Sunday, May 21, 2006

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - Conclusion


Prostrations to all.

Finally we have come to an end to this thread of Shoonyavada and Mayavaada.

While concluding, we will first try to see the Upanishadic statements which clearly say that Brahman is not shoonya but a really existent entity.

Taittiriya Upanishad says
Satyam Jnaanam Anantham Brahma
Existence, Consciousness and infiniteness is what is called Brahman

Katha Upanishad says
Naiva vaacha na manasaa prapthum shakyo na chakshushaa
Astheethi broovatho anyatram katham tad upalabhyathe

Brahman is not attainable through the organs of action (speech etc.) or through the mind or through the organs of perception starting from eyes, ears etc. That which is realized as “I Exist, I Exist”, how can person realize it somewhere else??? (Meaning that the Self is realized as one’s own existence – Chaitanya which has sphuranam of I-exist, I-exist each moment).

There are many other upanishadic statements also which clearly mention the reality of Brahman as something which is really existent.

Gita too says thus:
Na tad bhaasayathe sooryo na shashaanko na paavakah
Yad gatvaa na nivarthanthe tad dhaama paramam mama

There (in the state of Brahman), the sun doesn’t shine nor does the moon or fire. That is the state reaching where a person never returns again.

The above sloka is a clear example to show that the reality of Lord or Brahman or “I” (Krishna means Brahman by the word “I” and not the form-Lord Vishnu) is something existent and not shoonya (devoid of any existence).

Puranaas too say
Satchidaananda roopaaya vishwa utpatyaadi hetave
Taapatraya vinaashaaya sri krishnaaya vayam namaha

I prostrate Lord Krishna of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss – who is the cause of the creation etc. (etc. means protection and destruction) of the world – who is remover of the three types of obstacles or sorrows (adhibhootam, adhidaivam and adhyaatmam).

Thus Sruthi, Smrithi and Puranaas clearly mention the reality as being EXISTENT and not as a shoonyam.

Here the dvaitin will argue that “The Upanishads do propound an existing entity but the nirguna Brahman, claimed as the reality in the scriptures as per Advaita, is non-existent and same as shoonya”. This is but a wrong accusation. On the first case, Advaita gives Brahman the nature of SAT, CHIT and ANANDA. And Advaita very clearly accepts SAT as that which is existent for the three periods of time (that which never ceases to exist).

Vidyaranya thus says in Panchakosha viveka in Panchadashi (while explaining Satyam jnaanam anantham brahma):

Satyatvam baadha raahityam jagad bhaadaika saakshinah
Baadhah Kim sakshiko broohi na tu asaakshika ishyathe

Satyatva means that which is devoid of cessation (BADHA means sublation – eg: is the snake being sublated when rope is known) and that which is the witness to the cessation of the world. If it is asked what is the witness to the SAKSHI which also can be sublated --- this is wrong as there need to be a sakshi for all sublation & this sakshi is never sublated.

We all experience this also that at all times, that “I” never ceases to exist. Even if the sruthi or scriptures cease to exist – still “I” exist. Even when the Brahman ceases to exist, “I” exist. Here there will be a problem that Brahman becomes non-eternal if “I” and Brahman are not the same. This fault is not there only in Advaita which accepts Brahman and “I” as same. This “I” is not the Lord also because it is the individual “I” as per the Dvaita system. We will not enter into criticism of Dvaita system as that is not what is meant here but just defending of Advaita. Thus SAKSHI bhaavam which is something that “EXISTS” is there in Advaita. This existent entity is Brahman or the ultimate reality behind the illusory world.

But as per Shoonyavaadins the shoonyam is something which is non-existent & this reality is experienced when the differentiation between the thinker, thinking and object of thinking (called Triputi) vanishes. Advaita too says that when these three vanish, the reality of Brahman is realized. But the difference is in the nature of the ultimate reality – which is an EXISTENT VASTHU in Advaita where is a non-existent SHOONYA in Shoonyavaada.

As shown in the above panchadashi sloka, there are many other slokas in Panchadashi where Vidyaranya criticizes Shoonyavaada. Sureshwaracharya in his Manasollasa commentary on Sankaracharya’s Dakshinamurthy astakam too criticizes the shoonya vaada system.

Sankara says thus in Dakshinamurthy astakam

Deham praanam api indriyaani api chalaam buddhim cha shoonyam viduh
Stree baala andha jadopamaah tu aham ithi branthah brisham vaadinah

There are certain people who claim that “I” am the body, pranaas, indriyaas, changing intellect (the kshanika vijnaanavaada school of Buddhism) and Shoonyam – these are mad people who are like women, children and blind who have the illusion and based on this illusion scream about this wrong knowledge (here women is mentioned just to show the women tendencies to believe things which are not real and easily falling for things – not the gender is mentioned here but the qualities of women is being mentioned – there may be men among women & women among bearded ones too).

Thus Sankara himself criticizes the shoonyavaada school. Sri Harsha in his khandana khanda khaadyam as well as Chitsukha in his Chitsukhi criticize Nagarjuna (the propounder of the Madhyamaka school of shoonyavaada) for not ascertaining the existent reality even though he accepts the traikaalika satta, illusory nature of world etc.

Even though both systems are proved as very different, yet there are people who criticize Advaita and claim it as “Pracchanna baudhaas” (veiled Buddhists) taking resort to some puranaa statement. The people (the dvaitins) who accept this puranic statement but themselves accept that the puranaas including Bhagavatham have lot of interpolation in them. This is the reason why Madhvacharya wrote the Bhagavata tatparya Nirnaya so that such interpolations are removed. It is but absurd to claim one thing and to follow the same thing in a different way. Even though puranaas are considered interpolated but the dvaita import statements and statements refuting advaita are accepted. Isn’t this narrow-mindedness????? For eg:- all including the ISKCON people accept that Bhagavatham is a dualistic work about the form Lord & propounds Bhakthi but consider the last few slokas in Bhagavatham which clearly say that the Brahma Atma Aikya jnaana of Upanishads alone is the import of Bhagavatham and this is Jnaanam alone (this sloka mentions the seekers of reality as Vaishnavaas). These last slokas are commented by Sridhara swamin in his commentary on Bhagavatham (this is the oldest commentary on Bhagavatham written around the 13th century).

Thus it is wrong to claim that Brahman of Advaita is shoonya. The Brahman as Nirguna, Nirvishesha reality is clearly propounded in the Upanishads. This Brahman even though is beyond words and thoughts but is still experienced intuitively through Aparoksha Anubhava as one’s own very nature of Consciousness. This Brahman is the Subject of all objects – the Subject which never becomes an object. This Subject of one’s own very nature of Consciousness never ceases to exist (as Sruthi, yukthi and anubhava clearly prove it). Thus this Subject of Nirguna, Nirvishesha, Niraakaara Brahman is not the same as shoonya of shoonyavaadins.

We have already discussed in the previous sections as to how the objections raised by the Dvaitin are not only correct but completely wrong. Thus it can be concluded that Brahman is something which is really existent & is the reality behind the illusory duality that is currently perceived. Brahman is one’s own very nature of Consciousness – ever-existent entity.

People like BNK Sharma and others vainly fight with each other in the name of philosophy claiming that “the dvaita acharyas” have very well defined Advaita in the purvapaksha statements correctly & hence they are not misinterpreting or wrongly understanding Advaita – this claim is completely wrong as most of the arguments raised are merely based on assumptions and not clearly understanding the fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta. Even though BNK Sharma and others claim to refute Advaita using high-end logics in Nyaayaamritam, “I” have personally not seen even a single logic against the anirvachaneeya or indescribability of the world as different from Sat and Asat. They use high-end logic to prove that this is wrong and Ramanuja simply escapes by telling that “there is nothing which is neither Sat nor asat” when the examples of snake in rope as per Sri Krishna’s definition of Sat and Asat is very clear. The same have been mentioned as the reason against anirvachaneeya khyaathi of Advaita by many dvaita scholars in their books too.

Maybe this lead to “RISHI” (a great scholar) to mention in his hindi commentary on Sarva darshana Sangraha of Maadhava Vidyaranya that Ramanuja and Madhva are considered “Pracchana Tarkikaas” as they use high-end logic when Sruthi herself says that “logic should not be completely taken resort to”. They use high-end logic forgetting the very basic logic of anvaya-vyatireka and relativity-absolute etc.

BNK Sharma in his book “Advaita Siddhi and Nyaayaamrita – a critical up-todate” says that Advaita Siddhi which refutes Nyaayaamritam was refuted in Nyaayamrita tarangini of a dvaitin. Nyaayamrita Tarangini was refuted by the great advaitin Gauda Brahmaananda in his Brahmaanandi or Laghu chandrika. Brahmanandi was refuted by a dvaitin Vanamaala Misra. And BNK Sharma closes by telling that “there the great controversy came to a halt and a standstill” forgetting completely that the refutation of vanamaala misra was counter refuted by Vittalesha Upadhyaaya in his Vittaleshiyaa (not to mention another work by a kerala author which is referred by Kanchi Mahaperiyavaal).

Reality of Brahman can be realized only by a person who is open-minded, accepts all systems are correct from different levels and analyzes those systems without any pre-conceived notions and proper logic (not high-end logic used in Nyaayamritam and others).

Let us all try to get the open-minded by being open to all systems and trying to analyze the systems without any preconceived – thereby realizing the ultimate reality of Brahman as one’s own nature of Consciousness.

It would not be out of context to mention over here that Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswathi of Holenarsipur has shown a particular bhashya text of Sankara in Brahma Sutra Bhashya where Sankara calls the system which considers Brahman as the Nimitta kaarana alone (unlike Advaita which accepts Brahman as the abhinna nimitta upadaana kaarana) as “VEDA BAAHYAH” (outside Vedas). There are two causes which are material and efficient. For the effect of pot, mud is the material cause whereas potter is the efficient cause alone. Madhvacharya’s system of Dvaita considers Brahman as just the efficient cause and not the material cause of the world. Even though this is completely against the second sutra JANMAADI ASYA YATHAH, but still the bhashya which Satchidanandendra Saraswathi is really important in order to show that such systems don’t really have any basis in the Vedas (not Vedanta but even in the Vedas). This need not be considered as something egoistic from the Swamiji, but this is what Sankara has said in his bhashya. It is but out of question that Sankara knowingly accused the Dvaita system because Dvaita system was newly started by Madhvacharya only in the 12th century while Sankara’s time is around the 9th century.

