This itself means that I was aware of maths when ignorance started. Thus ignorance about a particular entity or thing cannot be explained. If this is the case with normal entities, it has to be the same with Atman too. Thus ignorance of Atman or Avidya cannot be really explained as it is illogical and that which is beyond explanation. Thus Sankara says that "Yukthi viheena prakaashasya samjnaa maayaa" - Maya is that which is beyond logic. We will discussing in detail about avidya while dealing with madhva's work.

Thus prayojanam of advaita or vedantic works in general is realization of one's own very nature of Self or Brahman.

3. Sambandha -- relation between prayojanam and vishaya is that when a person seeks out the vishaya of brahma atma aikyam, he realizes his own nature of atman or is liberation - thus he gets moksha (gets is a wrong word but still from the empirical viewpoint of ignorance, it is attaining or getting only).

4. Adhikaari -- the person eligible for learning Advaita is one who is endowed with the four-fold qualifications. The four-fold qualifications in short are
a) Viveka or discrimination between real and unreal - Real is Brahman alone and the world is unreal
b) Vairagya or dispassion -- dispassion towards the illusory world because of attachment to the real entity of Brahman
c) shamaadi shatka sampatti -- the six qualities of the mind which are sama or calmness of the mind, dama or control of external sense organs, uparathi or withdrawal of sense organs from their respective objects, titiksha or endurance or forbearance, sraddha or faith in the words of scriptures and guru and samaadhaana or tranquility of the mind as it is established in the Self.
d) Mumukshutva -- burning desire for liberation.

Even though the above four are exhaustive topics, am not dealing them in detail as that will go beyond one mail and since this will be covered in an english commentary on the Chatussutri portion of the Brahma Sutra (not complete yet).

Any person can learn Vedanta but only that person who is endowed with the four-fold qualifications also called saadhana chathustayam will be able to grasp the reality through the study of Vedanta. This particular point is important because else Vedanta can be learnt only by advanced seekers or realized saints who have the four-fold qualifications.

Madhvacharya in this particular work of Mayavaada khandanam attacks the anubandha chathustayam of Advaita trying to show that each of these are invalid for Advaita. He tries to point out through logic that there is neither Vishaya nor Prayojanam nor Sambandha nor adhikaari for Advaita as trying to show all these four for Advaita will lead only to illogical conclusions. This is achieved primarily through high-end logic. These logics are also based on wrong analysis and understanding of Advaita. Even though followers of Dvaita claim that they have clear knowledge about Advaita but still they forget basic things about Advaita. Also they forget the very basic fundamental of Advaita that Advaita is not just mere learning but it is aparoksha anubhava or direct experience of one's own very nature. For this, the sadhana propounded by Advaita has to be followed and a person who follows it will surely realize the adviteeya Brahman. Such a person will have no doubts or objects against Advaita because he himself will be in the advaitic state only. Instead of following the path and trying to find out whether the philosophy is right or wrong, if a person just uses logic to prove the system wrong -- it is very bad and such a seeker alone is loser. Sruthi clearly says that the Self cannot be realized through logic (Na esha tarkena matih aapaneya -- says Katha Upanishad) but still if high-end logic is resorted to and that too against a completely logical system, it is nothing but "utter ignorance and arrogance".

We are not here trying to attack the Dvaitins approach or to have anger towards them but just analyzing the objections which might very well be the doubts in the mind of one of us & trying to resolve it so that we can progress further in the spiritual path to the ultimate reality of Brahman.

Dhyaana sloka - 2

Just to recap:

we are currently analyzing Madhvacharya's Mayavaada Khandanam wherein he criticizes Advaita -- and we are trying to analyze the work from the view point of Advaita & trying to refute the arguments of Madhva and his followers.

We have currently discussed the dhyaana sloka of Madhvacharya where he prostrates Narasimha for the destruction of all the tenets of Advaita.

As mentioned earlier, we will be learning Madhva's work along with refutation of Madhva's statements and defense of Advaita against Madhva's arguments -- this will be done with the help of the work which has been compiled by me by AMMA's grace. With the blessings of AMMA and Sankara, let us try to analyze the work thereby making clear our concepts about the ultimate reality of Brahman thus helping us in realizing the ultimate reality of Brahman.

The counter work is in sanskrit. There might be grammatical mistakes in the work. Hope people in the forum wouldn't mind it - will try my level best to correct most of the grammatical errors but if that is not possible, apologize for the same.

The work also starts with a similar dhyaana sloka as that of Madhva -- since it is a defense of Advaita against Mayavaada Khandanam so the pattern followed and word-pattern usage will be almost similar to that of Madhva. Have tried to make it elaborate in certain places where explanation is required so that the defense covers arguments of Jaya Teertha also. But in other places, the work will be short and crisp like Madhva's -- we will take up the work and its meaning in detail so that everybody understands the work clearly.

The dhyaana sloka is thus:

Narasimho akhila samsaara bhava baadavaagnih
satyam jnaanam anantham cha sarvopaadhi vivarjitham

Prostrations to Lord Narasimha who is like the fire called Baadavagnih to destroy the entire ocean of samsaara, who is of the nature of Sat Chit and Anantha (or infinite) and beyond all limitations.

