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

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Wed Apr 13 10:30:18 CDT 2016

Namaste Ramesam ji,

Your disclaimer is well taken, and my response below is hopefully in
keeping with that. :)

On Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 7:51 PM, Ramesam Vemuri via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> ...
> Prof. A. Rambachan in Chapter V in his book "God World and Humanity", 2006
> deals with the question: " If brahman is non-dual and limitless, how are we
> to understand the status and significance of the world in relation to
> brahman? Do we have to deny the world? "

The world is not denied, but the world is denied the reality of its own;
its reality belongs to the adhiShThAna brahman. The entire neti, neti
process of Vedanta rests on this fact.

Extensive references from Shankara bhAshyA-s are quoted and he also gives
> the reference to a 1996 paper of Shri Srinivasa Rao "Two 'myths' in
> Adviata" published in the Jour of Indian Philosophy, vol 24, pp: 265-279.

The paper may be scholarly, but without knowing the contents, I can't agree
or disagree with its *traditional* authenticity. At the very outset, I
would question the title itself though. :) IMHO, there are NO myths in

> He says:  “Too much energy has been expended in traditional *adviata*
> metaphysics in establishing the so-called unreality of the world.

On the contrary, I think people don't spend enough energy in understanding
the term mithyA. This usage of the word *so-called unreality* is quite
incomplete, even incorrect.

> The
> world, in itself, is neither illusory nor deceptive. The world simply is.

If these are Prof. Rambachan's words, the last line sounds very much of his
Vedanta teacher Pujya Swami Dayanandaji's words. The latter would add "its
existence is a borrowed existence". Swamiji would never translate the world
mithyA. He would say "it is a technical word, understand for what it is and
do not translate it. If you need a translation, the translation is:
mithyA". :)

> Ignorance is a human characteristic because of which one fails to
> apprehend
> the non-difference of the world from *brahman*.  In fact, the world, as
> non-different from *brahman*, enjoys the same permanency and reality as
> *brahman*.  In the words of Shankara, ‘Just as the *brahman, *the cause, is
> never without existence in all three periods of time, so also the universe,
> which is an effect, never parts company with Existence in all the three
> periods’.”

Never parting company from existence is what makes it existent. However,
the world is continuously changing. It has no unchanging existence in any
period of time, let alone all three! The change belongs to the jagat while
the existence belongs to brahman. Again, Pujya Swamiji had a peculiar way
of explaining mithyA with a pot in his hand. He would ask you "is there a
pot in my hand?" There is no reason for anyone to say no to that. And
having heard yes, he would then say "I don't see a pot, there's only clay.
The look, smell, sound, touch, weight, etc of the pot belongs to clay
alone." If you say that there is only clay, you still won't use a lump of
clay to get water; so there is a pot, with a name and form. Its utility
cannot be denied in vyavahAra. So it is there in vyavahAra and also at the
same time not there in pAramArtha. Hence, sadasadbhyAm anirvAchanIya, which
means it is not available to *categorically* be called real or unreal. What
can be said though is that the reality of the pot belongs to clay, the form
that you see is mithyA and so is the name pot.

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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