Notes on Brahmasuutra-IIIa
venkataraman at PACIFIC.NET.SG
Wed Sep 6 10:43:20 CDT 2000
Dear Shri Sadananda, PraNaams.
> Re. Notes on Brahmasuutra -IIIa
> Please allow me to express some thoughts that came to my mind on reading the
> above posting. Pardon me if you find them irrelevant or immature. Correct
> me if they are wrong.
1) Ajnanam is not absence of jnanam. It is a separate indefinable entity ,
which is anaadi but has an anta. Jnanam is eternal - anadi as well as ananta.
Is it then correct to say that ajnanam has to go, and jnanam has to come (as
if jnanam was temporarily absent). Is it not that only the ajnanam which is
veiling the jnanam has to go. There is no question of jnanam coming. Jnanam is
always there. Like the Sun may not be seen when it is hidden by a cloud. All
that is needed is for the cloud to go away, not for the sun to start shining
afresh; it has always been shining, even when you were not able to see it shine.
2) In the case of the rope-snake example, the adhyasa is caused by the dim light
which prevents the ropeness from being perceived. A torch removes this
impediment to perception and thus reveals the truth. It does not produce the
truth. There is no adhyaasa when it is totally dark nor when there is Light.
Should we not therefore say that it is the dim light which is the cause of the
3) How do you distinguish between anyatha grahaNam (standpoint of the rope)
and adhyaaropa (standpoint of the snake) ?
4) Consider two scenarios :
(i) There is a rope. In dim light I see it as a snake. I suffer fear
because of my erroneous perception. This is a case of adhyaasa.
(ii) There is a snake. In dim light I see it as a rope. It is quite
possible that the snake just slithers away and I come to no harm. Nevertheless I
did have an erroneous perception. What would my erroneous perception in this
case be called ?
5) Verse 10-6-8 of Srimad Bhagavatam describes Puutanaa's erroneous
Baby krishna pretending to be asleep in the cradle
was really a snake (pun on the word ananta)who was to put an end to her life
(antakam). But Puutanaa mistook the sleeping snake (suptam uragam) to be a
piece of rope (rajjudhii.h) and put him on her lap (ankam aaropayat).
5) Is the verse "gaganam gaganaakaaram ..."
from Valmiiki RaamaayaNam ? Incidentally, saagara is a masculine noun and so
it should perhaps read "saagarassaagaropama.h"
V.M.Sundaram<venkataraman at pacific.net.sg>
> . Adhyaasa Bhaashhyam
> .y later. But I can
> guarantee that if you do not have the commitment to study now the
> probability that you will study later is almost zero. One needs to study
> couple of times before the concepts and the definitions become clear. The
> first three notes are very important since subsequent topics will relay
> heavily on the definitions and concepts discussed in these.)
> Shree Shankara's bhaashhyam popularly known as shaariirika miimaamsa
> bhaashhyam starts with Shankara's introduction called adhyaasa bhaashhyam.
> Bhagavaan Shankara gives a great importance to adhyaasa since that is the
> basis of the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and his interpretation of
> Brahmasuutra. As with all bhaashhyam-s, every bhaashhyakaara or author of
> bhaashhyam claims that his interpretation is close to the meaning of what
> was intended by Shree Baadaraayana. We should recognize at the outset that
> the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta does not depend on the validation of its
> concepts by Brahmasuutra-s. It rests squarely on the mahaavaakya-s, the
> four aphoristic statements, one in each of the four Veda-s; praJNaanam
> brahma (consciousness is Brahman), tat tvam asi (that thou art), aham
> brahmaasmi ( I am Brahman) and ayam aatma brahma (this self is Brahman).
> What Shankara shows is that Brahmasuutra is compatible with the doctrine
> of Advaita Vedanta. With the advent of science in the twentieth century and
> with the development of relativistic and quantum mechanics, scientists
> vision of the Universe is coming more close to the precepts of Advaita
> For a saadhak or seeker, it is important to have a very clear understanding
> of the nature of the problem so that one can seek the solution that is
> appropriate to solve the problem. Hence mind should be doubt free, in terms
> of the goal and the path. For this one needs to reflect deeply (mananam) to
> insure that there are no traces of doubts about the goal and the means.
