Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - 3

Humble prostrations to all.

Last posting on the same ended with the below statement

“About experiences of joy and suffering as illusory, will be taken up in the next posting on the same.”

Let’s analyze joy and suffering in life. It is very simple indeed to prove that it is illusory. Taking the example of dream, everybody very well knows that the joy and suffering in DREAM is only an illusion – yes, the dvaitin might say that they are real and twist sruthi statements to suit the same & also give various anumaana tarkas to prove the same – but one’s own experience goes against it (perceptual experience). Since dvaita accepts pratyaksha as much as sruthi, therefore here we can take pratyaksha to be valid and interpret the various sruthis in the proper way to get to the conclusion that “dream is an illusion & therefore joy and suffering in dream are only an illusion”. Advaita never says to neglect pratyaksha or anubhava – it only tells a person not to completely believe it as anubhava can be mithyaa or bhrama also as we all very well know the case of snake seen in rope & water seen in desert. It is interesting to note here that the very famous Bhamathi in clear terms mentions in Adhyaasa Bhashya (introductory commentary of Sankara on BSB) part itself that “hundreds of sruthi cannot change a pot to a cloth” – thus vasthu ever remains a vasthu even though the SEER is unaware of the VASTHU. Similarly illusion remains an illusion whether a person knows it or not.

Ok, so we have concluded successfully that joy and suffering in dream is only an illusion. Now, the waking world is also considered as similar to dream world as both the experiences are very much similar and there are sruthi statements which clearly negate the world after realization. Sankara gives an anumaana or inference to prove that the world which one currently perceives is an illusion.

The world is an illusion, since it is perceived, like dream world.

The dream world is an illusion which we have already proved – now the waking world is similar as the dream world because both are SEEN or perceived. Thus waking world is also an illusion. Anything SEEN is not a real VASTHU because it changes & anything changing is not eternal and only temporary. Anything temporary was not present yesterday and will not be present tomorrow. Thus it only seems to exist today & it’s logical to conclude that “today also it never really exists as if it really exists, it should never vanish”. Any sruthi clearly mentions in various places that the SELF is never seen or perceived.

Where words and thoughts don’t reach, that is the Self

That which is not reached or thought about by the sense organs and non-perceived by the mind also.

Yad vaacha anabhyuditam yena vaad abhyudathe
TAdeva brahma tvam viddhi na idam yad idam upaaasathe – says Talavakara Upanishad (Kena Upanishad which forms a part of Talavakara Brahmana)
That which is not explained through words since it itself is that which gives word the power of speaking – know that alone to be BRAHMAN and not that which is mentioned to be worshipped as “THIS” (here we can clearly say that Saguna and Savishesha is clearly negated by the sruthi and even condemned).

The above sloka is repeated some 6-7 times in kena Upanishad with mind, eyes, ears, praana etc.

Thus the SELF is the only object in the world which is never an object of perception or through any other pramaanas – the Self is never experienced as an object because it is the changeless Subject (which is only a witness to the relation of Subject-Object) which illumines the entire realm of objects.

Thus we have proved now that the waking world is also an illusion like dream world. Since waking world is an illusion, joy and suffering should also be an illusion only.

Also the same logic of “being temporary” can be used to show that joy and suffering are illusory only.
“If they are illusory, then why does a person experience it & they are real because sruthi also mentions them”

Those sruthi statements are also negated by the other above sruthi statements from which it can be deduced that there is no joy and suffering really for the individual.

This is also mentioned by Sri Krishna in many places in Gita where he says the Self or jeeva is not at all affected (in the 13th chapter) by things in the world or emotions.

Shankara reads `asatyamapratishhThaM te' in his gItAbhAshhya as referring to the chArvAka doctrine (`lokAyatadR^ishhTiH iyam.h') but this is a red herring; that the materialists could not possibly be the referents of the criticism there is known from the very first adjective applied: `asatyaM ... te AhuH jagat.h' -- the materialists have a very robust belief in the reality of the world, thank you very much, although they could plausibly stand accused of many other sins. Thus, they are not the ones criticized for saying that the world is `asatyam.h'.

