advaita-siddhi - 5 (The first definition of mithyAtva)
Anand V. Hudli
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 18 12:36:09 CDT 1999
Earlier, MadhusUdana set forth the objective of establishing
the unreality (mithyAtva) of duality (dvaita), or in other
words the unreality of the world (jaganmithyAtva).
After a brief digression of navya-nyAya, we will now look at
the first definition of mithyAtva (unreality) that comes under
attack from the mAdhva opponent. This definition is the one
given by PadmapAdAchArya in his PanchapAdikA.
atha prathamamithyAtva-vichAraH |
The opponent criticizes the definition of mithyAtva as
nanu kimidaM mithyAtvaM sAdhyate, na tAvat.h "mithyAshabdo-
anirvachanIyatAvachana" iti panchapAdikAvachanAt.h sadasad-
anadhikaraNatvarUpamanirvAchyatvam.h, taddhi kiM asatva-
vishishhTa-sattvAbhAvaH, uta sattvAtyantAbhAva-asattva-atyanta-
abhAvarUpaM dharmadvayam.h, Ahosvit.h sattvAtyanta-abhAvavatve
sati asattva-atyanta-abhAvarUpaM vishishhTam.h |
Now, what is this unreality (mithyAtva) that (you) want to
infer (as characterizing the world)? This unreality is by no
means non-definability as defined by the statement of the
panchapAdikA that the word mithyA (unreal) is denoted by
non-definability, the non-definability being of the nature of
NOT being the substratum (adhikaraNa) of either existence or
non-existence. What is "not being the substratum of existence
Is it 1) the absence of existence qualified by non-existence
or 2) the pair of attributes of a. absolute absence of existence
and b. absolute absence of non-existence, or 3) the property of
the absolute absence of nonexistence during the absolute absence of
existence, ie. being a common substratum of the attributes -
the absolute absence of existence and the absolute absence of
nAdyaH, sattvamAtrAdhAre jagatyasattvavishishhTasattva-anabhyu-
pagamAt, vishishhTa-abhAva-sAdhane siddha-sAdhanAt.h |
(You) cannot (claim) the first (regarding the world) because the
world is the substratum of only existence (sattva) and existence
qualified by non-existence is not admitted. And by proving the
absence of existence as qualified by non-existence , (you commit
the flaw of) proving what is already established (siddha-sAdhana).
[Please see Note 1 below]
na dvitIyaH, sattva-asattvayorekAbhAve aparasattva-avashyakatvena
vyAghAtAt.h, nirdharmakabrahmavatsattva-asattva-rAhitye .api
sadrUpatvena amithyAtvopapattyA arthAntarAchcha, shuktirUpye
abAdhyatvarUpasattva-vyatirekasya sattvena bAdhyatvarUpa-asattvasya
vyatireka-asiddhyA sAdhyavaikalyAchcha |
(You) cannot (claim) the second. Because, wherever there is an
absence of one of existence and nonexistence, there the presence
of the other is necessary; this leads to a contradiction. (Also),
the world, just like the Brahman without attributes, even being
without the attributes, existence and nonexistence, by (its very)
nature of existence, is established as NOT unreal; this would
lead to (the defect of) arthAntara, proving something other than
what is to be proved. In the silver-in-nacre (example of illusion
that is often quoted by advaitins to show the ontological status
of the world), (we grant that) it (silver-nacre) is without existence
whose nature is non-sublatability (noncontradicted-ness), (but)
the absence of nonexistence, whose nature is sublatibility
(contradicted-ness), is NOT established; this leads to the
defectiveness of (your) sAdhya, what (you) seek to prove.
[Please see Note 2 below]
ata eva na tR^itIyaH, pUrvavadvyAghAtAt.h, arthAntarAtsAdhya-
For the very same reason(s) as before, the third (alternative
in defining mithyAtva, ie. the common substratum of the attributes,
absolute absence of existence and the absolute absence of
nonexistence) cannot (be claimed) because of the fallacies of
contradiction (violation of the law of the excluded middle),
proving something other than what is intended, and defectiveness
of the sAdhya.
MadhusUdana now begins his reply thus:
iti chet.h, maivam.h
If this is what you say, it is unjustified.
(To be continued)
Note 1: BrahmAnanda points out that the siddha-sAdhana allegation
made by the mAdhva in his criticism of the first alternative to
defining sadasadanadhikaraNatva is not technically accurate.
Here is why:
pratiyogika-abhAvaprasiddhAvapi matAntare tadaprasiddhirityapi
Even though the absolute absence of an alIka (fictitious entity)
is accepted by mAdhvas and the absence of the qualified adjunct is
(accepted) as exampled, in some other system (mata) it is not exampled
(and, therefore, it is not accepted.)
ViTThalesha clarifies here that matAntare means naiyAyikAdi mate,
among naiyAyikas, etc.
The argument is this. The first alternative to sadasadanadhikara-
Natva is claimed by the mAdhva as leading to sidhha-sAdhana,
establishing what is already accepted. But this is true only in
the case of mAdhva's system, not in the case of others such as
naiyAyikas who do not accept the negation of a purely fictitious entity.
For example, the sentence "a hare with horns is not in the forest"
is not accepted by the naiyAyikas because it involves the negation
of a purely fictitious entity, a hare with horns. The naiyAyikas
absolutely insist that what is being negated must be an exampled entity.
The naiyAyikas are extreme realists as much as mAdhvas are. If any
false knowledge creeps into the inference process, the naiyAyika feels
that the whole process is suspect. Therefore, he insists that any and
all terms that are used in an inference must be only exampled terms,
not unexampled terms, fictitious terms. In fact, vAtsyAyana makes it
clear in the nyAya-sUtra-bhAshhya that the conclusion that is to be
proved must be possible - saMbhavastAvat.h pratiGYa.
In any case, the naiyAyika would also object to the first alternative
in defining sadasadanadhikaraNatva, just as the mAdhva does, but for
a different reason.
Note 2: Here, the opponent argues that the world (with duality) could be
just like Brahman in that Brahman does not have existence as an attribute
but existence is Brahman. So the duality of the world can also be such
that existence is not an attribute but its very nature. If the advaitin
admits this, he would be proving something other than what he wishes
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