Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - 5


Humble prostrations to all.

Continuing from what we left previously (the world as perceived by Advaitin is anirvachaneeya whereas it is ASAT from shoonyavaadin’s perspective).

We have to remember here that Advaita never negates the world at empirical level – it gives the world complete status at empirical level. Only at the paaramaarthika level, it negates the world. But Shoonyavaada says that the world is an idea of the mind only and hence they negate the world even at empirical level. This difference is very vast & cannot be taken as the same. That the sutra is not directed against Advaita has already been discussed and concluded by us. Let us proceed further.

At this, the Advaitins may be expected to object, because they say theworld is `anirvachanIya', while the shUnyavAdI says it is `asat.h'; surelythe same sUtra cannot critize both views?

nanvastvevamabAdhyatvenaiva prapaJNchasya svapnAdivaidharmyoktistathApyasmAkaM kathaM tadvirodhaH ? tasya shUnyavAdyabhyupagatajagadasatyatvavirodhitve.api asmadabhimatAnirvanIyatvavirodhAbhAvAditi chet.h ? -- na prapaJNchasya anirvachanIyatvaM vadatA kiM prapaJNcho nAsti, nA.asin.h na bhavishhyati, ityanubhavo aN^gIkriyate, na vA ? dvitIye, na vivAdaH, abAdhyatva avirodhyanirvachanIyatvasya asmAkamapratipaxatvAt.h iti AdyaM dUshhayati --

"[The Advaitin may say we are not Sunyavadins, because we believe that the world is indescribable and ineffable (Anirvachaniya), while the Sunyavadins do not believe so. To them we say, "What do you mean by the world being Anirvachaniya. Do you mean that the world does not exist at all, that it never existed in the past, and that it will never exist in future, and that the experiencing of this truth is the Anirvachaniya. Or do you not believe this. If you say, we do not mean the first alternative, then there is no difference between you and us. But if you say that by Anirvachaniya we mean that state of consciousness in which on realizes that the world neither was in the past, nor exists in the present, nor will ever come into existence in the future, then we answer with the Commentator :--]

" na cha tathA.anubhave shUnyasyAnirvachanIyasya cha kashchid.h visheshhaH

"There is no difference between the experiencing of the Sunya or Void of the Sunyavadins, and the experiencing of the Anirvachaniya by the Mayavadins."

Here comes the real difference. The shoonya of Shoonyavadins is not the Anirvachaniya of Mayavadin – Shoonya is equivalent to Brahman in Advaita (both are not same but what is meant here is that the reality is shoonya as per Nagarjuna and reality is Brahman which is existent as per Advaita).

Shoonya means VOID or nothing really exists which Nagarjuna and Madhyamaka school propounds. Whereas in Advaita, Brahman is not shoonya but it a VASTHU (VASTHU is that which exists beyond time). Brahman remains even when the world seems to be perceived & even when the world vanishes. It is wrong to say that when the triputi or Seer, Seen and act of seeing – there will end up voidness. The witness of triputi is the Self or Brahman which will always remain even if there are no objects or triputi vanishes.

Obviously we have to remember here that Advaita never believes entirely in anirvachaneeya but believes in Adviteeya Brahman alone. The world when perceived by the seeker is explained as Anirvachaneeya – this in no ways makes Anirvachaaneeya the truth of Advaita. Anirvachaneeya itself is an illusion in Brahman only.

Vidyaranya clearly says in Panchadashi that for jnaani, Maya is TUCCHA or non-existent – then where come Anirvachaneeya be compared with the truth or reality of Shoonyavadins which is Shoonya. Also the reality of Shoonyavadins is unreal or non-existence whereas this is not the case with Advaita.

