[Advaita-l] [advaitin] Why only jagat is mithya and jeeva is brahman !!??

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Thu Apr 7 04:25:03 CDT 2016

Namaste Sri Bhaskar ji
There are several problems with your email and the arguments in this long
and at times frustrating discussion:

1) First you have not represented what Shankaracharya is saying in mANDUkya
bhAshya correctly. Let me explain:

 But at the same time, I am surprised why the reconciliation of this mantra
> with other shruti AND sUtra bhAshya vAkya-s is so difficult when it has
> been numerous time  said that  kArya is kAraNa rUpa whereas there is no
> kArya in kAraNa, ananyatvepi kArya karaNayOH kAryasya kAraNAtmatvaM ‘NA TU
> SVABHAAVAM BRAHMA’.  Anyway with this background let me once again try to
> share my understanding with regard to mAndUkya mantra 7.
The problem is that your reconciliation does not tie with what BhAshyakAra
says. He gives the meaning of prapancha upashamam, as jAgrat sthAna dharma
abhAvam, that is turIya is described as that state where the attributes
that characterise the three states, viz. waking, etc. are negated. Even if
you argue that it is the same as what you are saying, that is, "it only
means that the kArya is absent in the kAraNa (and not vice versa), and
doesn't reveal the ontological status of the kArya", BhAshyakAra in the
next line very clearly states that the three states are mere appearances.
He says: advaitam bhedavikalparahitam chaturtham turIyam manyante

Please note my emphasis on the word pratIyamAna - shankarAchArya very
clearly says that the other states are only appearances- therefore, from
this, jAgrat prapaNcha is also an appearance only!!

To emphasise this further he says:
"pratIyamAnasarpadaNDabhUcchidrAdivyatirikta yathA rajju:" - (the Atma) is
like the rope, which is different from the snake, stick, crack in the
ground etc., which are just appearances.

Is this not a clear statement by ShankarAchArya to justify his view of
jagat as simply an appearance??

2) Second, you use the jagat abhinna nimittopAdAna kAraNatva status of
Brahman as a reason to prove the jagat satyatvam. Sample this:

 From the gold point of view these vikAra-s are kevala adhyArOpita whereas
> for the vikAra-s the same ‘gold’ is material and efficient cause.

So what? To say that satyatvam of kAraNa proves the satyatvam of the kAryam
is plainly wrong  - even a mithyA vastu can have a "satya" kAraNa. Take the
svapna prapaNcha example. The adhishthAna of the svapna prapaNcha is the
relatively more "satya" sleeper. The vyAvahArika satya sleeper is the
abhinna nimittopAdAna kAraNa of the svapna prapancha. Can you use his
vyAvahArika satyatvam of the sleeper to argue that the svapna prapancha is
vyAvahArika satyam?? Clearly not. Therefore, you cannot Brahman's kAraNatva
of jagat as a reason to argue for jagat's satyatva.

3) Thirdly, I don't know why you keep repeating that the jagat is indriya
vedya for the jnAni, because *no one* is saying that it is *not*.

> Now, coming to your particular point, i.e. kArya prapancha abhAva= jagat
> mithyA, does this mean after jnana this jagat is no more ‘indriya
> vedya’!!??
Let us be very clear here. Everyone is saying that you continue seeing the
world after jnAna, what we are arguing with is your mistaken belief that
just because you can see something, and experience something, that is
evidence of that thing's reality!!

Just because I see sunrise and sunset phenomena, the reality of sunrise and
sunset is not proven. There is no sunrise or sunset really, what you are
observing is not real - your mere observation does not make that thing


> I don’t think ‘abhAva’ of kArya will prove the jagat mithyatvaM....
> Shankara answers this in sUtra bhAshya : sarvaM brahma iti
> sAmAnAdhikAraNyaM prapanchapravilayanArthaM na
> anekarasatApratipAdanArthaM.  It has been said in the sense the effect is
> of the nature of brahman but brahman is not of the nature of the effect.
Where did you get this translation of Shankara's statement? He clearly
states that "sarvam brahma" is for "prapanchapravilApanArtham" not for
"anekarasatApratipAdanArtham", where do you get "effect is of the nature of
brahman but brahman is not of the nature of the effect" from that line?
First of all, this statement is used in the context of refuting the pUrva
pakshi who is saying the Brahman is not the Ayatanam of the sky etc
(jagat). Shankara in that very Bhashyam says: avidyAkrita kAryaprapancha
vidyayA pravilApayanta: tameivakamAyatanabhutamAtmAnam jAnaTha ekarasamiti
 - "after negating, through knowledge, the universe conjured up by
ignorance, you should know that the one and homogenous self alone appears
as the the repository". You are simply misrepresenting Shankaracharya's
views - quoting it out of context and giving a wrong translation to prove
your point.


