Sunday, May 21, 2006

Shoonyavada and Mayavaada - Conclusion


Prostrations to all.

Finally we have come to an end to this thread of Shoonyavada and Mayavaada.

While concluding, we will first try to see the Upanishadic statements which clearly say that Brahman is not shoonya but a really existent entity.

Taittiriya Upanishad says
Satyam Jnaanam Anantham Brahma
Existence, Consciousness and infiniteness is what is called Brahman

Katha Upanishad says
Naiva vaacha na manasaa prapthum shakyo na chakshushaa
Astheethi broovatho anyatram katham tad upalabhyathe

Brahman is not attainable through the organs of action (speech etc.) or through the mind or through the organs of perception starting from eyes, ears etc. That which is realized as “I Exist, I Exist”, how can person realize it somewhere else??? (Meaning that the Self is realized as one’s own existence – Chaitanya which has sphuranam of I-exist, I-exist each moment).

There are many other upanishadic statements also which clearly mention the reality of Brahman as something which is really existent.

Gita too says thus:
Na tad bhaasayathe sooryo na shashaanko na paavakah
Yad gatvaa na nivarthanthe tad dhaama paramam mama

There (in the state of Brahman), the sun doesn’t shine nor does the moon or fire. That is the state reaching where a person never returns again.

The above sloka is a clear example to show that the reality of Lord or Brahman or “I” (Krishna means Brahman by the word “I” and not the form-Lord Vishnu) is something existent and not shoonya (devoid of any existence).

Puranaas too say
Satchidaananda roopaaya vishwa utpatyaadi hetave
Taapatraya vinaashaaya sri krishnaaya vayam namaha

I prostrate Lord Krishna of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss – who is the cause of the creation etc. (etc. means protection and destruction) of the world – who is remover of the three types of obstacles or sorrows (adhibhootam, adhidaivam and adhyaatmam).

Thus Sruthi, Smrithi and Puranaas clearly mention the reality as being EXISTENT and not as a shoonyam.

Here the dvaitin will argue that “The Upanishads do propound an existing entity but the nirguna Brahman, claimed as the reality in the scriptures as per Advaita, is non-existent and same as shoonya”. This is but a wrong accusation. On the first case, Advaita gives Brahman the nature of SAT, CHIT and ANANDA. And Advaita very clearly accepts SAT as that which is existent for the three periods of time (that which never ceases to exist).

Vidyaranya thus says in Panchakosha viveka in Panchadashi (while explaining Satyam jnaanam anantham brahma):

Satyatvam baadha raahityam jagad bhaadaika saakshinah
Baadhah Kim sakshiko broohi na tu asaakshika ishyathe

Satyatva means that which is devoid of cessation (BADHA means sublation – eg: is the snake being sublated when rope is known) and that which is the witness to the cessation of the world. If it is asked what is the witness to the SAKSHI which also can be sublated --- this is wrong as there need to be a sakshi for all sublation & this sakshi is never sublated.

We all experience this also that at all times, that “I” never ceases to exist. Even if the sruthi or scriptures cease to exist – still “I” exist. Even when the Brahman ceases to exist, “I” exist. Here there will be a problem that Brahman becomes non-eternal if “I” and Brahman are not the same. This fault is not there only in Advaita which accepts Brahman and “I” as same. This “I” is not the Lord also because it is the individual “I” as per the Dvaita system. We will not enter into criticism of Dvaita system as that is not what is meant here but just defending of Advaita. Thus SAKSHI bhaavam which is something that “EXISTS” is there in Advaita. This existent entity is Brahman or the ultimate reality behind the illusory world.

But as per Shoonyavaadins the shoonyam is something which is non-existent & this reality is experienced when the differentiation between the thinker, thinking and object of thinking (called Triputi) vanishes. Advaita too says that when these three vanish, the reality of Brahman is realized. But the difference is in the nature of the ultimate reality – which is an EXISTENT VASTHU in Advaita where is a non-existent SHOONYA in Shoonyavaada.

