[Advaita-l] [advaitin] 'Dvaita accepts body-adhyasa'

Vinodh vinodh.iitm at gmail.com
Sat Oct 16 23:06:18 EDT 2021

Thank you, Sri Raghav ji and Sri Subbu ji for your kind explanations.

Please allow me to summarize my understanding of the discussion so far and
kindly let me know if you have further thoughts.

Consider two entities, A (Atma) and B (body-mind-senses + jagat). The
question at hand is "what is real?"

The two main positions that are being discussed are:
- (Advaita) A alone is real and B is due to avidya / maya / illusion. Due
to adhyaasa of A-B, it appears as though B is real and A is the knower,
actor, experiencer, etc.
- (Dvaita) Both A and B are real. Due to adhyaasa of A-B, it appears as
though the actions and consequences of B are having an effect on A, when
truly A is never touched by what happens in B.

Note that both the positions have the following common aspects:
1. Adhyaasa of A-B: the qualities of B (like the knower, means of
knowledge, and the known) are erroneously superimposed on A
2. All pramana (means of knowledge) are in B only. A does not have any
means for knowledge in B and necessarily requires the A-B adhyaasa to
become a knower and know things in B.
Both the above common aspects have been stated in several ways in this
thread. The natural question is, of course, where do the positions differ.

My understanding of the explanations given in support for the Advaita
position is
a. the two aspects 1. and 2. (which are common for both Advaita and Dvaita)
b. *asserting* that all pramana (i.e., all means of knowledge and the
instruments needed for it such as mind, senses, body, etc.) are **unreal**
The reason why Dvaita, even while accepting the common aspects 1. and 2.,
does not concur with the Advaita position is because they apparently assert
the opposite of b., that is, all pramana are real.

Equivalently, the arguments in support of the Dvaita position are:
a. the two aspects 1. and 2. (which are common for both Advaita and Dvaita)
b. *asserting* that all pramana (i.e., all means of knowledge and the
instruments needed for it such as mind, senses, body, etc.) are **real**
In a way, when one thinks about it, these assertions are just restatements
of the Advaita and Dvaita positions themselves (because B is a set
containing the pramana and their instruments such as mind-body-senses

My question thus far has been about an explanation for assertion b in
support of Advaita. Below are my observations of the discussions in this
thread regarding this question:
- Sri Subbu ji has emphasized the necessity of using pramana (including the
mind-body-senses etc.) to know any knowable object. This is of course true
and is also discussed in the Adhyasa Bhashya. It also concurs with the
common aspect 2.
- He has also referred to the Vedanta, e.g., by references to Kshetra and
Kshetrajna in the Gita, for establishing the separation between A and B,
where A is the Atma and B is the set of everything else including pramana.
This is also a meaningful separation to keep in mind. However, the
separation alone does not necessarily say anything about the reality of A
and B.
- He has also referred to the Adhyasa Bhashya, in which Shankara makes the
assertion that body-mind has avidya for its material cause, which is
essentially the same as assertion b.. He do not discuss this assertion
further within the Adhyasa Bhashya with additional supporting arguments
because it appears that Adhyasa is the main focus of the discussion there.
My apologies if I have missed this an explanation of this assertion. I
would sincerely appreciate if someone would be kind enough to point this
out in the Adhyasa Bhashya.
- Sri Subbu ji has also made a similar assertion that all instruments
required for pramana (mind-senses etc.) are unreal without discussing this
assertion further with supporting arguments, at least as far as I can see
from what is written in this thread. My sincere apologies once again if I
have indeed missed anything. 🙏

Having summarized my understanding of the discussion thus far and having
reflected on it, it appears to me that assertion b. of Advaita (that all
pramana are unreal) can be established in two possible ways:
(1) using shabda pramana, e.g., sruti vaakya like 'ekam eva advitiyam' (one
without a second), which implies that there is nothing other than A and
therefore that B is unreal, or
(2) without using shabda pramana , e.g., by using pure reasoning as
Gaudapadacharya does in the Vaitathya Prakarana of his Mandukyopanishad
The first requires a person to accept scriptural authority, whereas the
second does not.

In contrast, I doubt if there exists anything that is in support of
assertion b. of Dvaita (that all pramana are real).

Om tat sat 🙏

On Sat, Oct 16, 2021 at 10:51 PM V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> On Sat, Oct 16, 2021 at 9:26 PM Raghav Kumar Dwivedula via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> > Namaste Vinodhji
> > Thank you for your question. I understand Subbuji was highlighting how
> even
> > dvaitin expositions don't deny adhyAsa of the body-mind and yet, (as
> > Advaita points out), they don't see the consequences of
> > I noticed that Subbuji indicated a brief answer along the idea of
> pramANas.
> >
> > In other words, if pramAtRtvaM is accepted as adhyasta and hence not
> > absolutely real, then all objects (prameyas) including body and mind are
> > unreal. Samkhyas don't see the implication of adhyAsa for the means of
> > knowledge by which alone anything can be said to exist. If puruSha is
> > discriminated from its false identification with prakRti, then
> subsequently
> > there is no way ( by pramANas like pratyaxa and anumAna) to assert
> prakRti
> > exists.
> Yes, Raghav ji, that is the point. There are these two statements that all
> accept: मानाधीना मेयसिद्धिः   लक्षणप्रमाणाभ्यां वस्तुसिद्धिः  -  The
> validation of a knowable object, prameya, vastu, is dependent upon 1. the
> means to know it, pramana and 2.the nature of the object, the information
> of which, together with the operation of the pramana.
> The Vedanta keeps before the aspirant the scenario where there is no
> body-identification. That is, the Atma is taught as that which has had no
> body identification; the virgin Atman, so to say.  From this Atman's
> standpoint, there are no pramanas, means to know anything, since all
> pramanas are, by default, situated in the body alone and nowhere else. So,
> from the Vedantic Atman's point of view, there is no world that can be
> validated since there are no pramanas at all.
> Also, a pramaa, a valid knowledge, arises out of a pramana. A bhrama,
> error, arises when the pramana, the right means of knowledge, is not used
> to know the object.  Hence alone a snake seen in the locus of a rope, is
> not a pramaa but a bhrama. From this it follows that the world is a
> bhrama since no pramana has had a place.  It is interesting the BG 13th ch.
> 6th verse says: the ten plus one organs, pramanas, the five sense and five
> motor organs plus the manas, antahkaranam, and the entire knowable world of
> sound, smell, tough, form and taste, all belong to kshetram, the world.
> So, the knowable world and the means to know it are all constituents of the
> world, kshetram.  The kshetrajna, the Consciousness principle, is outside
> this means and end duality.   Thus by the logic provided by the Vedanta,
> the world, including the body-mind-organs complex, is unreal since these
> are not established by any pramana.
> Hence alone the Advaitins invoked the apaccheda nyaya of the purva mimamsa
> in Vedanta: a person from birth believes in duality, the world, etc. When
> he is exposed to the Vedanta he comes to know that the world is not and he
> is actually the Atman.  The maxim here is: pUrvam pareNa baadhyate - the
> latter knowledge annuls the earlier knowledge.  The earlier knowledge is
> ignorance really, like the rope-snake, and the latter knowledge is the
> yathArtha jnanam.
> regards
> subbu
> >
> >
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