Thus comparisons can never be made on the same. Also there is lot of difference between ASAT and MITHYA (ASAT never exists whereas Mithya seems to exist while it is perceived). Shoonyavaada doesn’t accept a world outside IDEAS or MIND whereas Advaita very clearly accepts the world as REAL (Relatively real at the empirical level). This itself is a huge difference between both.

tathA.anubhavetvayApyaN^gIkriyamANe shUnyavAdyuktajagadasatyatvasya tvaduktAnirvachanIyatvasya cha na kashchidvisheshhaH tathA.anubhavavishhayatve.asatvasyaivaprApteH mayAtAdR^ishA-nubhavAN^gIkArepyasadvailaxaNyaM aN^gIkriyata iti chenna arthakriyAkAritvAdinA tadvailaxaNyasyatanmate.api sattvAt.h tadabhipretapAramArthikasattvAbhAvasya tanmate.api sattvAt.h tathA cha vAN^mAtrabheda evAyaM nArthabheda, iti sUtravirodho durvAra iti bhAvaH

Even on that account, there is not the least distinction between the `asat.h' of the world and its `anirvachanIyatva' according to you. Since in the matter of its experience, only ultimate falsehood is accepted by both of you (the momentary truth being common to both).

This is again wrong – there is lot of difference between unreal and illusory from the empirical viewpoint. From empirical viewpoint, Advaita gives not momentary truth but ultimate truth to the world. It would really be better if the Dvaitin would really go through Advaita and Sankara’s works once again to understand the distinction between vyaavaharika and paaramarthika satta. He is here mixing both together and thereby comparing Advaita with shoonyavaada. Thus from empirical view itself, there are differences between both schools. Also from ultimate view, there is clear difference which we have already seen till now.

"The Advaitin may say :-- `I admit the possibility of this experience, yet the experiencing of the Anirvachaniya is separate and distinguishable from the experiencing of the Sunya, or Void by the Sunyavadins. The distinction lies in the object, in the action, and in the mode of realization. To this, we reply that there is no such difference. The Paramarthika Satta of the Sunyavadin is the same as yours. Therefore, it is only a verbal distinction between you and they, and not a real distinction."

This is clearly a wrong statement arising out of wrong knowledge or knowingly attacking. There is clear distinction between shoonya and Brahman of Advaita.

What does Mandukya Karika say which Sankara and others accept (of course this part of Karika is also considered by the Dvaitin as part of the Upanishad and not a work of Gaudapada)

Anaadi maayayaa supto jeevah yathaa prabudhyathe
Ajam anidram avapnam advaitam budhyathe tadaa

When the jeeva wakes up from the long sleep of MAYA, he realizes advaita or non-duality which is without any birth, without any sleep or ignorance and without any dream or illusions.

This sloka itself is enough to distinguish between Advaita and shoonyavaada.
Sankara says in BSB “Nitya suddha Buddha muktha atmaa aham” – I am the Self which is eternal pure, eternal enlightened and eternally liberated.

Thus the distinction is real and even verbal distinction is there between both. Was Nagarjuna ignorant of Sanskrit that he gave the word “SHOONYA” to his truth???? No, it cannot be because his works are all in Sanskrit. This itself is clear to understand that Advaita and his school are completely different – else he would have given another name to the truth (if it were existent).

At this, the Advaitin may be expected to object that it is improper in terms of context, etc., to quote against the mAyAvAda sUtra that is set out to refute the shUnyavAda:

nanu shUnyavAdinirAkaraNapara sUtravirodho asmAkaM katham.h ? iti chenna sUtranirasanIyAMshasyatvanmate.apisAmyAt.h

However, this sUtra has set out to refute the shUnyavAda; how is it opposed to our doctrine? -- thus say you? No (that is not right). Because the tenet (of shUnyavAda) that is refuted by the sUtra is common to you as well.

We have already analyzed the sutra (Vaidharmyaat cha svapnaadivat – difference is there between waking as objects are really seen and stay for a longer period --- hence there is difference between svapna and jagrat (at the empirical level)).

It is pretty clear that this sutra in no way refutes Advaita --- we have already countered the objection that Sankara is going against his own theory in the commentary on this sutra (the statement that waking world doesn’t vanish in any of the three STATES) by finding out that the word “AVASTHAAYAAM” was left out (knowingly or unknowingly) by the Dvaitin. He obviously forgot that Advaitic Brahman is beyond the three avastaas of waking, dream and deep sleep.