> Constant study of scriptures and contemplation on their meaning and
> applications of that to one own situation are all the steps recommended to
> have a clear vision. In that sense Shankara Bhaashhya helps to provide a
> necessary means to launch oneself into the contemplation of the reality.
> While the study of Brahmasuutra is helpful but it is not necessary, since as
> mentioned before Adviata Vedanta does not relay on the suutra-s for its
> validation. With this understanding we now enter into adhyaasa bhaashhyam.
> 3.1 What is adhyaasa and what is its importance?
> Before entering into the discussion of Brahmasuutra, Shankara provides an
> introduction, describing the adhyaasa aspect of Advaita Vedanta. adhyaasa
> means an error or a mistake. In this bhaashhyam Shankaraachaarya
> establishes the central cause for samsaara or human suffering, and it is due
> to adhyaasa or a mistake or an error. Once Shankara proves that samsaara is
> due to an error or adhyaasa, then removal of samsaara should be related to
> the removal of the error or adhyaasa nivR^itti. When the error is gone,
> then the error-caused problems are also disappear. If it is proved that
> samsaara is due to an error, naturally the question arises why there is an
> error or how did the error arise? Errors can arise because of different
> reasons. For example, when I do not know and I still act, I commit a
> mistake or an error. Even if I do not know that I do not know, I still
> commit a mistake. For example, lack of knowledge of the required language
> skills can be the cause of some of the errors in these notes. Here the lack
> of knowledge or ignorance is the cause. Sometimes even if I know, I still
> can make mistakes as in the typographical errors in this notes. Here too,
> if one analyzes carefully, the error is due to non-awareness or ignorance as
> the basic problem, since I am not conscious of what I am typing in relation
> to what I want to type. Errors can also arise if the instruments of
> knowledge are defective, like if I am, say, color blind or if there is
> insufficient illumination. In all these cases I am still ignorant of the
> truth and more importantly I take the false as real. Sometimes there is a
> double jeopardy since I not only take false as real but also real as false.
> In all these commissions, there is always a price I have to pay for
> committing an error. Thus there is always some suffering associated with
> it. If the error is not there, the associated suffering will also be not
> there. Thus fundamentally the root cause for all errors is lack of
> appropriate knowledge. Hence any error arises because of ignorance or
> aJNaanam. Therefore aJNaanam causes adhyaasa, error, and adhyaasa causes
> samsaara, suffering. For samsaara to go, adhyaasa should go, for adhyaasa
> to go aJNaanam should go, and for aJNaanam to go knowledge should come.
> Hence Shankara says in VivekachuuDaamani,
> na yogena na saankhyena karmaNaa no na vidyayaa|
> bramhaatmaikatva bodhena mokshssiddhyati naanyathaa||
> One can do anything or follow anything - yoga, saankhya, karma, bhakti,
> direct path, straight path, curvilinear path etc. Through these process one
> cannot gain Moksha. They may be useful in gaining the saadhana
> catushhTayam, the four-fold qualifications, which help to gain the requisite
> knowledge. But to gain Moksha, the knowledge of the identity of Brahman and
> aatma alone is required. Otherwise even if all others are present, there is
> no liberation. Because the bondage is an error-based or due to adhyaasa,
> and adhyaasa can only be removed when ignorance goes, and ignorance goes
> only when the knowledge comes. In support of this we have declarations: 'na
> anyaH panthaaH ayanaaya vidyate', 'gataasuuana gataasuumscha na anusochanti
> paNDitaaH' - those who have gained the knowledge do not grieve for those who
> have gone and for those in the process of going'. And therefore 'athaato
> brahma giJNyaasa' - to gain that knowledge only, this inquiry into the
> nature of Brahman. This is the essence of the adhyaasa bhaashhyam. Now the
> details follow.