The above verse is in anushtup chandhas (which Madhva's dhyaana sloka is also in) which is one of the most common chandhas or metre used in sanskrit (hope there is no fault in the chandhas).

Lord Narasimha's avatar is very important in Vedanta and the time when this occurred is very important. We find in Bhagavatham which is one of the best puranic work propounding the ultimate reality that Lord took the avatar of Narasimha to show one of the great Vedantins of Hiranyakashipu the reality that everything is Brahman only through the instrument of Prahlaada. There are many wrong concepts about Hiranyakashipu and other asura chakravarthis but these asura kings were great Vedantins. We find clearly in Bhagavatham in the story of Mahabali where Lord says to Gods that great is this king who has offered his own head to me -- he has attained a position which you all can't achieve. We find in very clear terms in Yoga Vasistha where it is said that Mahabali initially learnt the truth from his father Virochana and then confirmed this from his guru Shukracharya. When the Lord had killed Hiranyaaksha in the varaaha avatar, Hiranyakashipu's mother and relatives were very sad. He called them all & tells them a story about a king and his queen when the king died, queen were crying -- lord came in the form of a boy and told the queen and others that what is dead is just the form and not the real Self -- the real Self is ever present and it never dies-- therefore dont cry. Thus telling the story, Hiranyakashipu consoled his parents and others -- after this, he set out to find the real killer of Vishnu. He had learnt Vedanta but it became practical when he asked Prahlada as to where is God? Prahlada replied that Lord is everywhere -- then he asked "Is Lord there in this pillar?" and prahlaada replied "yes" -- and he started attacking the pillar & Lord came out. The Lord then killed the Ego of Hiranyakashipu and redeemed the eternal Self underlying the Ego of hiranyakashipu. Hiranya means gold and aksha means eyes -- so this is one who sees Gold and is attracted towards it. Similar is the meaning of Hiranyakashipu too -- who is hankering after sensual pleasures which are like gold attracting everyone. Thus Lord Narasimha is one who kills the Ego and redeems the ever-present eternal Self.

Thus it is mentioned in the dhyaana sloka that Lord is one who destroys the ocean of samsaara. Samsaara is best defined by Sankara as Avidya, kaama and karma -- these are what is there in samsaara. Samsaara is the cause of sorrow and suffering in the world. It makes a person seem to struggle in life even though he is ever the blissful Self. Thus Lord is one who destroys the samsaara through destruction of Ego which experiences the samsaara. Samsaara is an ocean -- comparison used in Vedanta. Ocean is vast, similar is the ocean of ignorance -- it makes a person dip and dip and dip -- the currents are so strong that it is tough to come out of ocean. Oceans have tides of various karmas and phalas. It also has the six crocodiles of kaama, krodha etc. (we are already aware of these).

Normally in many works, we find mentioning of the Lord or Guru as one who is the boat to cross over the ocean of samsaara but here the work mentions it a bit differently. Here reference is made to baadavagnih - a special type of fire. We all know that ocean suppresses fire but there is this particular fire called baadavaagni which drinks the ocean or destroys the ocean. Thus the Lord doesn't help us cross over the ocean but completely destroys the ocean with the fire called baadavagni. This fire is the fire of knowledge, fire of Advaita Jnaana through the scriptures and Guru.

Baadavagni is mentioned in the Guru paaduka stotra of Sri Sacchidaananda Sivabhinava Nrsimha Bharathi swamigal of Sringeri (who was succeeded by the great world acclaimed jeevan muktha of Swami Chandrasekhara Bharathi of Sringeri) thus:

Paapaandhakaara paramparaabhyaam
taapatrayaaheendra khageshwaraabhyaam
Jaadyaabdhi samshoshanabhaadavaabhyaam
namo namah sri gurupaadukaabhyaam

Prostrations to the foot wear of the Guru which is like a set of Sun(s) to destroy the darkness of sin (here indicates ignorance), removing the taapa traya (three types of sufferings of adhibhoota, adhyaatma and adhidaiva) like Garuda removing snakes and that which drinks or evaporates the ocean of jada samsaara like baadavagni.

This comparison is very rare and have found it only in the above verse so far. Prof. Balakrishnan Nair does mention about this fire in his Bhaagavatha Hridayam (an analysis into the spiritual import of stories in Srimad Bhagavatham).

Thus the Lord is not destroyer of any philosophies as Madhva says but he is the destroyer of the ocean of samsaara responsible for all troubles/sufferings in the illusory world (we will come as to how this world is illusion at a later time).

The Lord is explained in Upanishads and Puranaas as Sat Chit ananda and anantha. Sat is to indicate that the reality of Lord or Brahman is never sublated. Chit is to show that it is not insentient like a rock. ananda is to show unlimited happiness unlike sorrow present in objects in the world. Anantha means that the Lord is never limited by any upadhis. This definition of Sat Chit Ananda is for Para Brahman or Nirguna Brahman as per Vedanta. Hence the prostration is not to the form of Narasimha but it is indirectly pointing to the ultimate reality of Nirguna, Nirvishesha and Niraakaara Brahman.