This is important to show that even though many later advaita acharyas like vidyaranya and others knew about this, still they didn’t criticize Dvaita system because Advaita accepts all the other systems at the empirical level. It is but true that only a true Advaitin can bear with anything and everything because he knows that everything except Brahman is only empirically real (and ultimately unreal).

I understand that most of the people would not have even read the entire series but still continuing on the same line, we will try to see Madhvacharya’s Mayavaada Khandanam (along with its commentaries) analyzing it critically from the perspective of Advaita. It is when we analyze the rival system’s arguments against Advaita that the system of Advaita & its concepts becomes clear (BNK Sharma considers the khandana traya which includes Mayavaada khandanam as some of the great works of Madhva which brings out the fallacies in Advaita).

Hope that the series was not intellectual that people in the forum are unable to apprehend it. We will close the series with this mail. If anybody has any doubt regarding the contents of the series, then it can be raised (even though we are closing this topic with this mail) in the forum.

Nityam nirantaraanandam chitghanam brahma nirbhayam
Sruthyaa tarkaanubhootibhyaam aham asmi advayam sadaa

That Brahman which is eternal, ever-blissful, Consciousness in nature and devoid of FEAR -- I am that Brahman always and this is proved through Sruthi, tarka and anubhooti (scriptures, logic and experience).

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - 10


Humble prostrations to all.

This is the final mail analyzing Shrisha Rao’s mails.

We will continue from where we left in the previous post. We have already discussed in the previous mail that taking resort to the one reason of “Brahman being Nirvishesha as per Advaita” and stating that all theories of Advaita are wrong because of this is not right. Advaita accepts Nirvishesha Brahman as the ultimate reality behind the illusory world, but at the same time accepts savishesha Brahman when it comes to empirical analysis. As Sankara himself says in Brahma Sutra about the two-fold Brahman – Saguna or Savishesha which is associated with names and forms & the nirguna which is devoid of naama and roopa.

We have to remember this fact that advaita does accept savishesha at the empirical level but just says that all the empirical realities or the relativity in the world has an absolute ultimate reality of Nirvishesha Nirguna Brahman behind them as the substratum.

nanu, anyonyAsminnanyonyAtmakatAmanyonyadharmAMshchetyAdinAbhAshhyakR^itA `j~nAnamAnandAvishhayAnubhavo nityatvaM cheti santidharmA' iti paJNchapAdikAkR^itA cha brahmaNi dharmAH svIkR^itA, iti chet.h ? satyam.h na tu paramArthataH,kAlpanikAstubhAvatvAdayodharmAH shUnyavAdinA shUnyasyApiaN^gIkArAt.h yathA.ahuH shUnyavAdinaH, `bhAvArthapratiyogitvaM bhAvatvaM vA na tattvataH nAsya sattvamasattvaM vA na doshho guNa eva vA heyopAdeyarahitaM tachchhUnyaM padamaxayam.h ' -- iti

However, as per the `j~nAnamAnanda' quote from the Panchapadika,it is accepted by us that Brahman has attributes of experiencingjoy, being eternal, etc. (albeit not Real ones) -- thus say you? True. However, these are not ultimately Real, but are apparent only,and such apparent attributes are also accepted by the shUnyavAdins of their shUnya, as the `bhAvArthapratiyogitvaM' quote demonstrates.

nanu dharmAN^gIkArastAvajj~nAyate sa cha paramArthatonetikathaM j~nAyata? -- ityata Aha, `nirvisheshhatva', iti

However, the acceptance of attributes [in respect of Brahman] is known (from the Panchapadika, etc.). How is it known that these attributes are not ultimate?
-- to answer this, it is said, `nirvisheshhatva', thus.

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

Here the dvaitin is again repeating the same argument without really understanding that Sat, Chit and Ananda are not the attributes of Brahman but the very nature of Brahman. This nature of Brahman is not an attribute & hence this is not against the Nirvisheshatva (being without attributes) of Brahman. Thus there is no fault whatsoever. Since Brahman can have Sat, Chit and ananda as its svaroopa, therefore the other arguments are invalid as Sat, chit and ananda are not against Nirvisheshatva of Brahman.

The main argument against these qualities or nature of Brahman is that Brahman is Nirvishesha or without attributes & hence Brahman cannot have Sat, chit etc. in it. This main argument itself is proved wrong because Sat, Chit and Ananda are the very nature of Brahman and not attributes – thus these are not at all against the Nirvisheshatva of Brahman.

Also the dvaitin here says that these attributes of Sat, Chit and ananda etc. are not ultimately real. Since shoonyavaada also accepts such things at the empirical level (the vyaavahaarika satya), therefore there is no difference between Advaita and Shoonyavaada as per this point also.

But we have already dealt and concluded that Sat, chit, ananda etc. are the very nature of Brahman and hence they are ultimately real. Thus there is difference between shoonyavada and Advaita. We have to remember here that Sat, chit and ananda are the nature of Brahman but they can be spoken of only at the empirical level but at the paaramarthika level, we cannot even speak about Brahman having Sat because there is only Brahman present at the ultimate or paaramarthika level.

yadi brahmaNo dharmAN^gIkAraH pAramArthikaH syAt.h tadAnirvisheshhatvAN^gIkAravirodhaH syAdityarthaH

If there were to be acceptance of Real attributes in Brahman, then there would be conflict with acceptance of a total lack of attributes, thus is the meaning.

Here the dvaitin says that “if Sat etc. are real attributes in Brahman, then Brahman cannot be nirvishesha” – but we have already answered this by telling that Sat etc. are not the attributes of Brahman but the very nature of Brahman (there is a vast difference between svaroopa and guna as we have already discussed previously).

nanu, `brahma' iti, `shUnyam.h' iti, sa.nj~nAbhedAd.h eva tayorbhedasiddhiriti chenna nimittabhedarahita sa.nj~nA- bhedasya arthavailaxaNyAprayojakatvAt.h tathA hi, brahmashabdasya kiM brahmaNi mukhyavR^ittiramukhyavR^ittirvA ? Adye.api kiM yogarUDhirayogarUDhirvA ? nAdyaH brahmashabdasya yaugikArthohi guNapUrNatvam.h -- `athakasmAduchyate brahmeti, bR^ihanto hi asmin.h guNAH' ityAdi shruteH na cha tvanmate brahmaNastadyuktam.h kuta, ityata Aha -- `nirvisheshhatva' iti

However, because there are two words `Brahman', and `shUnya', this fact alone proves that they must denote different things, so say you? No, that is not right. As given the lack of any cause of difference, the mere variation in usage cannot prove divergence in meaning.

Here the dvaitin is saying that if it is argued that the two words Brahman and Shoonya show difference (as the two different words are used), then it is not correct – because there is no cause of difference between what is intended behind the words.

This is not at all correct. Brahman as per Advaita means that which pervades everything, is great & is seen as the world (Brihattvat brimhanatvaat va Brahma). But shoonya means “void”. The difference between the direct meaning of the word and intended or indirect meaning of the words is also very clear. The direct meaning is very clear – Brahman is that which always exists whereas shoonya is that which never exists or has any existence. The indirect meaning of Brahman is the reality underlying the illusory world when the world is perceived. The indirect meaning of shoonya is the reality underlying the world – this reality which is a void or “non-existent” entity rather than “existent” entity.

A small description on the meaning of words in the scriptures – there are two meanings associated with a word. One is the direct meaning or ruda artha or mukhya artha or vaachya artha. This is the direct meaning of the word – for eg:- ganges means the river ganges (gangaa). The indirect meaning is that meaning which is intended by the word and is used when the direct meaning cannot convey any meaning to the sentence where it is used. For eg:- Gangaayaam ghoshah – the house on the ganges. Indirect meaning is called Lakshya artha (intended meaning). This is used when the direct meaning doesn’t make sense. “The house on the ganges” doesn’t make any sense – hence we have to take the implied meaning of “on the banks of ganges” for the word “Gangaayaam” (the ganges).

Thus there is real difference between the words used too. As per the dvaitins, they take resort to direct meanings of words and even accuse Advaita of taking resort to indirect meaning in many places. The direct meaning of Brahman and shoonya is very clear indeed & there is no need to taking resort to indirect meaning. If difference is to be proved, then indirect or implied meaning (as per the corresponding works of the schools) has to be taken. If indirect meaning is taken, then the accusation against Advaita for usage of indirect meaning in many places will be valid for the dvaitin too. Thus he will be doing things which he himself doesn’t really agree. This will lead to inconsistency in his own system – and it is but obvious then that such inconsistent systems cannot be believed by seekers & hence there will be no real followers of Dvaita system.

The dvaitin further continues the argument about the two words of Brahman and Shoonya in the following paragraph.

Then, too, when you say `Brahman', do you mean its use in the primary sense, or in a secondary sense? Even in the former case, do you mean the `yoga-rUDhi' (scholarly usage), or the `a-yoga-rUDhi'? Not the first. Because the scholarly meaning of `Brahman' is "fullness of attributes," as shown by Shruti such as `atha kasmAduchyate', etc. This meaning is not applicable in your doctrine? Why, for that the answer is given, `nirvisheshhatva', thus.

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

The dvaitin gives two options for the sense or meaning of Brahman ---
1. Use in primary sense which again has scholarly usage or empirical usage (empirical usage is associated with normal people who don’t know much of scriptures).
2. Use in secondary sense

In the case of primary, there is scholarly usage which is called YOGA-RUDHI and empirical or normal worldly usage called AYOGA RUDHI. The dvaitin says that the first option of yoga-rudhi is impossible for Brahman because this meaning says that Brahman means “fullness of attributes”. Such a definition is against Advaita because Brahman as per Advaita is Nirguna and Nirvishesha.

