[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.12: part 3
Amuthan Arunkumar R
aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Mon Nov 28 23:24:21 CST 2005
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.
Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.
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