Antiquity of Advaita Vedanta (was Re: An Open Letter to All)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri May 19 16:53:32 CDT 2000

On Fri, 19 May 2000 05:48:17 PDT, nanda chandran <vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>Anand :
>>Now, the moment the Bauddha says that the world is unreal, we have to
>>ask the question "In what substratum do you negate the world?"
>Anand, I don't think you've grasped what "unreal" means in either the
>MAdhyamika or the Advaita.

 I thought I understood what "unreal" means in advaita. You have brought me
 to my senses. Please explain what "unreal" means in advaita. We'll worry
 about Buddhism later.
>The misunderstanding of the concept of mAyA is almost the singular reason
>why there's been so much misunderstanding/arguments in Advaitam. MAyA
>doesn't mean illusion in the normal sense. The world is the world we

 This is wrong as per advaita. If the world is defined just by what we know
 it becomes only an idea fabricated without basis by the mind. This is
 refuted by Shankara in the sUtra bhAshhya. See nAbhAva upalabdheH.
 The advaitin's point is that the world is perceived in a *substratum*.
 Such a world that is perceived in the substratum is negated at the dawn
 of jnAna in the very substratum where it was perceived.

>MAyA shows that this *knowing* is not as valid as we believe it to be. And

 mAyA shows this??? This is news to me. Please explain.

>this is done on the base of reason - knowledge being critical on itself. So
>it is purely intellectual - it is jnAna as the means. Knowledge eats itself
>up and what is left is ... (while the VedAntin on the strength of the
>says it is brahman, the MAdhyamika prefers silence).
 No, advaita cannot merely be an intellectual exercise. It cannot be an
 arm-chair philosophy. advaita dialectics, no doubt, seem to be intellectual
 exercises but they are, in fact, meant for use in manana, reflection on
 the vAkyas of the upanishhads. In dialectics, one has to be formal,
 precise, and use razor-sharp arguments. No handwaving such as
 "remaining silent" can be used.

 Silence is golden sometimes but sometimes it is the hallmark
 of a fool who avoids speaking lest he be recognized as such. Or silence
 may mean that what is left after "Knowledge eats itself up", as you say,
 is irrelevant. If you say something silly to an immensely learned person
 he may remain silent, thereby indicating that your remark is not worth
 responding to. If this is the sense in which the Bauddhas explain what is
 left after the world is negated, then it is totally different from advaita.
 So mere silence of the Bauddhas does not necessarily mean that something
 profound is being indicated.

 Note that I am not criticizing Buddhism as such. What I cannot agree
 to, until I see evidence otherwise, is that the silence of the Bauddhas
 implies or indicates Brahman as we advaitins define it.

>As the sphotavAdin Bhartrhari says there can be no thought without language
>and vice versa. Language and thought are inseperable. MAyA is the theory
>which shows why language/thought/reason are themselves the veil, which
>covers us from the truth.

 Please list some advaita works where this view has been accepted.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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