"Satyam jnaana anantham brahma" occurs in Taittiriya Upanishad.

Many puranas have the following sloka:
Satchidaananda roopaaya vishwotpatyaadi hethave
Taapatraya vinaashaaya sri krishnaaya vayam namah

We prostrate Lord Krishna who is of the nature of Sat, Chit and ananda, who is the creator of the world and who is the destroyer of the three types of sufferings.

Thus the refuting work isn't just prostrating the form of Narasimha but also prostrating the underlying reality of Nirguna, Niraakara and Nirvishesha Brahman.

Since it is mentioned in the dhyaana sloka that the reality is of the nature of Sat, Chit, Ananda and Anantha there may be a doubt to the seeker. The doubt is this: Anantha means infinite - this might mean that Brahman is unlimited by the any of the limiting factors - this would mean that the limiting factors are there but Brahman is not limited by them (this is the explanation - similar explanation - which Dvaita system gives for anantha) thus deviating from the one-reality of Advaita. This has been answered by the words "Sarva upadhi vivarjitham" which means deviod or bereft of all adjuncts.

Vedanta broadly speaks about three adjuncts for any object in the world -- the three are Desha, Kaala and Vishaya. Desha means space, kaala means time and vishaya means objectification or causation. Brahman is beyond and bereft of all these adjuncts. Even though Brahman is infinite in time, but still it is not limited by time because it is devoid of time. Similarly Brahman is not just that entity which is present everywhere (which attributes to sarva vyaapitva meaning infinite in space) but it is devoid of space itself. Vishaya means causation. Any object we take in the world is subject to limitation by time, space and causation. But Brahman is beyond all these.

Sankara says thus in Vivekachoodaamani:
Jaathi neethi kula gotra duragam
Naama roopa guna dosha varjitam
desha kaala vishayati vartiyat
Brahma tattvamasi bhaavayaatmani

That which is beyond jaathi (caste), neethi (rule or law), kula (sect), gotra (internal category of caste), that which is bereft of the faults of naama, roopa and gunam, that which stays beyond time, space and causation -- that Brahman I am -- thus contemplate.

The above is from a set of 10 or more verses in Vivekachoodamani where Sankara is speaking about how to meditate on the reality that "I am Brahman" - anusandhaana prakriya.

Thus the counter work says that Narasimha is in fact none other than the ultimate reality of Nirguna Brahman only -- he is not the destroyer of philosophies of ajnaana but he is the remover of the entire ocean of ajnaana or samsaara. He is spoken of in the Upanishads as Sat, Chit, Ananda and Anantha. He is beyond all adjuncts and limitations. Our prostrations to such an ultimate reality in the form of Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi.

At the outset of the work itself, I offer my prostrations to AMMA without whose grace and will the counter work would'nt have been completed & who has been instrumental in leading through the spiritual path.

We will continue with Madhva's work and the counter argument for the same in the next post. Hope everyone goes through the work properly and apprehend the meaning of Madhva's work as well as Advaita's counter argument for the same. As it is said "advaita na prashnam na api uttaram" - there is neither questiom nor answer in Advaita, but still it is for the progress of each one of us that we are pursuing this study of Madhva's work and as a continuation to the shoonyavaada-mayavaada analysis. Here our main aim is not refutation or attack of Madhva's philosophy but the defense of Advaita and to show that Advaita doesn't have logical issues which Madhva and his followers have tried to point out.

Once again prostrations to the lotus feet of AMMA.

Dhyaana sloka -1

Madhvacharya starts the work in the traditional way by offering prostrations to Narasimha as well as explaining the purpose of the work too thus:

Narasimho akhila ajnaana matha dvaantha divaakarah
Jayathi amitha sat jnaana sukha shakthi payonidhih

That Narasimha (Lord Vishnu) who removes the philosophy which says that “everything apart from Chaitanya are creations of Avidya or ignorance only” even as Sun removes darkness and who is real, blissful, has power (which are unlimited like ocean) – let the Lord be happy by our prayers.

As per the Dvaita system, Vishnu is Brahman who is defined in two ways as “devoid of bad qualities” and “full of good qualities”. Vishnu is always different from the jeeva. Vishnu alone is independent and all other entities are dependent on Vishnu. A seeker can get realization only through the grace of Vishnu.

Jaya Teertha says that Purushaartha are of two types – one is Anishta nivritti or removal of that which is not liked (or inauspicious) and second is istha praapthi (attainment of liked). The above sthuthi is to remove the anishta of the theory that “everything apart from Brahman is created out of ignorance and is illusory”. This is anishta as this is wrong theory since everything is real and the jeeva can never be one with Brahman. Moreover the ajnaana which Advaitin speaks about can never be proved (this will be dealt later) and hence such systems are to be removed as they will lead to darkness only.

The above assumption of Jaya Teertha that AJNAANA as well Advaita theory is faulty is completely wrong. We will be seeing it in the coming parts but still we have to remember that it is Jaya Teertha’s as well as Madhva’s interpretation of Sruthi and usage of high-end logic which takes them to this wrong conclusion. Even without entering into Advaitin’s viewpoint, let us analyze on Anistha and Ishta.

