Dvaita and Sophistry - Part 3(Inherent natures of jivas)

Shrisha Rao shrao at NYX.NET
Tue Mar 25 18:16:01 CST 2003

On Tue, 25 Mar 2003, kalyan chakravarthy wrote:

> Namaskaaram,
> >Certainly.  However, the fact remains that being (astitva/sattA in
> >Sanskrit) is also the self-same nature of the jIva, proving that it *has*
> >a self-same nature (which was your question).
> How does it show that this nature is eternally constant?

If existence is not an eternal property, then the jIva is not eternal, a
position that no Vedantin accepts.  Therefore, an eternal entity has the
eternal nature of existence.

> >It doesn't; for that we need to refer to Bhagavad Gita XVII-2/3 and
> >others such.
> Same question as above.


> >Anytime anyone goes into an asurya-loka (or even a "state where there is
> >no sunlight" -- sUryaprakAshahInA -- as Sri Shankara prefers to read it),
> >even temporarily, it may be considered a fall; we do not need the `abhi-'
> >prefix to tell us that.  The prefix, in order to be meaningful, has to
> >convey something beyond what is already obvious.
> Not necessary. For there is nothing wrong or meaningless in saying that
> people fall into dark worlds.

Correct, except that the `abhi-' prefix is still not dealt with -- just
what are its significance and purpose according to you?

> There is also a difference between stating the
> obvious and emphasizing(or supporting) what has already been said. There is
> no guarentee that sruti avoids the latter.

Except that there can be no suggestion that descent into dark worlds has
*already been said* in the IU as of verse 3, where `abhigachchhanti' is
used.  For your reasoning to work, we should have met `abhigachchhanti' at
the *second* reference on verse 9, or later, when we could have said the
Upanishad was supporting what had already been said.

Therefore, if we ignore the idea of repetition and simply accept emphasis,
then that very emphasis (vide the accepted exegetical principle of
`asAdhAraNyena vyapadeshA bhavanti') serves to show that the transit must
be eternal.

> Eg. tat tvam asi.(or atat tvam asi in your point of view. Infact your
> reasoning jeopardizes atat tvam asi, but I dont want to digress into
> that now.)

That's fine; besides, you have never studied `atat tvaM asi', so the
provenience of your arguments would be much in question.

> There is one more problem with your reasoning. How do you justify your
> reading in of the eternal damnation idea?

The fact that `abhigachchhanti' signifies eternal transit -- haven't you
been paying attention?

> > > As for this, there is no guarentee that a particular word is used in
> >sruti
> > > in always the same sense.
> >
> >In saying this, you have actually made a positive assertion concerning
> >Vedantic etymology that you needs must justify.
> The word atmA.

That is probably the *worst* example one could find for your case, as its
Vedantic meaning is the most fixed: it means the same in, e.g., `AtmA vA
are drashhTavyaH', &c., and in `gauNashchennAtmashabdAt.h'.  In fact, the
latter specifically rules out applicability of the word to refer to the
embodied, living being.  The well known statement `sa AtmA tat tvaM asi'
("that is the Atman; that thou art," in the Advaitic interpretation)
requires `AtmA' to mean something other than the embodied.  If `AtmA' were
to mean the embodied being (which would be in direct contravention of
`gauNashchennAtmashabdAt.h'), then the final purport of the instruction
would be for Uddalaka to tell Shwetaketu that he was the embodied ("that
is the embodied; that thou art").

Stating that a person is the embodied also is not a non-dual instruction
(which is the common interpretation).  In fact, it is a mere belaboring of
the obvious like calling a pot round, and is not a Vedantic statement of
any kind.  Therefore, even in `sa AtmA' the word `AtmA' means the same.

> >That damnation is eternal is also known from other sources, e.g., from
> >`mAM aprApyaiva'.
> Leaving aside the truth value of your interpretation, are you admitting that
> the Isa Upanishad does not indicate eternal damnation?

Of course it does.  You seem to continually lose track of the context in
making your responses.  My statement was made in the context of yours
claiming that liberation (as opposed to damnation) is known to be eternal.

> >If `abhigachchhanti' does not signify eternal transit (a position that
> >needs to be backed up with proper analyses), then we still have the
> >question of what happens to the poor folk who end up in (temporary?)
> >andhaM tamas -- when and under what conditions are they released from it,
> >and what is their later course of action?  Since ignorance has been
> >indicated to be the cause of entry into such a state, and since andhaM
> >tamas is, by its very named nature, a state of black ignorance, it is not
> >at all clear how the conditions could arise for someone to escape from it.
> >Not having clarified this point, the Upanishad must be considered to have
> >left much to desire in its statements.
> >
> >Therefore, even if the etymology that is the basis could somehow be fixed,
> >there is the further problem of having to address the lacunae that show up
> >in the theological superstructure.
> 1. As you are reading in an idea, the burden of justification lies on you.

No, it does not in this case.  I have already met my burden.  If you come
up with an objection to my reading (as you have attempted), then the
burden of dealing with the absurdities arising out of your objection is
certainly yours and not mine.

> 2. Combine vidya and avidya to achieve the goal.(comes immediately next)

Except that such a reading makes no sense, in several ways -- exactly what
does "combine vidyA and avidyA" mean?  How is one caught in blinding
darkness to achieve this?

> 3. Transition of states is a possibility from day to day experience.

However, Vedanta is not about mere daily experience, so the simile is all
wrong -- one cannot compare dissimilar things and derive conclusions about
them (for example, one would be wrong to say that sea water must be
potable because river water is).  Besides, in fact, transition of states
is *not* daily experience, so the antecedent of the proposed inference is
false as well.  Daily experience has one living in the world as an
embodied, only.  Last but not least, if one ignores these problems and
simply takes transition to be a possibility based on the [alleged]
similarity with daily experience, then even mukti would become transitory,
a position that, by reductio ad absurdum, shows the inference rule also to
be fallacious.


Shrisha Rao

> Kalyan

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