But what the meaning of word Brahman given by the Dvaitin is not correct. The dvaitin interprets Brahman as “Brihanthi asmin gunaah ithi Brahma” (that which is full of attributes is called Brahman). But this is not correct – as per the verb Brih, Brahman means that which is great and seen as the world. This definition of greatness is not against Advaita because from empirical viewpoint Brahman is the greatest & nothing can be compared as great as Brahman. The advaitic explanation of “seen as the world” is also valid because of the sutra “Janmaadi asya yatah” (that from which the world has come, that in which the world exists & that into which the world merges, that is Brahman). This is because EFFECT is never different from the CAUSE even as the effect of pot is not different from the cause of mud. Thus the world is not different from Brahman but is just an illusion of names and forms in the substratum of Brahman which seems to be the cause when creation is considered as empirically real. It cannot be stated here that this definition from the Sutra of Brahman as Cause of the world will give the status of reality to the world, because Brahman is never the real cause of the world but just an illusory cause as the substratum of the world. This has been explained in detail in SATYA DARSHANAM of Hariram which can referred for the same. In short, Brahman cannot have any vikaara or modification and there is nothing apart from Brahman too. Thus creation from Brahman is impossible. This is what Gaudapada Karika says “Aaptha kaamasya kaa spriha” (how can there be desire for Brahman who is ever-fulfilled --- this karika is considered as part of Mandukya Sruthi by the Dvaitin). IF the dvaitin here says that the karika itself says that “Icchaa maatram prabhoh sristhih” or “Creation is just a sportive play of the Lord” and Sutra “Lokavattu leela kaivalyam” or the world is just a mere play of the Lord – this is illogical and refuted by the statement “Aaptha kaamasya kaa spriha” because this statement refuting any possibility of creation comes after giving different views of creation and to refute each of those. If again the Dvaitin argues that this aaptha kaama is meant only for the realized saint and not for Ishwara, then it is absurd --- that which is valid for a realized saint should equally be valid for the Ishwara too as ISHWARA is the greatest person and full in all attributes as per the Dvaitin – which would mean that Ishwara can never have any desire as he is perfect & complete. Thus the argument that the world is giving real status is negated & the sutra statement referring to Brahman as the cause of the world is only from the empirical view & giving the THATASTHA LAKSHANA of Brahman as the substratum of the illusory world.

Again, “fullness of attributes” as Brahman is against the various sruthi statements like “Neti, Neti” etc. Also, this would make Brahman limited by those attributes and is against the sruthi statement that “Sadeva Soumya idam agre aaseet ekameva adviteeyam” (Existence alone existed previously, one without a second”. The words “SAD EVA” is very clear. Also, as the Sutra explaining Brahman as the cause of the world shows clearly that prior to creation of the world, there was nothing but Brahman alone. It cannot be said that Brahman with attributes was there prior to creation because attributes are only with respect to the world. For eg: the attribute of SARVAJNA or all-knowing is valid only when the “all” denoting the “world” is there. Thus the dvaitin’s definition of Brahman alone is illogical and against sruthi, smrithi and sutra.

Thus the scholarly meaning of Brahman as per scriptures is not “fullness of attributes” but “that which is great and seen as the world” (the substratum of the illusion of Brahman). Since Rudhi usage put forth by the Dvaitin itself is refuted thus his argument is invalid. And Advaita’s interpretation of Brahman in scholarly usage is without fault and as per scriptures.

The usages possible in respect of Brahman are:
In the primary sense.
In the secondary sense.

For the first case, we can further create the special cases:
As used by scholars.
As used by lay folk.

deshakAlavastuparichchhedarAhityarUpamahatvameva brahmashabda-pravR^ittinimittaM, iti tu mandaM tasya shUnyavAdibhiH shUnye.apyaN^gIkR^itatvena tathAvidhayogavR^ittimato brahmashabdasya tadvailaxaNyAprayojakatvAt.h yathAha shUnyavAdI `jAD.hya saMvR^iti duHkhAntapUrvadoshhavirodhi yad.h' iti

If some dull persons suggest that lack of any restriction on account of space, time, or any other objects, would qualify as greatness which justifies the use of `Brahman', then it is pointed out that this is not useful in indicating difference from the shUnya, for the shUnyavAdI-s also accept that their shUnya is free from such defects, as per their statement `jAD.hya saMvR^iti', etc.

Tatparya Chandrika of Vyaasa Teertha states thus:

Tasmaat deshatah kaalataschaiva gunataschaapi poornathaa
Brahmathaa na tu bhedasya raahityam brahmatha ikshyathe

Therefore “Brahman-hood” means that which is full in space, time and qualities. Brahman-hood is not “being devoid of attributes”.

The above statement is made by assuming that Sruthi and experience prove difference only in the previous sloka of Tatparya Chandrika.

This is but absurd. “Brahman” has to be devoid of qualities as already proved earlier. Also time & space existing, Brahman cannot pervade and be full in them – this is illogical because when it is said that “Brahman pervades space”, that itself means that “space doesn’t really exist”. When “I” say that “I pervade the room”, then there is nothing called room because the room is removed or misplaced by “I”. Also, if time & space do exist, then they will surely limit Brahman (as there should be some relation between them) – the only alternative here is that “time” and “space” are illusory. Taking this particular stand would lead to Advaita itself.

If it be argued that space pervades everything but still is different from everything. This is again a wrong concept only. The Upanishads as well science also says that it is from space that everything came & in space that everything exists. This means that all the objects that we perceive are nothing but space alone but with a name and form. Names and forms are never real – thus we again come back to Advaita only.

On the contrary, Dvaitin will be under trouble here. If Brahman is compared with space & said that Brahman pervades everything in and out – this would mean that Brahman is partless (like space). If Brahman is devoid of parts, it cannot have any guna or attribute. GUNAAS of fatness etc, are based on parts only. This would thus in turn lead to Advaita interpretation of Brahman as Nirguna and Nirvishesha.

The Dvaitin has attacked by saying that shoonyavaadins say that shoonya is devoid of defects & Advaita also says that Brahman is devoid of time, space etc. I don’t know how both of these can be equated. Advaita doesn’t consider time, space etc. as a defect but just says that these have only empirical reality & not eternal reality.

nApi dvitIyaH asiddherapasiddhAntAchcha yathA ghaTAdi-shabdAnAM yathA ghaTatvAdikamevapravR^ittinimittamevaM brahmaNyapi brahmashabdapravR^ittinimittaM kiJNchidvAchyam.h na cha tadyuktam.h kuta ityata Aha -- `nirvisheshhatva', iti

The second case (where `Brahman' is used in the a-yaugika sense)is also not applicable. Because it does not then prove yourdoctrine, and also proves something which is fundamentally opposed to your doctrine. "As the word `pot' is applied to a substance having certain qualities, will you tell us what are the qualities possessed by your Brahman. But, according to you, Brahman has no quality. So Brahman is a mere word with you, and you cannot describe it. In fact, you cannot explain the word which you are using." Why? To answer this, it is said, `nirvisheshhatva', thus.

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

Here the Dvaitin takes the empirical usage of a word and asks Advaita as to what does “Brahman” denote? In empirical usage, “pot” etc. denotes an object with qualities or attributes but since Brahman is devoid of attributes, Brahman cannot be explained at all – thus such a Brahman is invalid as per Advaita.

The dvaitin is trying to prove that through any of the possible meanings of words, Brahman is not what Advaita says but Brahman is “full of attributes” alone.

The above logic to prove that Brahman as per Advaita cannot have an empirical usage is wrong. Brahman does have an empirical usage to it as well as “Brahman” even though cannot be described can very well be described. JThe words might be confusing but it is very simple indeed.

Brahman cannot be described as an object – because it is the Subject of all activities. Thus Brahman can very well be described or indicated as the SUBJECT of all activities or SAKSHI of all activities. This is very well logical. When Advaita says that Brahman cannot be described, we only mean that Brahman cannot become an object of any activity. This is because Brahman is the SUBJECT of all activities who can never become an object. And it doesn’t mean that there is nothing called Brahman.

Vidyaranya thus says in Pancha kosha viveka prakaranam of Panchadashi

Svameva anubhootitvaat vidhyathe na anubhaavyatha
Jnaatru jnaanaantharaabhaavaath atreyo na tu asattayaa

Since it exists by itself, therefore it cannot be experienced & not that “it doesn’t exist”. There is no other SUBJECT to experience it, thus it is not experienced and not because of non-existence (which is the characteristic of shoonyam or void).

Thus empirical usage of Brahman as the SUBJECT is valid and logical.

etena tR^itIyo.api nirastaH amukhyavR^ittiritidvitIyapaxe.apikiM brahmashabdasya brahmaNi gauNIvR^ittirlaxaNa vA ? nAdyaH pravR^ittinimittAtiriktamukhyArthaguNayoge hi gauNI dR^ishhTA na cha atra mukhyArthaguNayogo.asti kuta, ityata Aha --`nirvisheshha', iti

By this, even the third option stands refuted (because no difference is seen between `Brahman' and `shUnya' merely on the basis of there being two words). If it be held that the word `Brahman' is used by the mAyAvAdI in a secondary sense, even then, is the word `Brahman' used to denote Brahman by indicating some secondary characteristic (one found in Brahman and also in others, such as "ears" for a cow, which are also found in other animals), or a primary characteristic? Not the first. Because such would only apply if Brahman were to have the characteristic of "Brahman-ness" although that is not its primary characteristic. Then, too, here, no primary characteristic (even other than "Brahman-ness") can be accepted [of Brahman]. Why? For that the answer is, `nirvisheshhatva', thus.

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

BRAHMAN and SHOONYA are obviously two different words which have two different meanings from all kinds of usages.

Here the dvatin attacks the meaning of Brahman in a secondary sense trying to show that Brahman and shoonya mean the same thing. The Dvaitin says that “if Brahman is used in secondary sense, how is Brahman indicated? Is it by some primary characteristic or secondary characteristic? It cannot be primary characteristic as Brahman is devoid of qualities. It is also not secondary characteristic as there is no “Brahman-hood” or any other quality which is not specific to Brahman & found in other objects”.

For secondary meaning, there should be some indicating characteristic of Brahman – the dvaitin proves that this characteristic cannot be primary as Brahman doesn’t have any primary qualities. It is not some other secondary characteristic as there is no object which has same quality as Brahman (because Brahman-hood is there only for Brahman and other qualities are there only for the objects different from Brahman).

These objections are also invalid. Even though Brahman doesn’t have primary characteristic but it does have a nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. These are the characteristic which indicate Brahman by telling that “Brahman is that which never ceases, that which never is unconscious and that which never is sorrowful or finite”. Thus this is logical enough to show that Brahman can be indicated in a secondary sense too.

