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

Vinodh vinodh.iitm at gmail.com
Sun Oct 17 23:02:37 EDT 2021

Sri Venkatraghavan ji,

I do not seem familiar with the two examples you cite for establishing
mithyatva of the world in 5). Could you kindly elaborate on them?

Thank you and Namaskaram 🙏

On Mon 18. Oct 2021 at 07:26, Vinodh <vinodh.iitm at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you for the additional reference, Sri Subbu ji.
> Thank you for concisely summarizing your thoughts on the discussion, Sri
> Venkatraghavan ji. It matches with my understanding.
> Namaskaram 🙏
> On Mon, Oct 18, 2021 at 1:30 AM Venkatraghavan S <agnimile at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Namaste
>> 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
>> view.
>> 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.
>> Regards,
>> Venkatraghavan
>> 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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