Each and every person in the world has different likes and dislikes. What HARIRAM likes might not be what Bharadwaj likes. What Neelakantan likes might be something still different. Isha and Anistha are dependent on the seeker. Even though it can be argued that here ISHTA and ANISHTA are from the perspective of Sruthi, still when there are different interpretations itself for Sruthi & the approach towards Sruthi itself being “Subjective” ISHTA and ANISHTA are Subjective. We cannot just go ahead and conclude by saying that “ISHTA” and “ANISHTA” are so and so. Yes, we can very well come to a conclusion as to what is ISHTA and ANISHTA as per scriptures but when we analyze the scriptures, we will surely come to the conclusion that ISHTA is realization and ANISHTA is bondage. Liberation and bondage are very well defined in Sruthi very clearly as realization of the ultimate reality of Brahman (as one’s own nature) and not realizing one’s nature of Brahman respectively. This is very well proclaimed in the various sruthi statements like “Dviteeyaad vai bhayam bhavathi” (out of duality, fear arises – fear is anishta as nobody wants to have fear – this fear can be removed only by removing duality or dual perception which means realization of the non-dual reality of Brahman), “Brahmavid brahmaiva bhavathi” (one who knows Brahman becomes Brahman – Brahman is one alone as per all systems of Vedanta and hence if a seeker by knowing Brahman becomes Brahman, this means the reality is non-dual only), “Tarathi Shokam Aatma vid” (one who knows the Self overcomes sorrow) etc.

Thus as per sruthi, ISHTA is realization of one’s own very nature of non-dual Brahman & ANISTA is considering the dual world as real and considering oneself as different from the ultimate reality of Brahman.

Even Gita also puts forth the same thing as “Kshetrajnam cha api maam viddhi sarva kshetreshu bhaaratha” (know me to the indwelling Self in all bodies), “Madbhaktha etat vijnaaya madbhaavaaya upapadhyathe” (my devotee after knowing this reality about KSHETRA and KSHETRAJNA or body and Self attains my own very nature), “Mayi eva mana aadhatsva mayi buddhim niveshaya, nivasishyasi mayyeva atha urdhvam na samshayah” (Fix the mind unto me, contemplate through the intellect on Me & thereby you will merge into Me – there is no doubt in this), “Ye bhajanthi tu maam bhaktyaa mayi te teshu cha api aham” (He who is devoted to me, he is in Me and I am in him), “Sarvendriya gunaabhaasam sarvendriya vivarjitham, asaktham sarvabritchaiva nirgunam guna bhoktru cha” (All the indriyas and gunas are dependent on me even though I am devoid of all indriyaas or sense organs, I am unattached to things but still bear them – bearing them but still being unaffected by them is possible only when there is no real association and this is in the case of illusions and the substratum only – I am nirguna but still bear or support gunas as the substratum of illusory gunas) etc.

Thus sruthi and smrithi clearly say that ISHTA is realization of the ultimate reality of non-dual Brahman and ANISHTA is forgetting this ultimate reality of Brahman as one’s own very nature.

Thus it is very well proved through scriptures that what Jaya Teertha puts forth as ISHTA and ANISHTA are completely wrong and against sruthi. It can be argued here that sruthi has to be supported or substantiated by yukthi & since yukthi against Advaita are strong therefore sruthi propounding Advaita have to be interpreted properly – but this is wrong as we will very well see later that Advaita is fully logical and it is the other systems which have logical faults in them and go against scriptures in many places.

Jaya Teertha above tells that the statement of Advaita that “everything apart from Brahman is nothing but illusory creations of AJNAANA only” is wrong. This is not wrong at all. The main fault that is pointed out is that AJNAANA itself is invalid and without any proof. We have already seen earlier that the very nature of AVIDYA to be without proof itself shows that it is an illusion and not real as Brahman. The illusory snake seen in rope can never be proved through logic because it is not at all present in the rope. Similarly AJNAANA itself is only an illusion in the reality of Brahman & hence it cannot be proved. That it cannot be proved is why it is termed as ANIRVACHANEEYA or indescribable. But even though AJNAANA is not proved but still it is experienced by the ignorant person. The snake never exists in the rope but still it is experienced – no person in the world can negate the experience of the snake in the rope by a person because it is HIS EXPERIENCE of an ILLUSION. Even though Madhvacharya or Sankaracharya say that it is not snake but rope, still as long as the person who perceives the snake doesn’t remove the ignorance of the rope & realizes that “there is no snake but rope alone”, there will be perception of the illusory snake in the rope. Similar is the case with AJNAANA too. That a seeker has AJNAANA is very well known through his experience of “limited happiness”. The ultimate goal of human life is nothing but eternal bliss only. What Vedanta calls as Brahman is nothing but “bliss”. If Brahman is not blissful, then not even a beggar would want such Brahman. Thus if a person is completely blissful, then he is realized. There is no other particular description for realization. This “eternal bliss” can be rejoiced only through realization of the ultimate reality of Brahman through scriptural truth from the Guru and sadhana. Thus scriptural study is also important even though it is as illusory as the ignorance which is experienced. Scripture is nothing but a mirror which shows or points out one’s own face of Brahman. Even as the dream-lion helps a person to wake up from dream, similarly scriptures help in waking the seeker from illusory ignorance (scriptures themselves are illusory because they also are valid at the empirical level only – this is accepted by sruthi as Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says while explaining the deep sleep state that “vedaah avedaah” vedaas become non-vedas in deep sleep).