This definition of SAT CHIT ANANDA as Brahman is different from shoonya wherein the reality is ASAT or void. There need not be any more explanation on the same as the meaning and import are very evident.

na dvitIyaH mukhyArthasambandhini arthAntarevR^ittirlaxaNA na cha brahmaNo mukhyArthasambandho.asti kuta, ityata Aha,`nirvisheshha', iti
Not the second case [either]. Because a `laxaNa' has to be a primary characteristic not found elsewhere. But the Brahman cannot have a primary characteristic. Why, for that, we say, `nirvisheshha', thus.

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

The above objection has already been mentioned in the previous section.

brahmaNi brahmashabdavachchhUnyavAdinA shUnye.api shUnyashabdasyalaxaNAN^gIkArAchcha yathoktaM shUnyavAdinA, `avAchyaM sarva-shabdaistallaxyate chAkhilaiH padaiH' iti
If it be claimed that Brahman has *apparent* characteristics which would justify the name, then even the shUnyavAdI accepts such *apparent* characteristics of his shUnya as well [thus the existence of two names does not prove different concepts]. As has been stated by the shUnyavAdI-s, `avAchya', etc.

Brahman never has any apparent characteristics but has the nature of SAT, CHIT and ANANDA. That these are the nature of Brahman and not qualities has already been proved. These characteristics are different from that of shoonya. Shoonya is also avaachya not because it is the SUBJECT but because it doesn’t exist. This is very well refuted by vidyaranya in the above quoted sloka as “NA tu asattayaa” (not because Brahman is non-existent but only because it is the SUBJECT which cannot become an object – that Brahman cannot be described as description is making Brahman an object of speech or vaak)

tasmAchchhUnyabrahmaNoravisheshhAnnaparaprameyeshUnyavAdAn. hmAyAvAdasyavailaxaNyam.h aparaprameye vailaxaNyAbhAvaupapAdanatatprAgeva kiJNchitkR^itamiti chaturtho.api nirastaeva, iti
Therefore, it cannot be said that there is any difference betweenshUnyavAda and mAyAvAda, on account of the difference between the shUnya and the Brahman. Therefore, since other possible sources of difference (between sat.h and sadasat.h, mAyA and samvR^iti, and conceptions of moxa) have already been dealt with, it follows that even in this fourth instance, the claim of difference stands refuted, thus.

As has already been proved, there is difference between shoonya and Brahman. Whatever objection the Dvaitin has raised till now has been answered & all those clearly prove that Brahman and Shoonya are clearly different even though various terms seem to be equivalent. It may happen that some things seem same but are never the same – similarly Mayavaada and shoonyavaada are never the same as Advaitic Brahman is something existent & shoonya is something non-existent.

evaM mAyAvAdasya shUnyavAdasAmyamupapAdyopasaMharati
-- "Having thus established the non-difference between the Mayavadins and the Sunyavadins, the Commentator concludes:

-- taH shUnyavAdina eva te.api
"Therefore, it follows that the Mayavadins are the same as Sunyavadins."

Having shown that whatever objections or arguments are made to show that Mayavaaada and shoonyavaada are same are wrong and illogical, it follows that Mayavaadins are not the same as Shoonyavaadins.

Moreover, Mayavaadin take resort to Maya just to answer the illusion of world at the empirical – they believe in Adviteeya Brahman alone & therefore it is appropriate to call Advaita as Brahmavaada from ultimate viewpoint & Mayavaada from empirical view point.

... concluded.

asat.h pade.asansadasadviviktaM mAyAkhyayA samvR^itimabhyadhatta
brahmApyakhaNDaM batashUnyasiddhyai prachchhannabauddho.ayamataH prasiddhaH

The above conclusions only show that Advaita is something beyond normal perception & it requires open-mindedness to apprehend the reality of Brahman as per the scriptures. Unless there is open-mindedness, all sorts of doubts/arguments/objections will be raised. All these are because of “improper understanding” as well as “lack of proper sadhana” to apprehend the reality of Adviteeya Brahman.

Let us all unlike people who just ask questions and raise objections try to follow the SADHANA and apprehend the ultimate reality of Adviteeya Brahman which is very well proved through sruthi, yukthi and anubhava.

With this we come to an end to the analysis of Shrisha Rao’s mail and have answered the objections raised that Advaita system and Shoonyavaada are one and the same. We come to an end to the analysis of Shrisha Rao’s mail.

We will try to analyze how various advaita acharyas from Sankara to Madhusudana Saraswathi attacked the system of Shoonyavaada and clearly show that Advaita and shoonyavaada are not the same in the next mail which will be the final mail in this series.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Shoonyavaada and Mayavaada - 9

Humble prostrations to all.

Let’s now continue with the mail of Shrisha Rao. Now, the dvaitin attacks the nature or svaroopa of Brahman which is Sat, Chit and Ananda as per Advaita. The main attack is that these are qualities of Brahman and not the nature – these qualities are not present in Brahman as Brahman is nirvishesha and nirguna (without attributes and qualities). Thus Brahman as per Advaita can never be explained as a real entity – thus it is the very same as shoonya of shoonyavadins.

Let’s first once again see the concept of Sat, Chit and Ananda of Brahman and how this is the very nature of Brahman and not just qualities/attributes. Quality or attribute is that which is present in an entity only for a particular period. But the nature is always present and cannot be separated from the entity. Thus Brahman and Sat-Chit-Ananda cannot be separated from one another. As this is the case, therefore Brahman has the nature of Satchitananda and is not the same as shoonya of Dvaitins. IT cannot also be argued that these attributes are not present in Brahman from the paaramarthika level because these are inseparable from Brahman – and are always present. What we have to remember is that from the paaramarthika level, we cannot even speak of Brahman having these as its nature because there is no duality whatsoever in that level. But empirically, we can speak about Brahman as having the very nature of Sat, Chit and Ananda.

Brahman is Sat because it always exists & never ceases to exist. This definition of Sat is as per Gita statement that “Na abhaavah vidhyathe satah” – non-existence is not there for Sat or Reality meaning that the real never ceases to exist. Brahman as one’s own very nature always exists and there is never a moment when non-existence of “I” is experienced. Thus Brahman is of the nature of Sat or always existing.

Sat can always exist only if it is illumined by the light of Chit or consciousness. Consciousness or Chit is that light which illumines entities in the world – it is that light on which all other lights depend. Chit or Consciousness alone can experience its own existence – all other entities get existence because of the illumination of Consciousness. Thus the entities are dependent on Consciousness or Chit for their existence. This means entities or objects are dependent on Consciousness – any dependent entity is temporary only as its very existence depends on the independent entity. This means such an entity will not exist for all the three times. Thus if Sat doesn’t have Chit, then Sat will cease to be Sat (as Sat is that which exists at all times whereas if Chit is not the same as Sat, Sat will exist only for limited time period). This means Sat and Chit go hand in hand – and cannot be separated. Similarly Ananda is bliss. Bliss is that which is unlimited (as per Chandogya statement that Na alpe sukham asthi – yo vai bhoomaa tat sukham). If Ananda is not Sat, then Ananda will be limited and thus will cease to be bliss which is not possible. Thus Ananda and Sat are inseparable. This takes us to the conclusion that Sat, chit and ananda are inseparable and very nature of Brahman and not quality of Brahman like fatness etc.

After having analyzed this, let us now see into the dvaitin’s objections:

"If you say that Brahman of ours is Satyam, Jnanam, etc., to this we say, that these qualities of truth, knowledge, etc., do not exist in Brahman in the highest state. For Mayavadins hold that from a Paramarthika point of view, Brahman is absolutely attributeless."

We have already seen that this objection is not really valid – Brahman doesn’t have sat, chit etc. as its attribute but these are the very nature of Brahman – there is no fault in accepting these as the very nature of Nirvishesha or Nirguna Brahman (because these are not the qualities of Brahman – as explained earlier, there is no mentioning this at the paramarthika level but vyavahaarika level, we can mention these as nature of Brahman).

nanu, paramArthataH satyatvAdyabhAve.api anR^itavirodhitvAdinaivasatyatvAdivyavahAraH yathAhurasmanmatatvavedinaH, `anR^itaMjaDavirodhirUpaM matatrayamalabandhanaduHkhatAviruddham.h',iti tathA choktavidhilaxaNaprayukta eva shUnyAd.h brahmaNo visheshha,iti chenna shUnyavAdibhirapi shUnyasyoktavidhalaxaNAN^gIkArAt.h;yathA.ahuH shUnyavAdinaH, `jAD.hyasaMvR^itiduHkhAntapUrvodoshhavirodhiyad.h' iti uktaM chAnuvyAkhyAne, `anR^itAdivirodhitvaM ubhayoshcha svalaxaNam.h', iti

[The mAyAvAdin retorts:] However, even if there is the lack ofultimate Reality (in the matter of Brahman's attributes), we onlyaccept that Brahman's attributes are "other than false,"(sadasadvilaxaNa, or different from both Real and Unreal) not that they are Real. As has been indicated by our past masters, the Brahman is "different from falsehood, insentience, is complete, and is also exceedingly different from bondage and suffering." Thus,there is a difference between shUnya and Brahman in these respects, so say you? No -- that is not right. Since even the shUnyavAdI-s accept the properties stated by you of their shUnya as well. As say the shUnyavAdI-s, their shUnya is "opposed to all faults of Samvriti enumerated in the list ending with duhkham. So here also, there is no difference in these conceptions." It has also been shown in the anu-vyAkhyAna, "being different from falsehood, etc., is a property common to both," thus.

