Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - 6

Humble prostrations to all.

... continued from previous part.
Previously, it was claimed that there is not the least distinction betweenthe shUnyavAdI and the mAyAvAdI conceptions of moxa:

na cha shUnyavAdinAM tadvAdinAM cha kashchid.h visheshho moxe
The reason for this was stated to be that the conceptions of moksha in shUnyavAda and in mAyAvAda are identical; in the former, it is conceived of as removal of `samvR^iti', and in the latter, as removal of `avidyA'. With `samvR^iti' and `avidyA' being terms having the same meaning, no distinction can be claimed in this fashion. Merely stating that the Brahmah is in the form of eternal knowledge, while no such is claimed ofthe shUnya, is not a distinction either.

As explained previously, Moksha in Advaita is removal of avidya which never really exists but it is not that way in shoonyavaada as we have already discussed. What is said above is also wrong that Brahman and Shoonya don’t have distinctions: we have already seen that both are different only. One is an existent entity whereas the other is non-existent entity – this is a huge difference and cannot be really ignored. Advaita never really believes in “removal of ignorance” but only “sublation of ignorance” because “ignorance” itself is a non-existent entity.

The Self is self-luminous and of the nature of Consciousness, therefore ignorance cannot really veil it. Even this veiling is only an illusion which again requires a witness to the veiling which is the ultimate reality of Self.

Sureshwaracharya clearly in Manasollasa and other places tells that “ignorance” cannot be destroyed because it doesn’t even exist. IT can only be sublated – the word used is “Badhya”. It is sublated by knowledge about oneself. When this knowledge which is also a quality of the mind is created, it destroys ignorance. Both cancel out and there is the ever-present Self as the witness & unaffected by all activities.

This theory about illusory ignorance which seems to veil the Self & doesn’t really bind the Self has proof from the scriptures itself. “Dhyaayateeva lelaayathee iva” – seems to be contemplating, seems to be enjoying etc. from Brihadaranyaka – so also “Asango hi ayam purushah” – this Self is unattached (meaning unattached to everything whether it be ignorance or any other thing).
Thus it is pretty clear that the concept of Moksha itself is different between Advaita and Shoonyavada. Shoonyavada can claim “samvritti” but this “samvritti” itself cannot hold any proof as this itself has arisen or caused out of VOIDNESS (according to shoonyavada, everything has come out of shoonya). Since it has come out of shoonya, it cannot have any proof (as proof is possible only for an existent entity). Therefore “samvritti” itself is not proved – this means destruction of samvritti also cannot be proved – which means moksha itself cannot be provedJ.

But in the case of Advaita, Moksha is very well proved through sruthi itself (yukthi can of course also prove this).

Thus Sureshwaracharya says in Manasollasa
Shoonyam chet jagatho hetuh – jagatah na siddhyathi
Ghatah shoonyah patah shoonyah kaih prathipaadhyathe

If void is said to the cause of the world – world itself is without any proof or non-existent. In such a case, “pot is void “ , “cloth is void” etc. is proved or known through whom and by whom??? (As there is no existent entity at all).

Thus there is clear distinction between moksha of both schools – also Brahman is of the nature of Consciousness or knowledge which is ever-existent. The so-called refuter or Shrisha Rao or Raghuttama Tiirtha has to be existent to prove anything – this existence is due to the reality of Consciousness – if Vishnu is without Consciousness, then there is no difference between him and a rock!!!!!

The last statement that “Merely stating that theBrahmah is in the form of eternal knowledge, while no such is claimed ofthe shUnya, is not a distinction either.

” itself brings out the narrow-mindedness of the person and not wanting to attack through logic and the logic will fail and support Advaita alone. This point is brought out with more objections in the below paragraph which we will see now.

However, this can be objected to, as Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha says:

nanu asminmate brahmaNaH paramAnandAtmakatayAtadbhAvaH purushhArthaH duHkhanivR^ittivyatirekeNa niratishaya AnandasphuraNAt.h yathoktaM, `tasmAd.h avidyAstamayo- nityAnandapratItitaH niHsheshhaduHkhachchhedAchcha purushhArthaH paro matam.h' iti naiva shUnyamiti natad.h bhAvaH purushhArthaH -- iti chet.h ? AnandamanubhUyAsaM itivad.h AnandadobhUyAsamitIchchhAyA adarshanena Anandatvasya apurushhArthatvAt.h svavR^ittyAnandAnubhavaH purushhArtho.api pareNa neshhyatve sukhasyasvavR^ittitvAnabhyupagamAt.h svasminkartR^ikarmabhAvAnabhyupagamAchcha kiJNcha brahmaNaH sukhamAtratveprakAshamAtratve vA sukhaprakAshAbhAvena apurushhArthatvam.h ubhayAtmakatve cha akhaNDatvahAniH

Translation (as stated before, when in quotes, is due to S.C. Vasu; his translations are somewhat inexact, but are generally reasonable synopses):

