[Advaita-l] सच्चेन्न बाध्येत, असच्चेन्न प्रतीयेत

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Feb 14 11:54:24 CST 2013

I agree with your observations.  Most ideally the passages from the
bhAShyam should have been simply posted with no translation and just the
explanatory part of matching them with the dictum I chose to should have
been given.  I know how difficult it is for those who translate and give
them as books for the aspirants to study.  Again and again the hard truth
that there is no substitute to the approaching the
bhashyam/sub-commentaries in their original in order to gain the most comes
to the fore.

Take for instance the sentence in my post: // If such effects as name and
form had originated from a non-entity, *they should not have been perceived
*since they are insubstantial* (nirAtmakam)* //

Here the translation of Swami Gambhirananda is:  // If such effects as name
and form had originated from a non-entity, they should not have been
perceived since they have no reality. //

I felt that the expression 'since they have no reality' is quite an
insufficient translation for 'nirAtmakatvAt' and hence I replaced it with
the portion highlighted above with the word 'insubstantial'.  One can see
that even a superimposed snake has no reality.  But that sense is not being
conveyed by the bhashyam by the word 'nirAtmakatvAt'.

Thanks for your very pertinent observations.


On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 8:29 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> One of the difficulties of conveying the Advaita positions on sat, asat,
> (an)Rta
> and (an)upalabdhi is the medium of translation. For example,
> > In the BhAShyam for 'satyam' of the passage 'सत्यं ज्ञानम् अनन्तं ब्रह्म’
> > of this Upanishad, Shankara gives a very crisp but comprehensive
> definition
> > of what 'satyam' is:
> >
> > // *यद्रूपेण** यन्निश्चितं तद्रूपं न व्यभिचरति, तत् सत्यम् ।*
> > यद्रूपेणयन्निश्चितं तद्रूपं व्यभिचरति, तदनृतमित्युच्यते । अतो
> > विकारोऽनृतम्,
> > ’वाचारंभणं विकारो नामधेयं मृत्तिकेत्येव सत्यम्’, एवं सदेव सत्यम्
> > इत्यवधारणात् ।
> >
> > //*As for satyam, a thing is said to be satyam, Real, when it does not
> > change the nature that is ascertained to be its own; *and a thing is said
> > to be unreal when it changes the nature that is ascertained to be its
> > own. Hence
> > a mutable thing is unreal, for in the text, ‘All transformation has
> speech
> > as its basis, and it is name only. Clay as such is the reality.’
> > (Chandogya Up. 6.1.4), it has been emphasized that, that alone is true
> that
> > Exists (Ch.Up. 6.2.1) //
> Here, what is called unreal in the English language is actually described
> not as
> asat/asatya in the saMskRta original, but as anRta (अनृत). Personally, I
> would
> like to search for a different English word than unreal to translate this,
> especially
> as later in the same upanishat, there is a sentence that says satya itself
> became
> satya and anRta. The upanishat text and the bhAshya very masterfully play
> with
> the words sat, asat and anRta, to direct our attention to that which is
> beyond
> words.
> > In this very upanishad bhaShyam, further down from the above reference,
> > Shankara observes while commenting on the passage: असन्नेव स भवति
> > असद्ब्रह्मेति वेद चेत् (२.६)thus: ...यदस्ति तद्विशेषतो गृह्यते; यथा
> घटादि ।
> > * यन्नास्ति, तन्नोपलभ्यते; यथा शशविषाणादि ।* ..... न च असतो जातं किञ्चिद्
> > गृह्यते लोके कार्यम् । असतश्चेन्नामरूपादि कार्य,* निरात्मकत्वात्
> > नोपलभ्येत;*उपलभ्यते तु, तस्मादस्ति ब्रह्म । [’If anyone knows Brahman
> > as
> > non-existing, he himself becomes non-existent. (2.6) bhashyam:
> ...whatever
> > exists is perceived as possessed of distinctive attributes, as for
> instance
> > a pot, etc. Whatever is non-existent is not perceived, as for instance
> the
> > horn of a hare etc. .... And no effect is perceived in this world as
> having
> > been produced from a non-entity. If such effects as name and form had
> > originated from a non-entity, *they should not have been perceived since
> > they are insubstantial* (nirAtmakam). But they are perceived. Hence
> > Brahman exists (and not a non-existing entity)]
> >
> Again, here, to get the full force of nirAtmakatva in translation, I would
> choose,
> "they would not have been perceived, since they would have been
> insubstantial."
> The point is that if name and form had originated from the unreal (asatash
> cet),
> then they would have been nirAtmaka and therefore they would not have been
> perceived at all (na upalabhyeta). That they are indeed perceptible
> (upalabhyate
> tu) means that their source has to be sad-vastu.
> This may seem like a minor point, but I bring it up, because one of the
> major
> misunderstandings of advaita, both by followers of other vedAnta streams
> and
> by people who were originally alien to any vedAnta tradition is this. They
> take
> advaita as saying that nAma and rUpa are anyway unreal, so they mistakenly
> ask, why should one argue for a real source of an unreal world?
> Regards,
> Vidyasankar
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