Here the dvaitin attacks Advaita by first assuming that “Brahman has attributes and that Advaita accepts Sat, Chit and ananda as attributes of Brahman”. This is completely wrong as it has already been proved that Sat, chit and ananda are not the attributes of Brahman but the very nature of Brahman. But as per shoonyavaadins, the reality is shoonya or non-existence. Such a non-existence cannot ever lead to removal of sorrow. And the samvritti accepted by Shoonyavadin surely arises out of voidness (meaning that the samvritti has no basis or substratum at all) whereas Advaita accepts Brahman as the substratum of ajnaana or ignorance and ajnaana is removed by knowledge of Brahman. Thus there is clear difference between both even though samvritti and ajnaana both are accepted as being different from sat and asat (sat means ever-existent & asat means ever non-existent).

nApi viruddhadharmayogAchchhUnyAdbrahmaNo visheshhaH sa chabrahmashUnyayoH kiM bhAvatvAbhAvatvaM vA, sattvAsattvaM vA,doshhitvaguNavattvaM vA, heyatvopAdeyattvaM vA, anyadvA ?sarvatrApi doshhamAha
-- `nirvisheshhatva', iti

"Nor is there any difference between Brahman and Sunyam, in thepossession by one of the attributes contradictory to the other.What are the contradictory attributes which you say [would]distinguish them? Is it that Brahman is existence (bhAva) andSunyam is abhAva or non-existence? Or that Brahman is a substance (sattva) and Sunyam is a non-entity (a-sattva)? Or that Brahman has goodness (guNa) and Sunya has faults (doshha)? Or that Brahman is to be sought (upAdeyaM) and that Sunyam is to be avoided? Or anything else?" All of these are shown to be flawed, `nirvisheshhatva', thus.

The word Shoonya itself says that is something that is non-existent & Brahman is that which ever exists as one’s own very nature. Even though the entire sruthi refutes one’s own existence, one will surely exist because “one’s own existence can never be refuted by any means”. It also doesn’t require any proof for existence of one’s own Consciousness because it is self-established and self-proven. It is only the system of Advaita which can really explain Brahman as ever-existent because in other systems Brahman is considered different from one’s own existence & such a Brahman is temporary and against sruthi statements too.

Thus there is very clear difference between the nature of Brahman and shoonyam. Brahman is a substance or a real entity – this is not against the nirvisheshatva of Brahman as already proved. Since Sat is not against the nirvisheshatva of Brahman, similarly bhaava is also not against nirvisheshatva of Brahman. “Brahman has goodness” is not the statement of Advaita but is a statement imposed on Advaita --- Advaita does accept Brahman as Ananda but clearly says that Brahman is beyond both guna and dosha.

Brahman is that which is to be sought – but we have to remember that this seeking is seeking of the seeker & not external seeking. This seeking the seeker is not at all against nirvisheshatva of Brahman because it is trying to realize the seeker through removal of thoughts in the mind. When the mind contemplates on one thought of Brahman, all other thoughts vanish & finally even this thought vanishes & only Brahman remains behind.

Or as Vidyaranya says in Panchadashi

Katham taadrik mayaa graahyam eti chet prichet maiva graahyam
Sarva grahopasamshaantho svayameva avashishyathe

IF it is asked as to how the indescribable Brahman (which is beyond mind and thoughts) is to be contemplated or sought, it is possible to sought by stopping the activities of all sense organs and inner instruments – then the Self or Brahman remains by itself as non-dual reality.

Thus this “seeking of Brahman” is not against nirvisheshatva provided we append the words “as one’s own very nature”. It is the dvaitin who is getting the concept of advaita wrongly and using this wrong knowledge to attack Advaita. It is interesting to note that the dvaitin just mentioned that “Brahman is to be sought” and attacked Advaita without mentioning or taking into consideration that the Brahman to be sought is one’s own very nature of Self.

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

Just holding on to this one reason and refuting all concepts of Advaita is really bad and wrong. As Advaita accepts Savishesha Brahman at the empirical level, all these arguments are futile. IT is only when the paaramarthika level is considered that Advaita accepts Nirvishesha Brahman alone. At the empirical level, savishesha is taken as working empirically and nirvishesha Brahman is the substratum or witness of this savishesha Brahman and its activities too.

We will continue with further analysis in the next post.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Shoonyavaada and Mayavaada - 8

Humble prostrations to all.

Let’s now analyze the final mail of Shrisha Rao. We will split the last mail of Shrisha Rao into two or three to have a detailed analysis on the same.

... continued from previous part.
Previously, it was claimed that the existence of the Atman of the mAyAvAdIin the form of knowledge is untenable, as nothing that would be called"knowledge" is possible of the Atman.

We have already discussed this and proved that Atman is of the nature of eternal knowledge or Consciousness – that knowledge which knows itself but doesn’t have any distinction of knower and knowledge – it is not a non-existent entity because absence of self-knowing knowledge or self-luminous Consciousness is against sruthi, yukthi and anubhava. Thus this statement of the dvaitin is completely wrong. Also, the dvaitin is criticizing only the “knowledge” aspect of the Atman whereas forgetting that the word CHIT also means Consciousness or BODHAM. If this meaning is taken, then the essence of the moksha stated by Advaita will become pretty clear.

Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha says:
j~nAtR^ij~neyashUnyasyApi j~nAnatvAN^gIkAre ko doshha? iti chet.h,vAchya, vaktR^i, vihInasya vachanasya; bhojya, bhoktR^i, vihInasyabhojanasya; gamya, gantR^i, vihInasya gamanAderapyaN^gIkArApAtAt.h "(In fact, according to the Mayavadins, in the state of Mukti, there is no knower, nor an object of knowledge, but mere knowledge. `But what is the objection to such a belief?'

-- they say. We reply: It is like this, that there is no subject matter of speech, nor a speaker, yet there is speech; or there is no eatable, nor an eater, and yet there is eating; there is no place to go, and there is no goer, yet there is going. All these absurdities will have to be admitted, if it be said that in Mukti there is no knower, nor an object of knowledge, but that there still is knowledge.)"

“There is no knower” doesn’t mean the KNOWER or SUBJECT of Self ceases to exist because sruthi is also against it. When we say there is no knower but Atman of the nature of CHIT or JNAANA or eternal knowledge alone exists is that there is no distinction in the Self at that time. The statement never means that there is no subject at all but only means that the Subject itself is of the nature of knowledge. It cannot be argued that “knowledge” being an action cannot be the same as the knower – because we all experience this very well in dream as well as in examples of “walking”.

Thus Knower or Subject alone exists who is of the nature of Consciousness or KNOWLEDGE in its absolute sense – the absolute sense means that knowledge which exists on its own & is purely knowledge alone – not requiring any other entity for its existence. Thus there is no absurdity in it.

For eg:- in the state of deep sleep, the knower is alone present of the nature of Knowledge – thus we can say that there is KNOWLEDGE alone (as the knowledge of one’s own existence is known after waking up). We say that there is no knower as such there because there is nothing to know over there. Only when objects are there, the subject gets its existence. Thus the Subject of KNOWER exists as KNOWLEDGE without any distinctions. This is not at all absurd but very much logical only.

JI don’t really know from where the Dvaitin got the explanation of Moksha as per Advaita as “Knowledge alone exists without knower”. Advaita says that when the triputi merges into the SAKSHI, that is the state of Moksha or realization wherein only the Self of the nature of CHIT or JNAANA exists – nothing else exists. Here the knower, knowledge and object of knowledge merge into the witness of this triputi.

Any action/transaction requires a witness which should not be involved in the action. Thus for the triputi which consists of Subject, Object and Action – there should be a witness which is not involved at all. This witness is what sruthi calls as Kutastha. Kutastha is the witness Consciousness that is unaffected by the activities it witnesses. The witness-hood itself is only an illusion when the main illusion of actions seem to exist. This witness has to be Conscious in nature else it cannot illumine other entities (the witness has to experience its own existence in order to illumine other existence). Thus the Kutastha Chaitanya is JNAANA or CHIT. JNAANA is not very loosely translated as KNOWLEDGE by acharyas. We will just see one sloka of Panchadashi where Vidyaranya explains JNAANA.

Siddham brahmani satyatvam jnaanatvam tu pureritam
Svayameva anubhootitvaat ithyaadi vachanaih sphutam

If SATYATVA or “Real” nature of Brahman is proved, then JNAANATVAM or Conscious nature has already been proved clearly by the statement “Svayam eva anubhootitvaat” (It experiences itself and doesn’t require any other illumination).

Since Brahman of Advaita is a real entity and not SHOONYA VASTHU, therefore JNAANA means “it experiences its own existence” and not that knowledge of TRIPUTI alone exists.

evaM cha Atmano nityaj~nAnasvarUpamastItyasya vAN^mAtratvenamoxeshUnyavAdimatAnmAyAvAdimatasyanakashchidvisheshha, itisthitam.h

Thus, also (as claimed earlier), as the claim that the Atman exists in the form of eternal knowledge is an empty utterance, it is concluded that there is no difference between the shUnyavAdI and the mAyAvAdI conceptions of moxa.

The concept of Moksha as per Advaita is pretty clear – the triputi vanishes and only the SAKSHI CHAITANYA exists as “self-existing knowledge or CHIT or JNAANA”. This has already been shown through vidyaranya’s statement. Thus it is wrong to say that “eternal knowledge” or “CHIT” or “JNAANA” is a mere “word” alone without any meaning & that this word is same as “shoonya” of shoonyavaadin.

As per Advaita, Moksha is “Brahma vid brahmaiva bhavathi” – he who knows Brahman becomes Brahman.

Again this can also be explained empirically from vidyaranya’s statement itself – Svaroopena sthithir mukthiritheeryathi – “staying in one’s own natural state is called MOKSHA” (Panchadashi 10.4). One’s own nature as per Advaita is “Sat CHIT ANANDA” and hence this Moksha is very much different from “shoonya”.

Thus there is difference between “shoonya” of shoonyavaadins and “Brahman” of Advaita in terms of Moksha.

At this, the opponent may object, saying that there are very significantand important differences between shUnyavAda and mAyAvAda in terms ofmeans and method of sAdhanA for the seeker. This issue is addressed thus:

nApi tatsAdhanavailaxaNyAditi dvitIyaH paxo yuktaH shUnyavAdibhiH shUnyAdvaitatsAxAtkArasyeva mAyAvAdibhirapibrahmAdvaitasAxAtkArasyaiva moxahetutvokteH

"Nor is there any difference between these two schools in their methods of Sadhana. The Sunyavadins say that the realization ofthe Sunya is the method of getting Mukti. The Mayavadins say therealization of Brahma-Advaita is the method of Mukti." Lacking differences in Brahman and shUnya, the methods of sAdhanAtherefore are not distinct.

We have already seen that Brahman and Shoonya are not one and the same but they are distinct. Since the goal is different, therefore “realization of the goal” is also different --- thus the means too are different only.

