Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - 7

Humble prostrations to all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

na cha nityaj~nAnasvarUpamastItivachanena kashchidvisheshhaH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mainly two things are being criticized here:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... to be continued.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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