[Advaita-l] Advaita Siddhi series 011 - dvitIya mithyAtva vichAra: (part 3)

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Mon Oct 9 11:47:34 EDT 2017

The last two posts of this chapter are available here:

In the previous post, we had outlined the siddhikAra's response to two
objections made by the nyAyAmritakAra, namely:
1) if the absence of the world implied in the second definition of
mithyAtva was vyAvahArika, it would lead to the reality of the world.
2) the sublation of the absence would be a case of negating the negation of
the world's reality, thus proving the world's reality - very much like in
mathematics where the negative of a negative is positive.

The siddhikAra says:
तत्र हि निषेधस्य निषेधे प्रतियोगिसत्त्वामायाति, यत्र निषेधस्य निषेधबुद्ध्या
प्रतियोगिसत्त्वं व्यवस्थाप्यते, निषेधमात्रं निषिध्यते -
where only the negation is negated, there the negation of the negation will
lead to the establishment of the counter-positive. In any negation, there
are two aspects - the object which is absent, and the absence itself. The
absence of absence will lead to presence of the object where the absence is
only of the absence. However, sometimes, both the absence and the object
are simultaneously absent. In such instances, the absence of absence does
not imply the presence of the object.

यथा रजते नेदं रजतमिति ज्ञानानन्तरमिदं नारजतमिति ज्ञानेन रजतं व्यवस्थाप्यते
For example, a person looks at real silver and mistakenly thinks "this is
not silver". After some time, if the right knowledge later arises  "I  was
wrong before, this is silver indeed", such a knowledge will establish the
reality of silver.

What is being subsequently negated is only the negation, not the pratiyogi,
the silver.

यत्र तु प्रतियोगिनिषेधयोरुभयमपि निषेधस्तत्र न प्रतियोगिसत्त्वं  However,
where both the pratiyogi and the negation are negated, the negation of
negation does not re-establish the reality of the pratiyogi.

यथा ध्वंस समये प्रागभाव प्रतियोगिनोरुभयोर्निषेधे For example, in the case
of the destruction of an object, both the atyantAbhAva and its pratiyogi
are simultaneously negated.

In the previous article, we had looked at a special case in nyAya, where
both atyantAbhAva and its pratiyogi are present at the location of the
dissolution of the object. When a pot breaks, dhvamsAbhAva is said to be
present in the broken pot-shards. Where dhvamsAbhAva is present, the pot
itself cannot be present. Similarly, according to one school of nyAya,
where dhvamsAbhAva is present,  atyantAbhAva is also not present. Thus when
a pot breaks, we can say that both atyantAbhAva and pratiyogi are
simultaneously absent in the pot-shards. Such a negation of atyantAbhAva
does not establish its pratiyogi, the ghaTa.

Interestingly, the text of the siddhi only says prAgabhAva and its
pratiyogi are simultaneously negated. Why do we interpret this as
atyantAbhAva instead? According to the pUrvapakshi, it is the negation of
atyantAbhAva that establishes the reality of the pratiyogi. Therefore, if
all we are saying is that both prAgabhAva and pratiyogi are being negated
at the time of destruction, that is not sufficient to disprove the pUrva
pakshi's argument.

Therefore, brahmAnanda, in his commentary to the advaita siddhi, says that
prAgabhAva must be interpreted as prAk jnAtayo: abhAva: - that is, prior to
knowing whether the pot and its atyantAbhAva are present (prAk jnAtayo:),
 abhAva (atyantAbhAva) and its pratiyogi are together negated.

A second way of interpreting prAgabhAva is as prAk ajnAtayo: abhAva:. that
is, prior to not knowing whether the pot and its atyantAbhAva are present
(prAk ajnAtayo:), abhAva (atyantAbhAva) and its pratiyogi are together

In both cases, the negation of both the pratiyogi and its atyantAbhAva
occurs simultaneously.

The siddhikAra continues:
एवंच प्रकृतेऽपि निषेधबाधकेन प्रतियोगिन: प्रपञ्चस्य निषेधस्य च बाधनात् न
निषेधस्य बाध्यत्वेऽपि प्रपञ्चस्य तात्त्विकत्वम् । Therefore, in our context
(the negation of the world), as the world, which is the pratiyogi of the
negation (in the mithyAtva definition, traikAlika niShedha pratiyogi), is
also negated in the subsequent negation (by shruti sentences such as neha
nAnAsti kinchana), the sublatability of the negation does not result in the
reality of the world.

उभयोरपि निषेध्यतावच्छेदकस्य दृश्यत्वादेस्तुल्यत्वात् because the hetu of
drishyatvam (knowability) in the mithyAtva anumAna is the basis for the
negation of both the world and its absence. The world is knowable by
pratyaksha. Its absence is knowable by shruti. Thus both the world and its
absence are knowable, drishyam, and therefore both their negation is on the
basis of a common hetu.

We will discuss this further in the chapter on mithyAtva mithyAtvam and
drishyatva hetu upapattih.