To once again emphasize, Advaita never really believes in SADHANA because “Moksha is realization of one’s own very nature of Brahman” – there is nothing really to achieve, but just to realize one’s own nature & that everything is Brahman alone (there is only Brahman and no duality at all). This is very important because as per Advaita, the path is not important but the path also is only an illusion itself --- reality alone is REAL and this REALITY has been veiled by ignorance (again an illusion), this ignorance has to be removed to remember/realize one’s own very nature – removal of ignorance is what is the goal of all sadhanas.

Thus “I am already THAT” but just have to realize it (as I seem to have forgot it).

nanu, astu tR^itIyaH paxaH mAyAvAdino hi `brahmaiva tattvam.h' iti bruvate shUnyavAdinastu shUnyameveti tathA cha na dvItIya- paxoktadoshhaH brahmasAxAtkArashUnyasAxAtkArayorvishhaya-vailaxyaNyAdevavailaxaNyasiddheH evaM cha kathaMtayoravisheshha, iti chet.h ? na shUnyavAdyabhimatashUnyAn.hmAyAvAdyabhimatabrahmaNo visheshhoktervyAhatatvAt.h kuta,ityata Aha -- `nirvisheshhatva', iti

"The objector may say, ``There is a third alternative. TheMayavadins say that Brahman alone is the Tattva or the substance,but the Sunyavadins do not believe in any substance. They say itis Sunya or Void, there is no substance. Therefore, there is adifference in the realization of a substance like Brahman, and inthe realization of a non-entity like Void or Sunyam. Thus theobjects sought by these two schools are different. One seeksBrahman, which is a substance; the other seeks Sunyam, which isno substance.'' To this, we reply:-- ``The Sunyam of theSunyavadin has no difference from the Brahman of the Mayavadin.''Why so? Because as the author says:
-- nirvisheshhatvAN^gIkArAt.h

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes. "The Mayavadins believe that Brahman has no attributes, and that,therefore, it is as good as a Sunyam or Void.''"

Brahman as per Advaita is nirvishesha or without attributes. This “without attributes” is because Brahman is UNLIMITED or ANANTHA. Anything which has an attribute is limited by the attribute. Let’s say the body has the attribute of “fatness”. This means the body is limited by “fat”. Any limited entity is not Brahman as any limited entity cannot give happiness (as per Sanatkumara’s statement to Narada in Chandogya that Na alpe sukham asthi and Taittiriya Statement of Satyam jnaanam anantham brahma). Thus Brahman cannot be unlimited. If Brahman is unlimited, then it cannot have any attributes.

It cannot be argued that unlimitedness means that “when attributes are present, fullness of the attribute” because such fullness will only lead to absence of the attribute. Let’s say it is said that Brahman is full in terms of space as it is all-pervasive. This means Brahman pervades space and is present everywhere. If Brahman is present everywhere, then from Brahman’s perspective, there is no space at all because space means “limited”. This will lead to “absence of space”. It also cannot be argued that this is only from Brahman’s perspective and not from jeeva’s perspective because since Brahman is considered as independent by Dvaitins, Brahman’s perspective is final. If there is no space as per Brahman’s perspective, then there will be no space as per Jeeva too.

Thus Advaita is well justified in accepting the correct definition of “unlimited” or ANANTHA and thereby concludes to say that Brahman is Nirvishesha. This has support from sruthi also which denies “all characteristics in Brahman” as Neti, Neti --- Avaakmanasagocharam etc.

By this, the commentator shows how a doubt arising from a statement can be resolved by another interpretation of the same statement. As seen below, he does this repeatedly. nanu mAbhUt.h brahmaNo nirvisheshhatvAchchhUnyAdvisheshhaHshUnyasya brahmaNo visheshhaH kiM na syAd.h ? iti mandAshaN^kAMapi apAkaroti -- `nirvisheshhatva', iti Even granting that there is no difference between Brahman and shUnya in terms of lack of attributes, since Brahman has no attributes, yet is it not possible that differences exist in other respects? To remove such a foolish doubt, also, it is said, `nirvisheshha', thus.

Brahman as per Advaita is nirvishesha or without attributes. This “without attributes” is because Brahman is UNLIMITED or ANANTHA. Anything which has an attribute is limited by the attribute. Let’s say the body has the attribute of “fatness”. This means the body is limited by “fat”. Any limited entity is not Brahman as any limited entity cannot give happiness (as per Sanatkumara’s statement to Narada in Chandogya that Na alpe sukham asthi and Taittiriya Statement of Satyam jnaanam anantham brahma). Thus Brahman cannot be unlimited. If Brahman is unlimited, then it cannot have any attributes.

It cannot be argued that unlimitedness means that “when attributes are present, fullness of the attribute” because such fullness will only lead to absence of the attribute. Let’s say it is said that Brahman is full in terms of space as it is all-pervasive. This means Brahman pervades space and is present everywhere. If Brahman is present everywhere, then from Brahman’s perspective, there is no space at all because space means “limited”. This will lead to “absence of space”. It also cannot be argued that this is only from Brahman’s perspective and not from jeeva’s perspective because since Brahman is considered as independent by Dvaitins, Brahman’s perspective is final. If there is no space as per Brahman’s perspective, then there will be no space as per Jeeva too.

Thus Advaita is well justified in accepting the correct definition of “unlimited” or ANANTHA and thereby concludes to say that Brahman is Nirvishesha. This has support from sruthi also which denies “all characteristics in Brahman” as Neti, Neti --- Avaakmanasagocharam etc.

By this, the commentator shows how a doubt arising from a statement can be resolved by another interpretation of the same statement. As seen below, he does this repeatedly. nanu mAbhUt.h brahmaNo nirvisheshhatvAchchhUnyAdvisheshhaHshUnyasya brahmaNo visheshhaH kiM na syAd.h ? iti mandAshaN^kAMapi apAkaroti -- `nirvisheshhatva', iti Even granting that there is no difference between Brahman and shUnya in terms of lack of attributes, since Brahman has no attributes, yet is it not possible that differences exist in other respects? To remove such a foolish doubt, also, it is said, `nirvisheshha', thus.

Brahman as per Advaita, even though is nirvishesha, but still is an existent entity. IT has “SVAROOPA” or nature which is different from attribute. This nature is very well mentioned as SAT CHIT ANANDA ANANTHA in sruthi and puraanas. These are the very nature of Brahman even as burning is the nature of fire – these are not attributes but very nature of Brahman. IT again cannot be argued that “these different terms” mean duality as one term expects the other term and thus these words denote AKHANDA or non-divisible entity of Brahman. A detailed analysis of this can be found in Panchadashi, Sarvajnaatman’s Sanskhepa Sareeraka as well as Advaita Makaranda of Lakshmidhara (in the commentary of Svayam prakaasha yathi, these are made clear where he quotes from sanskhepa sareeraka).

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

shUnyasya shUnyavAdinA.api, iti sheshhaH nirvisheshhaMsvayaM bhAtaM, ityAdi tadvachanAt.h kiM cha yaddhi yatovyAvartate tattdvyAvartakadharmayogenaiva tatovyAvR^ittaM dR^ishhTaM, yathA ghaTapaTaH
"There is no difference between the Sunyavadin and the Mayavadin, for the Sunyavadins also admit that their Sunya has no attributes, like the Brahman of the Mayavadins. For they say their Sunyam is Nirvisesam. Thus Sunyam and Brahman might be different, if there had been any differentiating attributes. A pot is different from a cloth, because of their possessing different attributes.

na cha brahmashUnyayoH kashchidvyAvartakadharmo.asti kuta, ityata Aha, `nirvisheshha', iti nirvisheshhatvAN^gIkArAt.h
Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

kiM cha na tAvadbrahmaNaH shUnyAdvisheshho viruddhalaxhayogAd.h,iti vaktuM yuktam.h "But Brahman and Sunyam cannot be different from each other, because Brahman has no attributes and the Sunyam also has no attributes; since both have no attributes, there can be nothing to distinguish them. Therefore, both are identical."

We have to remember that any entity which is relative is temporary and limited. Any limited entity is only an illusion & not Brahman. Unlimited-ness can come only for absolute entity where there is no duality whatsoever. Brahman also is mentioned as Neha nana asthi kinchana – there is no duality at all --- therefore Brahman alone is absolute. Relative is only an illusion seen in the absolute. Thus absolute is adviteeya Brahman alone.

It cannot be argued for the above statement of Neha nana asthi kinchana that “here duality is negated only in Brahman as Sankara’s bhashya too takes the meaning of IHA as HERE or IN BRAHMAN”, because of the usage of the word “KINCHANA” or WHATSOEVER. Since duality is completely negated in BRAHMAN, this means that all the three bhedhas of svagatha or internal, sajaatheeya or similar entities and vijaatheeya or among different species are negated in Brahman --- thus this also leads to ADVAITA alone.

From the paaramarthika view point, there is nothing other than Brahman to even speak about. Thus everything is only at the empirical viewpoint. From empirical viewpoint, Brahman doesn’t have any attribute but still its nature is SAT, CHIT and ANANDA.

These words are really important and we have to understand them properly in order to avoid confusions and wrong notions. SAT is mentioned to show that Brahman is ever present and not like shoonya. The reality or absolute has to be existent beyond time which is indicated by the word SAT. This is as per Lord’s statement that “Na abhaavah vidhyathe satah” or there is no cessation of existence for SAT. We never experience our own non-existence or absence and hence the reality of Brahman which is our own very nature is SAT or EXISTENT.

Since Brahman is absolute, it has to experience its own existence and that entity which illumines its own existence is called CHIT or Consciousness. CHIT means that Brahman has sphurana or experiences its own existence without any other light.

ANANDA is mentioned to show that Brahman is not sorrowful and limited but unlimited as unlimited entity alone gives SUKHAM (na alpe sukham asthi – yo vai bhooma tat sukham – there is no happiness in limited but that which is unlimited alone is SUKHAM – thus says Sanatkumara to Narada in Chandogya).

These three entities cannot remain without one another. SAT means it is unlimited and existent – SAT can exist only when it experiences its own existence – thus SAT is CHIT also. If SAT is unlimited, it is ANANDA and ANANTHA too. Thus one entity is mentioned or pointed out as SAT CHIT ANANDA. Since these are not the attributes of Brahman but the very nature of Brahman, it doesn’t affect the “nirvisheshatva” of Brahman.

