[Advaita-l] Attributes and their locus-2

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 4 23:46:50 CST 2012

Analysis of Attributes and their Locus-2


We discussed in the earlier part
the swaruupa lakshaNas and swaabhavika lakshaNas. LakshaNa also means that it
indicates or points the lakshyam or the goal or the attributive locus. Swaruupa
lakshaNa is the necessary and sufficient qualification that can uniquely and
precisely define its locus, while the swaabhaavika lakshaNas are the only
necessary but not sufficient qualifications to specify their locus. For
example, sweetness is a necessary qualification or swaabhaavika lakshaNa for
sugar but it is not sufficient qualification to define sugar. To fulfill
sufficiency the converse has to be valid. That is, if an object is sweet, it
has to be sugar. Since there are other compounds that are also sweet, the
sufficiency is not fulfilled by that lakshaNa. Swaruupa lakshana normally
refers to jaati than vyakti or the individual entity of that group. We may note
here that for Advaita the jaati is not considered as fundamental entity unlike
for Nyaaya Vaisheshikas. For example man-ness can be considered as swarupa
lakshaNa for all men in general. However in trying to define what exactly
man-ness means, we run into a circular definition in the sense that man-ness is
what man has and man is one who has man-ness. We have stated already that which
is assembled from parts cannot have a fundamental swaruupa lakshaNa. This naturally
applies to man-ness of the man since it is not a specific attribute that man
has but some of essential collective attributes put together that differentiates
it from other ness-es. 


For completeness, we can mention
the third type of lakshaNa called taTastha lakshaNa which is an incidental
qualification, as in the statement - that pot on the table. Being on the table incidentally
qualifies the specific pot and differentiates it from all other pots which are
not on the table. Being on the table is not necessary or sufficient
qualification for the object to be defined as a pot. It is only an incidental
qualification. The relevance of taTastha lakshaNa becomes obvious when we
account the cause for creation. Brahman being infinite cannot be the cause for
creation, since creation involves a modification and infinite cannot undergo any
modification (nirvikaaraH), since it is infinite. It can neither be a cause nor
can it be caused. For the same reason, there cannot be any other cause for
creation as there is nothing other than Brahman (in fact, the question of
cause-effect itself becomes meaningless from the point of Brahman, which is one
without a second); yet creation appears to be there and it cannot be different
from Brahman. Infiniteness and creation become oxymoron. However, what is the
cause for creation forms a basic topic of discussion and foundation for all
religions. Most of religions stop at the point by defining God or Iswara as the
intelligent cause for the creation. Only Vedanta goes one step further and says
creation requires not only an intelligent cause but a material cause by stating
that He himself became many. Becoming involves a material cause just as gold
became ornaments while gold-smith, the intelligent cause, does not become
ornaments. In the creation of ornaments, the intelligent cause, the gold-smith
is different from the material cause, the gold. Since Brahman is one without a
second, the material cause and the intelligent cause have to be one and the
same, i.e. Brahman. This is a peculiar creation since Brahman should remain as Brahman
without undergoing any modification and yet world of plurality with divergent
attributes with their loci have to be created. To illustrate this Scripture
provides several examples – one of it is just as gold becoming ornaments while
still remaining as gold. This transformation-less transformation is
accomplished by maaya, a force that propels one to become many without
modifying the material cause. Transformation that is seen or creation that is
seen itself is a proof for maaya. Maaya being a force, it needs a locus and
that locus is Iswara or God  - avyakta
naamnii parmesha shaktii… yaya jagat sarvam idam prasuuyate – maaya is that
which makes impossible possible (aghaTita paTanaa paTiiyasii maayaa) is the
force of the supreme Lord by which this whole universe is projected, says
Shankara in Vivekachudamani . 


Creation involves divergent world
of objects with different names and forms. Form or ruupa is representative
covering all attributes. Naming involves knowing, that is, knowledge of the
object with its attributes, thus brings an implied relationship with the
knower, the subject. Material content of the object is not explicitly stated in
defining an object in terms of naama and ruupa, or name and form. To illustrate
this let us take the gold example again. 


Gold remains as gold while
ornaments come out of gold. Gold is the real substantive while ring, bangle,
etc, are only names for forms created out of gold. Hence material content remains
the same for all ornaments with their changing names and forms or attributes
and their utilities. Ring, bangle and bracelet are not made of separate
substances other than gold – that is, there is no ringly substance that differs
from bangly substance. All are just gold. However, gold itself is recognized not
by its ringly form or name or bangly form and name, but by its own attributes.
However, all that glisters need not be gold, implying that deduction of the
material content just based on perceived attributes can be erroneous. We all
remember the Eureka
story. Conversely the implication of the above statement is that the material
content is deducted based on the perceived attributes only. One has to make use
of sophisticated methods to differentiate the real gold from a false gold; all
again based on extracting the correct attributes (such as specific gravity or
specific chemical or spectrographic properties) of the material content of the
object in question. We all remember the Archimede-Eureka-story.  In essence, during perception we can only
perceive the attributes of the object but not the material content of the
object. This fact becomes important as we prone into the reality of the object
and its perceptibility. 