Here Sankara’s bhashya as well as the gita sloka is not properly understood. As also the stand of Advaita against other schools is also not understood. The sloka has two words in the beginning which if clearly understood, then the fault or accusation against Advaita will not be made. ASATYAM APRATHISTAM – Asatyam means it is unreal as the opponent states. But the second word clearly says what ASATYAM really means, APRATHISTAM means baseless and hence the next few words say that there is no God for the world. The materialists don’t really accept anything real about the world also as their only reality consists in body and its pleasures (this is what this limited intellect has understood about them). And thus Sankara is not wrong. And again the second word of “baseless” and “aneeshwaram or godless” is completely against Advaita which accepts a base for the world as well as an abhinna nimitta upaadana for the world (creator-controller-destroyer). Thus it is wrong to allege Advaita over here. Also Advaita never says that the world is unreal (from the empirical view). It only says that the world cannot be real from paramarthika level. At empirical level, Advaita clearly accepts the world as well as various activities in the world as is clearly seen in Sankara’s activities on Earth and his various works.

Anandagiri in his sub-commentary on this sloka clearly says that this is for those who consider the prakrithi as existing apart from Brahman and independent (this cannot be Sankhya as they don’t accept Prakrithi alone but accept Purusha as well which is separate from body). Thus using Parishishta Nyaaya, this statement can be meant against MATERIALISTS alone.

Thus the objection here that this statement is directed towards Advaita is wrong.

At this point Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha presents an objector's position asfollows:

nanu yadyapi idAnIM sukhAdikaM mithyA ityanubhavo nAsti, tathApi uttaratraitat.h sukhAdijagannAsInnAstinabhavishhyatItyanubhavo vedAntajanyashcharamasAxAtkArarUpo bhavishhyati tenaiva jagato bAdhyatvarUpamithyAtvasiddhiH na cha shrutyAdivirodhaH vyAvahArikasatvaparatvAttasya pratyaxaM tu vartamAnamAtragrAhi- trikAlabAdhAbhAvagrAhakaMneti natadvirodho.api tathA cha kathaM jaganmithyAtvemAnAbhAvastadvirodhashcha? -- ityata Aha, `na cha' iti Transl. by S.C. Vasu

(wherever used hereafter, presented in quotes): "Admitting that in our present state of existence there is no perception of the unlreality of pleasure and pain, yet in some future condition there will arise the realization that pleasure and pain are unreal, and that the world never was, nor is, nor will exist in future; and that this is the highest teaching of Vedanta, and it is perceived as a direct intuition when that stage of evolution is reached. This experience of Vedanta realization is a proof in favor of the unlreality of the world. Nor does this experience contradict those sacred texts which maintain that the world is real. Those texts refer to the reality of the world in vyAvahArika sattA only, namely, they apply to the ordinary unillumined condition of mankind. The real truth is that the world is unreal.

To this, the author says:
" nachaitannA.asIdastItyanubhavaH kadAchid.h bhavishhyatItyatra kiJNchinmAnam.h "There is no proof that anybody has ever experienced or will ever experience in some future condition that the world is unreal, and that it neither was in the past, nor exists in the present, nor will come into non-existence in future. (No one has had any such experience, nor is there any proof that such an experience is possible in future.)"

This is what is called ARROGANCE – when great Mahatmas like Sankara, AMMA and others very clearly say that they experience that there is no world as well as Sanatkumara in Chandogya and Yajnavalkya in Brihadaranyaka clearly mention this – but still if people don’t agree, the only reason could be “I don’t want to accept it and I will not accept it at any cost”!!!

There has been experience and any person can experience it that the world never really exists. Also, there is more than sufficient proof given by Gaudapada and Yoga Vasistha clearly mention about unreality of the world. What is the reason “Adau anthe cha yat na asthi varthamaane api tat tadaa” – that which is not present in the beginning and at the end, it is not present in the middle too. Isn’t this proof enough through logic???? Haven’t we seen a baby in the form of body getting formed, seeming to exist & then dying off – can we give any proof of such a body’s existence currently (we cannot – and never can we give proof for the same).