> 3.2 Example of adhyaasa:
> For conveying this concept of adhyaasa in Vedanta a well known example is
> taken as illustrated by Shree GouDapaada in his ManDukya kaarika:
> anishchitaa yathaa rajjuH andhakaare vikalpitaa|
> sarpadhaaraadibhiH bhaavaiH tadvadaatmaa vikalpitaH||
> meaning, when there is a rope in front of us which is not clearly visible
> then there is a mistake of a snake or a stream of water. Similarly aatma is
> mistaken for something other than aatma. Hence a snake perception on a rope
> is an error or adhyaasa. rajjou sarpa budhhiH - on the rope the notion of a
> When does the error takes place? If the rope is completely not seen when it
> is pitch dark, then no error takes place, and there is no fear of a snake.
> Hence it is said that 'ignorance is a bliss', as in deep sleep. In total
> ignorance, there is no error. Similarly in total knowledge also there is no
> error, since one can see clearly the rope. There is no fear of snake and
> hence knowledge is also bliss, as with a wise man. Only when there is a
> partial light or when the eyes are partially defective, the error can occur.
> When there is a partial light, then we know there is something in front of
> us. Thus we have some partial knowledge. But what is that something we
> don't know. That there is something is called 'saamaanya JNaanam' or
> partial knowledge. That part of the rope (that is the 'thingness' that
> exists) is called 'saamaanya amsha' (general existent part). The saamaanya
> amsha is not covered by darkness since we know that something exists there.
> Hence it is also called 'anaavR^ita amsha' (uncovered part). Since the
> existence of something is real, it is also called 'satya amsha' or real
> Since light is dull, that the existent thing is 'a rope' - that aspect is
> covered, which is the particular feature of the existent object. The
> 'ropeness' of the object is covered, which is the specific feature of that
> object. This specific feature of the object, that is the 'ropeness', is
> called 'visheshha amsha' also 'aavRita amsha' or covered part. 'There is a
> rope' is a fact or real. Of this total fact, one part is covered and
> another part is not covered. Of the total statement, 'there is a rope',
> 'there is' -, that part (saamaanya amsha) of the knowledge is not covered
> and ' a rope' - that part (visheshha amsha) is covered. When the visheshha
> amsha is covered, the mind projects with another visheshha amsha - which is
> 'a snake'. Hence 'snakeness' is the replaced visheshha amsha in the place
> of 'ropeness'. We are not replacing saamaanya amsha or satya amsha or real
> part but we are replacing only the visheshha amsha, a particular part, with
> a snake which is mithyaa or anR^itam or not real.
> Thus when we say 'there is a snake' it consists of two parts - saamaanya
> amsha, which is real and visheshha amsha which is unreal or anR^itam.
> Therefore in every error there is satya saamaanya amsha and mithyaa
> visheshha amsha. The unreal particular feature is there only because the
> real particular feature (visheshha amsha - the ropeness) is covered. When
> the light is shown, the true knowledge of the object takes place and we say
> now 'there is a rope'. The previous saamaanya amsha, 'there is' or the real
> part still remains. Only the previous visheshha amsha, the snakeness, which
> is not real is replaced by the other visheshha amsha (ropeness), which
> happens to be also real. When we say it is replaced, it is not that the
> snake is now replaced by the rope. Where did the snake go? - the snake was
> never there to go anywhere. But in the mind of the perceiver who says
> 'there is a snake', the snake was very much alive and it was a very
> frightening experience for him. The frightening experience that includes
> rapid heart beating, blood pressure raising and sweating are all as much
> real as the snake, for the one who sees the snake. He runs away to avoid
> the snakebite and that running away is real too. Can the false snake cause
> so much of havoc? False snake cannot cause any problem if one knows that it
> is false. Since it is a real snake in the mind of the perceiver, the
> perceived suffering is equally real in his mind. Thus relative to his state
> of mind, the snake is real. Only from the point of wise man, snake is
> mithyaa (for the time being we translate it is unreal) while rope is real.
> The snake appears to be real from the point of the perceiver, and is unreal
> from the point of the wise man. Thus off-hand there appears to be two
> realities, one from the point of the perceiver who sees the thing as a snake
> and the other from the point of the wise man who sees the thing as a rope.