As shown in the above panchadashi sloka, there are many other slokas in Panchadashi where Vidyaranya criticizes Shoonyavaada. Sureshwaracharya in his Manasollasa commentary on Sankaracharya’s Dakshinamurthy astakam too criticizes the shoonya vaada system.

Sankara says thus in Dakshinamurthy astakam

Deham praanam api indriyaani api chalaam buddhim cha shoonyam viduh
Stree baala andha jadopamaah tu aham ithi branthah brisham vaadinah

There are certain people who claim that “I” am the body, pranaas, indriyaas, changing intellect (the kshanika vijnaanavaada school of Buddhism) and Shoonyam – these are mad people who are like women, children and blind who have the illusion and based on this illusion scream about this wrong knowledge (here women is mentioned just to show the women tendencies to believe things which are not real and easily falling for things – not the gender is mentioned here but the qualities of women is being mentioned – there may be men among women & women among bearded ones too).

Thus Sankara himself criticizes the shoonyavaada school. Sri Harsha in his khandana khanda khaadyam as well as Chitsukha in his Chitsukhi criticize Nagarjuna (the propounder of the Madhyamaka school of shoonyavaada) for not ascertaining the existent reality even though he accepts the traikaalika satta, illusory nature of world etc.

Even though both systems are proved as very different, yet there are people who criticize Advaita and claim it as “Pracchanna baudhaas” (veiled Buddhists) taking resort to some puranaa statement. The people (the dvaitins) who accept this puranic statement but themselves accept that the puranaas including Bhagavatham have lot of interpolation in them. This is the reason why Madhvacharya wrote the Bhagavata tatparya Nirnaya so that such interpolations are removed. It is but absurd to claim one thing and to follow the same thing in a different way. Even though puranaas are considered interpolated but the dvaita import statements and statements refuting advaita are accepted. Isn’t this narrow-mindedness????? For eg:- all including the ISKCON people accept that Bhagavatham is a dualistic work about the form Lord & propounds Bhakthi but consider the last few slokas in Bhagavatham which clearly say that the Brahma Atma Aikya jnaana of Upanishads alone is the import of Bhagavatham and this is Jnaanam alone (this sloka mentions the seekers of reality as Vaishnavaas). These last slokas are commented by Sridhara swamin in his commentary on Bhagavatham (this is the oldest commentary on Bhagavatham written around the 13th century).

Thus it is wrong to claim that Brahman of Advaita is shoonya. The Brahman as Nirguna, Nirvishesha reality is clearly propounded in the Upanishads. This Brahman even though is beyond words and thoughts but is still experienced intuitively through Aparoksha Anubhava as one’s own very nature of Consciousness. This Brahman is the Subject of all objects – the Subject which never becomes an object. This Subject of one’s own very nature of Consciousness never ceases to exist (as Sruthi, yukthi and anubhava clearly prove it). Thus this Subject of Nirguna, Nirvishesha, Niraakaara Brahman is not the same as shoonya of shoonyavaadins.

We have already discussed in the previous sections as to how the objections raised by the Dvaitin are not only correct but completely wrong. Thus it can be concluded that Brahman is something which is really existent & is the reality behind the illusory duality that is currently perceived. Brahman is one’s own very nature of Consciousness – ever-existent entity.

People like BNK Sharma and others vainly fight with each other in the name of philosophy claiming that “the dvaita acharyas” have very well defined Advaita in the purvapaksha statements correctly & hence they are not misinterpreting or wrongly understanding Advaita – this claim is completely wrong as most of the arguments raised are merely based on assumptions and not clearly understanding the fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta. Even though BNK Sharma and others claim to refute Advaita using high-end logics in Nyaayaamritam, “I” have personally not seen even a single logic against the anirvachaneeya or indescribability of the world as different from Sat and Asat. They use high-end logic to prove that this is wrong and Ramanuja simply escapes by telling that “there is nothing which is neither Sat nor asat” when the examples of snake in rope as per Sri Krishna’s definition of Sat and Asat is very clear. The same have been mentioned as the reason against anirvachaneeya khyaathi of Advaita by many dvaita scholars in their books too.