"The Advaitins say :-- `According to our doctrine, Brahman, being of the nature of supreme bliss, our goal is to get to this Brahman, or to get this supreme bliss. The Sunyavadins merely want to go to Sunya or void. Their Sunya is not bliss. So there is a difference between us and Sunyavadins.' To this, we reply:--Here also there is no difference. You Mayavadins want to become Brahman or to become bliss. You do not say, `We want to experience_bliss.' You say, `We want to _become_ bliss. When one becomes bliss, according to you, one has no consciousness of bliss. One does not enjoy bliss. For you do not believe that there is any consciousness of any enjoyment in that condition. For you say that the Self cannot become the object of Self-consciousness.
According to you, Brahman is merely bliss and light. This cannot be the highest end. It is a state of inertness. It is thus like saying, `I do not want to taste sugar, or its sweetness,but I wish to become sugar.' What is the good of one's becoming sugar, if one has no consciousness of its sweetness. The want of consciousness cannot be the highest end of man; in fact, there is no difference in this unconscious Brahma-Bhava of the Mayavadin, and the Sunyabhava of the Madhyamikas."

First of all, the statement is clearly interpreting Advaita wrongly – Advaita never says the goal is to get Supreme Bliss. How idiotic and foolish the interpretator is here (pardon the critical usage): because when Advaita clearly says that there is no goal as such to attain (as Sankara again and again asserts in his bhashyas), still to say that “goal is to get Supreme Bliss” is clearly due to misinterpretation (knowingly) as the person who is objecting is well versed with Sanskrit as well as with Acharya’s bhashyas where he clearly mentions this.

Since the very first statement of Advaitin is wrong, hence we really need not go into the other objections. But from empirical viewpoint, let us assume that Advaita says that realization is “get supreme bliss” and continue (which will also prove Advaita to be correct and objections to be invalid).

As the objector says when Advaitin says that “we want to become bliss”, one becomes bliss and not enjoys bliss. This statement is completely wrong. When we say that “a person becomes bliss”, it means that he becomes blissful so that nothing else is desired. Bliss is perfect or full only when there is completeness in it & nothing is desired. When there is desire, there is incompleteness. When bliss is enjoyed objectively, there are limitations and hence it is not perfect. But when one becomes bliss, there is no limitation and hence there is completeness and perfectness.

In this case, what the objector says that “one does not enjoy bliss for there is no consciousness of any enjoyment in that condition” is also wrong. When a person becomes bliss, he enjoys it completely as Sankara has said “nandhathi nandhathi nandhathi eva”, “paraam shanthi achirena adhigacchathi” (Gita) etc. clearly mention it. But what we mean here by saying that there is no enjoyment is that there is no enjoyment of objects – it is subjective enjoyment which cannot be expressed because there is no separate object as such to enjoy. Similarly there is surely consciousness of enjoyment in that state because one’s own nature is Consciousness only. But there is no objective Consciousness there. Thus what the objector has got here is wrong understanding of Advaita. There is Consciousness of enjoyment because one is Conscious always & this enjoyment is one with Consciousness but not objective as we experience currently.

Thus when we say that “there is no enjoyment of bliss”, we mean to say that there is no objective enjoyment. What is enjoyment? Enjoyment means there is the a enjoyer and an object of enjoyment – when these both merge, there is perfect harmony and one alone – in this state, there is enjoyment but it is subjective and hence not objective as such.
“Self cannot become the object of Self-Consciousness” – what has this statement to do with in this context. Yes, if bliss is different from the Self – this is valid. But if bliss is one with the Self, this statement if not valid. And as such we have already discussed about “enjoyment of bliss” as such the subject becomes “bliss” and therefore no objective enjoyment but there is enjoyment which is beyond words as it is subjective. This bliss is often compared to the bliss in deep sleep – in deep sleep, how did one enjoy bliss???? This question cannot be answered because it was subjective enjoyment and not objective. As to deep sleep bliss is given by the Lord, we have already discussed and refuted such a theory.

According to you, Brahman is merely bliss and light. This cannot be the highest end. It is a state of inertness.

This is utter foolishness and wrong translation of what Advaita says. Brahman is Vijnaana ananda or Chit and ananda. Chit is light but it is not an objective light like tube etc. which require other lights for its existence – but it is self-luminous. Thus translating Brahman as “light” is wrong and the right translation would be “consciousness” which has the meaning of light but something more too.

Since Brahman is Consciousness – it can and is the highest end. It is never a state of inertness because wherever there is Consciousness, there cannot be inertness. Inert is that which is not conscious of its own existence. If Brahman is interpreted as “mere light”, then this fault and objection is valid. But since we say Brahman is “light of all lights” which is Consciousness, therefore this objection is completely invalid and wrongly put forth.
In the above objection, we find how the Dvaitin twists the meanings and definitions of Advaita itself and after giving wrong interpretation, attacks the wrong interpretation with logic. Advaita never says Brahman is “Light” but only says Brahman is “Consciousness”. So giving the wrong interpretation of “light”, the objection is raised about “inertness” Is there anything more illogical or wrong than this?????

