[Advaita-l] Advaita Manjari -5

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 18 12:47:53 CST 2003

                           Advaita Manjari-5

This may be a little digression but may be still worth to note for clear
understanding of Advaita Vedanta. It was pointed out by our dvaitin
friend that what I wrote in the Manjari 4 was neither Science nor
Vedanta. Actually it is the other way around, it is both science and
Vedanta if one understands both correctly.  If one reads without any
preconceived notions, there is beautiful samanvaya or self-consistency
in what I wrote and it will become more evident as one studies further,
whether one aggress with the theory or not. Dvaitins start with the
axiomatic statements that world is real, jiiva is real and Iswara is
real and discuss everything from that biased notions. With that
preconceived notions, they look for grammatical, contextual or other to
justify rest of their model or criticize Advaita.  

For these specific reasons only I have no interest in indulging in any
item-by-item quibbles with Dvaitins, particularly when they fail to
recognize the fundamental problem. Secondly, of course, none of the
objections are really new and have been answered exhaustively by many
Advaitins in the past, and I have no interest in spending time to
reinvent the wheel, with semi-baked knowledge.  I am not ignoring them
out of any disrespect; only I have realized it is fruitless for me to
discuss when they fail to understand the fundamental problem involved.
One can disagree with these statements too, so be it. One can ignore
these Advaita Manjari posts as well, like the multitude of dvaitin posts
flooded without clear understanding the fundamentals.  I have no problem
with that either.  These Advaita Manjari posts are intended only to
those who are really interested to learn Advaita Vedanta and obviously
based on my understanding of the siddhaanta.  As stated before, I
started writing these in response to Krishna K’s questions.  My thanks
to him for instigating it. 

I have mentioned that these quibbles do not come under VAda, but mostly
Jalpa. In brief, discussions are classified under four major types;
samvaada, vaada, jalpa and vitanDa.  Samvaada is discussion between a
teacher and the taught.  This is flow of knowledge from higher to lower.
 For the knowledge to take place student should have full faith in the
teacher and questioning by the student is only in terms of clarifying
his lack of understanding of the topic of discussion. Krishna does not
begin his teaching (samvaada) until he discovers the student in Arjuna. 

Vaada is between two equals. The purpose of the discussion is to
establish the truth.  In the traditional vaada, of course, there will
also be an impartial judge that both can agree upon, and pramaaNa’s that
both agree as valid for their discussions. Even though both come to the
table with pre-conceived notions, they are willing to discuss and
establish whose theory is more valid, again within the guidelines that
are pre-established and agreed upon.  One who conceives the defeat
actually does so when he is convinced that the opponent theory is right.
If not the judge makes that conclusion based his understanding of the
issue or debate.  The famous discussion between Shankara and Mandana
Misra supposed to have lasted for 18days and Mandana Mishra’s wife
Bharati, was the presiding judge of the debate.  VAda is like our modern
proverb when we have disagreements –we all say -  Let us sit down and
discuss this to seek solution to a problem at hand. 

It is obvious that none of the discussions in this vAdAvali list are of
that type to claim that it is Vaada.  I appreciate the moderators’
vision in naming this list as such, but one can see that it is
impossible to have that kind of discussions among the members.  One can
always point a finger at others but the fact remains. From the
beginning, I stated that I have no interest in involving myself in any
vAda. First I am not qualified and second I find such discussions are

If I look at the discussions that went on so far between Advaitins and
Dvaitins (I do not see any vishishhTadvaitins in the list!), many
Advaitin gave up not that they are convinced of the opposite view but
for two prominent reasons: (obviously from my perspective) 1. Major
criticism of Advaita by Dwaitins is baseless due to not clearly
understanding the theory because again not having read in detail many of
Shankara Bhaashya-s.  We are accused of having the audacity to point
this out to them, but surprisingly that seems to be the consistent
opinion of any Advaitin who reads the Dvaitin’s comment on Advaita. Does
it not make one wonder, why Advaitins say so? This came out clearly not
only in adviataL list, Advaitin list and now in vaadaavali list but even
before, when anyone reads the dvaitin books referring to Advaita.  It is
interesting to note that if one makes the last comment I made, Dvaitins
will be jumping all over him saying – What Dvaitin books you have read
and How much have you studied etc.  – but they seem to miss that these
are precisely the same questions they should ask themselves first before
they criticize the Advaita theory.- -whethere what they have studied
about Advaita and how much of the analysis presented is true
representation of Advaita, particularly when all Advaitins are pointing
that they are misinterpreting what Advaita theory.   2. Second, I find
the criticism of Advaita theory is mostly based on the contextual,
grammatical or some other sloka or mantra that they interpret in their
own way. This reduces to more packaging issue to suite a theory based on
original assumptions. One can get lost in these baseless arguments when
one has missed already the essential points of Advaita. My notes on
Advaita Manjari is only to bring these essential points. If you miss
these points any criticism of Advaita theory is baseless.  Obviously I
have no interest to indulge in any jalpa. I am presenting only my
understanding of Advaita for those who are interested.