Thus realization is nothing but “being blissful” which is achieved or realized through realization of the ultimate reality of Brahman as one’s own very nature. Thus AJNAANA is proof or is valid for one who is ignorant & such a person will not be always happy.

If the Dvaitin says that “I am happy at all times”, then we have nothing against such statement because “happiness unlimited” is the goal of scriptural study or human life itself. But if the dvaitins like B N K Sharma cry out publicly through his books “demanding” various universities and people to give DUE CREDIT to DVAITA, it shows lack of happiness only. There never have been real advaitins who have cried out like this – not even when the Dvaitins and Vishishtadvaitins frequently attacked Advaita through all means. This is because Advaita alone can confer a person eternal bliss. Thus even though Vidyaranya was well equipped with all philosophies as seen from his Sarva Darshana Samgraha (where he deals with 16 systems including Dvaita and Vishistadvaita), he didn’t write even a single work against the rival systems. Instead he propounded the system of Advaita in his most famous works of Panchadashi and Jeevan Mukthi Viveka. If it is argued here that B N K Sharma is not a real dvaitin , then this goes against the awards, nominations and names given for his by various Dvaita Acharyas (he has also got the name of Madhva muni priya).

Dvaita tells that realization is realizing one’s own nature and this is different from Brahman. It also speaks about gradations in realization or the happiness in realization. This is completely absurd. BLISS or complete happiness is possible only when there is no distinction whatsoever. As long as there is something different from me, I will not be happy because I will try to want that particular entity or the happiness of the entity. If the entity is Brahman with eternal bliss, obviously I will “desire” to get the eternal bliss. This is seen very clearly in worldly life itself where a person is not satisfied with the money and position he has but tries to get still higher. Hence, so until a person gets unlimited bliss, he will not be satisfied. MOKSHA in which the seeker doesn’t get eternal, unlimited bliss is no MOKSHA at all.

It can be argued that SRUTHI explains it that way and hence Moksha is not realizing eternal bliss but one’s own bliss. But still it is wrong because SRUTHI should always be supported by YUKTHI and Sruthi when interpreted properly will surely be proved by yukthi and anubhava too. Yukthi very clearly shows that bliss or Moksha can never be limited but is unlimited alone as that alone can make a person perfect and complete. If sruthi speaks about limited bliss as Moksha, then sruthi also becomes faulty which can never be. Hence if Sruthi is accepted as true and yukthi has to be understood and accepted, then unlimited bliss alone is MOKSHA. Thus MOKSHA is not realization of one’s own bliss as different from Brahman but it is realization of one’s own very nature of non-dual Brahman. This is also supported by the experience in deep sleep state where the seeker gets eternal bliss and there is neither Ishwara nor the world in that state. If it is argued that the world is negated or is not there in deep sleep is against Sankara’s theory as explained by him in sutra bhashya, it is not so – this has very well been answered in the shoonyavaada series. Sankara only says that the world we currently perceive is not negated as such in any of the states because it continues from waking to waking (through deep sleep where it temporarily merges into the Self). That which temporarily merges has to be impermanent – the world is thus accepted in the three states as existent but it is negated in the fourth state of TURIYA which is not a state at all. Also this explanation that the world is present in all states is only stated in the waking state where there is ignorance. This is not accepted or experienced in deep sleep. It is only taken through assumptions that since after deep sleep & before deep sleep, world was there – therefore world is existent even in deep sleep state --- this assumption also is made in the waking state & never in the deep sleep where there is nothing but non-dual Brahman alone as the world of names and forms merges into the reality of Brahman in deep sleep & this merged world comes back due to ignorance in the waking state. Thus there is no fault whatsoever in the explanations or analysis of deep sleep as per Gaudapada acharya and Sankaracharya.

Thus it is very well proved that MOKSHA is not realization of one’s own nature as different from Brahman but it is realization of one’s own very nature of Brahman itself. This is the real ISHTA and not what the Dvaitin claims as ISHTA. The ANISHTA of considering everything apart from Brahman as unreal is also not at all ANISHTA because it is the reality. Reality never can become ANISHTA as everybody wants to know the reality & hence reality is ISHTA alone.

