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

rajaramvenk at gmail.com rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Jun 30 17:43:28 CDT 2012

What is the pramana (pratyaksha, anumana, arthapatti, sabda?) by which time is known? Why do we know it as existing, passing, non-existing etc.? 
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-----Original Message-----
From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
Sender: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 23:34:16 
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Reply-To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
	<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Is the idea of 'anAditva' logical?

On 6/30/12, Shyam <shyam_md at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Pranams Subbuji
> I am on travel and hence unable to participate in this and related
> discussions.
> What I would suggest in regards to your well thought-out poser would be to
> consider a) whether time itself is an entity; b) if so does it have a
> origin? and c) if so, when does time originate?
> A careful consideration to these aspects may be helpful in arriving at an
> conceptual appreciation of anaditva.

Thank you Sri Shyam ji, for the thought-provoking response.  I am
immediately reminded of a Panchadashi verse:

kAlAbhAve puretyuktiH kAlavAsanayAyutam.h .
shiShyaM pratyeva tenAtra dvitIya.n na hi sha.nkyate .[2.38]

When there is no 'time' at all, the Upanishad using the expression
'purA' = before/prior (to creation) is only to satisfy the student who
is endowed with the vAsanA that there is something called time.  In
other words, one takes for granted the existence of an entity called
time and one even 'experiences' it in each and every moment of his
life!!  Vidyaranya concludes there that just because the shruti uses
that expression in 'sadeva somya idam agre AsIt' 'Before
creation/manifestation of this world, Sat  alone was there.', the
'before' implying a period/time prior to the manifestation of the
universe is only in keeping with the mental make up of the aspirant
and therefore one should not conclude that the shruti is admitting a
second entity called time/world apart from Brahman/Sat  before the
universe manifested.

And Vidyaranya goes on to justify the Shruti's expression:

chodya.n vA parihAro vA kriyatA.n dvaitabhAShayA .
advaitabhAShayA chodya.n nAsti nApi taduttaram.h .. 39

Any question and a reply to it is possible ONLY in the medium of
dvaita.  In the medium of Advaita there can be neither question nor a

Thus, we see that even though there is really no such entity called
'time' in all three periods of time :-) yet since a discourse of
Vedanta is impossible without 'including' this element, we see the
shruti/shAstram/Acharya using it in their method of dissemination of
Knowledge about the Self.  Thus, it is a case of 'abhyupetya vAda'
(considering/accepting for the time being) with regard to time.  And
since the ignorant aspirant is wedded to the notion of time, the
shAstra while explaining the jagat, jiva and Ishwara is compelled to
adopt the idea of anAditva.  For to tell the aspirant at the very
first instance to his face that all these simply do not exist will be
something the aspirant cannot bear.  So, by saying all these have been
there for long, without a beginning, the shAstra is able to build a
workable platform for a sensible discourse.  When the aspirant is
sufficiently mature to appreciate Advaita, the need for continuing the
anAdi idea ceases.  For, in Advaita there is no second/real entity
called time or space or objects.

It would be interesting to also note that causality is a
(mis)concept(ion) that presupposes time.  For a cause 'precedes' the
effect.  This is what exactly the Shruti quoted above is doing.  It
wants to show/establish Sat as the adhishThAnam, the substratum of the
universe.  To talk of vivarta at the outset will only upset the
aspirant.  So, it starts off with causation/causality.  When the
universe is shown as an effect, later at a mature stage, it becomes
easy for the aspirant to appreciate the vivarta:  after all all this
effect is only an appearance of the cause itself.  Then it becomes
easy to see that 'time' too is only an effect an therefore an
appearance of Sat.  There is no longer any need for the
anAditvakalpanA.  So, to the question 'is the anAditva kalpana
logical?', the answer is both yes and no.  It is yes within the
discourse and no when the tattva is appreciated and the discourse has

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