The dvaitin might counter here by saying that even turiya, the Brahman or ultimate state, is also an avastaa. But this is wrong because according to us, Turiya is not at all an avastaa because it is beyond all avastaas as the word itself says. Yes, it is said as FOURTH state in Mandukya just from empirical view and as continuity maintenance wrt to other three states while explaining.

Thus Sankara’s statement is perfectly fine with respect to his theory – but thanks to the dvaitin’s knowing or unknowing misinterpretation, Sankara was accused of having self-contradictory statements and going against his own theory.

However, even if there is something in common in this case to mAyAvAda and shUnyavAda, how do we know that, present other differences, it is still proper to consider the same sUtra as applicable to both overall?

mAyAvAdinirAsAyashUnyavAdinirAsakasUtrodAharaNa ito.api na anupapattirityAha -- "A sUtra that refutes the shUnyavAda is cited against the mAyAvAda,"

there is no even such inappropriateness, to show this, it is stated by our commentator: na cha shUnyavAdinAM tadvAdinAM cha kashchid.h visheshho moxe Then, too, there is not the least difference between your proponents and the shUnyavAdI-s, in terms of the conception of moksha or the state of final release.

There clearly is difference in the state of final release. The final release of shoonyavadin is ending up in shonyam where there is no existence at all but we hold the view that final release is EXISTENCE of the NON-Dual reality of Brahman or Consciousness (which can never be negated not even at any points of time).

tadvAdinAM mAyAvAdinAM mata iti sheshhaH yadyapi mAyAvAdinAM shUnyavAdinAM cha mate AchAravisheshho dR^ishyate, tathA.apishAstravishhayIbhUtaprameye na kashchid.h visheshhaH tathA cha shUnyavAdinirAsakasUtreNa mAyAvAdinirAso na anupapanna, ityarthaH

"Though there is a difference between the Mayavadins and the Sunyavadins, so far as the rules of Achara or social conduct go, yet so far as philosophical doctrines go, there is absolutely no difference between these two schools. Therefore, the Sutra II.2.29 is not irrelevant to the Mayavada position, though that Sutra is primarily intended for the refutation of the doctrine of the Sunyavadins."

The Dvaitin is simply assuming things and coming to a conclusion over here. Speaking in his own term, “so far as philosophical doctrines go” since there is a huge difference between us and the shoonyavadins, this sutra doesn’t refute Advaita. Also we have seen the sutra and its interpretation which in no way refutes Advaita.

Yes, it is a pity that DvaitinsJ cannot even understand small-small and basic things thereby accusing us of being faulty and being in one with shoonyavadins. May Vishnu (of course the supreme Lord of Dvaitins but Brahman in Advaita – this usage of Vishnu is because they don’t accept any Lord as equal with VishnuJ even when Vishnu himself states that everything is same in Gita and other places) protect them from the asuraas of AdvaitaJ (for them Advaitins will go to hell because they don’t accept bhedha – even if Krishna says in Gita many times in 6th chapter to see ONENESS or non-difference, they will accept difference onlyJ and still say that Krishna believes in difference onlyJ Poor Lord Krishna)

nanu shAstravishhayabhUte.api prameye shUnyavAdimatAnmAyAvAdimatasya kuto na visheshha? -- iti chet.h, sa cha visheshhaH kiM pradhAna-phala vishhayAt.h tatsAdhanavailaxaNyA tu paramaprameyavaishhamyAd.h aparaprameyavisheshhAdvA ? AdyapaxaM dUshhayati

-- "How to you say that, philosophically, there is no difference between the Sunyavada and the Mayavada?

To this, we reply:-- that the difference must be either (1) in the conception of the summum bonum by the two schools, or (2) in the methods of practice in realizing this summum bonum, or (3) in the highest conclusion sought to be established by these two schools, or (4) in the difference of conclusions arrived at by these two schools. The commentator shows that the difference does not lie in the first point, namely, in the summum bonum. He says:--"

Let us try to deeply analyze what Advaita has to say about the four points mentioned and after that see what shoonyavaada has to say about the same.