That Brahman alone exists is very well proved through the logic of anvaya vyatireka. Anvaya says that “if Brahman exists, then the world exists”. Vyatireka says that “if Brahman doesn’t exist, then the world doesn’t exist”. This clearly shows that Brahman is independent whereas the world is dependent. Any dependent entity is unreal and an illusion in the independent entity as a variable is nothing but an illusion in the constant (there is nothing called variable as there is only constant at any point of time). The world is just names and forms of the reality. Names and forms are mere illusions. World is also an illusion because it was not there in the beginning (before creation) and it will not be there in the end (after destruction) – that which Is not present in the beginning and end, never exists in the middle too. Thus the world is only an illusion in the ultimate reality of non-dual Brahman like the dream world. The duality perceived is only an illusion caused due to ignorance or ajnaana of the ultimate reality of Brahman. This ajnaana itself is not real but only an illusion. This ajnaana causes a person to think that the duality perceived is real. There is no cause for ajnaana as it is nothing but only an illusion. This illusion of ajnaana has the substratum of Brahman. When a person through the vritti jnaana (thought-knowledge) that “I am Brahman” contemplates on the reality, then ajnaana vanishes & the ever-existing Consciousness exists without any veiling of ignorance or maya. This is realization. It is futile to enquire about ajnaana as nobody wants to know “why I am ignorant” but want to get knowledge --- ajnaana as it is an illusion cannot have any cause but only a substratum. Thus it is very well proved that there is only non-dual Brahman and it is AJNAANA which causes duality – thus this is a fact. FACT or reality is never ANISHTA but ISHTA alone…… Thus what Jaya Teertha says is completely wrong. Moreover it has already been proved that the dvaitin’s ISHTA of Saguna, Savishesha Brahman (with many gunaas) is ANISHTA as it is unreal and not correct at all as per Sruthi, Yukthi and Anubhava.


We have learned the shoonyavada and mayavaada similarities and have defended the reality that both are not the same but different from one another – unlike the arguments of rival schools that Brahman of Advaita is same as shoonya of madhyamaka school. As the analysis were too logical (as the arguments themselves were logical most of time), hence many would have found it tough to apprehend or understand clearly. It was mentioned in the last mail of the series that we will be analyzing on the Mayavaada Khandanam of Madhvacharya.

The analysis will help to improve and make clear our knowledge about Advaita. Moreover since in Mayavaada Khandanam, the basic philosophy of Advaita is attacked – therefore we will have many things to learn from that. This is unlike in Shoonyavaada series where only the argument that shoonyavaada and mayavaada are same was present.

Adi Sankaracharya is dated around the 9th century A.D. It is agreed by many scholars that at the time of Sankara, there was only Advaita system of Vedanta. But many acharyas claim that their system was there prior to Sankara also. For eg:- Ramanuja claims to have based his Sri Bhashya on the Brahma Sutras on the mutilated copy of the commentary of one Bodhayana on the Brahma Sutras. Ramanuja claims that Bodhayana’s vritti is based on the vishista advaita philosophy only. Sankara does refer to more than one vrittikaaras in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya. He refers to a vrittikaara named Upavarsha in the Anandamayaadhikarana. It doesn’t really matter who all Sankara refers but it matters what were their philosophies. Sankara does criticize many of such vrittikaaras whose work is unfortunately not available now. The oldest extant commentary on Brahma Sutra is Sankara’s commentary. Even though Ramanuja refers to Bodhayana’s vritti, Ramanuja himself gives very few references and quotes from the vritti in his Sri Bhashya. Swami Sacchidanandendra Saraswathi in his Vedanta Prakriya Pratyabhijnaa (swamiji was the founder of Adhyatma Prakaashana Karyalaya in Holenarsipur) shows without any doubt that all the vrittikaaras whom Sankara refers and criticizes are all Advaitins only. Then why does Sankara criticize them? Sankara criticizes the approach or sadhana which they follow to Brahma Sakshaatkaara. Thus even though there were many prakriyaa bhedhas, all these acharyas agreed on the ultimate reality of adviteeya Brahman. If possible at the end of the analysis of Mayavaada Khandanam or as a separate thread, we will try to see how Sacchidanandendra Saraswathi shows that all these acharyas are advaitins even though Ramanuja and others claim that they are vishista advaitins only.

Thus as per the analysis of Sacchidanandendra Saraswathi (SS in short), there were only Advaita Vedantins at the time of Sankara. SS also shows clearly from a particular bhashya of Sankara that “the system of considering Brahman as just the efficient or nimitta kaarana is “VEDA BAAHYA” or outside Vedas” which very clearly is applicable for the dvaita Vedanta system.

Adi Sankara was followed by some of the great Advaita acharyas like Vachaspathi Mishra, Ishta Siddhi Vimuktaatman, Sri Harsha, Chitsukha, Anubhootisvaroopa, Amalananda, Anandagiri etc. not to mention Padmapada (who wrote the panchapaadika commentary on Sankara’s Brahma Sutra Bhashya) and Sureshwaracharya (who has written many vartikas on Sankara’s works – most prominent being the Brihadaranyaka Vartika on Sankara’s Brihadaranyaka Bhashya).

At the start of 12th century and 13th century, Ramanuja and Madhva were present. Ramanuja followed the footsteps of his guru’s guru Yamunacharya bringing forth the system of vishista advaita (taking many concepts out of the Vaishnava systems). Madhvacharya propounded the system of Dvaita Vedanta claiming that Hanuman taught this system as per the Ramayana. When Ramanuja and Madhva arrived, Advaita Vedanta was in a very strong state with many people following them. The Nyaaya system had started attacking Advaita Vedanta through Udayanacharya and others. But these naiyyayikas were strongly attacked by Sri Harsha, Ananda Bodha and Chitsukha. Thus around the 13th century, Advaita Vedanta was one of the most prominent darshanas available at that time. Thus Ramanuja and Madhva, if they had to establish their system, had to pierce through the strong foundation of Sankara. This was necessary in order to make people come to their system from the strongly established Advaita Vedanta.

