[Advaita-l] Advaita Siddhi series 036 - pratyaksha bAdhoddhAre sattva nirvachanam (part 2)

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue May 29 12:47:31 EDT 2018

The first article in this topic is available here:

The pUrvapakshi continues:
नन्वेवमपि सर्वदेशीयत्रैकालिकनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वमसत्त्वं
तुच्छानिर्वचनीयसाधारणम्, तदभाव: सत्त्वम्, तच्च ब्रह्मणीव जगत्यपीति ब्रूम: |
Being absent in all periods of time and space is common to both the
absolutely absent (asat) and the indescribable (mithyA). The absence of
such a feature can be the definition of existence. We say that both the
world and Brahman have this.

नच संयोगेऽव्याप्ति:, तस्याव्याप्यवृत्तित्वानभ्युपगमात् |
One cannot argue that this definition does not apply to samyoga, contact.
Samyoga always exists in the specific substratum where the object rests. It
is absent in all other substrata. However, the special case of avyApya
vritti allows for samyoga to be both present and absent in the same
substratum (the monkey is present in the top of the tree, but not its
bottom). Thus in the case of samyoga avyApya vritti, not only is samyoga
absent in different substrata, it can be absent in its own substratum too,
leading to samyoga also being included within the definition of
non-existent objects. The pUrvapakshi says such an argument is not
acceptable because avyApya vritti is an impossibility - it is not possible
for an object to be both present and absent in the same locus.

तदभ्युपगमे च व्याप्यवृत्तित्वेनाभावो विशेषणीय: | Even if avyApya vritti was
accepted, one can address this defect by qualifying the absence in the
definition of non-existence as being the counter-positive of an absence
that fully pervades its locus. As samyoga not fully pervading the locus is
the basis for its avyApya vritti, its absence does not fully pervade the
locus either, and therefore the definition of non-existence does not apply
to samyoga. The absence of such a non-existence exists in samyoga, and thus
it is an existent entity.

As space is not located in any particular locus, one could argue that
space's absence is present in every locus, and therefore space ends up as
non-existent. The pUrvapakshi anticipates such an objection and says

नापि वियत्यव्याप्ति:, तदत्यन्ताभावस्य केवलान्वयित्वनङ्गीकारेण लक्षणस्य
विद्यमानत्वादेव | One cannot say that the definition  (of existence) does
not apply to space, because we do not agree that the absence of space is
kevalAnvayi, omnipresent. As a result, the definition applies to space too.

नहि कस्मिन्श्चिद्देशे काले वा तस्याभाव:, नित्यविभुत्वभङ्गप्रसङ्गात् | It
(space) is not absent in any space or at any time, because if it was thus
absent, it would contradict space's permanence and all pervading nature.

आकाशात्यन्ताभावस्य केवलान्वयित्वाभ्युपगमे च वृत्तिमत्प्रतियोगिकत्वेनाभावो
विशेषणीय: If one wishes to devise a definition that is acceptable to even
those that hold that the absence of space is universally present, one can
do so by defining non-existence as being the counter-positive of an
absence, whose counter-positive is located in a particular locus. As space
cannot be said to have any particular location as its locus, it does not
fall under the scope of this definition of non-existence.

Thus the pUrvapakshi carefully constructs a definition of non-existence and
says that the absence of such a non-existence is present in both the world
and Brahman.

- इति चेन्न ; The siddhikAra, in reply, says no.

चक्षुराद्ययोग्यानेकपदार्थघटितत्वेनैतादृशसत्त्वस्य ग्रहणे
चक्षुरादेरसामर्थ्यात् | Such an existence is not capable of being perceived
because it is composed of several elements that are not perceivable by the
eyes etc. That is, even if this is accepted as a definition of existence,
it cannot be perceived. If it cannot be perceived, one cannot say that the
perception of such an existence can overrule the inference of the world's
unreality (pratyaksha bAdha).

नहि सर्वदेशीयत्रैकालिकवृत्तिमत्प्रतियोगिकव्याप्यवृत्तिनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वं
कस्यापि प्रत्यक्षम्, येन तदभाव: प्रत्यक्षो भवेत् | There is no way that
anyone perceives the counter-positiveness of an absence in all three
periods of time, in every point in space, which fully pervades its locus,
and whose counter-positive is capable of being located in a substratum. If
one were able to perceive such an absence, then one can say that the
absence of such an absence could be perceivable.