> One is relatively real (vyaavahaarika satya) and the other is absolutely
> real (paaramaarthika satya). Thus relative realities depend on from whose
> reference we are discussing the issue. Most of the confusion in discussions
> arises when we inadvertently switch the reference states without realizing
> it. The discussion of real and unreal so far is from the point of a
> perceiver. But from the point of the object, it was rope all the time. It
> was just an innocent rope lying in semi dark alley, without realizing that
> it is the subject of so much discussion from GouDapaada on! It was rope
> before any one saw, it is a rope when people are mistaking it as a snake and
> it will remain as rope even when a torch light was shown on it. Rope never
> became a snake causing problems for the people. But people saw it as a
> snake and got frightened. Who created a snake out of a rope? Can we say
> ignorance created a snake out of the rope? Both questions will sound as
> ridiculous since there was never a snake where the rope is, for it to be
> called a created entity. But yet for the person who is perceiving a snake,
> there is indeed a snake where the rope is. But when we ask him later why
> he saw the snake there when it is a rope, his only answer is - I didnít know
> it was a rope. From his point, ignorance of the rope is the cause for the
> snake creation in his mind. These concepts need to be clearly understood
> when we apply it to reality of the world, concept of creation and what is
> the adhishhTaanam or substratum for the creation or the world etc.
> Now when the light is shown, the reality of the object gets revealed by
> itself, since it is real, and the unreality disappears by itself since it is
> unreal. The correction is not in the saamaanya amsha but only in the
> visheshha amsha. When this correction takes place in the visheshha amsha,
> the fear caused by that unreal snake is also gone. The fears and
> tribulations are all related to the visheshha amsha, which is unreal and not
> to the saamaanya amsha, which is real. Thus when the inquiry is done about
> the nature of the visheshha amsha using a valid means of inquiry, in this
> case, say a torch light, then the reality of the object in total is known.
> The method of inquiry should be appropriate since the error is due to
> ignorance of the visheshha amsha, the rope, because of the dim light. Hence
> the means should be such as to eliminate the ignorance by throwing light on
> the object. No amount of prayers, actions such as jumping up and down, or
> japa or meditation on the rope ' idam rajjuH, idam rajjuH', 'this is a rope,
> this is a rope' etc., will help reveal the rope in the place of a snake.
> Hence Shankara say in VivekachuuDaamani:
> vadantu shastraaNi yajantu devaan
> kurvantu karmaaNi bhajantu devataaH|
> aatmaikya bodhena vinaa vimuktiH
> na sidhyati braham shataantarepi||
> Let erudite scholars quote all the scriptures, let gods be invoked through
> endless sacrifices, let elaborate rituals be performed, let personal gods be
> propitiated. Yet, without the experience of one's identity with the self or
> self-knowledge, there shall be no liberation for the individual, even in the
> lifetime of a hundred Brahma-s put together.
> The problem is centered on ignorance and the solution has to be an
> appropriate knowledge that removes that ignorance. If I don't know
> Chemistry no amount of the study of Psychology will help remove my ignorance
> of Chemistry. Knowledge of Chemistry alone removes the ignorance of
> Chemistry. Similarly the knowledge of oneself removes the ignorance
> centered on the self. Hence discussion of any other paths is meaningless
> from the point of the stated problem - hence the shruti's declaration - na
> anyaH panthaa vidyate ayanaaya - no other path other than knowledge removes
> the samsaara. Hence Shankara insistence on the understanding of the nature
> of the problem, i.e. adhyaasa.
> Thus the problem itself will define the solution to that problem.
> 3.4. Role of adhyaasa in Vedanta:
> Similar to the case of rope-snake case, when a person says 'aham samsaarii'
> - 'I am a samsaarii', Shankaraachaarya says here too there is a 'saamaanya
> amsha' and 'visheshha amsha'. "I am' in the above statement is the
> saamaanya amsha, which refers to 'a conscious being' - conscious
> corresponding to 'chit' and 'being' corresponding to 'sat'. It is anaavR^ita
> amsha or uncovered part and is also 'satya amsha', part that is real. In
> fact this part is never covered or eternally true and is self evident or
> ever evident or 'pratibodha viditam' or JNaanaswaruupam, of the nature of
> the knowledge. That is, I am not only conscious but also I am
> 'self-conscious' - and therefore require no means of knowledge, pramaaNa, to
> know that I exist. I know that I am there even when it is pitch dark
> outside. Hence this particular saamaanya amsha is never covered - in fact
> nothing can cover it!