The Nyaya system which was strongly attacked and its vulnerabilities exposed took refuge at the hands of Gangesha Upadhyaaya (Naiyyayikas like Dvaitins are thorough dualist). Gangesha wrote the great Tattva Chintamani basing on the prachina nyaaya but concentrating more on pramaanaas than prameyaas. This was further strengthened by great Naiyyayikas like Raghunaatha Shiromani (in the Didhithi commentary on Tattva Chintamani) and Gadhaadhara Bhatta. The new nyaaya system was being called Navya Nyaaya (new system of logic).

Since Navya Nyaaya was in place by the time Ramanuja and Madhva arrived (I don’t know exactly whether Gangesha came before Madhva and Ramanuja or after), they took resort to strong logic to attack Advaita. Thus the later dvaitins like Vyaasa teertha and Raghavendra started using Navya Nyaaya. In order to defend the system of Advaita, Advaitins like Madhusudana Saraswathi and Nrsimha ashrama also started using Navya Nyaaya.

Many of madhva’s arguments against Advaita are purely based on logic – substantiating the logic with sruthi statements. Thus those sruthi statements which speak about Advaita are given more importance and those which speak about advaita are interpreted in a different way based on logic (which refutes Advaita). Thus most of the works of Madhva or Dvaita Vedanta concentrate mainly on refutation of Advaita. It is but the same way in Sri Bhashya of Ramanuja too where he spends lot of effort criticizing Advaita.

Thus we have to remember clearly that the attack on Advaita is primarily based on logic and not purely based on sruthi or anubhava. Dvaita does take resort to anubhava in the form of Pratyaksha to show that duality is real while substantiating this with strong and hair-splitting logic. Thus when we are analyzing such a logical work of Madhva, we have to remember that too much logic can never lead to the reality as reality is beyond logic. This doesn’t mean that Advaita doesn’t have proper answer in logic to the criticisms of Dvaita, but just that logic alone can never lead to the reality.

The most important argument against Advaita is Pratyaksha Virodha – contrary to perception. We perceive duality and hence non-duality is completely against perception. We see and experience different entities and hence how can non-dual reality be real?? This perception is also agreed by sruthi and yukthi. Thus Advaita is faulty that it contradicts perception or experience.

The above argument is not really valid because various acharyas from Gaudapada and others have clearly shown that “what we perceive need not be real”. A person does see water in desert but there is no water at all. Similarly a person sees dream but it is not real. Thus “what is perceived is real” is a wrong statement as such a statement is deviated or proved wrong in the case of illusions or bhramaas.
Also another wrong concept which is attacked by Dvaita is that “Advaita doesn’t give any reality status to the world”. This is wrong because Advaita accepts the dual world but only that it says such a perception is not “ultimately real”. Thus the world is given a vyaavahaarika satta or empirical reality as opposed to the paaramarthika satta of adviteeya Brahman. As long as the world is seen or perceived, it is real (apparently or seemingly). The world is not unreal like the son of a barren woman or horns of a hare. But the world is not real also as real is that which exists beyond time & never ceases to exist. Thus the world is neither real nor unreal – such an entity is called Mithya or anirvachaneeya. Mithya is that which seems to exist when it is perceived & when the substratum or reality is known, it becomes unreal. The water seen in desert is real as long as the reality that there is only desert is realized. Thus water in desert is real as long as the seeker sees the water. But once the seeker realizes that there is no water, then he also realizes that “there never was any water at all”. It is only at the ultimate level that world is completely negated. Thus the world does exist empirically but ultimate doesn’t exist at all. Without understanding this, if it is argued that Advaita doesn’t accept the world which is currently perceived is completely wrong. Also this reality of Brahman underlying the empirical existence of world (which is names and forms) is never against perception. Perception just shows Brahman along with names and forms. This perception is completely valid at the empirical level. But when a stronger pramana like Sruthi negates Pratyaksha, then pratyaksha becomes invalid (only when sruthi overrules it and experience also proves it). Thus there is no real contradiction between what is perceived empirically and what is not present ultimately.

Even the trai satta vibhaaga is also criticized as illogical and bereft of sruthi support – whereas this “three reality” is very well supported by sruthi and logic too. We will see later how this is logically correct and sruthi too supports it. Thus, without understanding this difference, attacking Advaita by saying that world is seen and hence real – Brahman can never be the sakshi as Brahman is nirvikalpa and cannot become the object of enquiry etc. is wrong because Nirvikalpa Brahman is only at the ultimate level & it is the sakshi which is present at the empirical level (the same Brahman is present as Sakshi at the empirical level). Moreover Brahman when unknown due to illusory ignorance is very well logical to accept it as the object of enquiry or Vishaya – even though ultimately even such enquiry is invalid as there is nothing but Brahman alone. That Brahman alone exists is very well proved in Satya Darshanam (interested people can refer to it for detailed analysis on the same).