Consciousness is that light which is self-existent and self-luminous. Since it experiences its own existence, there cannot be any inertness in Consciousness. Inert and conscious are like darkness and light – both can never remain together. It cannot also be claimed that experience proves Consciousness to be inert because we never experience ourselves as an inert object like a rock.

Inertness is not able to experience one’s own existence but gaining existence from other objects.
Consciousness is being able to experience one’s own existence and thereby giving existence to other objects too (insentient objects).

This is very well experienced by all – “I” is present always and experiences that “I-exist, I-exist”. Moreover it is because of this “I” that we experience the existence of other objects too. A rock has existence only when a conscious being perceives it. Else like in deep sleep, there is no existence of the rock.

Thus the highest end of Advaita is not a state of inertness but it is a state of unlimited Consciousness (Consciousness is never limited by seems to be limited & from this empirical view, it is said as “unlimited” and not really “unlimited” because it is both beyond limited and unlimited).

It is thus like saying, `I do not want to taste sugar, or its sweetness, but I wish to become sugar.' What is the good of one's becoming sugar, if one has no consciousness of its sweetness. The want of consciousness cannot be the highest end of man; in fact, there is no difference in this unconscious Brahma-Bhava of the Mayavadin,and the Sunyabhava of the Madhyamikas."

We have already proved that Brahman is no unconscious and thus the last statement is proved wrong. Thus there is difference between shoonyavdaa which says the final goal is “void” which is unconscious and Advaita which accepts the Conscious entity of Brahman.

As long as there is difference in the form of Subject and Object, there will be limitedness and more seeking out will be there. The questioner forgets that “is he really happy with tasting sugar or its sweetness”?? No, never because an object cannot satisfy the desire of a person. This is why Krishna says in Gita

“Ye hi samsparshajaa bhogaah dukhayonaya eva te
Adhyantha vantha kaunteya na teshu ramathe budhah”

Those enjoyments which is attained through contact with sense objects is full of sorrow only (gives birth to sorrow). Those have a beginning and an end, therefore the wise never relies on them (or rests his mind on them).

The above statement of Krishna is enough to show that objects cannot give eternal bliss even if it is Lord Vishnu as to know Vishnu, you need to perceive Vishnu with either of the external sense organs or the inner equipments. And since it is an object perceived (either through senses or supra sensual experience or mystic experiences through HIS grace), it is full of sorrow alone.

Thus there is no use of enjoying sugar as such but what is required is to remove the limitedness due to the sugar – remove the gap in between sugar and the person. This means when a person becomes sugar, he is full of sweetness. Is full of sweetness (which is always present) or getting sweetness at some points of time alone great or better????? Any wise person will opt for the first one only wherein the seeker merges into sweetness.

And as we have already proved that when a conscious being becomes sugar, still the Consciousness remains (it is not an unconscious experience of the sweetness) as in deep sleep we get more happiness than in waking state (in deep sleep, there is merging into the object whereas in waking, we don’t merge but the differentiation of object and subject still persists). Thus it is pretty clear that even when differentiation vanishes (as in deep sleep); Consciousness still is there (as it is said “I slept well” by the person when he wakes up). So the highest goal of Advaita is not unconscious void or shoonya but it is a chaitanya vasthu.

It is utter foolish to say that “the Brahman of Advaita is unconscious” – it is entirely out of ignorance only. We have already discussed in the starting of this series that when there are no objects, still consciousness persists & that definition or assumption of the Dvaitin that “when there are no other objects to perceive, there is no Consciousness at all” is completely wrong – this has already been proved and hence we will not enter into it again. Those who have forgotten about the same can refer back for the same.

The Advaitins again object to this characterization of their concept of moxa; as Sri Raghuttama Tiirtha says: nanu shUnyavAdibhirAtmanAsho moxa ityuchyate na tathA asmAbhiraN^gIkriyate moxe, Atmano nityaj~nAnasvarUpamasti ityaN^gIkArAt.h ataH kathaM na visheshha ityata Aha, `na cha, iti'. "The Mayavadin says :-- `The Sunyavadin believes that the destruction of Atman is Moksa. But we do not say so. We believe that in Moksa the Atman exists in the form of eternal knowledge. Why do you then say that there is no difference between the Mayavadin and the Sunyavadin?' To this, the author replies :--"

First of all, I really don’t believe that this is a genuine statement of an Advaitin. The purvapaksha seems to be just cocked up so that it can be attacked. The statement that “in Moksha the Atman exists in the form of eternal knowledge” is not exactly correct because even when seemingly in bondage also, the Atman is in the form of eternal knowledge only. If the Dvaitin says that Advaita says so, then it is wrong because Sankara uses the words “Nitya Shuddha Budhdha Muktha” for the Atman in the chatusutri brahma sutra bhashya which clearly mean that whether “in moksha” or “in bandha”, the Atman is the same. Thus there is no difference of the Atman in state of bondage and moksha – bondage and moksha are only in the mind.