*Is veda atattvAvedakatvam?*
The nyAyAmritakAra had argued that if the absence of the world was
vyAvahArika, then it would be sublatable. If it was sublatable, then a
shruti that teaches the absence of the world would be teaching something
which ultimately has to be sublated - thus the prAmANya, or the veracity of
the veda would be called into question. The siddhikAra responds to this

नचातात्त्विकनिषेधबोधकत्वे श्रुतेरप्रामाण्यापत्ति: the shruti does not lose
its prAmANya in teaching about the sublatable absence of a world.
ब्रह्मभिन्नं प्रपन्चनिषेधादिकं अतात्त्विकमित्यतात्त्विकत्वेन बोधयन्त्या:
श्रुतेरप्रामाण्यासंभवात्  in teaching that the world, which is different
from brahman, is sublatable (ie it is absent even when it appears), the
veda is teaching that a mithyA object is not ultimately real. There is no
loss of prAmANya as a result. If shruti had taught an unreal thing as real,
or a real thing as unreal, it would lose its prAmANya. However shruti is
teaching an unreal thing is unreal. Where is the loss of prAmANya here?

*Is the world absolutely absent, or does it lack pAramArthika sat?*The
nyAyAmritakAra now considers whether we are denying the absolute reality of
the world, or whether we are denying the world absolutely.

In the former, all we are saying is that world does not have ultimate
reality (ie, it has some provisional existence instead), whereas in the
latter, we are saying the world has no existence whatsoever. He asks:

What is the nature of the negation? ननु - एतन्निषेधप्रतियोगित्वं किं
स्वरूपेण, उतासद्विलक्षणस्वरूपानुपमर्देन पारमार्थिकत्वाकारेण वा | Is the
negation, absolute, or is the negation (only) the denial of an absolute
character, by means of its difference from asat and sat?

नाद्य:,श्रुत्यादिसिद्धोत्पत्तिकस्य अर्थक्रियासमर्थस्य अविद्योपादानकस्य
तत्त्वज्ञाननाश्यस्य च वियदादे: रुप्यादेश्च असद्विलक्षणस्वरूपेण
त्रैकालिकनिषेधप्रतियोगात् |
It cannot be the first, the absolute denial of existence in the world.
Because श्रुत्यादिसिद्धोत्पत्तिकस्य - shruti and anumAna say that the world
has been born from Brahman. How can you say it does not exist at all?
अर्थक्रियासमर्थस्य the world has utility and it is the ground for
vyavahAra, activity. It is not like the absolutely non-existent rope-snake,
which is incapable of biting the seer - the results of activity in the
world are real.
अविद्योपादानकस्य the advaitins themselves admit that ignorance is the
varying material cause of the universe. If the world did not exist at all,
why postulate a material cause?
तत्त्वज्ञाननाश्यस्य the advaitins also say that the world is sublated by
jnAna - a thing which absolutely does not exist cannot be destroyed by
knowledge either.
वियदादे: रुप्यादेश्च धीकालविद्यमानेन असद्विलक्षणस्वरूपेण
त्रैकालिकनिषेधप्रतियोगात् the four yuktis provided here are simultaneously
present in both the world (space, etc) and shell-silver, both of which
exist at the time of perception and are admitted by the advaitins as
different from asat. How can the negation be an absolute negation in all
three periods of time?

The nyAyAmritakAra is offering four reasons why the world cannot be said to
be absolutely absent -
1) It is admitted by shruti as being created.
2) It has utility and the rules of cause-effect are observed here.
3) It is admitted by the advaitins as having avidyA as its material cause.
4) It is admitted by the advatins as being destroyed by knowledge.

नापि द्वितीय:, अबाध्यत्वरूपपारमार्थिकत्वस्य बाध्यत्वरूपमिथ्यात्वनिरूपयत्वेन
अन्योन्याश्रयात्, पारमार्थिकत्वस्यापि स्वरूपेण निषेधे
प्रथमपक्षोक्तदोषापत्ति:, अतस्तस्यापि पारमार्थिकत्वाकारेण निषेधे अनवस्था
You cannot say that the world does not have ultimate reality (absence of
pAramArthikatvam) - it has some other reality instead - either. Why not?

अबाध्यत्वरूपपारमार्थिकत्वस्य बाध्यत्वरूपमिथ्यात्वनिरूपयत्वेन
अन्योन्याश्रयात्, the absence of sublatability is pAramArthikatvam.
According to you, mithyA is that which is sublatable, ie it is the absence
of pAramArthikatvam. Thus, the absence of pAramArthikam is mithyA and the
absence of mithyA is pAramArthikam. There is mutual dependency in the two

पारमार्थिकत्वस्यापि स्वरूपेण निषेधे प्रथमपक्षोक्तदोषापत्ति: if you say that
world is not present as pAramArthikam, it means the world does not have
pAramArthikatvam. This again begs the question, is the absence of
pAramArthikatvam its absolute absence (svarUpa niShedha), or is it the
absence of an absolute pAramArthikatvam? If the former, then this is just
like the svarUpa niShedha that we covered perviously.

अतस्तस्यापि पारमार्थिकत्वाकारेण निषेधे अनवस्था स्यात् If the latter, it
leads to infinite regress. If the nature of the absence of absoluteness is
the absence of absoluteness, then that will just lead to infinite recursion.

Thus, says the nyAyAmritakAra, whichever you answer you provide, you are

(To be continued)


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