[Advaita-l] Vastuparicchinnatvam and Anyonyābhāva

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Feb 17 12:39:40 EST 2018

Vastuparicchinnatvam and Anyonyābhāva

In the following talk on Ghaṭabhāṣyam (07), the Swamiji gives a short
account of the four types of Abhaava and one of them is Anyonyābhāva:


(Listen from 1.07 onward)

He says it is तादात्म्यसम्बन्धावच्छिन्नप्रतियोगिताकाभावः  And goes on to
give the analogy of 'a cow is not a horse and vice versa'. On hearing this
I recalled what Shankara Bhagavatpada has said for Vastuparicchinnatvam in
the Taittiriya bhashya explaining the term 'Anantam', using the same
analogy as the Swamiji has used:

तथा वस्तुतः । कथं पुनर्वस्तुत आनन्त्यम् ? सर्वानन्यत्वात् । भिन्नं हि वस्तु
वस्त्वन्तरस्य अन्तो भवति, वस्त्वन्तरबुद्धिर्हि
प्रसक्ताद्वस्त्वन्तरान्निवर्तते । यतो यस्य बुद्धेर्निवृत्तिः, स तस्यान्तः ।
तद्यथा गोत्वबुद्धिरश्वत्वान्निवर्तत इत्यश्वत्वान्तं गोत्वमित्यन्तवदेव भवति ।
स चान्तो भिन्नेषु वस्तुषु दृष्टः । नैवं ब्रह्मणो भेदः । अतो

[And Brahman is also infinite, object-wise as well. How is this
established? Since Brahman is non-different from everything. An object that
is different limits another object (different from it). A perception of one
object will recede from another object that has become relevant. That
object from whom an already existing object-perception is thwarted, then
the latter is limited by the former.  For example, a cow-perception is
thwarted by a horse-perception and hence the cow-perception is limited by
the horse-perception. Such a limitation is seen in differentiated objects.
No such difference exists for Brahman. Hence Brahman is infinite, anantam,
even on the ground of objects.]

Thus the concept of vastuparicchedatvam, being not different from mutual
non-existence, anyonyaabhaava, is present in the nyaya dharshana.  The
Vedanta uses this, vyatirekamukhena, to establish the anantatvam of Brahman
by denying any difference whatsoever with Brahman as a factor.  Hence alone
in Vedanta there is no absolute difference between two individuals, whether
they be jivas of the category of humans or animals or devata-s and inert
objects too. All pancha bheda-s that are accepted by non-advaitic schools
are denied in Vedanta:

jiva-jiva bheda, jiva-Ishwara bheda, jiva-jaDa bheda, jaDa-jaDa bheda and
jaDa-Ishwara bheda. In order to accommodate vyavahara, a mithya-bheda is
admitted where the abheda is not lost really.  Even among gods, if say,
Vishnu is different from Brahma, then they both limit each other and are
rendered finite and limited by time and also will have to be held to be
born and liable to destruction. That is why they are not seen as different
from each other, one only addressed by different names, as Sureshwaracharya
has taught. Shankara has demonstrated this in the Mundaka Upanishad bhashya
while denying the travel of a jiva to any abode of Brahman for moksha. It
is also pertinent to note that the explanation Shankara gives in the
Taittiriya bhashya cited above is in the vyavaharika level itself, where
two different objects limit each other.  The cow-horse pair is the case he
takes up for demonstrating this.


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