[Advaita-l] Advaita Siddhi series 012 - dvitIya mithyAtva vichAra: (part 4)

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Sun Oct 15 09:43:37 EDT 2017

The last three posts of this chapter are available here:


In the previous post on the topic, we had taken a look at an objection
raised by the nyAyAmritakAra to the second definition of mithyAtvam -
pratipanna upAdhau traikAlika niShedha pratiyogitvam. The absence of an
object in all three periods of time in the locus of its appearance is

*The negation of the world is absolute*
The nyAyAmritakAra had asked - is the negation of the world, an absolute
absence? Or is the negation an absence of absoluteness? If the former, this
contradicts shruti which says that the world was created. A non-existent
thing cannot be created.

If the latter, negation is the absence of absoluteness (pAramArthikatvam) -
 you had defined pAramArthika sat as that which is abAdhyam (ie not
mithyA), and now you have defined mithyA as that which is not
pAramArthikam. Thus the absence of sat is mithyA and the absence of mithyA
is sat. There is anyonya Ashraya, or mutual dependency between the
definitions of sat and mithyA, leading to neither one being proven.
Secondly, if mithyA is the absence of pAramArthikam, a mithyA object does
not have pAramArthikatvam. Is the absence of pAramArthikatvam in that
object an absolute absence or an absence of absoluteness? If the first,
then all the defects of an absolute absence are reiterated and if the
latter, is the absence of absoluteness an absolute absence or an absence of
absoluteness. This leads to infinite regress.

We now look at the siddhikAra's response to these arguments. He says:
इति चेन्मैवं if this is the argument, not so.
स्वरूपेणैव त्रैकालिकनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वस्य प्रपञ्चे शुक्तिरूप्ये चाङ्गीकारात्
we hold that the negation of the pratiyogi in all three periods of time is
an absolute negation - that is, neither the world and nor the shell-silver
are existent in any of the three periods of time. How?
तथाहि - शुक्तौ रजतभ्रमानान्तरं अधिष्ठानतत्वसाक्षात्कारे रूप्यं नास्ति
नासीन्नभविष्यतीति स्वरूपेणैव, 'नेह नाने'ति श्रुत्या च प्रपञ्चस्य स्वरूपेणैव
निषेधप्रतीते: - after the illusion of silver seen in a shell is removed by
the direct knowledge of the shell, the substratum, the negation of silver
is absolute - it does not exist now, did not at any time in the past, nor
will not at any time in the future. In a similar fashion, the shruti which
says "there is no multiplicity here" negates the existence of the world

Now a subsidiary enquiry is taken up. The siddhikAra says:
नच - तत्र लौकिकपरमार्थरजतमेव स्वरूपेण निषेधप्रतियोगीति - वाच्यं  Do not
argue thus - the silver that is being negated absolutely (in the shell) is
a silver that has worldly reality (vyAvahArika).
भ्रमबाधयोर्वैयधिकरण्यापत्ते: अप्रसक्तप्रतिषेधापत्तेश्च because if that was
the case, the silver that is negated would be vyAvahArika, and the silver
that is seen, prAtibhAsika. The illlusion and its negation would be
referring to different entities. If I see a pot and negate a cloth, then
the negation cannot sublate the pot. Similarly if the illusion and
sublating knowledge do not have the same object, sublation will not happen.
Secondly, only that which appears can be denied. One cannot deny that which
has no relevance. Therefore, if what appears is prAtibhAsika silver, one
cannot deny some other silver  - that is case of denial something that was
never even suggested / did not appear.

नच तर्ह्युत्पत्त्याद्यसंभव: However, the absolute denial of the world does
not mean that its creation is an impossibility. The nyAyAmritakAra had said
that if the world was absolutely denied - ie it does not exist even when it
is seen, then how can its creation, etc be talked about? No one theorises
about the creation of a hare's horn. To this, the siddhikAra says:

नह्यनिषिद्धस्वरूपत्वमुत्पत्त्यादिमत्त्वे तन्त्रं,
परैरनिषेध्यरूपत्वेनाङ्गीकृतस्य वियदादेरुत्पत्त्याद्यनङ्गीकारात् it is not
necessary that the non absence of objects is a requirement for their
creation. For example, some (ie naiyyAyikas) say space does not have
absolute absence. They however hold that space is eternal and thus not
Thus the absolute absence (or not)  and creation (or not) are two
independent factors.