1.conception of summum bonum by the two schools

According to Advaita, the ultimate reality is Brahman which is SAT or EXISTENT, DRIK or SAKSHI etc. whereas in shoonyavada the reality is SHOONYA or unreal or non-existent. Advaita says that the Self or Consciousness never ever ceases to exist and it is Consciousness which is seen as the world as names and forms. The shoonyavadin says that shoonya is the reality and the world is a projection of the mind or ideas alone (note the point alone because Advaita too accepts the world as projection of mind but attributes mixing or illusory mixing of Consciousness with it). About the ultimate reality, the very nature alone is enough to distinguish between them. As per the dvaitin, if there is distinction in any one of these, then difference between the systems will be accepted. Thus we don’t have to proceed to other three pointsJ but for the sake of clarifying and showing that each point will clearly show that both systems are different, we will enter into other points too.

2.Methods of practice

We all very well know that the very basic practice of Buddhist monks is discipline as well as monastic life whereas Advaita never really emphasizes on sanyaas (external sanyaas). Buddhism believes in meditation or intense dhyaana whereas Advaita doesn’t really believe in dhyaana but believes in nidhidhyaasana. Nidhidhyaasana can be done even while typing this mail whereas dhyaana requires proper asana, proper place, proper time of concentration, completing pratyaahara and dharana etc. Thus there are various limitations for dhyaana but no limitation at all for nidhidhyaasana. The only essential practice for Advaita is CONTEMPLATION OF THE REALITY CONTINOUSLY. The way to do this is SRAVANA, MANANA AND NIDHIDHYAASANA. Thus there is clear difference between methods of practice. It cannot be argued that Sankara in his bhashyas and sureshwaracharya in his vartikas have stressed on Sanyaas because in that case why would Sankara in many places say that “I am beyond asramaas” and even comment on Hastamalakeeya gita which clearly says in the first sloka itself that I am beyond all asramaas. Also Anandagiri has very well explained out Sankara’s statements about sanyaas in isha Upanishad that Sankara means to say that Sanyaas is conducive to realization and not essential. Vidyaranya has also clearly mentioned about the same. Sankara accepted Janaka and others are realized – this is possible only if he didn’t consider sanyaas as compulsory for realization. Thus this point also clearly proves both systems of Madhyamaka and Advaita to be different

3.Moksha as per two schools

Moksha obviously is different in both schools because when practice itself is different, the goal also has to be different. Buddhism believes in Nirvaana – a state of joy where there is voidness and this state is achieved through staying away from the world (which they call as sanyaas) whereas Advaitic Moksha is realizing one’s own very nature & advaita never tells to run away from the world. Even Advaitic sanyaasins like Sankara did not run away from the world, but remained in the world and did actions. Thus the final conclusion or state to be achieved is different in Advaita and shoonyavaada. Shoonyaavada believes in Nirvaana to be achieved whereas Advaita believes in Moksha to be realized. Thus there is difference and this point also proves both systems to be differentJ. The Dvaitin has just one more point to prove his statement that Advaita and Shoonyavaada are one and the sameJ. Hopefully he will be successful.

4.Conclusions arrived by the schools

Since moksha itself is different in both schools, therefore there is conclusion in the entire theory of both the schools. This is pretty much clear from the other three points – hence we don’t really need to show that both are different from this point as it is SELF-PROVEN because all the other three points have proved it. Since this point refers to other three, when other three have proved a thing as wrong – the fourth also cannot prove that thing as correct. When three points said both systems are different, this fourth point cannot show that both are same as it depends on the other three points.

There is difference which has been shown already. If it is said both systems are same, then how come Sankara, Sri Harsha, Chitsukha and others took those systems as different and attacked the other system when the other system clearly proved through logic that nyaaya, vaisheshika (which are primarily dualist schools and opponents of Advaita at that time) are wrong???? Advaita could have joined hands with nagarjuna instead they refuted nagarjuna’s theory too.