Now about Jalpa. Jalpa is the discussion between two people who come to
the discussion table, each with preconceived notion that he is
absolutely right and the other fellow is absolutely wrong, and the
purpose of the discussion is only to try to convert the other fellow
into ones camp. But the fact of the matter is the other fellow also
comes with the same premise that he is right and the first fellow is
wrong.  Neither one is interested in establishing the truth, therefore
only lot of noise results.  Now how many Advaitins in this list got
convinced about the Dvaitins’ arguments and vice versa?  I can
confidently say none what so ever.  Of course, one who is already in
that camp,can learn more about their own accepted theory.  In that
sense, I must say it has a valid role.  Since this is internet list, the
arguments and counter arguments  manifests in the forms of loads and
loads of mainly meaningless posts.  Now you see why the discussions on
the list clearly fall under the category of jalpa and not vAda.
Sometimes the bystanders either learn something out of this jalpa or
just quit after completely confused. In the jalpa, the discussers
ultimately quit either because they get fed up (not that they got
convinced of the opponents view) or the discussion quibbles to
meaningless trivialities. It is mostly like unwritten Italian traffic
rules – the one who can shout louder (post more) or the one who has
bigger car or truck has the right of way! That is why I see no vaada
here but jalpa.  We are not ready for any vaada. 

For completeness we can say few words on the last type of discussions-
VitanDa. I should say none of the discussions in this list fall under
that category.  One example of VitanDa is like – the statement is wrong,
because you said it.  The same statement is right if I say it.  This
type of arguments are used some times to disqualify the credibility of
the speaker and therefore whatever he speaks.  It is like a notorious
liar taking a witness stand and stating that whatever he says is truth
and nothing but truth. He may in fact be telling the truth. But the
credibility becomes an issue than the statement per sec. This is only
one type but they are others types of vitanDa vaada too.

Now some emphasis of the fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta and why this is
so important to understand.  The samanvaya or consistency that I
mentioned in my first Manjari also follows if one is willing to think
deeply the issues involved. 

There are fundamentally two entities that everyone experiences as one
goes from cradle to grave. One self, projected as ‘I’ and the world in
front of me that I have to deal with; thus I and the world.  The world
includes all the objects or more accurately all that I can objectify.
Hence that reduces to only two; I, the subject and the world the object
or assemblage of objects.  I am including all the concepts, thoughts and
feeling (objects, emotions and thoughts, OET as part of the world).
These are given facts as we ‘experience the world’.  Since I have a
notion that I am born and I die and the world is there, even before I
came into this world and world will be there even after I quit,  I am
not the author of this world.  Since this universe (idam) follows
thermodynamically a well-ordered system and well-behaved system with
identifiable cause-effect relations, and with Universal laws governing
the system, we cannot but agree that it is creation with order and laws.
Now we bring in this equation a third factor – a creator to create this
universe – Iswara, who has to be sarvaj~na (all knower) and
sarvashaktimaan (all powers).  Anything inside the creation cannot be
cause of the entire creation since that cause is limited by the
creation. There cannot be anything outside the creation either since
outside has to be created first to have outside and then that outside
becomes part of the creation only. Hence if there is an intelligent
cause for creation he cannot be separated from the creation and
therefore (He) becomes sarvavyaapakaH or all pervading.  He obviously
cannot be identified with any form or shape or locality since those
descriptions are self-limiting and cannot be applicable to one is
sarvavyaapakaH or all pervading.  Hence Krishna clearly declares “mayaa
tatam idam sarvam jagat avyakta muurthinaa” – I pervade this entire
universe in an unmanifested form, manifestation in any particular forms
gets special or temporal limitations by that very form. In the duality
of I and the world - any thing that is unconscious or inert entity comes
under the world. If we go further, any 'thing' that requires my presence
as pre-existent entity to establish its existence, comes under object or
the world. If we extend it futher, any thing that does come under the
category of 'idam' is the world.  By default I am separate from idam -
na iti not this. Idam shariiram when we say, all shariira comes under
the category of the world only. aham or I am separate from idam - the
world. I am involves both self-existent and self-conscious entity that
is different from the world which is not self-existent and
self-conscious entity, since I have to be there to establish the
existence of the world of objects. 