Maybe this lead to “RISHI” (a great scholar) to mention in his hindi commentary on Sarva darshana Sangraha of Maadhava Vidyaranya that Ramanuja and Madhva are considered “Pracchana Tarkikaas” as they use high-end logic when Sruthi herself says that “logic should not be completely taken resort to”. They use high-end logic forgetting the very basic logic of anvaya-vyatireka and relativity-absolute etc.

BNK Sharma in his book “Advaita Siddhi and Nyaayaamrita – a critical up-todate” says that Advaita Siddhi which refutes Nyaayaamritam was refuted in Nyaayamrita tarangini of a dvaitin. Nyaayamrita Tarangini was refuted by the great advaitin Gauda Brahmaananda in his Brahmaanandi or Laghu chandrika. Brahmanandi was refuted by a dvaitin Vanamaala Misra. And BNK Sharma closes by telling that “there the great controversy came to a halt and a standstill” forgetting completely that the refutation of vanamaala misra was counter refuted by Vittalesha Upadhyaaya in his Vittaleshiyaa (not to mention another work by a kerala author which is referred by Kanchi Mahaperiyavaal).

Reality of Brahman can be realized only by a person who is open-minded, accepts all systems are correct from different levels and analyzes those systems without any pre-conceived notions and proper logic (not high-end logic used in Nyaayamritam and others).

Let us all try to get the open-minded by being open to all systems and trying to analyze the systems without any preconceived – thereby realizing the ultimate reality of Brahman as one’s own nature of Consciousness.

It would not be out of context to mention over here that Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswathi of Holenarsipur has shown a particular bhashya text of Sankara in Brahma Sutra Bhashya where Sankara calls the system which considers Brahman as the Nimitta kaarana alone (unlike Advaita which accepts Brahman as the abhinna nimitta upadaana kaarana) as “VEDA BAAHYAH” (outside Vedas). There are two causes which are material and efficient. For the effect of pot, mud is the material cause whereas potter is the efficient cause alone. Madhvacharya’s system of Dvaita considers Brahman as just the efficient cause and not the material cause of the world. Even though this is completely against the second sutra JANMAADI ASYA YATHAH, but still the bhashya which Satchidanandendra Saraswathi is really important in order to show that such systems don’t really have any basis in the Vedas (not Vedanta but even in the Vedas). This need not be considered as something egoistic from the Swamiji, but this is what Sankara has said in his bhashya. It is but out of question that Sankara knowingly accused the Dvaita system because Dvaita system was newly started by Madhvacharya only in the 12th century while Sankara’s time is around the 9th century.

This is important to show that even though many later advaita acharyas like vidyaranya and others knew about this, still they didn’t criticize Dvaita system because Advaita accepts all the other systems at the empirical level. It is but true that only a true Advaitin can bear with anything and everything because he knows that everything except Brahman is only empirically real (and ultimately unreal).

I understand that most of the people would not have even read the entire series but still continuing on the same line, we will try to see Madhvacharya’s Mayavaada Khandanam (along with its commentaries) analyzing it critically from the perspective of Advaita. It is when we analyze the rival system’s arguments against Advaita that the system of Advaita & its concepts becomes clear (BNK Sharma considers the khandana traya which includes Mayavaada khandanam as some of the great works of Madhva which brings out the fallacies in Advaita).

Hope that the series was not intellectual that people in the forum are unable to apprehend it. We will close the series with this mail. If anybody has any doubt regarding the contents of the series, then it can be raised (even though we are closing this topic with this mail) in the forum.

Nityam nirantaraanandam chitghanam brahma nirbhayam
Sruthyaa tarkaanubhootibhyaam aham asmi advayam sadaa

That Brahman which is eternal, ever-blissful, Consciousness in nature and devoid of FEAR -- I am that Brahman always and this is proved through Sruthi, tarka and anubhooti (scriptures, logic and experience).

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


Post a Comment

<< Home