[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.12: part 3

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Mon Nov 28 23:24:21 CST 2005

namo nArAyaNAya!
  in this post, we will discuss possible ways of addressing shrI  rAmAnuja's objections to advaita. since i don't know any possible way  to refute these objections, i've made the discussion quite general.  it's upto the learned members to provide any possible solutions. 
  it appears to me that shrI rAmAnuja's arguments are too strong to be  directly refuted. they are very genuine objections and cannot be  answered by advaitin-s without introducing additional complications.  while on the one hand we see the incompatibility of an Ishvara or a  jIvanmukta with advaita, we also have many instances of 'jIvanmukta-s'  who teach advaita. this is a really tricky problem. IMO, however, the  objections raised are sound and cannot be refuted. for, to refute it,  one has to assume the existence of avidyA in the first place, which is  unacceptable to advaita. the above argument can be countered only  indirectly by using ajAti vAda. the solution is to deny the objection  itself. if the objection is accepted, it cannot be answered. strictly  speaking, this can be done only by one who has realized the advaita  satya. but for others, it is only a way of escaping from the objections  :-). one must accept the limitations and contradictions that arise by  accepting
 avidyA to be real, i.e. by accepting a  vyAvahArika satya.  
  thus, advaita can  only push away objections like these. it cannot and need not answer  them. this can be  explained in the light of an analogy. if someone says that he saw a  hare with red horns, it is not necessary to prove that a hare's horn  is not red. that can never be done. it is sufficient to know that  there is no horn for a hare  in the first place. similarly, all objections to advaita can be  answered satisfactorily only by denying the existence of vyAvahArika,  i.e. by being  established in one's own self. to put it differently, advaita cannot be  established on a purely rational basis or based on the shAstra-s; it  has to be understood by a direct perception of one's own self. 
  i would like to mention one more point here though it does not fit  exactly in the present context. for an unbiased student of the  shAstra-s, it is definitely true that there is a lot of room for  contrasting points of view on a subject as profound as this. IMO, it is  not possible to establish advaita, or any doctrine for that matter,  based on the shAstra-s alone. the absolute truth does not require the  help of any shAstra to establish itself. hence, the validity of any  doctrine can be ascertained only after knowning the absolute truth.  until then, the content of all doctrination is just void.  (incidentally, this is also the classic 'shUNyata' argument of  nAgArjuna.) if one follows a doctrine, one has to accept it on faith  and once one accepts something on faith, there is no room for any  unbiased  arguments.
  i don't know if my arguments are correct. right from the time i came to  know about advaita, these questions have popped up every now and then  and i haven't found a satisfactory solution to this. so, my way of  arguing may well be a reaction to my mind's inability to answer these  objections. in case i'm missing something or in case there is an  alternative argument against these objections, i kindly request the  learned members to bring them to light. 
  vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.
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