Going back one step to understand this clearly – I am there and the
world is there – as these are given on the basis of experience (we have
not examined the validity of this experience itself – we will come to
that). Given that experience of duality, I have brought a third factor
to explain the cause for the world – and this third factor is Iswara,
the Lord or the creator.  This third factor ‘creator’ is brought in,
since I ‘see’ or experience the creation.  We assumed that creation is
real since we experience it, and we brought in to explain the cause for
this creation, the Iswara as third entity into the equation. Obviously
the reality of third entity does not arise if the reality of second
itself is questionable.  The fundamental problem that arise now is – is
the world real?  Dvaita and VishishhTaadvaita start with the premise
that the world is real and therefore the third factor is real. Whether
they agree or not, this is the assumption based on the experience not
that the world proves itself independent of the conscious entity to
validate its existence. Before we go further that assumption itself need
to be validated.  

The world is real because ‘we experience it’.  Here lies the fundamental
problem to start with. Unless this is clearly understood, one cannot get
to the next step. Experience itself is not knowledge; one has to
understand the knowledge behind the experience. Before even we go to
that level of analysis we need to understand what is involved in any
experience.  What I am discussing now is the very basis of Advaita
Vedanta. As I have mentioned categorically that only given factor in the
triad – experiencer, experience and experiencing, the experiencer,
myself - the “I”,  is self-existent and self-conscious entity. That is
the only ‘thing’ that need not depend on any proof since all proves are
based on its existence only.  As agreed upon, a conscious entity ‘I’ has
to be there to establish that world exist, for pratyaksha pramaaNa to
operate.  And I do not need any pramaaNa to establish my own existence
and my own consciousness.  Now of the two entities that we started with,
I and the world, I am self-existent and self-conscious entity where as
the world is not. It has to depend on me to prove its existence.  There
is no independent proof that the world exists without a conscious entity
establishing its existence.  One cannot say it is there or it is not
there – to say either one has to be conscious.  This is precisely the
reason why it comes under anirvachaniiyam.  Any arguments to the
contrary is what I said about the man shouting at the top of his voice
that he is dumb and cannot talk.  One can of course assume stating that
the world exists and real, there is no problem in that, as long as one
recognizes that it is an assumption since its independent existence
cannot be established. 

Even the scriptures fall under the same category of insentient and
cannot be validated independent existence of the conscious entity.  Even
to provide the validity of the statement ‘yathaartham pramaaNam’, I or
conscious entity has to be there to validate the yatha artham. Only that
is yathaa artham and no need of any pramaaNa is that I am –
self-existent and self-conscious entity.  The rest is indeterminate
problem since independent existence of an object or the world or its
yathaartham cannot be established. Ultimately even at the quantum
mechanical universe, the observed gets affected by the observation but
observer is independent of the observed.  If this is not science, I do
not know what else is science.  

As Krishna K. pointed enough is said about the world and I. 

Now there was a comment that as what I wrote is not Vedantic.  Yes, it
is not if you start with the assumption is the world is real and define
reality to suite that assumption.  Before the analysis of three examples
from Ch. Up – yathaa soumya … Uddaalaka starts with the statement – 1.
sadeva soumya idam agra asiit. 2. ekam eva advitiiyam.  And later he
says 3. tad aikshataa.  1. Existence alone was there before creation and
2. it is one without a second and 3. it saw. 1. Existence is
self-existent entity and 2. It is infinite entity since existence cannot
have any boundaries since both boundaries and beyond the boundaries have
to exist and therefore part of existence. 3. It is conscious entity –
that which exists before the creation is self-existent and
self-conscious entity since there is nothing else for it to ‘see’.  It
is sat chit ananda and also explained as satyam j~naanam anantam – hence
anantam is anandam – infiniteness which is limitless or unlimited is
happiness.  If you study Manjari 5 this is exactly what I tried to
establish both as Brahman as well as what moksha involves.  There is a
self consistency in every statement I have made in the Manjari – in
terms of aham brahmaasmi, brahmavit braham eva bhavati and ayam aatma
brahman, tat tvam asi. If this is not Vedanta, if there is no samanvaya
in my statements, I do not know what else is Vedanta. 

Yes Krishna enough is said. 

I will continue with the topic where I left it last time. 

Hari OM!


What you have is His gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to Him - Swami Chinmayananda.

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