We have to clearly understand that “nirvisheshatva” comes only when there are visheshaas to be negated or denied. Thus this definition is also only temporary from the empirical view point. From the absolute stand point of Brahman, there is no vishesha so that Brahman has to be termed as “nirvishesha”.

sa kIM jagatkAraNatvAdirUpataTasthalaxaNayogo vA satyatvaj~nAnatvAdilaxaNayogo vA ? nAdyaH mAyAvAdibhiH shuddhabrahmaNo jagat.hkAraNatvAdyanaN^gIkArAt.h kuta, ityata Aha -- `nirvisheshhatva', iti aj~nAnopahitasya jagatkAraNatvAN^gIkArastu shUnyavAdo.api samaH; samvR^itiyogena shUnyasyApi shUnyavAdibhirjagatkAraNatva aN^gIkArAt.h yathA.ahuH shUnyavAdinaH, `vishvAkAraM samvR^ittyA yasya tatpadamaxayam.h', iti yathoktamanuvyAkhyAne, `na hi laxaNabhedo.asti nirvisheshhatva tastayoH' iti
"If you say, there is difference in the attributes of Brahman andSunyam, then we ask, where is that difference? If you say Brahman has the attribute of creating, preserving, and destroying the universe, and that Sunyam has no such attribute, to this theauthor replies again in the same words:"

Here the Dvaitin is understanding wrongly or misinterpreting Advaita. Brahman has no attributes as per Advaita but only SVAROOPA. SVAROOPA is different from attributes in that attributes are temporary and remain in an entity only for a particular time period whereas SVAROOPA is that which is ever present and non-removable or indifferent from the entity. Example of svaroopa is “burning power of fire” which is always present in fire. A detailed analysis of this can be had from Satya Darshanam of Hariram.

Advaita says that creating, preserving and destroying is the attribute of Brahman only temporarily. This is only the THATASTHA LAKSHANA of Brahman and not SVAROOPA of Brahman. Thus these are not svaroopa of Nirvishesha Brahman but just temporary definition of Brahman for explaining it or pointing it to the seeker.


Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.
"According to you, Mayavadin, Brahman does not create, etc., really. (It is only an imaginary creation. The Suddha Brahman is not the cause of creation, for you say it is Ignorance, supervening on Brahman, which is the cause of creation of the universe. In this respect also there is no difference between the the Sunyavada and the Mayavada. For the Sunyavadins say that it is due to the supervening of Samvriti on Sunyam that there is creation, as in the following line, `vishvAkAraM cha samvR^ityA yasya tat.h padaM axayam.h'."

As per Advaita, there is no “real creation” at all happening. There is not even “imaginary creation” as such a creation also cannot withstand logic. Thus Advaita believes only in “no creation” or AJAATHI VAADA but takes resort to VIVARTHA VAADA wherein the world is said to be apparent transformation of Brahman (even as rope seems to be transformed into snake – no real transformation happens) for explaining it to the initial seeker who will not be able to apprehend the reality that “there is no world at all created”. This in itself is a very big difference from shoonyavaada and advaita.

Also, as per Advaita, the world has an existence for the temporary time period. IT is given a temporary reality status and not said as “completely ideas only” like Shoonyavaada. This is another very big difference as Shoonyavaada says that there is no external world apart from ideas – they deny even temporary reality for the world whereas Advaita gives reality status to the world but a temporary one. Finally, Advaita believes in Ajaathi vaada or “no creation theory” which also is different from the creation concept of Shoonyavaada.

As stated in the anu-vyAkhyAna, "In fact, there are no distinguishing marks between Sunyam and Brahman."

As already proved, there are many-many differences between shoonya and Brahman but it is only lack of open-mindedness of the dvaitin which causes him to outright reject Advaita by claiming that Advaita and shoonya are same only.

If only the dvaitin had shown at least some interest and open-heartedly followed the sadhanas of Advaita before questioning it, he would have easily realized the ultimate reality beyond doubt.

na dvitIyaH mAyAvAdibhirbrahmaNaH paramArthataH satyatvAdianaN^gIkArAt.h kuta, ityata Aha, `nirvisheshha', iti
The second case (where, unlike the shUnya+samvR^iti, Brahman creates a real universe because of His own potency, thus showing a difference from the shUnyavAdI) is also not applicable. Because the mAyAvAdI does not accept the reality of the Brahman's attributes (like the ability to Create, etc.). Why? To this the following answer is given, `nirvisheshha', thus.

Because [the Brahman] is accepted to be without attributes.

Shoonyavadins say that it is out of shoonya and ideas that world is created but Advaita says that Brahman creates the world out of its potency or the power of Maya. Here the dvaitin attacks by telling that the power of creation or Maya itself is not accepted really in Brahman thus there is no difference between shoonyavadins creation and advaita’s creation. This is wrong because Advaita never really denies the world at the empirical level, it is only at the ultimate level that advaita accepts “no-creation” and “no real Maya” theory. At the empirical level, Advaita does accept Maya but just gives it a temporary status. The world is also given a temporary status. Thus temporary Maya creates temporary world – there is illogicality here and this is equally valid from Advaita viewpoint as both have temporary status only. Since both have temporary status, we can very well eliminate and say that “Maya creates the world”. This is very much different from shoonyavaada where “shoonya creates the world”. Maya as per Advaita is indescribable but is distinct from both real and unreal (Anirvachaneeya) but shoonya is “unreal”. Thus there is difference between both concepts and what the dvaitin argues is wrong.

Even though Brahman is nirvishesha but still it can seem to be savishesha from the empirical view point. This is like a dumb person speaking in dream which is very much logical. Nirvisheshatva is not just removing all attributes but removal or negation of attributes from paaramarthika level. When that world which itself is not there is mentioned, then itself it is empirical level where all attributes are accepted in Brahman (but given a temporary or illusory status). This Brahman which is enjoined or has attributes of creation etc. is called Saguna Brahman or Ishwara whereas Nirguna or Nirvishesha Brahman is just the witness of this activity of “creation” etc. In this way also there is no fault in such a view.

Thus either we can give the Maya or world a “temporary” status or we can consider these attributes of “creation” etc. in Saguna Brahman --- both ways there is no fault in Advaita or Nirvishesha Brahman as it is the SAKSHI or witness in both these cases (the SAKSHITVA is not real but also illusory attribute depending on the illusory objects which it witnesses – this SAKSHI is called KUTASTHA in Advaita to distinguish it from Nirvishesha Brahman which never can become “witness” but seems to be the witness as Kutastha).

Next, the dvaitin attacks Sat, Chit and Ananda of Brahman by putting forth that these are attributes of Brahman – we have already discussed that these are not attributes but the very nature of Brahman. We will see into the dvaitin’s argument and the response to it (in detail if possible as this is a very important concept – we have already dealt this while replying to Koushik’s mail but still will try to repeat or recollect again on the same) in the next mail. We will try to answer the dvaitin’s arguments in the next couple of mails which will take us to the end of Shrisha Rao’s mail – then we will see in one or two mails a comparison of Shoonyavaada and Advaita as well as where do the other schools of Vedanta go wrong in analyzing Advaita).

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - 7

Humble prostrations to all.

Let’s now try to analyze the 4th mail of Shrisha Rao (we have still one more to go after this). Since there was some work and other worldly things, it took a little long to come up with this 7th part of the series. Instead of analyzing one mail of Shrisha in different mails, we are going to discuss the 7th mail of Shrisha Rao in a single mail itself.

... continued from previous part.
Previously, it was claimed that there is no difference between the shUnya of the shUnyavAdI, and the Atman of the mAyAvAdI, since even the shUnya is a positive entity, a `bhAva-padArtha', according to the shUnyavAdI statement, `tad.h bhAvaM yoginaM nayet.h'. Thus, claiming that the shUnya is a "void" -- an absence or an `abhAva-padArtha', does not hold good, and does not show difference from the Atman, which is also a bhAva-padArtha.

We cannot really take the word of the Dvaitin over here – we have to go back and try to find out what Nagarjuna and others speak about the reality. And currently, since Sureshwara, Sri Harsha, Chitsukha, Vidyaranya and all criticize the shoonyavaada school for not asserting the bhaava padaartha of Brahman or Existence, we can take surely it for granted that by shoonya is meant a non-existent entity. Again abhaava is with respect to a bhaava padaartha, but here we have just non-existence (it is not with respect to any thing – for example avidya can be said to be abhaava of vidhya – but here it is not the case).

Also we have already discussed that Nagarjuna was well-versed in sanskrit and such a person will never use a word such as “shoonya” which can cause misconception and confusion but if the reality as per him was an existent entity, then the last word which he would put to explain the reality is SHOONYA (last word in the sense, if no other word is got by him for the same).

Thus there is difference between Atman which is SAD and Shoonya which is NON-EXISTENT.

There is not also a difference in qualities, for by the mere assertion that the Atman exists in the form of eternal knowledge in moksha, there is not the least difference shown between shUnyavAda and mAyAvAda:

na cha nityaj~nAnasvarUpamastItivachanena kashchidvisheshhaH

The reason for this is that such "knowledge" cannot really exist, given the lack of a subject for that knowledge:
j~neyAbhAve j~nAnasyApyabhAvAt.h

We have already discussed that Self or Atman is Self-luminous and in which the differentiation between knower and knowledge vanishes. But this in no way proves that the Self cannot be of the nature of Knowledge. Also the Self is of the nature of Consciousness which is equivalent to knowledge. And Consciousness exists even when there are no objects to illumine. And this we have already proved and the state of deep sleep clearly proves. Also a person always “knows” himself – this means he has knowledge about himself. This means he is both the knower as well as the knowledge – but still there is no object of knowledge. We cannot accept here that the Self is the object also as he is known because here there is no differentiation between “knower” and “knowledge” so as for the Self to become an object of knowledge. That the Self is both knower and knowledge is just mentioned to answer criticisms that it is a non-existent entity and that knowledge can exist without any object of knowledge. Thus “knowledge” can really exist without a separate “knower” because the Self which is of the nature of knowledge doesn’t require any other knower than itself to “know about its own existence”.

To conclude the Self is of the nature of knowledge and doesn’t require any other Subject than itself for existing. Thus the objection is invalid.