Upanishad says
Man eva manushyaanaam kaaranam bandha mokshayoh
Bandhaaya vishayaasaktam muktaih nirvishayam smritam

Mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation. When the mind is extroverted and seeking sensual pleasures, it is in bondage. When it is diverted towards its source of the Self, then it merges into the Self and this is liberation.

Sankara in his commentary on Gita 13.2 “the Self in all bodies are me alone” clearly mentions that the Self or Atman or Kutastha is never in bondage but just seems to be in bondage. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad statement which he frequently uses in his commentaries (for eg: in Ishavasya Upanishad) is “Dhyaayateeva lelaayathi iva” – Dhyayathi iva means like concentrating, like enjoying. Thus there is no real bondage accepted for the Self even as the dreamer is never affected by the dream activities but seems to be affected.

When this is the case, there is no difference in Atman in states of bondage and liberation --- bondage means the Self seems to be affected but is not really affected – liberation means even that “seemingly affected” is not there. It really doesn’t matter whether “seemingly affected” is there or not because it in no way can affect its own substratum or witness of the Self or Atman even as it doesn’t really matter what is the type of snake seen in the rope as there is no snake & rope is not at all affected by the snake and its types etc.

Thus the purvapaksha statement itself is wrong – thus there is no need to refute whatever objection will follow based on this purvapaksha (because the objections base itself on the assumption that purvapaksha is right as per the purvapaksha system or Advaita which is no the case here). JBut still Advaita has answers to any questions in the world – let’s still try to analyze the objections and answer them in a convincing way (even though this is not required in this case, but still since Advaita knowledge will become more clear we will analyze it).

By this, the worthy commentator illustrates an instance where a question arising out of a statement of Srimad Ananda Tiirtha is answered by another application of that very statement:
na cha nityaj~nAnasvarUpamastIti vachanena kashchidvisheshhaH
"There is no difference between the Sunyavadin and the Mayavadin, by the mere assertion of the one that the Atman exists in Moksa in the form of eternal knowledge. (It is merely a verbal distinction.)"

Poor Dvaitin, he is under the notion that the statement is what Advaita accepts – but we have already analyzed this.

But let’s say he says that “we are not comparing whether Atman is there continuously or not but we are analyzing whether Atman is there after moksha – in that case, both shoonya and Nirvishesha Brahman is the same” – but this is also not correct because we have already proved again and again that when the distinctions of knower, known and knowing vanish, still the Consciousness remains as the mere witness of the activity. WE have proved that in that state, there will be the Consciousness still existing as non-dual Self. And such a state is what Advaita says as Moksha when a person realizes his own very nature of Self without any distinctions – even during distinctions he is the Self but seems to be deluded by them and attached/affected by them when he is not really affected as he is the witness or Sakshi (which cannot change at all).

Thus the Atman as an existent entity of the nature of Consciousness exists clearly in the state of moksha in Advaita (accepting such a state from the ignorant’s viewpoint and from the empirical viewpoint as from ultimate viewpoint there is neither bondage nor liberation). This is very much and clearly different from “shoonyam” of Shoonyavadin. Thus there is something more than verbal distinction – a seeker should not be stopped at the verbal level but should try to go beyond else all such idiotic questions and objections will arise in the mind.

moxa ityanuvartate Atmano moxe nityaj~nAnasvarUpamastIti vachanena mAyAvAdimatasya shUnyavAdimatAnna kashchidvisheshhaH shUnyavAdibhirapi shUnyAbhinnAtmasvarUpAnuvR^ittermuktAvapi aN^gIkArAt.h anyathA `tad.h bhAvaM yoginaM nayed.h' ityuktaHshUnyabhAvaH kasya syAt.h ? kartR^itvabhoktR^itvapramAtR^itvAdi vishishhTAtmanAshastu mAyAvAdinAmapi sama, iti bhAvaH

"By the mere assertion that the Atman exists in the form of eternal knowledge in Moksa, there is no distinction between the Mayavadins, who make this assertion, and the Sunyavadins. Because the Sunyavadins also admit the existence of an Atman in the condition of Mukti, only they say that this Atman has then the form of Sunya. By Sunya they do not mean absolute non-existence, for otherwise they would not have taught the reaching of this condition of Sunya, in their command, `Tad-Bhavam Yoginam Nayet.'

Sureshwaracharya in his Manasollasa which is a vartika to sankara’s dakshinamurthy ashtakam clearly says that “shoonya” state is a state of voidness or non-existence only and not what the above paragraph tries to prove.