> And if the world is dropped by deeming it as an avidyA kalpita illusion
> and it’s complete abhAva in the post jnana period then there is no way at
> all to arrive at brahman coz. Shruti also depends on nAma and rUpa of jagat
> to convey the nirguNa, nirvishesha svarUpa of brahman.

Yes shruti is vyAvahArika satya, who says it is not?, we use shruti in
vyavahAra to transcend vyavahAra, which includes transcending the shruti

> Therefore in the enthusiasm of retaining the prapanchOpashamanaM tureeya,
> if one dismisses the existence of jagat for which brahman is OtaprOta it is
> wrong.  It is like vainAshika siddhAnta.
Moreover, this type of prapancha pravilApaNam (total elimination of jagat
> or saMpUrNa abhAva of kArya jagat or melting the jagat in jnAnAgni like
> melting the ghee in fire etc. if at all that is meant in the statement :
> kArya prapancha abhAva = jagat mithyA)  is not possible to the jnAni and it
> is possible only to Ishwara at the time of praLaya clarifies shankara in
> sUtra bhAshya : kOyaM prapanchapravilayO nAma?? Kim agnipratApa
> saMpaktatvAt ghrukATiNya pravilaya eva prapanchapravilayaH kartavyaH??
> ….sa purusha mAtreNa ‘ashakyaH’ pravilApanaituM eti
> tatpravilayOpadeshOshakya vishaya eva syAt, ekenacha Adimuktena
> pruthivyAdhi pravilayaH krutaH iti idAneeM pruthivyAdhi shUnyaM jagat
> abhavishyat.
A negation of the world does not mean the destruction of the world - that
is a ridiculous statement of our position. A negation of the world is
simply an understanding of its mithyAtvam. How can you say the declaration
of jagat's mithyAtvam is equivalent to the destruction of the world like
the destruction of ghee in fire? We certainly do not say that.

You quote BSB 3.2.21 to substantiate your statement, but you very
conveniently ignore the next line Shankara's bhashya: "atha avidyAdhyasto
brahmaNyekasmin ayam prapancho vidyaya pravilApyata iti brUyAt, tato
brahmaiva avidyAdhyastaprapaNchapratyAkhyAnena Avedayitavyam" - "If it be
said that this universe of manifestations superimposed on the one Brahman
through ignorance has to be sublated through enlightenment, then it is
Brahman itself that has to be presented  through a *denial of
manifestation* superimposed by ignorance."

Note the word pratyAkhyAna that Shankara uses here in the sense of denial
of the avidya adhyasta prapancha.

In the same passage (BSB 3.2.21), Shankara says "tayA cha avidyA bAdhyate,
 tatashcha avidyAdhyasta: sakaloyam nAmarUpa prapaNcha: svapnaprapanchavat
pravilIyate" - "as a result of that, this whole manifestation of the world
as names and forms superimposed by ignorance is negated like things seen in
a dream."

Clearly in all these statements, Shankara repeats this point -  that jagat
is avidya adhystha nAma rUpa. The pravilApanam of jagat is not the
destruction of the jagat, it is the denial of its reality. How can you say
that there is no evidence of jagat mithyAtvam in prasthAna traya bhAshyam???


> PS:: disclaimer : I am not claiming that this is what is the ultimate
> siddhAnta as per orthodox t shankara saMpradAya nor I am compelling anyone
> to accept it.  These are all the open thoughts of me based on my
> understanding of shankara vedAnta.  Having said this, as I clarified
> earlier, the above stand is not a ‘new born baby’ in shankara saMpradAya J
> stalwarts like Late Prof. SKR Rao (was heading the Kalpataru Research
> Institution at Sringeri Mutt, B.lore branch) And other eminent and devoted
> scholars who are no more good friend of my parama guruji Sri SSS at any
> stretch of imagination J are of the same opinion.  I am just elaborating
> that stand with my (limited) understanding of bhAshya vAkya.  Prabhuji-s
> are welcome to disagree with me.  I don’t have any issues or hard feelings
> J

You then go on to claim that you are not compelling anyone to accept it.
Sure, you are not doing so - but please do not claim that "Shankara never
said that jagat is mithyA" or twist his words to your siddhAnta.

With that, I am going to shut up once and for all, this has taken up too
much time. I was engaging in the discussion, thinking that you were
genuinely seeking clarifications, but it appears to me that time and again
you have either ignored large sections of the arguments being made, or
twisted the words of others to argue against a warped version of the
argument presented, or quoted BhAshyakAra out of context / selectively
quoted his words - to such an extent that it ends up a misrepresentation of
what he said. Doing so, you then claim that there is no evidence of jagat
mithyAtvam anywhere in prasthAna traya bhAshyam.

It appears to me that you have already decided your position -  this is not
a dispassionate, objective seeking of the truth. So be it, to each his own.

All the best.


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