Samkara's Theory please!
acurry at UVIC.CA
Mon Oct 13 02:55:58 CDT 1997
My previous post was a bit unclear. I wanted to know whether Puligandla
has got *Samkara* essentially right here or not. For the moment, I think
Puligandla *does* have Samkara right but if you think what Puligandla is
attributing to Samkara is not really Samkara's thought , then I'd like to
hear your reasons. Samkara may have said a lot of things, I want to
know if the following quote is a fair representation of at least a part
of what he did say and whether or not it is itself contradicted by any
other higher truth which Samkara may have also expressed.
OK? Let's try this again...
"Central to Samkara's theory of reality is the concept
of sublation. Sublation is essentially the mental
process of correcting and rectifying errors of judgment.
Thus one is said to sublate a previously held judgment
when, in the light of a new experience which contradicts
it, one either regards the judgment as false or
disvalues it in some significant sense. It is obvious
that sublation of a given judgment necessarily results
in its being replaced by a new one. Not only judgments
but also concepts, objects, relations. and in general
any content of consciousness, can be sublated. For
Samkara sublatability is the criterion of the
ontological status of any content of consciousness;
anything that is in principle sublatable is of a lesser
degree of reality and value than that which replaces it
as a result of sublation. It is through the concept of
sublation that Samkara arrives at his ontological
hierarchy. On the criterion of sublatability, Samkara
distinguishes reality, appearance, and unreality.
Reality is that which in principle cannot be sublated by
any other experience. Apearance is that which in
principle can be sublated by other experiences.
Unreality is that which in principle neither can nor
cannot be sublated.
Let us first note that the act of sublation presupposes
an essential dualism between the experiencer and the
experienced, the subject and the object, consciousness
and the contents of consciousness. It also presupposes a
plurality of objects, concepts, judments - contents of
consciousness in general. The distinction between
subject and object is necessary for sublation because it
is the subject who sublates the object. Plurality of
objects is necessary for sublation because sublation
analytically implies juxtaposing one object or
experience against another incompatible object or
experience and judging that the first has a lesser
degree of reality (or is of lesser value) than the
second. In the light of these remarks, to say that the
experience of reality is unsublatable is to say that no
other experience can conceivably contradict the
experience of reality. The reason for this is that
reality is devoid of all distinctions - not only the
distinction between one object and another but also that
between the subject and the object, the self and the
non-self. Thus the experience of reality transcends all
distinctions and is therefore the experience of pure
identity between the subject and object, the self and
the non-self. It is clear that the experience of reality
is unsublatable, since there can be nothing besides the
unitary experience which may conceivably contovert the
experience. Reality is unsublatable because it is wholly
bereft of any distinctions, oppositions, qualifications
or relations. It is the experience of reality that
sublates all else, itself being unsublatable by any
other experience whatsoever."
-------------end of Puligandla's quote-----------------
- Allan Curry
If it makes any difference to you, I could supply a
quote or two from V.S.Iyer and T.M.P.Mahadevan along
very similar lines regarding the same central criterion
of non-contradictability in Advaita Vedanta.
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