Maybe we could refer to Madhyamaka karika of Nagarjuna for the same. But that also is not required as such because Nagarjuna wrote his works in Sanskrit and thus could never have used “Shoonya” word for an existent entity. This is also strengthened by the fact that he was a great logician and hence would have considered many many times whether using that particular word will cause confusion or trouble. Thus we can clearly conclude that SHOONYA means non-existent state only and not existent state as the dvaitin quotes here.

Sunya, therefore, is a substance according to them: for no one would teach, "Try toreach the un-substantiality.' If the Sunyavadin did not believe in an Atman, then who would reach this condition? What the Sunyavadins mean by the words `the Atman is destroyed in Mukti,' ss that in Mukti, the Atman loses its agency, its enjoyment of fruits,and its reasoning faculty, etc. It is only in these respects, that the Atman is _lost_, and not that there is no Atman at all in Mukti. Therefore, here also there is no difference between the Sunyavadin and the Mayavadin."s

It cannot be said that nobody would because shoonyavadin says so. The main reason could be that when there are no distinctions, there will be no problems (as sruthi also supports) but what Nagarjuna acharya forget was that when distinctions vanish, there still will be the Self left behind as the witness or sakshi.

It seems instead of interpreting his own system properly, the Dvaitin here enters into interpretation of shoonyavadin. The texts of shoonyavadin requires no interpretation at all because the name of the system itself is enough to say that that Atman is destroyed because the final state of emancipation is a state of non-existence.

Thus it cannot be said that he says that Atman’s doership etc. alone are gone – as the Nagarjuna acharya was knowing Sanskrit and would have given that clearly as Sankara gives in his system.

Thus there is clearly a distinction and difference between both systems. The statement “Atman is destroyed in mukthi” and “Atman alone exists in mukthi” are completely different and there requires no interpretation or extra ordinary brain or intellect to understand this.

The objector responds as follows:
nanu yadyapi shUnyavAdina AtmasvarUpamAtramuktAnuvartata ityaN^gIkurvanti na tu tannityaj~nAnasvarUpamiti atovisheshha iti chenna tvanmate.api AtmasvarUpaM nityaj~nAnAtmakaM iti vachanamAtratve na vastugatyA.ayogAt.h tadidamuktaM itivachaneneti Atmano nityaj~nAnasvarUpatvaM kuto na yuktaM, iti chet.h ? na tadA.a.atmasvarUpabhUtaM j~nAnaM savishhayaM nirvishhayaM vA dvItIyaM tAvaddUshhayati

"The Mayavadin says :-- `Though the Sunyavadins admit the mere existence of Atman, in the state of Mukti, yet they do not admit that the Atman has eternal knowledge in that condition. We, Mayavadins, believe that in Mukti the Atman has Nitya Jnana. To this, we reply :-- That according to your opinion also the mere possession of Nityajnana by Atman in Mukti is merely a sentence only, consisting of words, but they convey no meaning. It is merely a verbal statement, and not a real fact. Here the Advaitin may say :-- `Why do you say that it is a verbal statement only?
'To this, we reply :-- `If Atman be of the nature of knowledge,is that knowledge relative to some object known, or is that knowledge unrelated to any object of knowledge?" The second alternative is refuted as follows:
j~neyAbhAve j~nAnasyApyabhAvAt.h
"In the absence of an object of knowledge, there is absence also of knowledge itself."

The point here which the Dvaitin is attacking is related to the triputi – For the process of knowledge, there are three entities or parts – one is the knower or the Subject, second is the Object or the known (what is to be known) and the third is the process of knowing commonly called as KNOWLEDGE. Thus we have Jnaathaa (knower) or Jnaatra, Jneya (object to be known) and Jnaanam (process of knowing).

We never just say Atman is of the nature of eternal knowledge – Atman of the nature of eternal knowledge which is self-known, self-proved and self-luminous – Vedanta terms this as Svamprakaasha. If this point is forgotten, then the objection which the Dvaitin raises will come. Atman or Self doesn’t require any proof to know its existence – it simply exists. It is as good as telling that “I exist” and don’t require any proof of my existence. If there was any proof required for “my” existence, then AMMA or Sankara or Madhva would have to tell me that “sruthi tells that you exist – therefore you exist”J. This is really absurd – the simple reason being that “I am self-luminous” and “self-proven”. Self-proven is called in Vedanta as Svatah praamaanyam – this pramanaa of one’s own existence is self-proven and doesn’t require either sruthi or even Brahman to justify or prove it. On the contrary, even Brahman cannot negate one’s own existence!!! Because such a negation also will be experience by “I” and illumined by “I” alone – as if “I” refuse to read this mail, then the mail is not read – if “I” refuse to accept Brahman, Brahman vanishes – if “I” refuse to have any thoughts, mind vanishes which is what happens in Samadhi state where all thoughts are negated.

