If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall
ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM
Tue Jan 7 09:26:01 CST 1997
There has been some discussion about advaita and dvaita. Since Shankara,
or even GauDapaada's time, advaitins have argued with dualists. So there
is nothing really that the dvaitins say that has not already been raised
before by some dualist or dvaitin and subsequently answered by advaitins.
The polemical literature of advaita is vast and it is not easy to read
all of it and understand it in a lifetime, especially when you are not a
"full-time student" of advaita. But one should make an attempt at least
to read a couple of such treatises, such as the KhaNDanakhaNDakhaadya
of Shriiharshha and of course, the advaitasiddhi of Madhusuudana Sarasvatii.
Sureshvaraachaarya succinctly sums up the tenability of advaita vis a vis
the other philosophies in his bR^ihadaaraNyaka upanishhad vaartikaa.
asmadraaddhaantasaMsiddhau naanyaraaddhaantasiddhataa |
tatsiddhaavasya saMsiddhirna kathaJNchin.h nivaaryate ||
If our philosophy (advaita) is established, then other
philosophies cannot be established. (However, even) if other
philosophies are established, our philosophy will not be refuted
by any means.
There are two lines in the verse. The first line states it is not possible
for other philosophies to be tenable if advaita is established. We may
group all philosophies other than advaita under two categories. First, there
are the dualistic schools. All of these have varying degrees of dualism in
them. Included here are nyaaya, vaisheshheka, saankhya, yoga, meemaamsa,
the vaishnava schools, heretical schools such as chaarvaaka, nonvedic
religions such as Christianity, Islam, etc. It is not hard to see why
such schools are dualistic. nyaaya, for example, is based on logic
which itself presupposes duality. If there is no duality, there is
nothing to be proven to be true or false! Meemaamsa is based on
karma, and karma presupposes a doer, something that needs to be done,
accesories, etc. Duality again. The so-called "theistic religions"
such as the vaishnava schools and christianity, are clearly dualistic
because they confer an absolute status to God, souls, and the world.
Even the unabashedly materialistic schools such as chaarvaaka or even
western (modern) materialism are dualistic. The motto here is: "life is
to enjoy. Enjoy as much as you can." And the enjoyment consists of
sense enjoyment. There is an enjoyer and an object to be enjoyed. Duality
The other category consists of philosophies which accept nihilism. Buddhist
schools are examples.
advaita is clearly nondualistic and at the same time non-nihilistic. By this
very definition, if advaita is established, all the dualistic philosophies
as well as the nihilistic ones are demolished.
The second line of Sureshvaraachaarya's verse states that even if other
philosophies are established (in the vyaavahaarika sense), it does not
mean that advaita is refuted in any way. This is again, because of the
very fact that if any philosophy is established, it will be so only at
the vyaavahaarika level. At the paaramaarthika level, it is only advaita
that is affirmed. After all, in everyday life there is duality all around
us. But we cannot therefore say that duality is established in an absolute
sense. Because that runs counter to shruti. Similarly, we cannot accept
nihilism as the absolutely established philosophy, because it is counter
to shruti. We have no problems in accepting something at the vyaavahaarika
+ Anand V. Hudli +
+ Software Solutions Group, Ameritech +
+ ahudli at appn.ci.in.ameritech.com +
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