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

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Sun Oct 17 15:59:53 EDT 2021

There are a few things that are going on here that must be separated here
for clearer understanding.

1) Firstly, all pramANa prameya vyavahAra has been spoken of as
presupposing adhyAsa between the body mind complex and the self in the
adhyAsa bhAShya.

2) Shankaracharya holds that for the self to be a knower (pramAtA), there
has to be a body and mind superimposed on the self. Thus pramAtRtvam
(knowerhood) presupposes adhyAsa (superimposition).

3) However, mistaking the body to be the self and vice versa is in itself
insufficient to prove the mithyAtva of all pramANa prameya vyavahAra. A
mixup between two objects can happen even where both objects are real. This
is what the naiyyAyikas say - a real silver present elsewhere is seen here
in the shell.

4) Similarly, while dvaita (specifically tattvavAda of AnandatIrtha muni)
accepts that taking the body to be the Atma is erroneous, it does not
accept that all of the pramANa prameya vyavahAra is consequently within the
sphere of ignorance. This is because in their view, while taking the body
to be the self is erroneous, the existence of the body-mind-complex is not
on account of ignorance. The body and mind are very much real, in their

5) Therefore, in order to establish the mithyAtva of the body-mind-complex
and pramANa-s when faced with a dvaitin, we have to resort to other means
of knowledge such as shruti (neha nAnAsti kinchana), anumAna (vimatam
mithyA dRshyatvAt) etc. When the world is proven to be mithyA, the
pramANa-s and the body mind complex, which are included within the world,
are also proven to be mithyA.

6) Does this mean that pramANa-s have no validity in advaita? No. This in
itself does not invalidate vyavahAra - or the transactional validity of
pramANa-s. In fact, Shankaracharya quotes a verse by a pre-Shankara
advaitin at the end of the samanvayAdhikaraNa bhAShya, linking the notion
of taking the body to be the self with pramANatva - which I think is a good
way to conclude this post, referring as it does both to the subject matter
of this thread (dehAtma adhyAsa) and the incidental question (pramANatva) -

देहात्मप्रत्ययो यद्वत्प्रमाणत्वेन कल्पितः ।
लौकिकं तद्वदेवेदं प्रमाणं त्वाऽऽत्मनिश्चयात् ॥

Just like notion of the body as the self is considered valid, so are
worldly means of knowledge - albeit only until the rise of certain
knowledge of the self.


On Sun, 17 Oct 2021, 04:06 Vinodh, <vinodh.iitm at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> etc.).
> 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
> Karika.
> 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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