If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall
ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM
Wed Jan 15 10:22:17 CST 1997
Gummuluru Murthy wrote:
> On a related note, I read recently in Shri Swami Satchidananda Sarasvati's
> book "The Method of Vedanta" (page 43) "The Absolute can only be revealed
> through false attribution followed by retraction". Does it mean "If you
> do not experience the maaya, you cannot experience the Absolute ?"
The Absolute is something that is beyong the grasp of the mind and
words. This is said in the shruti, and I think everyone agrees about
this. Also, everyone here agrees that the mahaavaakyas such as
ahaM brahmaasmi, tat tvam asi, etc. are all sentences which reveal
Brahman. But as someone once pointed out on this list and as VidyaaraNya
observes in his Panchadashii, just repeating these sentences over and
over or knowing them only intellectually will not produce the experience
of Brahman. What is required is a systematic discipline that leads one
to Brahman. I simply cannot agree with the opinion that one has to give
up all disciplines and thought in order to attain Brahman. Truth is not
a pathless land according to Vedaanta. What the Vedas and Vedaanta show
is an effective and practical way of reaching the goal.
In Mathematics, there is a notion of an existential proof and
an "effective proof." An existential proof merely shows that a certain
mathematical object exists under certain conditions. But it does _not_
show how to _find_ that object or construct that object. The effective
proof shows not only that the object exists but also shows how to
_find_ it. Naturally mathematicians are more interested in effective
proofs rather than existential ones.
Truth is one but the path to truth is also one according to Vedaanta.
Shankara and Sureshvara are emphatic about this. They do not say that
Brahman can be realized independently of the upanishhads. Sureshvara
says in his sambandha vaartika that Brahman can be realized _only_
through sentences such as tat tvam asi of the upanishhads. Now, there
may be an objection from those who say "Truth is one but paths are
many." This objection is easily met by saying that paths may be many
but a path other than Vedaanta will either give an "existential proof"
of Truth and not the "effective proof" of truth, or the path may give
an effective way of putting you on the right track to Brahman. For
example, the theistic religions do not mislead you away from Brahman. They
only take you so far down the road and then stop short of Brahman. An
intellectual understanding of Vedaanta or advaita is like an existential
proof. It only assures you that there is Brahman and it is identical
with your Atman. But it will not be the same as experiencing Brahman.
I am not saying an intellectual understanding of advaita is of no use
either. It helps to build up a firm conviction for pursuing further
Vedanta is not an armchair philosophy which contains speculations about
the Absolute. The whole of the Vedas is meant ultimately for attaining
mokshha. The approach taken is to effectively lead the seeker from grosser
and lower reality to a subtler and higher reality. This is done by
the method of adhyaaropa/apavaada or the method of false attribution/
retraction. There is no doubt that maayaa must be transcended in order
to realize Brahman. But we are caught in maayaa. We will only be deluding
ourselves if we deny this or we are already Brahman-realized, in which
case we don't need the Vedas. The Vedas are meant for people who _want_
to realize Brahman, not for those who are already so realized. The
argument that there is no liberation and no bondage, etc., will be
convincing once Brahman is realized, not before. Again, someone may
say, "I am already realized. I dont have to strive for realization."
If that is so, then this person should ask himself/herself, "If I am
already realized, then am I experiencing the eternal Bliss that is
Brahman?" This is the acid test. If the answer is no, the person cannot
Whatever Vedic procedure that we undertake will
be in the realm of maayaa, but will help us transcend maayaa. This is
adhyaaropa. Lest we become attached to the Vedic procedure and its
results, Vedaanta shows us that they are sublated ultimately. This is
apavaada. There is a tremendous amount of argument over the Bheda-shruti
(passages which speak of Brahman as separate from jiiva) and abheda
shruti (passages which speak of Brahman and jiiva as one) between
advaitins and other schools which accept some kind of bheda or other.
The conflict can be resolved by understanding that the bheda shruti's
are adhyaaropa and the abheda shruti's are the apavaada.
The gist of what I am trying to say is that the method of adhyaaropa/
apavaada (false attribution/sublation) is an effective way of realizing
> Gummuluru Murthy
> Adau ante ca yan nAsti vartamAnepi tat tathA !
> GaudapAda in Mandukya kArika
> What did not exist at the beginning and what is not going to exist at the
> end is as good as non-existent even in the present.
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