[Advaita-l] Unreal cause CANNOT RESULT in real effect, but APPEARANCE can (was Re: Unreal cause results in real effect)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Fri May 20 23:23:55 CDT 2016

The subject line is now corrected! This matter is dealt with in detail in the Brahma Sutra 2.2.26-27:
(Translation by Swami Gambhirananda)
2.2.26: naasato.adRRiShTatvaat.h |
"Something does not come out of nothing, for this does not accord with experience."
itashchaanupapanno vainaashikasamayaH, yataH 

sthiramanuyaayikaaraNamanabhyupagachChataamabhaavaadbhaavotpattirityetadaapadyate |
darshayanti cha abhaavaadbhaavotpattim - 'naanupamRRidya praadurbhaavaat' iti |
vinaShTaaddhi kila biijaada~N kura utpadyate, tathaa vinaShTaatkShiiraaddadhi, mRRitpiNDaachcha ghaTaH |
naabhaavaadbhaava utpadyate |
"Existence does not come out of non-existence. If something can come out of nothing, then it becomes useless
to refer to special kinds of causes, since non-existence as such is indistinguishable everywhere. There is no
distinction, as regards the nature of non-existence, between the non-existence arising from the destruction
of the seed and the rest and the horn of a hare, both being equally substantial (false). Had there been any
distinction, then only would the assertion of such separate causality be meaningful as, 'The sprout comes out
of the seed alone, and the curd out of the milk alone'...Non-existence can never be the source of anything..."
The two statements above, "naasato.adRRiShTatvaat.h" and "naabhaavaadbhaava utpadyate" negate the possibility
of SOMETHING arising out of NOTHING!
Symbolically speaking:
  (asat or abhaava)  --/-->  (sat or bhaava)
The BSB 2.2.27 also reiterates that there can be no real effect arising out of an unreal cause.
Since BSB 2.2.26-27 are specifically dealing with the reality/unreality of causes/effects, they take precedence
over other places where discussions are only "indirectly touching" upon the subject matter.
Now, let us consider BSB 2.1.14:
> Unreal cause results in real effect
> Shankara's words enacted in a live incident:
> In the BSB 2.1.14 while explaining that an unreal cause can result in a
> real effect, Shankara says:
> न हि रज्जुसर्पेण दष्टो म्रियते ; नापि मृगतृष्णिकाम्भसा पानावगाहनादिप्रयोजनं
> क्रियत इति । नैष दोषः, शङ्काविषादिनिमित्तमरणादिकार्योपलब्धेः,
> स्वप्नदर्शनावस्थस्य च सर्पदंशनोदकस्नानादिकार्यदर्शनात् ।
> तत्कार्यमप्यनृतमेवेति चेद्ब्रूयात्, अत्र ब्रूमः — यद्यपि
> स्वप्नदर्शनावस्थस्य सर्पदंशनोदकस्नानादिकार्यमनृतम्, तथापि तदवगतिः सत्यमेव
> फलम्, प्रतिबुद्धस्याप्यबाध्यमानत्वात् ; न हि स्वप्नादुत्थितः स्वप्नदृष्टं
> सर्पदंशनोदकस्नानादिकार्यं मिथ्येति मन्यमानस्तदवगतिमपि मिथ्येति मन्यते
> कश्चित् ।
> We certainly do not observe that a man bitten by a rope-snake (i.e. a snake
> falsely imagined in a rope) dies, nor is the water appearing in a mirage
> used for drinking or bathing 1
> <http://www.bharatadesam.com/spiritual/brahma_sutra/brahma_sutra_sankara_34153.php#fn_286>.--This
> objection, we reply, is without force (because as a matter of fact we do
> see real effects to result from unreal causes), for we observe that death
> sometimes takes place from imaginary venom, (when a man imagines himself to
> have been bitten by a venomous snake,) and effects (of what is perceived in
> a dream) such as the bite of a snake or bathing in a river take place with
> regard to a dreaming person.--But, it will be said, these effects
> themselves are unreal!--These effects themselves, we reply, are unreal
> indeed; but not so the consciousness which the dreaming person has of them.
> This consciousness is a real result; for it is not sublated by the waking
> consciousness.
First of all, Swami Gambhirananda has a very different translation here compared to Thibaut (above).
But without going into that, let us consider the word "Unreal" in the above translation:
it is neither "sat" not "abhaava", but "mithyA"!!
The word "mithyA" is not strictly UNREAL, but closer to the word ILLUSORY.
The usual two-fold logic of REAL-UNREAL is completemented in Advaita Vedanta with the third category of
"mithyA" or illusory. This third category of mithyA does have causal powers, and CAN result in effects!
In more common parlance:
 *** The APPEARANCE of an object CAN produce "REAL" effects! *** 
This is exactly what happened in this particular incident:
> //
> http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/workers-panic-as-lizards-tail-is-found-in-breakfast/article8623198.ece
> Workers panicked after they heard that a colleague had found a lizard’s
> tail in his breakfast plate in a private industry in the Naubad industrial
> area here on Thursday.
> As the news spread, around 30 workers vomited thinking that they too might
> have consumed “poison”.
> “They were all admitted to hospital and discharged in a few hours. They are
> all healthy and fit, and will soon return to work,” factory manager Rajesh
> Rao said.
> A team of Health Department officers visited the unit and gave tips on
> handling such situations, District Health and Family Welfare Officer
> Baburao Hudgikar said.//
The workers above saw an APPEARANCE of "poison", and hence felt a "REAL" disease!

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