[Advaita-l] Visheshana and Lakshana

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 17 00:28:04 EST 2017

Shri Subrahmanianji,
My question is:  The overall purport or principle underlying the 'vastu
parcchedatva' is 'bheda' which is admitted by all as 'anyonyābhāva'.  Is
there any reference in the nyāya or mīmāmsā or vyākaraṇa śāstra for the
concept of vastu paricchedatva?

The naiyAyikas would like a definition to distinguish the object being
defined from all other objects or in other words to exclude all other
objects from the object being defined, using the term vyavacchedaka dharma
as put forth by vAtsyAyana. However, this is precisely the point where
Shankara differs from the naiyAyikas in the context of giving a definition
for Brahman, in the taittirIya Upanishad bhAShya, as you quoted. Brahman
cannot be distinguished from other objects, because It is inclusive of all
objects. Any distinction from other objects would be make it limited and
not all-inclusive. Hence, the nyAyakosha mentions the view of the vedAntins
separately - vedAntinastu yo dharmo lakShye vyAptyA vartate na vartate
chAnyatra sa dharmaH. The point here is that Brahman is all objects and
more, which is to say Brahman has qualities not present in other objects.
Note this is not the same as saying other objects are excluded from
Brahman. Shankara's bhAShya on Gita verses 9.4-6 is worth reading in this


On Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 9:54 PM, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:

> The nyAyakosha lists several definitions for lakShaNa. uddiShTasya-atattva-vyavacchedako
> dharmaH, that property which excludes anything other than the thing being
> defined, as stated by vAtsyAyana. He gives an example -
> indriyArthasaMnikarShotpannaM jnAnaM pratyakSham, the knowledge resulting
> from contact of sense organ and the sense object is perception. A
> definition must be free from what logicians call dUShaNatraya, the three
> defects - ativyApti, avyApti, and asaMbhava. ativyApti (too wide) is
> explained as lakShyavRttitve sati alakShyavRttitvam, being present not only
> in the lakShya (thing that is being defined) but also in a thing not being
> defined. Example- defining "cow" as "having horns" (shRngitvam) makes it
> too wide, since other animals such as deer, buffalos, etc. too have horns.
> avyApti (too narrow) is explained as lakShya-ekadeshavRttitvam, being
> partially present in the thing being defined. Example- defining "cow" as
> "being of black color" makes it too narrow, since there are cows that are
> not black but brown, white, etc. asaMbhava is explained as
> lakShya-avRttitvam, not being present in the thing being defined. Example-
> defining "cow" as "having one (unsplit) hoof" makes it plain wrong and
> impossible, since cows have split (cloven) hooves.
> As the nyAyakosha mentions, vedAntinastu yo dharmo lakShye vyAptyA vartate
> na vartate chAnyatra sa dharmaH, that property which pervades the thing
> being defined and does not exist elsewhere. Pervasion is in the sense of
> pervasion of smoke by fire, as in "where there is smoke there is fire."
> Where the thing being defined is found there the lakShaNa is also found.
> yathA gotvaM sAsnAdimatvam, "cowness" is defined as "having a dewlap".
> Although, in modern zoology a dewlap is admitted in  many vertebrates, such
> as dogs and rabbits, the "sAsnA" (dewlap) was admitted only for cows in the
> ancient Indian context.
> Anand

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