If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall

Anand Hudli 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        +

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list