WE have already seen that both are different. It will become redundant if we go over the same again and again (even it will become boring at times)

Brief parts of the commentary by Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha are as follows:

pradhAnaphalaM hi moxa eva sa cha shUnyavAdinAyAdR^isho abhidhIyate tAdR^isha eva mAyAvAdinA.apyabhidhIyata iti moxe shUnyavAdinAM mAyAvAdinAM cha mate na kashchidvisheshhaH

As it is the case that the primary end, moxa, as described by shUnyavAdins, is also described by mAyAvAdins, there is no difference at all on this account. Moksha as per Advaita has already been shown to be different from shoonyavaada as we have it as not something to be attained as shoonyavadins say but it is something to be realized.

tathA hi mAyAvAdimate hi avidyAstamayo moxaH sAsaMsAra udAhR^ita ityuktyA kiM moxo.avidyAnivR^ittirUpaH uta `brahma veda brahmaiva bhavati' `brahmabhUyAya kalpate' ityAdi shrutismR^itiprAmANyAbhimAnena brahmabhAvaH Adye shUnyavAde.api saMvR^itinivR^ittermoxatvena tadvailaxaNyAbhAvaH

Then, if it be claimed that moxa in mAyAvAda theory is held to be the sublation of the world caused by `avidyA', then is that moxa of the nature of removal of avidyA, or else is it of the nature described in Shruti-Smrti literature such as "knowing Brahman, he becomes a brahman only," "he obtains Brahman," etc.? In the first case, because even in shUnyavAda, moxa is said to be on account of removal of samvR^iti, there is no distinction on this basis.

Moksha is realization of one’s own nature. Thus realization is SVAROPA JNANA. Want to add some points over here before analysis of the dvaitin. Dvaitins and Vishistadvaitins use lot of logic to disprove Advaita when sruthi itself says that the reality is beyond logic in Katha Upanishad. Thus here the dvaitin is trying to use navya-nyaya (high-end logic) to prove that Advaita is wrong. All such high-end logic which the Dvaitin considers cannot be answered have been more than sufficiently answered by Nrsimhaasrama and Madhusudana Saraswathi in Advaita siddhi as well as Brahmananda in Gaudabrahmanandi. Thus all logically questions also can be answered by Advaita but we have to remember that logic cannot clearly show us the Self – it has to be realized as it is SAKSHAAT APAROSHAAT BRAHMA (as Brihadaranyaka says – it is immediate and direct Brahman is the realization of the Self).

Here the various definitions given by advaita acharyas is criticized through logic. These criticisms have been answered in Advaita Siddhi. This definition of Moksha as “sublation of the world caused by avidya” is not directly a definition of Gaudapada because this is valid only at the empirical level. This definition takes into account that “the world exists currently”. But gaudapada and mandukya clearly say that there is no world at all to be sublated – this is the real stand of the Advaitin. Yes, Avidya seems to be there – just blindly follow the path of nidhidhyaasana or use normal and clear logic, you will come to know that there is no Avidya – question us after following such practice. If you say that “I have practiced and still haven’t realized”, then we answer by the way of SAnkara’s Upadeshasaahasri. Sankara replies to that statement “I have also practiced and have realized – this means you haven’t practiced correctly, practice correctly and u will realized” – this statement has been proved and will be proved. “I” (this limited intellect) can beyond doubt assure any person in the world that if they follow what Vedanta says, they will realize the advaitic Self or Brahman as blissful in nature and non-dual (this is not a statement arising out of pride or Ego but a real statement which has been understood by the intellect and realized each and every moment in life).

Thus there is no real sublation of the world as sureswaracharya says that “there cannot be any destruction of avidya but it just vanishes when the reality is known”.

Keeping in mind that we are currently discussing at empirical level which cannot really show Brahman or prove Brahman or moksha, we will analyze the objections.

Yes, sublation of the world caused by avidya is realization.

Now the objector asked:
1. Is it removal of avidya or
2. Is it the nature of the Self or substratum

It is not really removal of avidya but the second way of knowing the ever-known Self which was seeming to be obstructed. Thus first statement, we don’t agree but second we agree.

Thus the first fault of having removal of avidya as same as removal of samvritti of madhyamaka is not there in our case.

I have curtailed the discussion of this point by Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha inthe interests of brevity, but the highlights as I understand them are asfollows: In the second case, where avidyA is not invoked in describing moksha and apurely `saguNa' mukti is attained, there is no mAyAvAda left.

Avidya need not be invoked in describing moksha because there is no real avidya at all. Yes, that avidya is there is in the statement of the objector itself or any person asking what is moksha? Because a jnaani will never ask what is moksha – only an ajnaani will ask what is moksha which itself means that there is ajnaana.

