Sunday, May 21, 2006

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


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