[Advaita-l] Understanding Reality in the Vision of Advaita Vedanta

Ravi Kiran ravikiranm108 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 22 02:31:52 CDT 2016

On Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 12:13 PM, V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Mithyā vastu is accorded a certain reality, prātibhāsika satyam or
> vyāvahārika satyam.  The 'satyam' aspect derives its satyatvam from the
> adhishtānam.  The rope is the real vastu there but a person thinks that it
> is a snake. Till such time the truth is known, he holds the snake to 'be',
> in other words, he says or thinks: the snake 'is.'  While he should have
> correctly said or held 'the rope is' he is wrongly saying 'the snake is.'
>  The is-ness of the snake which is not at all there, which never 'is', is
> transferred wrongly from the rope which alone 'is'.  Hence, the snake is
> dependent on the rope for its very isness, reality, existence.
> Dr.BNK Sharma (BNK) On page 146 of the Book in the footnote are given
> by BNK the
> eight verses quoted by Sri Madhvacharya in the work ‘Tattvodyota’:
> On page 142 of the Book BNK says:
> // The TattvasankhyAna (11 granthas) enumerates the categories recognized
> by Madhva.  Here*reality* is *dichotomized* into ‘Swatantra’ (Independent)
> and ‘paratantra’ (dependent).  This is the highest metaphysical and
> ontological classification in Madhva’s system, whence his system derives
> its name ‘Dvaita’.  God Vishnu is the One Highest Independent Real.  All
> else is dependent on Him, including the Goddess Lakshmi, the presiding
> deity of a-cit prakRti.  // (emphasis mine)
> //Everything in finite reality is grounded in the Infinite reality and
> needs it for its *being and becoming*.//  p.62
> The dependence of the world of matter and the souls on Brahman is in the
> sense that both are functioning at His will, which is the *essential
> condition and sustaining principle* that invests them with their reality
> *and
> without which they would be but void names and bare possibilities.* //
> (emphasis mine) (page 67)
> My comments:  The above statements show very clearly that for Dvaita, the
> paratantra cannot even ‘be’, ‘exist’, in the absence of the ‘sattaa’
> provided by / drawn from the Swatantra.  There is no ‘svatantra-sattaa’ for
> the paratantra, it is ‘parataH sattaa’ alone it enjoys. The
> characterization of the true status of the paratantra as ‘mere void names
> and bare possibilities’ by none other than an acclaimed authority on Dvaita
> Vedanta, Dr.BNK  clearly depicts the Advaitic position with regard to the
> naama-rUpa prapancha.  Of special significance is the Advaitic
> interpretation of the Chandogya mantra: , वाचारम्भणं विकारो नामधेयम्
> मृत्तिकेत्येव सत्यम् which clearly applies to the above characterization of
> the paratantra by the Dvaita school. In advaita too, just as the Dvaitins
> have specified, the created world has no substance of its own other than
> Brahman.  It is nothing but ‘void names and bare possibilities’ without
> Brahman. A pot is but a ‘void name and a bare possibility’ without the
> clay, the material cause. A wave or an ocean are but ‘void names
> and barepossibilities’ without their material water. Thus according to BNK,
> Dvaita considers that the ‘natural’ nature of the world of names and forms
> to be ‘mere voids and bare possibilities’.  However, ONLY when they are
> endowed with Hari’s ‘apekShA’, consideration, they acquire a paratantra
> reality.  And Hari too can exist without them and that is His True nature
> and His ‘apekShA’ of them is only out of His Will, otherwise termed mAyA.
> All that Advaita categorises under ‘vyavahaarika’ is shown under
> ‘paratantra’ in  Dvaita. While Advaita holds Brahman alone as the
> PaaramArthika, Dvaita has ‘ViShNu’ alone to show under Swatantra.  Thus,
> the two-fold categorisation of the Tattva/Satya is not avoidable even for
> Dvaita.

In that case, ViShNu svarUpa (tattva) jnAna is accepted as Mukti ?

> A statement from Sri Raghavendra Tirtha's (a highly respected Acharya of
> the Madhva sampradaya) commentary on the PuruSha sUktam.  The Swami, while
> commenting on the words 'पुरुष एवेदं सर्वम्’ [All this is that PuruSha
> alone] has cited a verse from a smRti:
> "*yadadHInA yasya sattA tat tadityEva bHanyatE*"
> यदधीना यस्य सत्ता तत् तदित्येव भण्यते ।
> [That whose sattA, existence, is dependent on Him (something other than
> itself) is spoken of as 'He Himself'.]
> To explain, the 'idam', the created world, the paratantra, depends on That
> (Him) for its very existence.  That way it (the created world) is spoken of
> as 'The PuruSha, the Creator, Himself'.  Of course the Madhvas carefully
> avoid giving it an advaitic meaning.
> So here there is a confirmation from the Madhva school itself for the fact
> that the paratantra (the dependent reality, the vyAvahArika of Advaita) has
> no existence, sattA, of its own; it exists on the borrowed existence of the
> Swatantra (the independent Reality, the paaramArthika of Advaita).
> As I had stated earlier, such a situation is best explained by the
> rope-snake analogy.  The illusory/superimposed snake has no existence,
> sattA, of itself.  As long as one sees a snake there, its 'existence' is no
> different from the existence of the underlying rope there.  The rope's
> existence itself is transferred, as it were, to the snake and the vyavahara
> goes on: there exists a snake.  While in truth there is the rope alone and
> no snake at all, the sattA being One Only and not two, it is concluded that
> the rope alone appears as the snake.  When the rope-knowledge is had, what
> gets sublated is the 'snake' alone and NOT the 'existence', sattA.  In
> fact, sattA, which is truly Brahman, Sat, Itself, can never go out of
> existence: न अभावो विद्यते सतः. Now he will start saying 'there IS a rope'
> or 'a rope exists'.  But this will be too much for the Dvaitins to admit
> although they mean this alone without saying it in so many words.
> A thing or person may depend on another for survival but not for the
> fundamental existence.

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