What Vedantic practice does is “removal of this wrong notion that there is ajnaanaJ and therefore tells that there is no ajnaana at all but only Self exists”. Thus such a mukthi wherein avidya is not really invoked will never lead to saguna mukthi as here it is only meant to know that “there is no avidya” but the ever-existent nirguna Brahman exists.

Advaita and sruthi too doesn’t accept saguna and nirguna mukthi – mukthi is one alone and that is Brahmajnaana and Brahmaatma aikya jnaana.]

In the first case, a distinction is not obtained because `samvR^iti' isliterally the same (in Sanskrit) as `avidyA', so "removal of samvR^iti'and "removal of avidyA" must mean the same thing. ("Now, Samvriti has thesame meaning as word Avidya, for samvriti means the obscuration ofknowledge, while Avidya means want of knowledge. Samvriti comes from theroot sam.h meaning compltely, and vR^i `to cover or obscure'." -- S.C. Vasu.)

... to be continued.

A few words on Moksha as per Advaita:

Advaita says that the Self is “nitya shuddha Buddha muktha” and everybody is the Self already. But when the seeker says that he is ignorant, that’s when advaita says about practice – until then it doesn’t say about any practice. Ask any jnaani, does he want moksha or does he want anybody to do something? He will surely say as Ramana that “there is nothing to be done” – this was the same that Sankara too finally ended up with Gaudapada Karika bhashya where gaudapada clearly says

“Na kaschit jaayathe jeevah sambhavo asya na vidhyathe”
There is no jeeva born (jeeva is considered different initially from Brahman – seemingly different) and such a birth is not at all possible.

Thus such jnaanis will never have any doubts. But the seeker has many doubts for which he seeks moksha through answers and realization. Thus he is instructed to follow SRAVANA, MANANA and Nidhidhyaasana.

What are the three & their roles:
Sravana is to know about the reality as such – this removes SAMSHAYA or doubts regarding the reality. Here the shishya is instructed that TAT TVAM ASI or THAT THOU ART.

Manana is to reflect upon the truth through logic – after hearing there is ASAMBHAAVANA or the thought that “such a reality which is non-dual is not possible as I see duality”. This is removed through anvaya vyatireka yukthi as well as viveka of pancha koshaas etc.

Nidhidhyaasana is contemplation on the reality – after reflecting, still duality is seen and thus the seeker concludes “there is nothing as non-dual reality as I see duality” – this is removed through contemplation when he realizes that there is nothing other than the non-dual self – verbally the world simply vanishes for such a person as he sees oneness everywhere/ The fault removed here is VIPARYAYA or wrong knowledge or contrary knowledge.

Thus these three steps are for removing SAMSHAYA, ASAMBHAAVANA and VIPARYAYA and not for gaining the Self.

These three steps remove avidya by showing the seeker that there is no avidya at all. A person thinks he is something else as he has forgotten himself. Thus he is told “You are THAT” – here the wrong notion or forgetfulness is told to be removed only from the perspective of the ignorant person. There never was any ignorance as the person was always the tenth man only but still there seemed to be ignorance which was removed. Thus really speaking, there is no removal of avidya as avidya has no existence at all – this can really be understood only by practice and anubhava – not in words.

For empirical level, avidya is said to be removed because the seeker has avidya and thinks there is avidya – thus there is no fault in this approach too.

A person has to remember that Advaita can be understood only through open-mindedness and using logic without any prejudice – at last it can be experienced only through constant practice of seeing everything as one and realizing the Self – until then, nothing can be really said about it as we are currently in empirical level and trying to talk about paramarthika satyam.

We will continue with Shrisha rao’s third posting next. Currently let us all try to do intense sadhana to realize the non-dual reality. Intense sadhana is not tapas for 5 or 6 hours but it is constant remembrance of the reality that “there is only Brahman here, the world is only an illusion and the jeeva is Brahman only, not different from Brahman” – remembering this reality, let us try to see that Brahman everywhere & thereby realize our own very nature of Consciousness or Brahman or Self.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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