To sum up in general, it is but wrong knowledge or “knowingly” attacking attitude which causes rival systems to attack Advaita using hair-spitting logic. Even though Adviteeya Brahman is never affected by such arguments & Advaita requires no need to answer those criticisms as it is proved through sruthi, yukthi and anubhava, but still it can very well be shown that there is an answer to whatever argument the rival schools raise. We have to remember as Sri Harsha says in Khandana Khanda Khadhyam --- he says “The arguments which has been presented against Nyaaya system can be used against any system – so these arguments can also be used to prove the illogical state of Advaita too but even in such a case, the Nirvishesha Brahman would still remain without any fault as the SAKSHI of the act of arguing (it will still remain as pure and eternal Consciousness).”

Mayavada Khandanam has mainly three commentaries on it (the pdf available at the dvaita site gives three commentaries to it). The three commentaries are by Padmanaabha Teertha, Jaya Teertha and Pandurangi keshavaacharya. The commentary by Jaya Teertha is very deep and covers different aspects of the work very clearly. It is unfortunate that neither Vyaasa Teertha nor Raghavendra have commented on this. This must be because they didn’t have anything much to add to what Jaya Teertha has explained (as the tikakaara has explained the work very clearly and in depth).

We will mostly be analyzing the work based on Jaya Teertha’s commentary but will take points from the other two commentaries too.

Let us start by prostrating to the Dakshinamurthy that this analysis should lead to proper fruits of clearing all doubts/wrong notions about the ultimate reality of Brahman.

I offer this analysis at the lotus feet of AMMA and pray to her that this work might lead us to liberation in this very birth itself.

The pdf file can be found on The PDF has the original work with the above mentioned commentaries.

The wordings in italics and brown are the dvaitins statement with Madhwas work in Bold and the advaitin’s reply to it will be in normal font and the Mayavada Darpanam text will be in bold and green.

Introduction to Mayavada Darpanam


Prostrations to all.

Vedanta is the science of knowing that having known which everything becomes known. Vedanta particularly deals with the reality called or termed as Brahman of the nature of Sat, Chit Ananda (Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute). Vedanta is the Upanishads present in the different shaakhaas or recensions of the four Vedas of Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharva. The main Upanishads are the dasha upanishads commented by Adi Sankaracharya and similarly commented upon by other acharyas.
During time after Sankaracharya, different interpretations started creeping in for the Upanishads. Thus different systems of Vedanta each claiming to be the true interpretation of the Upanishads came into existence. Each of these systems had an acharya being the main person propagating the theory – each such acharya had a claim to show that his interpretation is traditional as well as old too even though it seemed illogical enough for the same.

Thus there are currently as many as ten different interpretations of the Upanishads. Out of these, the three important systems which have major following are the Advaita being clearly propounded by Sankaracharya, Vishista advaita of Ramanujacharya and Dvaita of Madhvacharya.

Each of the successive acharyas of Sankara tried to prove their system right through first breaking through the philosophy of Sankara. Thus we find Ramanuja criticizing Advaita in his Sri Bhashya and Madhva writing many works against Advaita trying to prove that Advaita is illogical.

Both Ramanuja and Madhva, even though taking resort to sruthi while refuting Sankara, take resort to too much hair-splitting logic. Thus these two systems are also called Prachhanna taarkikaas or veiled logicians. Most of the objections these acharyas raise against Advaita is basically due to not understanding Advaita properly or not wanting to understand Advaita properly.

The basic and fundamental theory of Traisatta vibhaaga or the three-fold reality status as the praathibhaasika satyam or temporary reality which is experienced during dream, vyaavahaarika satyam or empirical reality as in the case of the waking world perceived & paaramaarthika satyam or ultimate reality which is nothing but adviteeya Brahman alone is not clearly understood by these later acharyas. Instead of properly understanding this, criticism of Advaita by taking resort to high-end logic follows.

Even though the logical issues raised by Madhva and his followers has more than satisfactorily answered by Madhusudana Saraswathi in Advaita Siddhi and Gauda Brahmananda in Gauda Brahmaanandi or Laghu Chandrika, but still it helps to understand Advaita better by analyzing the criticism of Madhva and answering them from the perspective of Advaita.

Madhva has written three khandanam works (Khandanam means refutation) against Advaita which are: Mayavaada Khandanam, Anumaana Khandanam and Upaadhi Khandanam.
Here we are trying to analyze first Mayavaada Khandanama of Madhva and answering the criticisms of Madhva as per Advaita acharyas and sruthi quotations as well as logic. Thus by the grace of AMMA (Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi), a work titled Mayavaada Darpanam which elucidates Advaita clearly by answering the criticisms of Mayavaada Khandanam has been written. This work will be studied along with Mayavaada Khandanam to get a deeper grasp of the subtle concepts of Advaita as well as to get rid of the doubts and logical issues raised by Madhva and his followers in Mayavaada Khandanam and its various sub-commentaries.

Let us all offer our prostrations at the lotus feet of AMMA so that she may bless us all to remove the darkness of ignorance and all doubts to make us realize our own very nature of eternal bliss.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God