[Advaita-l] Body is the disease

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jan 22 01:50:10 CST 2014

On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM, Srinath Vedagarbha
<svedagarbha at gmail.com>wrote:

> In this post, I am speaking from pUrvapxin's perspective (which are not
> necessarily my own)
> On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 9:17 AM, H S Chandramouli
> <hschandramouli at gmail.com>wrote:
> > Dear Srinath Vedagarbhaji,
> >
> > <<  So, basically it boils down to the fact
> > that one cannot argue based on elements which are not "true" in reality.
> >>
> >
> > What is the status of a vada  when elements are a mixture of "Real " and
> "
> > Unreal "

pUrvapaxin asks - what is the basis of saying "Real" and "Unreal" are mixed

> up even before one starts vAda and its truth value is yet to be
> established?

There is enough basis for the above.  For instance the BG 13th chapter
verses I cited before are the basis to hold that the Real and the unreal
are mixed up.  The BG 2.16 is also a proof for this, for the Lord says that
the Knower is the one who has understood these two: the Real and the Unreal
thoroughly. In fact the BG 2.11 'ashochyAn....' is itself one example where
right at the start of the discourse the Lord 'establishes' 'states' the
Truth, which is yet to be thoroughly analyzed and arrived at in the rest of
the chapters.  He points to shoka/moha as the result of error/bhrama.  The
pUrvapakShin's objection is directed, unwittingly, at the Lord and Veda
Vyasa for that is what is done in the Brahmasutra too.

Shankara comments:

//Therefore the knowers of Brahman, having known all about scholorship,
should try to live upon that strength which comes of Knowledge; having
known all about this strength as well as scholorship, he becomes
meditative; having known all about both meditativeness and its opposite, he
becomes a knower of Brahman.' -- ; na anusocanti, do not grieve for;
gatasun, the departed, whose life has become extinct; agatasun ca, and for
those who have not departed, whose life has not left, the living. The ideas
is, 'Your are sorrowing for those who are eternal in the real sense, and
who are not to be grieved for. Hence your are a fool!.'//

How is the Lord correct in talking about Brahmavit's dRShTi even before
teaching us what is Brahman, who is a Brahmavit and what his dRShTi is?

> > What actually is true appears to be different  Arguments could
> > be based on accepting provisionally the reality of the appearence and
> then
> > logically proceed to the  possibility of it not being so.
> On what basis you are saying appearance is different from reality even
> before tatva-niScchaya was happened by vAda? So, pUrva-paxin will contend
> -- if this kind of "yet-to-be" notion is already colored one's vision
> before even jignAsa/analysis is started, how can be any value for
> subsequent conclusion?

Same answer as said above.

> Also, you are saying "logically proceed" after one grants provisional
> value. What is your basis in such logical anumAna used? The very definition
> of anumAna is said to be "anusattya mAna iti anumAna" (pramANa which
> "follows" other pramANa-s, such as pratyaksha or aagama, is called
> 'anumAna'). So, in order to "logically proceed", there would not be any
> grounds for any anumAna used if pratyaksha is just appearance and not real
> as it appears.

The fundamental basis lies in the method of the Shruti.  It is another
thing that the opponents of Advaita do not see the method the shruti the
same way Advaitins see.  For Shankara, the very shruti passage: 'tarati
shokam Atmavit'  forms the basis to gauge the method of the shruti.  One
who is ignorant of the Atman (not an Atma-vit) is naturally in bhrama, for
he has invariably taken the anAtma to be real.  The shruti says:  the one
who 'knows' the Self crosses over sorrow'.  That is enough ground to infer,
from this pratyakSha shruti, that the cause of sorrow is ajnAna of the
Atman.  The remedy is to know the true nature of the Atman.  Hence jijnAsA
is required.  That is the method of the shruti. There is a host of shruti
passages which declare pratyakSha is not the ultimate / real pramANa.
Thus, there is no illogicality in proceeding, even at the outset, with the
knowledge that pratyakSha is not ultimately correct pramANa.

> > Surely such a
> > vada is admissible.   However such a vada need not lead to certainty of
> the
> > conclusion, but point to only a possibility of it being so.
> If my understanding is correct, "possibility" (smabhava) is not pramANa in
> any school of vEdAnta. Moreover, mere "possibility" of truth (such as
> "Brahma sattyaM jagan mitthyam" etc) is not sufficient enough for a sAdhaka
> to vest his life in a pursuit, which may or may not be true.

'asambhAvanA' is a defect which has to be removed by yukti, mananam.  'How
can the jiva be identical with Brahman? How could the world so clearly
experienced be mithyA?'  These are the questions, doubts, that trouble the
adhikAri who has had the shravaNam.  This asmbhAvanArUpa obstacle has to be
removed by mananam.  So, if after mananam the obstacle is cleared, that is
quite sufficient for the sAdhaka to pursue the path.

> > The assertion
> > of it being really so is only based on Shruti Vakya.
> Here too, since shruti itself is mithya and granted "provisional validity"
> it cannot yield definitive tatava-niSchaya.
> Take for example, all schools of vEdAnta consider shruti is pramANa based
> on them being apurusheya. Even though these schools differ in establishing
> apourusheyatva, nevertheless they do agree that it is so. So, pramANya for
> shruti-s is due to them being apurusheya.
> Now, if one argues that shruti is mithya, it simply means shruti is
> kalpita/arOpita on Brahman by avidya (a.k.a avidya-kalpita). So it is one
> and the same thing as saying shruti is avidya-kalpita and also saying
> shruti is pourusheya for it come under another "kalpita" category. So, the
> very validity, which was based on apourusheya initially, was knocked off
> due to advaitin's subsequent conclusion that it is pourusheya by
> implication of his siddhAnta.

This above implication does not arise.  The entire gamut of Ishwara, veda,
sRShTi, upadesha, sAdhana and mokSha is held to be avidyA kalpita.  It
nowhere gives room to the conclusion that the veda is pauruSheya.
'anAditvena, apauruSheyatvena kalpita' .  This is an instance of
shAstrakRta adhyAropa, only to be negated by the shAstra itself in words
like 'vedA avedAH', etc.  Therefore, the consequences stated below never

> So, if the very validity is gone, so also
> shruti pratipAdya siddhAnta, such as jagan mithyatva etc, are rendered
> invalid.
> So, a pUrvapaxin would argue, you cannot come to such a conclusions which
> cuts the very root pillars you used to begin with.
> Purva-paxin goes one step ahead and questions -- when in one's siddAnta
> only Brahman is real, there cannot be any possibility of existence of
> pramANa-s to establish so (that Brahman alone is sat). This situation, he
> continues, is indistinguishable from any other avaidIka doctrines out
> there, for both lacks any valid pramANa-s. Only difference is that in one
> case pramANa are invalid although they may be real ones, and in the other
> case pramANa-s are non-existing at all (tAtvIka-cally or pAramArtha-cally
> speaking)l.

All such objections arise out of wrongly understanding advaita.  Most of
the objections are raised by Shankara Himself and answered in the
bhAShya-s, including the one on the veda praamAnya.


> > Please note I am
> > commenting only on the admissibility of such a vada and not on the merits
> > of the vada in this particular case.
> >
> >
> My above observations too are not specifically aimed at particular case,
> but it is a  pramANa vichAra speaking from pUrva-paxin's perspective.
> /SV
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