सर्वदेशीयत्वत्रैकालिकत्वयोरयोग्यत्वात् | Even if one were to discard the
qualifiers of "fully pervading the locus" and "being capable of being
located in some locus", an absence that is present in all three periods of
time, or present everywhere is not something that one can see.

In response to this argument, another definition of existence is proposed
by the opponent:
ननु - स्वदेशकालवृत्तिनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वाभावे गृह्यमाणे कालत्रयमध्ये
वर्तमानकालस्य सर्वेदेशमध्ये प्रकृतदेशस्यापि प्रवेशेन तत्र
निषेधप्रतियोगित्वाभावस्य गृहीतत्वात्तत्संवलितं कालत्रयवृत्ति
सर्वदेशीयनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वरूपं मिथ्यात्वं नानुमानेन गृहीतुं शक्यते - इति
चेन्न; As the absence of negation (ie the presence) in its location at a
particular time is perceived,  and as the present time is included within
the scope of all time, and the particular location is included within the
scope of all space, the absence of absence in that place and time is
proven. Thus inference will not be able to establish an absence of the
object that is absent in all time and space.

In reply to this, the siddhikAra says - No. When you say that the absence
of the absence of an object is perceived in a particular place at a
particular time, what does that mean? Is it the absence of all absences in
that particular space and time, or is it the absence of some absence?

स्वदेशकालवृत्तिसकलनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वस्य चक्षुराद्ययोग्यत्वेन तदभावस्य सुतरां
If the absence of absence refers to the absence of all absences in that
place and time, then that would never be perceivable by the senses.

Only if one is able to know the counter-positive of every absence possible,
can one say that all those counter-positives are absent here and now. There
are many things beyond the senses, so how can one know everything, and thus
be able to see their absence? If one is not able to see all their absences,
how can one see the absence of all their absences?

स्वदेशकालवृत्तियत्किञ्चिन्निषेधप्रतियोगित्वस्य मिथ्यात्वाविरोधात्, On the
other hand, if one were to say that the absence of some absence is seen in
that place and time and that is sufficient to prove an object's existence
there and then, such a perception cannot overrule mithyAtva. For example,
the absence of a pot is absent in the pot shards (kapAla), therefore can we
say that the pot is not different from the cloth (that is, can we say that
paTa anyonyAbhAva is absent in a pot)? We cannot. Similarly, the absence of
some absence does not rule out the absence of an object in that location
for all time.

To remedy this, an alternative way of describing this is proposed - The
absence of an object is seen everywhere except in the locus of the object.
Thus let existence be defined as that which is not colocated with an
absence which has the object as its counter-positive. Such an existence
does not require the absence of every absence to perceive presence. If an
object is seen somewhere, it cannot be absent in that locus. Such an
existence is perceivable.

स्वप्रतियोगिकात्यन्ताभावासामानाधिकरण्यस्य च (Existence defined as) that
which is not colocated in the locus of the absence which has the object as
its counter-positive (also suffers from the following defects).

स्वप्रतियोगिकात्यन्ताभावाप्रसिद्ध्या केवलान्वियिनि, The absence of
omnipresent objects is not at all known, thus rendering this definition
inapplicable for such objects. Omnipresent objects are present everywhere,
so their absence in a particular place is not known, so one cannot talk of
their existence not being colocated with their absence.

संबन्धभेदेन घटादौ चासिद्धे: Such an existence also does not apply to
objects such as pots, because it is possible to say that a pot is present
in a locus with one relationship (samyoga),  but is absent in the same
locus with some other relationship (samavAya). Thus, an object can be
co-located with its own absence with some other relationship, and as a
result such a definition of existence would not apply to everyday objects
such as pots, etc. in that scenario.