Thus we have to first remember that the Self is svayam prakaasha and doesn’t require any proof whatsoever for its existence. Thus Self or Atman is of the nature of Jnaanam but that jnaanam which doesn’t require any proof of knowledge as it is svayam prakaasha.

The Dvaitin is forgetting this and thereby raising objections. The Dvaitin might say here that “I am not forgetting but svayam prakaasha cannot be proved and when the distinction of knower and known vanishes, there is no Consciousness at all – therefore the objections are raised”. If he says so, then we reply that “It has already been proved in the previous sections (mails) that Consciousness is ever-existent and above paragraph proves that Self is svayam prakaasha – of course sruthi also proves – thus your objections are invalid”.

With this we will try to see what the Dvaitin says and try to answer the same. Before answering the same, there requires some explanation as to the objection raised by Dvaitin as it is logical (not high-end logic as found in Nyaayaamrita or Advaita Siddhi but logical enough to confuse normal people like us).

The statement of Dvaitin (objection) is in the form of a question. Vedanta uses such kind of logic wherein the siddhantin himself gives a closed question (which has just yes or no answer – just two options alone) and then proves that either of the options is invalid or illogical.

If Atman is of the nature of eternal knowledge, then two things come into picture:
1. Is this knowledge related to an object – any knowledge has knower and known – therefore what this means is that if atman is of eternal knowledge, is this knowledge related to the known (meaning that does this knowledge know any object other than the Self)?

2.Is this knowledge unrelated to any object – this means knowledge is there but there is no “known” or “object that is known”.

Now, the dvaitin attacks both the above points and shows that both are impossible or illogical – hence the assumption or statement that “atman is of the nature of eternal knowledge” itself is just a veil over the “voidness” of the Atman and meant to just ward off the objections that “mayavada is same as shoonyavada”.

The dvaitin first attacks the second option or alternative:

“there cannot be any knowledge without the Jneeya or object to be known” – knowledge itself presumes or assumes the knower and the known. Since knower is already there (the Self) but the known is not there, therefore knowledge itself doesn’t exist. Concluding in one sentence – “without an object of knowledge or known, there cannot be any knowledge as such knowledge will be non-existent or void only”.

We reply thus to the objection:
What is mentioned as “without the known, there is no knowledge” is completely wrong. This statement has been assumed and based on this assumption, the dvaitin has criticized the tenet of Advaita that “atman is of the nature of CHIT or KNOWLEDGE”. Thus we can very well say that an assumption has been made into a well-proven statement and then based on the wrong assumption, theory has been attacked (without trying to prove the assumed statement).

If the dvaitin here says that “we have already proved that without the known, there is no knowledge as we have already shown that in the absence of triputi or knower, known and knowledge – there will be void alone”, we reply that “we have already refuted it earlier with the example of deep sleep, experience in a dark room, Samadhi avasthaa etc. on the basis of sruthi, yukthi and anubhava”.

Since we have already refuted that in the absence of triputi, there will be voidness – therefore we can extend that refutation here also. Let us now try to analyze a little bit on “knowledge”.

Knowledge or Consciousness has two aspects to it based on its functioning which is illumining things or knowing things (illumining in the case of Consciousness which is not different from knowing in the case of knowledge). Consciousness or CHIT illumines itself as well as other objects. Since Atman or Self is of the nature of eternal knowledge, it knows itself as well as other objects. So the two aspects are 1. Knowing oneself and 2. Knowing other objects.
When there is absence of any object, still the first aspect remains. Thus when there are no objects to know, still there is knowledge present. This is very well proved in the case of electricity – electricity is present in all the bulbs in a room. But if we don’t switch on some of the bulbs, still electricity is there but we will not be able to perceive it in the form of lighting. As bulb is not lit, it doesn’t mean that electricity itself is not there – it is utter foolishness to say so. WE are all people who know science ( the people in the forum know it more than the limited intellect here). Similar is the case with knowledge and knowing objects. Even when there is no “objects to know”, still knowledge does exist as “self-luminous” or “self-knowing”. It is as good as telling that fire has the power of burning only when there are objects to burn!!! Isn’t it completely wrong? Even when there is no object to be burnt, fire still exists. Only thing is the power of burning is not manifested.

This has been clearly mentioned in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in Jyotir Brahmana (4.3.23 – 4.3.30) in beautiful slokas – just quoting one

Yad vai tat na pashyathi – pashyan vai tat na pashyathi
Na hi drasthuh drishthi viparilopo vidhyathe avinaashitvaat

It really doesn’t see (any objects). Seeing, it doesn’t see (here seeing means that seeing itself – this explanation is for the deep sleep state – the Self sees itself in deep sleep state – but it doesn’t see any objects).

The power of seeing is never lost because that power is of the Self which is avinaashi or indestructible (never destroyed).

The “seeing” is extended to “knowing” also in the Upanishad. Thus we can very well say that knowledge does exist without any objects because in such a case, knowledge about one’s own existence is still there.