किन्तु वस्तुस्वभावादिकमन्यदेव किञ्चित् प्रयोजकं वक्तव्यं | therefore it
must be said that the creation of an object is dependent on some factor
intrinsic to the object. Now, the pUrvapakshi may argue that if the object
itself is not there, how can one say it has an intrinsic factor that
determines whether it is created or not? To this, the siddhikAra says:

तस्य मयापि कल्पितस्य स्वीकारात् | If the object itself is non-existent, it
cannot have an existent attribute either, however it can have an attribute
that is imagined. To explain,  I am not denying that a pot has pot-ness. I
am denying that the pot has existence. Similarly, I am not denying that the
shell-silver seen has silver-ness, I am denying that the shell silver

*Holding the negation as absolute does not contradict vivaraNa*
The nyAyAmritakAra quotes a sentence from the vivaraNa which seems to
indicate that the vivaraNakAra's opinion is that the negation of the
shell-silver is not an absolute negation, but the negation of
absolute-ness. That is, the pUrvapakshi claims that the vivaraNakAra
himself is saying that the view of advaita is not that shell-silver is
absolutely absent, but that what is seen is not the real silver seen in a
shop. The implication is far-reaching. This means that the world too does
not have absolute non-existence, it only lacks ultimate existence. That
being the case, the niShedha in traikAlika niShedha is not absolute, but
only a denial of absoluteness.

The siddhikAra says:
नच - त्रैकालिकनिषेधं प्रति स्वरूपेणापणस्थं रूप्यं पारमार्थिकत्वाकारेण
प्रातिभासिकम् वा प्रतियोगीति मतहानि: स्यादिति - वाच्यं;
Do not argue thus - Holding the prAtibhAsika shell-silver as the
counter-positive of the negation contradicts the words of the
vivaraNAchArya - "the counter-positive of the negation of the shell
silver in any of the three periods of time is the real silver that appears
in the shop. The prAtibhAsika silver becomes the pratiyogi as the
vyAvahArika silver." Thus what was said by you, the siddhikAra, is wrong.

The siddhikAra says  - the vivaraNAchArya is a teacher in the advaita
tradition. Therefore, the correct interpretation of his words should be
based on what an advaitin says - you cannot superimpose any meaning that
takes your fancy on his words.

अस्याचार्यवचस: पारमार्थिकलौकिकरजततादात्म्येन प्रतीतम् प्रातिभासिकमेव रजतं
प्रतियोगीत्यर्थ: |  These words of the AchArya mean that the pratiyogi of
the negation of silver in the sublating knowledge is the prAtibhAsika
silver, which *appears to have a similarity* (tAdAtmyam) to the vyAvahArika
silver - and not that the pratiyogi is the vyAvahArika silver itself.

आपणस्थं रूप्यम् प्रातिभासिकम् स्वरूपेण पारमार्थिकत्वाकारेण वा
त्रैकालिकनिषेधं प्रति प्रतियोगि - the prAtibhAsika shell-silver that
appears to us as real as the one in the shop is the counter-positive of the
absolute negation in all three times. As a concession (tuShyatu durjana
nyAya), we can say that the negation is of the absolute silver.

तच्च स्वरूपेण पारमार्थिकत्वेन वेत्यनास्थायां वा शब्द: |  the usage of "vA"
after the word "pAramArthikatvena" indicates that he does not have a desire
towards the absolute-ness of the silver. Here the vA is not used as an
alternative, it is used as a concession.

The vivaraNakAra could have said this directly, why did he make a reference
to the ApaNastha rajata (the silver seen in the shop)? This will be
discussed in the next post.


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