स्वात्यन्ताभावयावदधिकरणावृत्तित्वं वा,
स्वात्यन्ताभावयत्किञ्चिदधिकरणावृत्तित्वं वेति विकल्पेन पूर्वोक्तदोषाच्च |
On the other hand, if existence means the absence of co-locatedness in any
locus of absence, or if it means the absence of co-locatedness in some
locus of absence, then the previous defects cited would apply. The former
existence would not be perceivable (there are several loci that are beyond
the senses, so how can see the object's absence in such loci?), the latter
existence would not overrule mithyAtva (the pot being absent in the thread
does not prove the pot is not mithyA).

तस्मात्तत्प्रकारान्तरस्य निरूपयितुमशक्यत्वान्मिथ्यात्वाविरोधित्वाच्च
स्वसामानाधिकरणयावदत्यन्ताभावप्रतियोगित्वाभावरूपमेव सत्त्वमुपेयम् | तच्च न
चक्षुरादियोग्यमित्युक्तम् | As a consequence, as in all these instances,
either it is impossible to prove existence, or where existence is proven,
such an existence is not contradictory to mithyAtva, one has to conclude
that existence is of the nature of the absence of every kind of absence
counter-positiveness in its locus.  However, such an existence is not

In order to make the absence of every absence counter-positiveness
perceivable, the opponent makes use of the naiyyAyika concept of sAmAnya
lakshaNA pratyAsatti. According to nyAya shAstra, whenever an object is
perceived, its jAti, or genus is also perceived. At that instant, every
single individual of that species is automatically perceived as it were -
this process is caused sAmAnya lakshaNA pratyAsatti (the analogy of common

When one sees a cow, one does not see only that individual, in that
instant, every cow that ever existed, exists now, will exist in the future,
is directly perceived. This (bizarre) theory is used to argue that by
seeing the absence of anything in a particular place and time, every single
absence in that location and time is directly seen. Similarly the absence
of every counter-positive to those absences is seen, and extending this
further, the absence of all the counter-positives of absences in that
location and time is seen.

The nyAyAmritakAra says:
ननु - यस्मिन्कस्मिन्श्चित् स्वदेशकालवृत्तिनिषेधे
एतद्देशैतत्कालवृत्तिनिषेधत्वं ज्ञात्वा तेन प्रत्यासत्तिभूतेनोपस्थापितानां
स्वदेशकालवृत्तिसकलनिषेधानां प्रतियोगित्वस्याभावो घटे ग्राह्य: तत:
सार्वदिक्कसर्वदेशीयनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वस्य ग्रहणं घटे दुर्घटमिति चेन्न | By
observing that a thing is absent in in a particular place and time, one is
aware of the absence of the thing in that place and time (ie one becomes
aware of the species of absence) and by analogy, one sees every negation
possible in that particular place and time. By extending this, one can know
the absence of all negations in that particular place and time where a pot
is seen. Therefore, such a perception of existence of an object is
sufficient to argue that the inference of that object's mithyAtva stands

The siddhikAra replies - if this is your argument, no.

एवं सामान्यलक्षणया सर्वनिषेधेषूपस्थितेष्वपि  तत्प्रतियोगित्वाभावस्य
चक्षुरादिना ग्रहीतुमशक्यत्वात् योग्यप्रतियोगिक एव हि संसर्गाभावो योग्य: |
Even if by the analogy of common attributes, all the negations possible are
directly brought forward for perception, it is not possible for their
counter-positives and their absences to be perceptible by the eyes, etc -
because, only the absence of that object which is itself capable of being
perceived, can be perceived.

नचाशेषनिषेधानां प्रतियोगित्वमतीन्द्रियसाधारणं चक्षुरादियोग्यम् | The entire
universe of absences and their counter-positives, include those which are
beyond sensory perception, and thus they cannot be seen by the eyes.

वस्तुतस्तु - सामान्यं नेन्द्रियप्रत्यासत्ति: मानाभावात् | However,
fundamentally, there is no basis to claim that it is possible to see the
entire universe of individuals, by seeing the class that the individual is
part of.

The naiyyAyika bristles at this statement by the siddhikAra and offers six
arguments in support of sAmAnya lakshaNA pratyAsatti. These arguments and
their subsequent refutation by the siddhikAra will be next taken up.

To be continued.

Originally posted on 29th May 2018.


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