advaita-siddhi 10 (Second definition of MithyAtva)

Vivek Anand Ganesan v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM
Tue Feb 8 13:03:10 CST 2000

Hello :

  A small request.  Could you please frame this argument in
terms of propositional logic ( as you had done before )?
I have read it many times but I get lost as I approach the
end.  I would surely appreciate a gist of this argument
presented in familiar terms.

Thanks in advance,


--- ShrI Anand Hudli <anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Continuing with the series on the advaita-siddhi, we will
> study
>  next the second definition of mithyAtva that is defended
> by
>  MadhusUdana SarasvatI. Other articles in this series may
> be
>  retrieved by searching for "siddhi" in the subject line.
>  It is especially useful to be familiar with basic nyAya
> terminology
>  as explained in the third and fourth parts of the
> series.
>  Without such  familiarity, the discussion below may not
> make
>  much sense at all!
>   atha dvitIyamithyAtvopapattiH
>   -----------------------------
>  advaita-siddhi text:
>  pratipannopAdhau traikAlikanishhedhapratiyogitvaM vA
> mithyAtvam.h |
>  Alternatively, mithyAtva (unreality) of something is
> that which is the
> counter-positive or absential adjunct (pratiyogin) of an
> absolute negation
> (a negation for all three periods of time, past, present,
> and future) in
> the very substratum where it (the thing) is cognized.
>  This is the second definition of mithyAtva that is taken
> up by
>  MadhusUdana in his defense of mithyAtva of dvaita. This
> alternative
>  definition is based on shruti statements such as "neha
> nAnAsti
>  kiJNchana", as BrahmAnanda says in his gauDabrahmAnandI,
> "neha
>  nAnAstI"tyAdishrutyarthe vivadamAnaM prati
> sAdhyAntaramAha".
>  The second definition comes from the VivaraNAchArya,
> PrakAshAtman, the
>  author of the PanchapAdikA-vivaraNa.
>  It is important to understand this definition and the
> significance of
>  the terms involved. As in the case of the first
> definition of mithyAtva,
>  what is alIka or a fictitious entity is NOT the
> mithyAtva that is
>  used to describe the world. The mithyAtva of the world
> is akin to the
>  illusion of the snake over a rope or silver in nacre.
> Upon realizing
>  that the snake is illusory, one exclaims "The snake is
> unreal. The snake
>  was never there to begin with, it is not there now, and
> it will never be
>  there in the future!"
>  This is the mithyAtva (unreality) of the world that is
> being talked
>  about.
>  One important point to remember is that the in order for
> a thing to
>  be mithyA or unreal according to this definition, it
> MUST be cognized
>  or perceived in some susbtratum. This is a necessary
> condition for
>  something to be called mithyA. What is perceived is
> mithyA.
>  That which can never be perceived, a chimera such as the
> horns of
>  a hare, is NOT being called mithyA. Rather it is asat.
> And Brahman
>  is sat. MithyAtva is different from these two, ie.
> mithyAtva is
>  sadasadvilaxaNa.
>  BrahmAnanda, in his gaUDabrahmAnandI commentary on the
> advaita-siddhi,
>  therefore, defines the term pratipanna-upAdhi as
> follows:
>  pratipannaH svaprakArakadhIvisheshhyaH ya
> upAdhiradhikaraNaM tannishhTho
>  yastraikAlikanishhedho
> .atyanta-abhAvastatpratiyogitvamityarthaH |
> pratipanna means the qualificand of the cognition that
> has the (thing
> that is mithyA) as the qualifier. Such a qualificand that
> is the substratum
> is "pratipanna-upAdhi". The counter-positive of the
> absolute negation or
> the negation for all periods of time in the substratum
> (is called
> mithyA). This definition rules out equating what is
> mithyA with alIka, a
> fictitious entity. Yet another type of negation is also
> being ruled out
> in the definition. What is fictitious is not perceived
> anywhere. The other
> extreme is the negation that is always empirically
> perceived. For example,
> a pot is NOT perceived as existing in the threads that
> make a cloth.
> There are things in the empirical world that are not
> cognized as
> existing in things different from themselves.
> If the advaitin means by mithyAtva a fact such as a pot's
> being negated
> in the threads of a cloth, he is stating what is already
> established
> and therefore open to the objection of "siddha-sAdhana
> doshha".
> But this is type of negation is being ruled out by the
> term
> "svaprakArakadhIvisheshhya". In order for the definition
> of mithyAtva
> to apply to the negation of the pot in threads of a
> cloth, the pot
> will have to have been perceived as existing in the
> threads of a
> cloth. But no such cognition of a pot in threads of a
> cloth ever
> occurs. So the definition of mithyAtva does not apply to
> such
> obvious negations.
>  ViTThalesha (who comments on the gauDa-brahmAnandI)
> therefore remarks:
>  vastutastu svaprakArakatvopAdAnaM
> tuchchha-ativyAptivAraNAya
>  Actually, the mention of "having it as the qualifier" is
> for
>  the purpose of ruling out something that is trivial
> (fictitious entity)
>  and a definition that is too wide (ativyApti).
>  Another type of negation or absence is also being ruled
> out by the
>  insertion of the term "traikAlika" in the definition.
> This is to
>  counter an  objection as follows. There is an absence of
> a thing
>  such as a pot before it comes into being, called the
> prAgabhAva.
>  After the pot is destroyed, there is another type of
> absence (abhAva)
>  called "dhvaMsa-abhAva." Does the advaitin mean by
> mithyAtva an
>  absence that is one of these types? Or does he mean the
> mutual
>  negation (mutual-absence or anyonya-abhAva or bheda)
> that is
>  perceived between things such as a pot and the pieces of
> the pot
>  after it is destroyed? In either case, the advaitin is
> committing
>  the mistake of siddha-sAdhana, proving what is already
> established.
>  In order to reject this objection, the definition of
> mithyAtva
>  has the term "traikAlika". The negation that is being
> described
>  in the definition is traikAlika, that holds for all
> times. In the
>  case of prAgabhAva, dhvaMsa-abhAva, and bheda in the
> above
>  examples, there is no absolute negation
> (atyanta-abhAva), that
>  which holds for all times.
>  Therefore, BrahmAnanda says:
>  kapAladinishhThabheda-dhvaMsAdipratiyogitvamAdAya
> siddha-sAdhanaM
>  syAdatastraikAliketi |
>  (The opponent may) charge us with "siddha-sAdhana" by
> taking the
>  pratiyogitva (counter-positive-ness) of the abhAva
> (absence) to be the
>  difference or posterior negation (dhvaMsa-abhAva) in
> things such as the
>  pieces of a pot. (To counter this we have added the
> term) "traikAlika"
>  in the definition.
>  In the next part, we will see how the opponent raises an
> important
>  objection to this definition.
>  Anand
> --
> bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list