[Advaita-l] mithyA from archives

Amuthan aparyap at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 10:48:32 CST 2007

namo nArAyaNAya!

On 11/24/07, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy_at_gmail.com> wrote:
> It is not clear why the mithyAtva of the dRShya should follow
> naturally as a consequence of the satyatva of the dRk. The other way
> round seems more obvious to me.

let me quote AcArya gauDapAda here:

 'duHkhaM sarvamanusmRtya kAmabhogAnnivartayet.
  ajaM sarvamanusmRtya jAtaM naiva tu paSyati..' (mA.kA. 3.43)

it should be clear from the above that the mithyAtva of the dRSya in
the strict sense of the term (jAtasya-adarSaNam) follows from
Atmaj~nAna (ajAtasya smaraNam) and not the other way about. an
intellectual understanding that the dRSya is mithyA since it does not
exist apart from nAma-rUpa, which is essentially a conceptualization
by the mind, can only help us withdraw the mind from the world; it is
certainly not a direct means to acquire Atmaj~nAna. nowhere in the
advaita literature will you find dRSya-mithyAtva-anusandhAna as a
means for Atmaj~nAna. the means is Atma-vicAra, not anAtma-nirAsa.
regarding anAtmA, the emphasis is more on it's nature as anitya and
asukha rather than its being mithyA. please see the end of the mail
for reasons as to why this is so.

On 11/24/07, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy_at_gmail.com> wrote:
> The rest of your mail seems to go on an unrelated track. It does
> appear to me that the shUnya of the mAdhyamika-s is very similar, if
> not the same, to what we call mithyA. Beyond that, I am also able to
> appreciate the need for a satya for the mithyA to be superimposed on.
> It is only the non-dualistic nature of this satya that I feel might be
> compromised if science can establish the existence of fundamental
> particles.

the reason why i brought in adhyAsa is that any talk of unity or
plurality happens only when the mind functions and this fundamental
association of the mind with the self is nothing but adhyAsa. in any
scientific enquiry, the existence (i.e. the reality) of the perceived
world is taken for granted. what is done is not an enquiry about the
reality of the world but rather a systematic explanation of observed
phenomena based on a minimal set of hypotheses that are verifiable by
appropriate means. thus science does not prove the reality of the
world; it just makes sensible statements about the world it has
assumed to be true in the first place. even in science questions like
'_what_ is matter? _what_ is energy?' etc. cannot be answered since
they fall outside its domain of validity. even if it is established
within the limits of accuracy achievable by observation and reason
that some substratum (like say a basic set of fundamental particles)
is what the perceived universe is ultimately made of, the existence of
this substratum itself cannot be known until pramAtRtvAdi guNAs are
superimposed on the Self. in this sense, the mithyAtva of the dRSya is
not affected by any scientific theory.

it should be kept in mind that the mithyAtva of jagat is not a logical
starting point for understanding advaita. it is not an axiom with
which we start; it is a statement of the nature of the world as
_j~nAnIs_ perceive it. in other words, it is a truth which will become
manifest of its own accord in one's anubhava if the truth of one's own
self is realized. all that we need to know about jagat prior to
AtmavicAra is that it is anitya and asukha so that we can withdraw our
attention from it and instead concentrate it on ourself.

let me repeat the basic point: the aim of advaita is just to establish
Atmabrahmaikya. the rest (mithyAtva of jagat etc.) follow from this.
it is completely irrelevant to the purpose of advaita whether you
consider the world as real or unreal since any such consideration
happens only _after_ superimposing anAtmA on the Atman (in particular,
after accepting the world as real). however an intellectual
appreciation of mithyAtva of the dRSya is helpful for mano nigraha.

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

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