Still Confusion regarding Shankara’s comments

Dennis Waite dwaite at INTERALPHA.CO.UK
Sat Jan 25 02:03:23 CST 1997

Thanks to Anand and Frank for their responses to my query but I still do not
understand. Perhaps I didn't make my problem sufficiently clear. Sankara
seems to be saying that, when one sees a pot and says that it exists, there
are two sorts of consciousness acting, one which is conscious of the pot and
one which is conscious of existence. Now whilst I am perfectly happy with
the idea of an eternal existence and a transitory object (which is just name
and form imposed upon that eternal existence), I do not understand why the
consciousness of those two things should be different. Indeed I would have
said it is the same consciousness (there *is* only one).

Furthermore, the example itself does not seem to make sense. Anand's
rephrasing brings this out more strongly. When I say 'this is a pot' I do
not believe I am referring to two things at all. The phrase 'this is a' is
not a thing at all; it is merely a verbal construction to replace the act of
pointing. If we were all present at this observation, I could simply point
at the object, uttering the word 'pot' and this would convey all of my
meaning. I think Sankara's wording of 'a pot existant' just confuses the
issue. The word existant does not really convey any meaning at all. After
all, the so-called pot could actually be a hologram and, if we were to
approach it and try to pick it up, we would find nothing 'existing' at all.
(I realise the last sentence is a red herring but couldn't resist it!)

dwaite at

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