This has been dealt in detail in the previous mails (which can be referred – while proving that Consciousness does exist when objects are not there).

Thus we can conclude that the second alternative objection is invalid as the basis for the objection which is that “knowledge doesn’t exist when there are no objects” has been refuted.

The dvaitin is again and again repeating the same “assumed” statement but we shall still try to analyze his statements.

AtmasvarUpaM na j~nAnAtmakaM, vishhayashUnyatvAd.h, ghaTavat.h anyathA ghaTo.api j~nAnaM syAdityarthaH atra vishhayashUnyatvaM vishhayAnullekhitvaM natu ullikhitasyavishhayasyA.avartamAnatvaM atyantAsatvaM vA yenAtItAdij~nAne tuchchhAdij~nAne cha vyabhichAriH syAt.h ?

[The mode of reasoning is as follows:] The nature of Atman cannot be knowledge, lacking a subject, as with a pot. For otherwise, there obtains the [ludicrous] position of saying, "This pot is also knowledge" (although no object of its knowledge can be defined).
Also, if it be admitted here that knowledge can exist without asubject, or without a subject possible of specification, would that not be a case of `atyanta-asat.h' (e.g. hare's horns, childless-woman's-son, etc.), or else would there not be excess in case of knowledge of past events, or knowledge of lack of worth, etc.?

First thing is we never say that “nature of Atman is knowledge lacking a subject” but we say that Atman is of the nature of eternal knowledge in that it is self-luminous and illumines other objects too (when they are present as illusions).

And therefore in such a case, there need be no comparison whatsoever with a pot. And also, pot cannot experience its own existence and hence “pot is knowledge” is not accepted by us. Yes, we do accept that pot is also knowledge only as Consciousness pervades the pot in and out – in the form of Brahman (vide the narayana sukta statement – yat cha kinchit jagat sarvam drishyathe srooyathe api vaa – anthar bahischa tat sarvam vyaapva naarayana sthitah – whatever moves in the world is filled in and out by Narayana or the ultimate reality of Brahman).

It is also very easy to come to the conclusion that everything is pervaded by Consciousness because Consciousness is the light that falls on an object and therefore the individual is conscious of the object. Thus Pot is knowledge but with the limitation of name and form. When there is name and form, it is different – remove name and form, it is the same as Brahman or Consciousness or Atman alone which is “knowledge without any known”.

Atman as per us is knowledge without any objects to know (in essence or svaroopa). Since Pot doesn’t have any subject to know itself but the Self is Subject of knowledge itself being self-luminous, therefore the above said objection that “pot is also knowledge” is not really valid in this case and cannot be raised against us.

We never ever say that “knowledge exists without a subject” – seems like the dvaitin again takes to assumptions and assumes things. We only say that the Self is that knowledge which is the knower as well but without any particular entity to know.

The dvaitin might be raising the question of knowledge without subject as described below:

Advaita says Self is without the distinctions of knower, known and knowledge – but Advaita also says Self is knowledge. This means Self doesn’t have any knower or known. Since there is no knower but only knowledge therefore there is no subject but just knowledge. I believe the dvaitin is saying this and thereby giving example of “this pot is also knowledge” when it is not a conscious entity at all.

The above mentioned objection is invalid because we never say that Self is not the knower. We only say that in Self the distinction vanishes but still the KNOWER is there who KNOWS his own KNOWLEDGE or EXISTENCE. Thus we never say that self is knowledge without a subject but only that “Self is the knowledge and the subject of its own knowledge also”. Thus the above mentioned paragraph of objections itself become invalid.

The idea is that just as a hare's horn, or a childless-woman's-son are considered `atyanta-asat.h' ("exceedingly false") for being totally opposed to experience, and being totally opposed to concepts understood from experience, so much knowledge without a known be. Also, given that such knowledge-without-known is accepted for whatever reason, it now becomes impossible to rationalize knowledge as a meaningful concept in a way that also accounts for knowledge that has a subject, such as the past,or the lack of worth of something, etc.

This para also is invalid as this also presumes/assumes that “Advaitic Self is knowledge without a knower or subject”. Thus we don’t really have to analyze into this paragraph where high-end logic is being used and explained in terms of knowledge of past etc. If really people are interested into analyzing this paragraph or are unable to grasp the meaning what the Dvaitin wants to convey, we can discuss it out (only if somebody in the forum want it to – as it is not really essential as it is an invalid objection by the Dvaitin but still if it can give some information/knowledge about some concept, we can go ahead with it).