Thus logic itself is enough to prove that the world doesn’t exist really.

Once again, Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha presents an objector's perspective:

yaduktaM jaganmithyAtvaM `vaidharmyAchcha na svapnAdivat.h' iti sUtraviruddhaM iti, tadayuktam.h sUtrehi prapaJNchasya svapnAdivaidharmyamuchyate tachchaprapaJNchasya kiJNchitkAla sthiratvenaiva svApnapadArthasyAshutaravinAshitvAt.h kiJNchit.h kAla sthiratvamAtraM charasmAbhirapi prapaJNchasyAN^gIkriyate tasya shUnyavAdyaN^gIkR^itAtyantAsatvavirodhitve.api asamad.h abhimatamithyAtvAvirodhitvAdityata Aha
--"The Sutra of Badarayana II.2.29, quoted by you, is wrongly applied by you. In that Sutra, the world as it exists is shown to be real, in the sense that it has a *temporary* reality, and does not vanish so quickly as a dream-world. Therefore, that Sutra says this world has not the characteristics of the dream-world. But all the same, it is unreal, for it vanishes after some time. Moreover, that Sutra is a refutation of the Doctrine of the Madhyamikas or the Sunyavadins or nihilists, who maintain that everything is void and nothing whatever is real. It is not a Sutra directed against the Advaitins or Mayavadins. The Commentator, therefore, shows that there is no difference between the Sunyavadins and the Mayavadins in this respect: --

"kiJNchitkAlasthiratvamAtrasya shUnyavAdinAmapi siddhatvAd.h`vaidharmyAchcha na svapnAdivat.h' ityAdivachanaM vyarthaM syAt.h ?
Because the quality of being present *for some time only* is also accepted by the shUnyavAdins, the statement `vaidharmyAt.h cha na svapnAdivat.h' would become worthless.

Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha explains this as follows:
yadyatra sUtre kiJNchitkAlasthiratvamAtreNa prapaJNchasya svapnAdivaidharmyamuchyate tadAtatsUtraMshUnyavAdinirAkaraNaparaM na syAt.h ? -- kiJNchitkAlasthiratvamAtreNasvapnAdivaidharmyasya shUnyavAdinAmapi siddhatvAt.h tathA cha tatsUtraM vyarthaM syAdityarthaH etena prapaJNchasyavyAvahArikasatvena svapnAdi vaidharmyoktirityapinirastam.h vyAvahArikasatvasya etenApi aN^gIkriyamANatvAt.h yathoktaM shUnyavAdinA --
`sattvaM tu dvividhaM proktaM sAMvR^itaM pAramArthikam.h sAMvR^itaM vyavahAryaM syAt.h nivR^ittau pAramArthikam.h '-- iti

"(If you say that we, Mayavadins, believe that the world has permanency for some little time, then we reply) that the Sunyavadins also believe that for a _momentary_ period, the world has some permanency, and that the Sutra II.2.29 equally refutes the Mayavada as well as Sunyavada, otherwise that Sutra would become redundant. For, if that Sutra II.2.29, meant to say that the waking-world differs from the dream-world in having a temporary reality, while the dream-world has not even that temporary reality, then that Sutra would be no refutation of Sunyavada. Because the Sunyavadins also believe that the world has a temporary existence and is not absolutely void. Since the Sunyavadin also believes in the temporary existence of the world, therefore the Sutra II.2.29 must be taken to mean that the world is *permanently* real, and not temporarily real; that it is not a Vyavaharika Satta, but a Paramarthika Satta. The Sunyavadins say:

