advaita-siddhi 15 - BrahmavAda and shUnyavAda

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 4 15:22:21 CDT 2000

On Thu, 1 Jun 2000 15:55:11 -0700, Ravisankar Mayavaram
<miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

>Anand thanks for starting this series again.
>Even in the case of vikalpa, using the example hare's horn, consider
>the words hare and horn separately. Hare is associated with shabda, a
>cognition in mind, and a denotation the object hare itself. So it is
>with the horn. It is the combination that does not have a denotation.
>My point is even in the case of vikalpa, there are some objects (more
>than one) which are real in vyAvahArika sense. But only the combination
>of that as conceived by the mind does not exist.

 The case of compound words or combination of words such as "hare's horn"
 is a special case of comprehending sentences. Sentences are, after all,
 collections of words too. The classical theory is that there are four
 factors in understanding collections of words - 1) yogyatA or semantic
 competency, 2) AkAN^kShA or syntactic expectancy, 3) Asatti or
 spatial and temporal contiguity, and 4) tAtparya or the speaker's
 intention or purport. The combination of words "hare's horn" lacks
 yogyatA, semantic competency, as does the sentence "Colorless green
 ideas sleep furiously" which appears as an example in Noam Chomsky's
 classic book "Syntactic Structures." (Chomsky's work, by the way,
 finds applications in computer science, but that is a different topic

 Syntactic expectancy or AkAN^kShA has to do grammatical correctness.
 In the sentence "ghaTaM Anaya" (Bring the pot), there is supposed to be
 AkAN^kShA between Anaya (bring) which expects a noun in the accusative
 case and the word ghaTaM which is in the accusative case. Asatti is the
 contiguity, spatial and temporal, that is necessary to comprehend a
 sentence. For example, if I say "ghaTaM" now and an hour later I say
 "Anaya", even though I uttered "ghaTaM Anaya" as a sentence, it would
 be incomprehensible to a listener because the words are separated greatly
 in time. Finally, the tAtparya or the intention of the speaker also
 plays a role. If you ask me "Do you know how to drive from New York to
 Chicago?" , I cannot just take the literal meaning of the question,
 say "Yes" and remain without telling you the driving directions. The
 intended meaning of the question is that you wanted to find out the
 driving directions from NYC to Chicago, if I knew them.

 These four factors are actually accepted by naiyAyikas as well as
 advaitins, except that advaitins also say that the tAtparya should
 also include the purport of the sentence, even if the speaker had no
 such intention. The purport has to be in accordance with already
 established knowledge. Please see VedAnta-paribhAShA for more details.

>On the other hand consider the word jangaxytering. It has a merely the
>shabdha and not even a cognition in mind. But such words do not carry
>any meaning.

 Even this word "jangaxytering" and, others like it, produce some
 vR^itti in the mind when heard, ie. some modification of the chitta
 which can in some sense be called the cognition. However, there is no
 denotation. In other words, there is shabda and GYAna (cognition) but
 no artha (denotation).

>From your post I clearly understand the difference between vikalpa and
>bhrama. But I feel even vikalpa has a vyaavaharikaa basis in some
>Am I wrong?

 The word represented by a vikalpa  and the *representation* of the
 vikalpa in the mind certainly are  real in the vyAvahArika sense but
 the artha (denotation) does not simply exist. After all, we hear
 a word such as "hare's horn" just as clearly as we do others. And
 we "comprehend" it in some way because we can distinguish between it
 and other cognitions. But the denotation (artha) is not even real
 in the vyAvahArika sense. It is absolutely non-existent. The shabda and
 GYAna are vyAvahArika but the artha is non-existent.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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