The objector responds as follows:
nanu vishhayashUnyaghaTasyaj~nAnatvAbhAve.api Atmavishhaya shUnyo.api j~nAnaM astu, ko doshhaH ? na hisarvairbhAvaireka- vidhairbhAvyaM iti niyamo.asti ? yathA.anyoj~nAtA.anyashcha j~neya ityanyatradarshane.api AtmanyaikyaM dR^ishyante tatheti chet.h ? mAmahaM jAnAmIti pramANasadbhAvAt.h tatra tathA kalpanAt.h na cha atra kiJNchit.h pramANamastItyAha
-- However, let it be that things such as a pot cannot have knowledge because there is no subject of knowledge present; however, what is the flaw if the Atman or the shUnya has such knowledge? Indeed, there is no rule that all entities (pot, Atman, etc.) must be of like natures in terms of knowing, thus? Just as even when one knows different things pertaining to different subjects, one still recognizes one as being the same -- thus say you? In that case, as there is the pramANa [the common substrate of cognition] "I know myself," such [identity] can be accepted. However, there is not the least pramANa in the present case; to show this, it is stated:

The above objection is also not valid at all – the purvapaksha statement which the dvaitin raises (saying that the Advaitin responds back) is really invalid and an Advaitin has no reason at all raise such an defending statement because we never accept that Self is knowledge without a subject.

The above two paragraphs are entirely based on the statement that “Self is of the nature of knowledge but doesn’t have any subject”. The reason why dvaitin raises this might be that subject is present only when objects are present. But this is also wrong – subject here means the Subject of Self without any object – that this is possible has been already proved by us through sruthi, yukthi and anubhava earlier.

na hi j~neyarahitaM j~nAnaM nAma asti iti kiJNchinmAnam.h "There is no proof at all that knowledge can exist without an object to be known."

Again another assumption by the dvaitin. Knowledge can very well exist without an object to be known as is experienced in deep sleep & sruthi also tells it. We have already discussed this in detail and proved that knowledge can exist as self-luminous or knowing oneself and without any object to be known. This is in the form “I know myself” – here there is really no object to be known because the subject and object are the same – just knowing that I know, knowing that I exist…… this is what can be called as self-knowing or self-luminous.

And in deep sleep, there are no objects to be known but still knowledge is there. Knowledge is there because after waking up, it is said “I slept well, I didn’t know anything” – thus ignorance and bliss have been known even though there were no objects in that state (ignorance and bliss are modifications/limitations of the mind only and are not really objects as such).

The state of Samadhi is also where there is knowledge about oneself but no objects are there as such.

Thus the above statement is wrong – there are more than enough proof to show that even when objects to be known are not there, knowledge is there.

savishhayakatve.api kiM tatparavishhayaM, svavishhayaM vA ?nA.adyaH paramate moxeparAbhAvAt.h tvanmatevartamAnasyaiva sAxAtsAxivishhayatvAchcha

"If you say that in Mukti there is an object of knowledge, whatis that object? Is that object separate from one's own self, oris it one's own self? It cannot be an object seaprate from one'sown self; for, according to the Mayavadins, there is no otherself-existing in Moksa, except one's own self. Moreover,according to the Mayavadins, only an object existing in thepresent time can become an object of knowledge, but in Moksathere is no time, such as present."

Again assumptions by the dvaitin – we never accept any object of knowledge in Moksha. Yes there is only the Subject which in itself is the object as well as the means – thus the Self is the jnaata or knower, knowledge or jnaanam and jneeyam or known in the Self itself….. Thus there is no object as such in moksha as there knowledge itself is knower and known.

Thus the objection through questioning as “if there is an object of knowledge in mukthi, what is that object” itself is invalid.

But let’s again try to analyze that also. Let’s say the Self is the object of knowledge in mukthi (Self itself being knowledge – we have to remember here that in Vedanta, Self is never objectified and can never be objectified – the only entity that cannot be objectified), then what is that object? Here the question is as to whether the object is separate from the Self or one with it.

1.Object is separate from the Self – in this case, dvaitam or duality will result and against Advaita
2.object is same as the Self – Self becomes an object which is again against Advaita

The above paragraph analyzes the first option that object is separate from the Self. As Advaita accepts only the Self in moksha, this option will surely be against advaita.

This is also wrong because the object separate from the Self is the Self itself (as we don’t accept any object of knowledge other than the knower or subject in moksha or state of realization). Thus this part is very easily refuted as invalid objection.

The dvaitin also attacks another thing – “only an existing object can become object of knowledge, but in moksha there is no time at all” --- we very well accept that only an object currently existing can be an object of knowledge but this is only for vyaavaharika level where time is prevalent. In the realized state, there is no time but still the Self exists & since we never say the Self is an object of knowledge, this objection is also invalid.

In fact, we can see clearly here that the dvaitin is arguing just to prove Advaita wrong – because it is very well known that realization state in Advaita is beyond time & hence that cannot be apprehended as such – there is no pramaana itself in that state as nothing other than Self exists. Since there is no pramaana or means of knowledge, there is no object of knowledge too – thus the objection really becomes invalid or arising due to incomplete knowledge or knowingly trying to accuse/disprove Advaita. ... to be continued.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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