'The reality is said to be of two sorts, the obscured and the transcendental; The obscured or Samvritam reality is the Vyavaharika or empirical reality, while the total secession is the absolute reality,' thus." The `sattvaM tu dvividhaM proktaM' verse attributed to the shUnyavAdIliterature is quoted from the tattvodyota. B.N.K. Sharma reports that theverse is not presently available in its original source as the ancientBuddhist works are mostly lost, but enough evidence remains in the extantBuddhist literature, such as Nagarjuna's:

The sloka of Buddhism quoted cannot be taken for granted as it is not found and might be a cocked up story alone. As mentioned earlier, most of the above objection will vanish when the two divisions of SATTA as per advaita is known clearly. The world is given temporary reality in shoonyavada, so says the objector. But Advaita never gives the world a temporary reality – it gives the world permanent reality at the empirical level. Only when a person reaches the ultimate, the world is given an unreality status. This is the reason why all actions are accepted at the empirical level. Also the Buddhist say that the world is concept in the mind whereas Advaita clearly accepts that the world exists (at the empirical level). The Buddhist instead say the world is not there really and is temporarily real at the empirical level.

As the difference between Svapna and Jagrat – this has been explained by Sankara in his commentary and Panchadashi too. The waking world experiences are “Sthiram” whereas Svapna is “asthiram”. Again this differentiation is from the empirical level only. Thus there is difference which Veda Vyaasa clearly says in the sutra as “Vaidharmyaat cha na svapnaadivat”. If Sankara’s commentary on the same is read and understood the objections will never be raised. “Why Vaidharmya?” “Badha abaadhau ithi” – The Svapna experience vanishes completely after waking up. But the waking experience never vanishes, not in any of the avasthaas (this statement might seem against basic theory of Advaita itself but read carefully the last part which has been bolded for the purpose – Sankara doesn’t say the waking experience never vanishes but says never vanishes in any of the three avasthaas of Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupthi). Thus there is clear difference between the two which Vyaasa mentions. Vyaasa never mentions that waking world is real but only says empirically real as else it will contradict yukthi and sruthi. Sruthi can never be fault and against logic – as we have already given the logic for illusory nature & thereby unreality of the world – Vyaasa, a great saint and considered Avatar can never make a mistake to say that the world is real and that is the difference between svapna and jagrat that jagrat is real whereas svapna is not. (Sankara’s commentary says Na evam jaagarithopalabdham vasthu sthambhaadikam kasyaanchitapi avasthaayaam baadhyathe).

If the above paragraph is clearly understood, there will be no objection as what Vyaasa meant was to show that the waking world and dream world are different from each other and criticizing the Buddhist school which says “everything is an idea of the mind” and thus denies even external or temporary reality to the world.

sattvaM tu dvividhaM proktaM sAMvR^itaM pAramArthikam.h loke saMvR^itisatyaM cha satyaM cha paramArthataH
-- to show that it not a fabrication.

It is also of interest that Gaudapada, thought by Surendranath Dasgupta and others as "himself a Buddhist," uses the world `samvR^itti' in addition to `mAyA', in like sense (remember that the accusation is`mAyAkhyayA saMvR^itimabhyadhatta' -- `samvR^iti' was renamed as `mAyA'):

antasthAnAttu bhedAnAM tasmAjjAgarite smR^itam.h yathA tatra tathA svapnaM saMvR^itatvena bhidyate (GK II-4)

Continuing with Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha's subcommentary:
tarhi kena prakAreNa svapnAdidharmyaM prapaJNchasya sUtre.abhipretamityata Aha --
There, in what manner is the likeness to a dream of the world expressed by the sUtra? -- to answer this, it is said:

ato na kadAchidasya nA.asIdasti bhavishhyati ityanubhavo bhavishhyatItyabhiprAyeNaiva tadvachanam.h

Therefore, the statement (`vaidharmyAchcha na svapnAdivat.h') is directed at those who propound the view that "the world did not exist, does not exist, and will not exist," such experience will occur

The above objections are also met because from the empirical view Advaita accepts the world as real unlike Buddhist who deny even temporary reality at the empirical level to the world.

We shall continue with the second mail of Shrisha Rao in the next mail in the series.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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