Philosophical debates and hoaxes

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Jul 12 18:37:00 CDT 2001

On Mon, 25 Jun 2001 vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM wrote:

> > There is no anatman or anatta. It is a Buddhistic influence you
> >must get rid of if you want to be an advaitist.
> By ascertaining that the Self "exists", "does not exist",
> "exists and does not exist", or again "does not exist and
> does not exist", the non-discriminating man does certainly
> cover IT up through ideas of changeability, unchangability,
> both changability and unchangability, and non existence.
> These are the four alternative theories through a passion
> for which the Lord remains ever hidden. He who sees the
> Lord as untouched by these is omniscient.
> - Gaudapaada Kaarika, Alaatashaanti Praakarna verses 83 and 84

I was wondering when someone was going to bring this up.  Actually this
shloka doesn't suggest anything like the Buddhist idea.  Neither does it
suggest an agnostic response to the question of the existence of atman.
Shankaracharyas commentary illuminates the context.

1. Those who assert the atman exists.  This refers to schools such as
Samkhya/Yoga and Nyaya/Vaisheshika who believe in souls *as seperate
entities*.  This is obviously dualistic and unacceptable to Advaita
Vedanta.  If the souls are eternally seperate how did they ever get into
bondage?  How will they ever get out?

2. Those who assert the atman does not exist.  This refers to those
Buddhists who believe that consciousness is only momentary and does exists
only for a moment.  A succession of such moments creates the illusion of a
soul just as a succession of still frames in a movie projector causes
the illusion of a moving picture.  The Advaitins argue that if
consciousness is really so momentary and unconnected, , why
is the world so remarkably consistent?  One minute the sky should be
green, the next minute elephants should fly through it etc.

3.  Those who assert it exists and doesn't exist.  This refers to the
views of the Digambars ("naked ones" i.e. Jains) that there is no such
thing as truth and all views are equally relative and valid.  If that is
true, why be a Jain and practice ahimsa etc?  Not being a Jain and
practicing himsa is equally valid.

4. Those who assert is doesn't exist, it doesn't exist.  These are
Buddhists but unlike 2, they say such a thing as atman never existed and
never will.  The ultimate reality is void or zero (shunya) and can never
be known.

That which we call atman is real and is the same as Brahman.  It
only seems seperate because of the ignorance due to maya.  Brahman is
something which can be known and described as Truth, Consciousness, and
Bliss.  (Sat-chit-ananda) Those who do not know these are fools who cover
up the true nature of atman with there sophistic theories.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
>From ADVAITA-L at LISTS.ADVAITA-VEDANTA.ORG Mon Jul 16 21:53:02 2001
Message-Id: <MON.16.JUL.2001.215302.0400.ADVAITAL at LISTS.ADVAITAVEDANTA.ORG>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 21:53:02 -0400
Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: "vaidya_sundaram at" <vaidya_sundaram at I2.COM>
Subject: New member introduction: Zest Ru

----- Forwarded by Vaidya Sundaram on 07/17/01 10:51 AM -----

"zest" <zest_ru at> 07/14/01 10:35 AM

> hi , vanakam. well i am a guy from malaysia who is interested to know
> about hinduism. i was born a hindu but i was not exposed to hindu
> cultures and traditions. now as i grow up i am eager to know about
> hinduism. thats all i hope to hear from you soon.

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