reposting again

K. Sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Tue Jul 31 12:18:16 CDT 2001

>Exactly. Does the validity of Advaita really have to depend on how many
>times words like maya or nirguna occurs in the shruti? Maya and nirguna
>refer to that which is beyond thought -

Nanda - There is some internal contradiction in your statement - I
realize of course that it cannot be avoided.  References to nirguna
and maya are themselves are thoughts and you say they indicate  that
which is beyond thoughts.  Maaya is a concept brought in to account
for one appearing as many.  It is neither pratyaksha or loukika
anumaana based.  Only pramaaNa left is shaastra - and question is
where exactly it occurs in the meaning given by Shankara.  It is
inevitable or logical etc all follow once we accept that (a) 'sat eva
idam agra asiit' - of Ch. Up. referring to that existence alone was
there before creation and (b) that sat refers to the undifferentiated
Brahman without any internal differences and (c) the equation of
identity of jiiva and brahman in their essence from shruti's
declaration - ' aham brahma asmi'  or tat tvam asi.

>so it is only natural that the
>shruti rather than dwelling on these which cannot be easily expressed
>concentrates on that which can be taught/easily referred to.

I am not convinced of your argument to say that is why shruti did not
dwell on maaya in the fashion that is used in advaita philosophy.  If
advaita philosophy could express maaya in the fashion we can
understand, shruti could have expressed it too.

>There're numerous verses in the shruti which teach "one who made himself
>into many" etc But given the diversity that we experience in the world how
>do we reconcile that with a single reality? Schools earlier than Advaita
>tried to split it into the changing and the unchanging - which contradicts
>the existance of a single reality. With mayavaada which questions the basis
>on which such diversity is apprehended we're able to reject the differences.
>In short if somebody says things are different, we ask,"how do you know" and
>then disprove his assertion by deconstructing the fundamentals of his
>proposition. It is an epistemological dialectic attack by which we disprove

I agree upto this point.

>But again what should be noted is that reason is only able to
>prove the non-validity of difference (the whole of Citsukhiyam is towards
>establishing differencelessness) but is not able to establish unity. This is
>fundamentally because unity is beyond thought - it is being - it is the
>thing in itself.

I am not sure I agree with your above statements.  Shruti did indeed
provide the unifying statements  - by the mahavaakya-s  establishing
oneness - sarvam khali idam brahma - brama vit brahma eva bhavati -
etc - along with example illustrating the creation in the Ch. Up.
vaachaarambanam vikaaro naama dheyam etc.  The problem is not lack of
these unifying statements.  Shruti also provided statements
differentiating too and problem arose in the samanvaya of these two
types of statements - unifying statements and also differentiating
statements.  Shankara took the approach that the unifying statements
are absolute while the others are vyavaharic and of secondary value.
Madhva took an opposite view - the differences are absolute and the
other can be interpreted differently.  Ramanuja brings in a concept
of unified and yet divergent status by bring one ness in essence but
plurality all other aspect - an organic relation between jiiva and
Brahman. All are trying to account the  unity and diversity.  Hence
we cannot blame the shruti for not making unifying statement.  It may
be more comforting to say that these different statements are
intended for different adhikaari-s as Vidya mentioned.

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117
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