Advaita : Some Basic Explanations - 5

Srikrishna Ghadiyaram srikrishna_ghadiyaram at YAHOO.COM
Sun Mar 10 20:13:42 CST 2002

--- hbdave <hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN> wrote:
> Dear List Members,
> Here is posting no. 5

There are three kinds or levels of existence {\skt
sattaa} accepted by
thinkers :

{\skt vyaavahaarika sattaa} --  existence as we
normally understand,
        under usual conditions; what is called the
empirical existence.

        For example, we say "tree is tall", "it is
morning now", "this
        is a chair".

        This is the kind of existence by which our day
to day
        {\skt vyavahaara.h} are carried out. Most of
people take this
        to be the only kind of existence and think
that everything that
        they see or perceive is this type of
existence. Or,
        whatever they see or feel is in reality like
that only and
        else. That this is a BIG mistake will be clear
from our

{\skt praatibhaasika sattaa} -- phenomenal existence;
existing only in
        appearance, not in reality. There are a number
of examples of
        level of existence in our day to day life.

        The mirrage seen in desserts,
        the rainbow,
        the silver seen in an oyster,
        the LCD digits in an electronic clock or
        the Sun rising in the East,
        are some of the well known examples.
        The case of a cord ({\skt rajju.h}) seen in
semi-darkness as a
        snake ({\skt sarpa.h}) is used by Indian
philosophers to
        the phenomena.

Such existence is called phenomenal existence by
Western philosophers,
i.e., something is existent as a phenomena, as an
occurrence only.
Most people accept objects having {\skt praatibhaasika
sattaa} to be
as those having {\skt vyavahaarika sattaa} and do not
them. Their argument may be "I see them with my own
eyes, it not it?"
example, they see a stone and a rainbow and take them
to be existent in
same way, but a little bit of reflection will convince
them of the

{\skt paaramaarthika sattaa} -- object which is
existent in past,
present and future and whose existence can not be
refuted under any
circumstances, is said to be having such {\skt
sattaa}. In our
I have called it Ultimate Reality.

What we have been calling {\skt sattaa} is also called
{\skt satya} -
(relative) truth.

Almost all schools of philosophy accept that this
world ({\skt jagat})
not {\skt paaramaarthika satya}, i.e., it does not
have existence as an
Ultimate Reality. Some accept it to be {\skt
praatibhaasika satya},
having phenomenal existence -- they do not worry about
the order or way
which the world was generated and generally avoid
taking stand in
discussions about it.

Some philosophers accept it as {\skt vyaavahaarika
satya} and they
how the Creation took place and the order of creation.

Doubt : But if you say that this type of philosophers
also do not
the world as Ultimate Reality, then how can it be
reconciled with the

Reply : To understand that, first we have to define a
few words. There
is difference between :

{\skt naa"sa} (destruction), and
{\skt baadha} (suspension, annulment).

An object is called {\skt mithyaa} (phenomenal,
unreal) if its
can be shown under certain circumstances, it is
different from {\skt
which is always non-existent ({\skt abhaava}). For
example, "son of a
woman" is always non-existent, {\skt asat}. Other
examples are -
a square circle, horns of a hare (yes, all these
standard examples in
Vedantic literature.)

Thus a rainbow, a mirrage, the digits seen in a LCD
clock, a snake seen
place of a cord, etc. are all {\skt mithyaa}.

Now we are able to show the difference between {\skt
destruction and
{\skt baadha} (suspension).

Thus :

[{\skt bhaava}]--> {\skt naa"sa} --> [{\skt abhaava}]
(existence) --- destruction ---> (non-existence)

[{\skt mithyaa}]--> {\skt baadha} --> [{\skt
                <-- {\skt adhyaasa} --
(phenomenal)    --- suspension -------> basis
                <-- superimposition ---

{\skt adhi.s.thaana} means the Basis, on which the
illusion is seen.
cord in case of snake, hot air in case of a mirrage,
water particles in
of a rainbow, Liquid Crystal fluid in case of LCD, are
all basis,
{\skt adhi.s.thaana}.

Advaita Vedant says that you can not have a phenomenal
a basis, but more about it later.

We now redefine {\skt vyaavahaarika satya} as one
whose {\skt baadha}
not take place without {\skt brahmaj~naana} (proper
knowledge about
of Ultimate Reality), but  whose {\skt baadha} does
take place with
{\skt brahmaj~naana}.

We may also redefine {\skt praatibhaasika satya} as
one whose {\skt
can be achieved without {\skt brahmaj~naana}, i.e.,
through logical
arguments, as we have done in case of a rainbow.

Finally {\skt paaramaarthika satya} is one whose {\skt
baadha} can not
achieved at any time.

Thus Shri Krishna has said in Geeta that {\skt
tattvadar.sii}, those
have realized the Ultimate Reality, differentiate
between {\skt sat},
is really existing i.e., {\skt aatmaa} and {\skt
asat}, what is not
exiting, i.e. illusory existences called {\skt
anaatmaa}. The pleasures
and pains of the human existence are illusory, {\skt


My question:  In the above paragraphs you defined
Pratibhasika with an example of rainbow etc. and also
said that we do not need BrahmaJnana to 'suspend' such
phenomenon. Also, you used the word 'Mithya' for
Phenomenal things.

As such we use the 'world' as Vyavaharika Satya, as we
need BrahmaJnana to 'suspend' its reality or remove
the superimposition.

Consider these two points as I understand and
explained above by me.

Now, coming to your last sentence quoted from Lord Sri
Krishna you said
"The pleasures
and pains of the human existence are illusory, {\skt

******** How can it be Mithya ??? because we do need
BrahmaJnana to prove or experience that human
existance is illusory.

Also in the same paragraph you quoted as Sri Krishna's
"Thus Shri Krishna has said in Geeta that {\skt
tattvadar.sii}, those
have realized the Ultimate Reality, differentiate
between {\skt sat},
is really existing i.e., {\skt aatmaa} and {\skt
asat}, what is not
exiting, i.e. illusory existences called {\skt
anaatmaa}. "

******** Here why are you calling 'anaatma' as
illusory ? In the earlier parts of the posting you
defined 'asat' as non-existant as horns of a hare.

Please explain why Lord Srikrishna's words for Jagat
is Mithya which is not like 'rainbow'

Om Namo Narayanaya !!


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