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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Wed Jan 15 10:40:31 CST 1997

On Wed, 15 Jan 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 ?"

With all due respect, the question amounts to putting the cart before the
horse. The fact that we are talking about the Absolute indicates that we
are already experiencing the maayaa. But the Absolute cannot be limited by
words, for it is that from which the mind and the senses retreat without
truly understanding it. However, we require words in order to talk, in the
first place. And scripture too needs to talk to men, to reveal the
Absolute. Given these facts, the Absolute is revealed through the false
attribution followed by retraction. The technical term for this is
adhyAropa (superimposition) - apavAda (denial). According to the advaita
analysis of scripture, this is the technique followed by the upanishads,
when they say, "neti, neti" or when they provisionally describe each of
the five koSas as brahman, and then retract such a description to go to a
higher understanding of brahman. That is why Sri Sankaracharya starts his
commentary on the Brahmasutras with an analysis of adhyAsa, which is a
synonym of adhyAropa.

The question, "if you do not experience the maayaa, you cannot experience
the Absolute?" also seems to describe the experience of the Absolute as
if it were a temporal event. Not so. Experience of maaya and experience of
the Absolute are not of the same kind. The first is limited in and by
space and time, the latter is beyond space or time. So long as we operate
within space and time, and still try to describe the Absolute, we are
constantly indulging in false attribution and then retraction. Sruti takes
the same approach to reveal the Absolute. That is what Swami
Sacchidanandendra Saraswati is saying in his book.


S. Vidyasankar

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