Various vAda-s in advaita (was Re: A few questions)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sun Feb 2 22:59:18 CST 1997

On Fri, 31 Jan 1997, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> Note actually that the interesting thing is he says that it is.

The words of any Acharya whether they are of the past or of modern times,
are to be treated with the utmost reverence but any statement of theirs
that contradicts Shruti cannot be accepted as siddhanta.  This would be
the case if the literal equivalence of the dream and waking states were
accepted as the Mandukyopanishad enumerates them seperately and shruti is
not subject to the defect of redundancy.  However on closer examination we
will see  that there is no real contradiction.

> I presume you
> missed my comment about his dialogs which I skipped typing, since they were
> similar to the pUrvapaxa arguments in the GK bhAshhya by sha.nkara. In any
> the phrase
>   For some people it may appear that the dream state is also real from the
>   statement "The waking state is akin to the dream state".
> leaves no scope for (mis)interpretations such as yours.

If I were suggesting the waking state was real that would be a
misinterpretation.  However that isn't what I'm saying.  Both the waking
and dreaming states are unreal.  They differ in their _kind_ of unreality.
The dream objects are purely the products of the ahamkara of the individual
jiva.  (Which itself is unreal.)  The waking objects are on exactly the
same level as the jiva.


> I will make it clear that both sha.nkara and gauDapAda say that from the
> _point of view of the waking state the dream is unreal_.The point rather is an
> objective evaluation of the evidence, which leads to _not_ giving a _higher
> reality_ to the waking state as compared to the dream state. There is lot of
> philosophical subtlety involved in the GK, not random assertions of the sort
> "a 3 sided square and a pot have the same reality".

The arguments are indeed subtle and worth a look (or a second look) by
everone on the list, particularly the ones overenamored with Buddhism.
Because Shankaracharya is walking a fine line here.  He wants to refute
those who believe the world is real but doesn't want to fall into the trap
of shunyavada.  So he restates more clearly Gaudapadacharyas arguments
explaining things his paramaguru left unsaid.  Take a look at the bhashya
on II. 32 (p.257-258)  Talking about the illusion of the rope appearing as
a snake, he says the illusion does not originate from the rope or the mind
(of the jiva) or both.  When the objector says the substratum of the snake
(i.e. the rope)  is itself an illusion, he replies that the rope remains.
Actually it is the imaginer of the snake that remains.  Obviously this
imaginer is also an illusion to be dispelled but this rather harder than
looking at a piece of rope don't you think?

> Huh?!! DSV _implies_ eka-jIva.

All the more reason to spell it out.  The phrasing of the bit you quoted
leaves room for doubt.

> Actually AchAryAL unequivocally states that that SDV would not be suitable for
> the general public since their minds will not be pure enough.

Perhaps I should rephrase what I said.  Swami Abhinava Vidyatirtha
Maharaj's phrasing was meant for someone who was no a scholar.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
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