[Advaita-l] Is the idea of 'anAditva' logical?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Jun 29 13:09:56 CDT 2012

We are, or have, engaged in a discussion on the logicality of concepts
like 'apauruSheyatva',  'shabda/vAkya nityatva', 'prAmANya' etc. in
respect to Veda.  The fundamental idea of this discussion being the
'illogicality' of these concepts in the face of modern scientific
developments, theory of evolution, etc. The hope is that if we are
able to establish the logicality of these concepts, it would make the
modern-educated entrants to Vedanta feel more at ease as they will be
pursuing something that their intellects happily agree with, without

Yet another such 'troublesome' concept is the idea of 'anAditva'.  The
really enquiring mind will always tend to look at the origins of
everything encountered in the universe.  That it makes sense that
there has to be a beginning and it would be more enlightening if one
knows that beginning with a fair degree of exactitude.  In the face of
this attitude, the Vedantic concept of 'anAdi' is bound to be very
disturbing to an aspirant.  Take anything, the jagat, the jiva,
Ishwara, Brahman, Veda, avidyA, prakRti, kAla, samsara, bandha,
everything is admitted to be anAdi.  No beginning in time is admitted
with reference to all these.  While on the one hand a beginning is
essentially expected to be there for every 'object', how does one go
with this 'anAdi' concept?

In the Gauda pAda kArikaa, the anAdi concept is analyzed and attacked.
 In the BSB somewhere Shankara calls it 'andha paramparA'  when it
comes to the bIjAnkura nyAya, the seed-sprout chain to explain the
cause-effect relationship chain with reference to the body and karma.
Which came first is impossible to determine as karma is impossible
without the body and the body does not come without karma preceding
it.  While the Vedantin himself is, at a stage, not happy with this
idea, how will the thinking modern intellect view this concept?  The
unpleasant feature is that the very entering and pursuing Vedanta
makes acceptance, at some or the other level,of this concept. Even in
the EkajIva construct, it is stated that all the above entities are
admitted to be 'anAitvena kalpita'.  Albeit its apavAda,
rejection/negation, will come later, yet its acceptance is inevitable
in the early stages.  How does the scientific mind take this?

Members may present their thoughts on the topic.


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