[Advaita-l] The world has no existence from the Atman standpoint

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Jun 16 03:02:08 EDT 2020

‘मानाधीना मेयसिद्धिः’

This popular statement means: A knowable object can be said to exist only
when the appropriate pramana, means to know it, is present and applied
appropriately. If there is no such means to know the object, the object
can’t be said to exist.

In the Bhagavad Gita 13th Chapter, Bhagavan has stated what we are not by
enumerating what constitutes ‘kshetram’, the non-Atman:

 महाभूतान्यहङ्कारो बुद्धिरव्यक्तमेव च ।

इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः ॥ ५ ॥

इच्छा द्वेषः सुखं दुःखं सङ्घातश्चेतना धृतिः ।

एतत्क्षेत्रं समासेन सविकारमुदाहृतम् ॥ ६ ॥

The entire range of the Pancha bhutas, the subtle body consisting the
manas, buddhi, etc. (along with their transformations such as desire) and
five sense organs, the five motor organs and the outside world of sense
objects consisting of sound, etc. that are perceptible by the senses – is
what Kshetram is made up of. From this it is clear that the Atman is not in
the Kshetram, known/knowable, category but knower/illuminer category.

Bhagavan has stated in the same chapter the cause for the taking the
kshetram as oneself:

पुरुषः प्रकृतिस्थो हि भुङ्क्ते प्रकृतिजान्गुणान् ।

कारणं गुणसङ्गोऽस्य सदसद्योनिजन्मसु ॥ २१ ॥

Atman, assuming the attributes/properties of the Prakriti to be his own,
experiences the effects of the Prakriti.  Owing to this mistake he ends up
taking up bodies, high and low, and remains in samsara. The need for
knowing the truth and the effect of such knowledge is stated thus:

य एवं वेत्ति पुरुषं प्रकृतिं च गुणैः सह ।

सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि न स भूयोऽभिजायते ॥ २३ ॥

When the jiva discriminates between the Kshetra and Kshetrajna and
correctly identifies himself with the latter, he no longer remains in
samsara and is never born again.

From the above we understand that the Atman has no mind-body-organs
apparatus at all. The question arises: When the knowing apparatus, pramana,
(5+5+1=11) is not there, how can the knowable world be said to exist? From
the statement ‘मानाधीना मेयसिद्धिः’ we arrive at a situation where ‘when
pramana exists, the prameya exists and when pramana is not there, the
prameya too is not there.’ Thus, from the standpoint of the Atman devoid of
the pramana-apparatus, the world does not exist.



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