However, why not accept that while in the world there may not be such knowledge-without-subject, in the condition of moksha such is possible? Because there is not the least proof that anything by name of "knowledge" itself exists anywhere without a subject for it:

na hi j~neyarahitaM j~nAnaM nAma asti iti kiJNchinmAnam.h
At this, it is possible for the objector to say: in the non-dual state, there is not *another* subject of knowledge, but this does not exclude the Atman itself as its own subject of knowledge. Thus, the above flaws do not apply –

Whatever we have discussed above is being put forth as an objection – but here only the state of moksha is accepted and not normal state. In the normal state itself this is valid that the Self is of the nature of knowledge and still knower also (without any object of knowledge).

To this, our author responds:
na cha svavishhayaM taditi teshhAM paxaH ? tadA kartR^ikarmavirodhaApatIti hi teshhAM vachanam.h ? na cha jAnAtItyAdikartR^itvaM j~nAnasya tairaN^gIkriyate ? nirvisheshhatvAN^gIkArAt.h

[However] it is not accepted by them that that [knowledge] is with itself (i.e., the Atman) for its subject? For then, "confounding of actor and action would result," thus indeed is their statement? And they also do not accept that actions such as "knowing" are possible in respect of the knowledge [of the Atman]? Because it is accepted [by them] that the Atman is without attributes.

Mainly two things are being criticized here:

1. The Self even though being “knowledge” in nature has itself as the subject meaning that Atman or Self is both knowledge and knower. As it is both knowledge and knower, there is actor and action present which is a clear indication of duality.
2. Actions such as “knowing” is not possible for the Self because it is nirvishesha or without any attributes

As we already discussed earlier, the Self is the knower of itself as knowledge. This is contradictory because the Self then becomes an object. And since it is an object of knowledge, it has some qualities based on which it is known. Thus the Self becomes saguna (with qualities) and savishesha (with attributes) which is not accepted by Advaita. --- This is what the second argument of the Dvaitin is.

The first argument is:
Since the Self is both knowledge and knower, there is an actor which is knower here & action which is “knowledge” or knowing. Any action has duality in it – since there is duality present, thus the Self is not non-dual as the Advaitin states. Thus Advaita fails.
The above two points are being explained in detailed in the below paragraph (of Shrisha Rao) which I think would be too much to discuss and some points too subtle and highly logical – hence we will not enter into the discussion of the below paragraph but try to answer the two points mentioned above.


1.When we say that the Self is the knower of its own very nature of knowledge, we only mean that “it doesn’t require any other knower as such” – it is only meant to show that the Self is self-luminous and doesn’t require any other illumination but exists of its own. And as we all experience this very clearly that “I know myself”, therefore action and actor in a single entity is very much possible and not illogical. Since it is possible in a single entity itself, there is no duality also. And also since this “knowing oneself” is intuitive and we cannot clearly demark it as “knowledge” and “knower”, therefore there are no inner parts also for the Self. The Self being the knower and knowledge is only a kind of explaining the reality that Self is self-existing and exists of its own without being non-existent like the horns of a hare.

2.As explained above, there is no “knowing” in its normal usage of the self – it is only an intuitive experience which says that “I-exist as I know am there” – this experience is not similar to the knowing of objects in the world. This is what we call as Aparoksha anubhava or intuitive and direct experience. Since this knowing exists by itself and doesn’t require any karana or instruments as such, there is no fault of the object of Self being with attributes. Only in the case of external knowing of objects, does attributes come into picture. Since Self is of the nature of knowledge and knows itself (intuitively and this differentiation of knowing itself cannot really be split from the knowledge nature of the Self), it is self-luminous and knows “itself” – there is no fault in such a statement which is only a statement from the empirical viewpoint. From the ultimate viewpoint, there is nothing even to speak about. We have to remember here that Self is not “known” in its generic sense as external objects but as self-luminous and intuitive experience of oneself. Only in cases of perception of external objects, attributes has to be accepted – when this knowing is directed towards the knower, there is no attribute present but only the merging or destruction of the difference of knowing and knower or Jnaana and Jnaatra (Jnaatha). Thus, even though “knowing” in its generic meaning of external objects is not possible for the Self but knowing it as one’s own very nature (through intuition or direct experience) is very much possible even though it has no attributes.

Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha explains the above as follows: dvitIyaM dUshhayati -- `na cha' iti yadyapi asmanmate AtmarUpaM j~nAnaM svavishhayakaM AtmanaH svaprakAshatvAN^gIkArAt.h tathA.api teshhAM mAyAvAdinAM paxo na bhavati nachaivaMAtmanastanmate svaprakAshatvAN^gIkAravirodhaH aparaprakAshyatvaMsvaprakAshatvamiti parasiddhAntAditi bhAvaH AtmasvarUpaMj~nAnaM svavishhayaM iti teshhAM paxo na bhavati, iti kuto j~nAyata? ityata Aha -- `tad.h' iti yadi AtmasvarUpabhUtaM j~nAnaM svavishhayaM syAt.h, tadaj~nAnasyaiva kartR^itvaM karmatvaM cha aN^gIkartavyaM syAt.h ? vishhayIkaraNalaxaNavyApAraM pratij~nAnasya kartR^itvAt.h, anyathAj~nAnaM svAtmAnaM vishhayIkarotIti na syAt.h ? na chaikasyAM kriyAyAM ekasyaivakartR^itvaM karmatvaM cha yuktaM, virodhAt.h parasamavetakriyAjanyaphalashAlitvasya karmalaxaNatvAditi bhAvaH evamAtmasvarUpasya vishhayashUnyatvena j~nAnatvAbhAvamupapAdyedAnIM j~nAtrabhAvAdapitannaj~nAnamityAha, `na cha', iti AtmasvarUpabhUtaj~nAnaM prati natAvadanyaH kartA asti, tadabhAvAt.h ata AtmasvarUpaj~nAnamevasvaMpratikartriti vaktavyam.h tatredaM dUshhaNam.h Adipadena anubhavatItyAder- grahaNam.h j~nAnasyAtmasvarUpasya kuta etajj~nAyata iti chet.h ? j~nAnarUpakriyAM prati AtmarUpaj~nAnasya kartR^itvAN^gIkAre AtmarUpaj~nAnaM svAshraya ityuktaM syAt.h ? dhAtvarthAshrayasyaiva kartR^itvAt.h na cha tadyujyata, ityAha

-- `nirvisheshhatva' iti The second case (see last part for the first) is refuted, `na cha', thus. Although in our doctrine, it is accepted that theknowledge is the form of the Atman, which has itself as its subject, and illumines the Atman, this is not so in their, Mayavadins, doctrine. This is also not opposed to the acceptance in their doctrine of the self-luminosity of the Atman. For it is held by them that others are illuminated, and the Self is the luminous, thus.

However, how is it known that the knowledge of the self-same-nature of the Atman is not with itself as its subject?

-- to answer this, it is stated, `tad.h', thus. If the knowledge which is the nature of the Atman were to have itself for its subject, then would it not be that ignorance alone is created, and is the product of work? Since knowledge (which is the same as the Atman) would then have the role of actor, would it also not follow that it performs the action of experiencing itself? It is not proper for there to be, in the same action, the role of actor, and action-ness, all in one, because this is opposed to the notion of action. As it is understood that action refers to that which is caused on account of different entities coalescing to produce results. Then, too, having stated that there can be no knowledge in the absence of a subject for the same, there also cannot be knowledge, for lack of a knower -- to show this it is said, `na cha', thus: in case of the knowledge of the nature of Atman, there is no other actor possible, there being the lack of the same (in the non-dual state). Thus, in case of the knowledge of the nature of Atman, that itself is the actor, so must be stated. For such a claim, this is the refutation: by the word `Adi', "experiences," etc., are shown. How is this known in respect of the knowledge which is the nature of the Atman, so sayyou? It would follow, if the agency of the Atman over the actionwhich is knowledge, is acknowledged, then the would the Atman notbe considered specialized? (For having the agency over the action of the knowledge of itself.) This also cannot be accepted, to show this, it is stated, `nirvisheshhatva', thus (that no attributes or qualities whatever are accepted of the Atman by mAyAvAdI-s).
Therefore, it follows, as a consequence, that the Atman cannot even have itself as the subject of its knowledge, and cannot have anything that would be meaningfully described as "knowledge," period. Thus, there is no difference shown from the shUnya by the mere statement that the Atman exists in the form of eternal knowledge in moxa: it is only an empty statement, such as could be made of an inert object such as a pot as well.

The above things have been considered in general and convincingly answered – since the above paragraphs are too much logical in nature, we will not enter into it as such except for the general discussion of the two points which has been mentioned above and answered.

The idea that ignorance is a product of work conflicts with the claim thatit is anAdi -- uncreated and existing since beginningless time. If, tododge this problem, the opponent claims that neither ignorance norknowledge are created, but are innate, then that position would beunsupported by evidence, would also involve simultaneous acceptance oflogical opposites, and would also give scope to the vexed question of howsuch a state of affairs could possibly be changed for the better. Forthese reasons it is not explicitly refuted by the illustrious commentator.

Ignorance is never a product of work but ignorance is very much increased by work. This we know very well because work is caused out of desire and desire out of ignorance of one’s own perfection. The more work is done, the more desire is created in the mind which means more and more ignorance is caused. Thus ignorance is increased through work.

The objection raised here by the opponent is that if work produces ignorance, then it will be against the theory of Advaita that Avidya or ignorance is anaadi (Chitsukha says in Chitsukhi that Anaadi bhaava roopam yad vijnaanena vileeyathe about Avidya – Avidya is without beginning, distinct from non-existent or not abhaava and it is sublated by knowledge).

But there is no fault at all in our view because we don’t say that by work, ignorance is produced but only that through work, ignorance is increased. An increase in any entity is never production of the entity as a new one. Also this explanation of ignorance increasing is only at the empirical level for the ignorant seeker who really seeks answer, because avidya is anirvachaneeya or cannot really be predicted as it is only an illusion. We can just guess that it will increase because the more a person does work, the more he losses happiness by creation of more desires – this means his ignorance is increasing – the intent of ignorance or degree of ignorance is being increased.

Thus there is no real substance in the objection as we never say avidya is caused by work but only that avidya is increased by work (there might be some objections to this also which we will see in the next mail on this series).

... to be continued.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God