Vedanta says the creation of the
universe from Brahman is exactly the similar to gold becoming ornaments – a
transformation-less transformation. Brahman remains as substantive without
itself undergoing any modification while at the same time varieties of objects
with divergent attributes are created. Just as there is no substantiality other
than gold for all gold ornaments, there is no substantiality other than Brahman
for all objects that appear to have created. Ring can become a bangle or bangle
can become a bracelet but in all these changes gold remains as gold. Hence
ring, bangle and bracelets are nothing but vaachaarambhanam vikaaraH – or
name-sake or namkevaaste creation. From the gold point the transformation is
only apparent and is called vivarta kaaraNam since gold remains as gold while verities
of ornaments are created. From the point of ring, bangle, etc the
transformation is called pariNAma kaaraNam or destructive transformation. When
ring is changed into a bangle, the ring is destroyed while bangle is born. Ring,
bangle, etc are ontologically different from their substantive, gold. The
creation of ring, bangle etc are all transactionally real (vyaavahaarika
satyam) and their attributes differ from each other, and yet they are all
substantially one, namely gold. The attributes and utilities of the ring along
with its date of birth and death are different form those of bangle or bracelet
– and these attributes and utilities have nothing to do with those of the
substantive gold. Hence Gold can declare – they are all in me (at vyaavahaarika
level), but in reality there are none in me (paaramaarthika level). It is
indeed my glory or vibhuuti that I can exist in varieties of forms each with
different name, form and utility.  Krishna says in Ch. 9 -  mastaani sarva bhuutani – all beings are in Me
in one sloka, and yet - na  cha mastaani
bhuutani, none are in Me in the very next sloka. This apparent contradiction is
resolved by understanding the change of reference states; the first one is at
vyaavahaarika level and the next one is at paaramaarthika level.


Now we may ask; why gold became this
particular type of ring and not the other type? The answer is simple - this
lady has desire to ware this type of ring and not the other type. In essence,
the implication is the attributive content of the ring (i.d, o.d, ellipticity,
etc) is determined by the desires or demands of the wearer of the ring. The
supplier has to meet the demands or fulfill the orders of the consumers. The
same arguments are valid to account for why this kind of creation and not the
other kind. The creator has to meet the demands or desires or what Vedanta
calls as vaasanas or previous karmas of all the beings. We cannot blame Iswara
or God for the creation that we are in, can we? If person commits a murder and when
the law caught him after many decades and punishes him for that crime, should
we blame the Law? We harvest what we sow is the absolute law of nature. Hence
Vedanta defines Lord as karma phala daata – one who gives appropriate results
for our actions. The account keeper personified as Mr. Chitra Gupta – one who
has secret code recording all actions of everyone done in the past or
past-lives. One may escape the local law but not this absolute law; but one can
transcend the law by giving up the very notion of doer-ship. 


If we do not like the present
creation, all we have to do is to work for better creation next time.  In terms of gold example we need to place an
order with the gold-smith for the next ornament in the way we like; and this
order must be supported by enough financial credit to bear the expenses
involved. In essence the past karma defines what we have or what are now; and
what we DO with what we have now determines the future orders. The Law of
Action states that we can only act in the present since past is gone and future
never comes – karmaNi eva adhikaaraste. We are the product of our past and we
are also masters of our future. Complaining about the current ugly ring that I
am wearing now, by forgetting that I have ordered this ring myself in the past,
would do nothing other than a book of complaints entitled – suffering refutes a
religion or compassionate God is oxymoron, etc., as Shree Arun Shourie does. While
sympathizing with his current state that was brought about by his own past
deeds, even if does not remember them, we can only advise him to act properly
in this life reminding him that he also has accomplished a lot compared to many
in spite of his sufferings, and prepare for the better life for the next.  Swami Chinmayanandaji puts this in a simple
form: What I have is praarabda and what I do with what I have is purushaartha.
God, as per our tradition, is only a karma phala daata, but He by his infinite
compassion also blessed us by giving the scriptures to teach us how to act
properly for the betterment of our future. He himself came down again and again
to teach the essence of the scriptures. In addition, for human beings, He has
given intelligence with a capacity to grow and guide oneself to progress
towards the pinnacle of evolution. A compassionate father provides what is
required for the healthy growth and even judicious punishments for the
wrong-doings so that the child can grow knowing what is right and what is wrong.
As the child matures, the father gives freedom and opportunities for the child to
grow on his own to gain the highest in life, nay to become even better than
him. The Holy Father would want his child to be on his right side (side of
dharma) and ultimately to become one with Him, since there is nothing higher
than Him. 


The purpose of the above
exhaustive discussion is to establish a) there is no real material for creation
and therefore no real material for the objects that are perceived b) more importantly
perception of every object ultimately involves recognition of Brahman in every
perception – pratibodha viditam matam – says Kena, and c) perception in essence
involves only attributive content of the material, expressed as naama and ruupa,
via senses and the mind.   


Rest in the next

Hari Om!



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list