> In the above statement there is also a visheshha amsha, a particular part -
> 'a samsaarii', which is unreal like our snake. The unreal 'visheshha amsha'
> has come into existence only because of the covering of real visheshha
> amsha. Therefore covering as well as uncovering belongs only to 'visheshha
> amsha' and not to saamaanya amsha. What is that real visheshha amsha that
> is covered - Sat and Chit are evident in the saamaanya amsha. Then what is
> covered is aananda (bliss) amsha, or anantatva (unlimited) amsha, or
> puurNatva (complete) amsha or Brahmatva (infiniteness) amsha or in effect
> 'asamsaaritva amsha'. That is the visheshha amsha that is covered. In that
> place we have unreal visheshha amsha ' duHkii, (miserable) or asampuurNaH
> (incomplete) or parichchhinnaH(limited) or samsaarii'. Hence ' aham
> samsaaari or jiivaH' is an error and is the cause for all the human
> suffering. Therefore to solve the problem of human suffering there is no
> need to change the real part (in fact one cannot change it) that is the
> saamaanya amsha, which is 'I am', but only remove the visheshha amsha called
> 'samsaarii'. This has to be done by putting a 'torch light' to reveal the
> real visheshha amsha that 'aham asamsaarii' or 'aham Brahma asmi'. The
> torchlight is 'the Vedanta Knowledge' that is required to reveal the true
> visheshha amsha. 'aham asmi' is common both in the samsaarii state and in
> the realized state. In the samsaarii state, I have knowledge only as ' aham
> samsaarii asmií , which is replaced by real knowledge, that 'aham Brahma
> asmi'. The change is taking place only in the visheshha amsha, anR^ita
> amsha or mityaa amsha, the unreal part -just as the change is taking place
> from mityaa 'snake' to real 'rope'. Hence 'I am the samsaarii' notion goes
> away and is replaced by 'I am asamsaarii or puurNaH' knowledge comes and
> that is the aim of all the prasthaanatraya, Upanishads, Geeta and
> 3.5 Examination of adhyaasa:
> This adhyaasa or error can be defined differently by looking at it from
> different angles - As mentioned before the study of knowledge and error
> comes under the science of epistemology. There are differences of opinions
> about error (some may be erroneous too!) and these are called 'khyaati
> vaada' or analysis of errors. From the standpoint of rope, one can call it
> as 'misapprehension' of rope - mistaking (missing the rope and taking the
> snake!) the rope is an error. In Sanskrit it is called 'anyathaa grahaNam
> or anyathaa khyaati'. The same error can be defined from the standpoint of
> snake also. From the point of snake error is 'superimposition of a snake',
> that is a non-existent snake is superimposed on the existing object. This
> is called 'addhaaropa' or 'adhyaasa'. A third definition is both from the
> point of rope and snake. From this point an error is a combination or
> mixing of some parts of real rope and some parts of unreal snake. When we
> say 'there is a snake', in that 'there is'- belongs to rope, which is
> saamaanya amsha, which is real. Hence the statement ''there is a snake'
> involves a real saamaanya amsha and unreal visheshha amsha. Hence error
> involves mixing up of satyam, real, and asatyam or unreal or anR^itam.
> Hence error is defined as 'satyaanR^ita mithuniikaraNam' - mixing up of real
> and unreal. By the mixing up of the two entities, real and unreal, a third
> singular entity is created that involves parts of the real and part of the
> unreal. A fellow while seeing a rope says 'there is a snake'. While
> saying, he does not know that there are two entities, real and unreal, which
> he is mixing. The problem is, in principle, is inconsequential, but for
> the fact that he is having a real suffering as a consequence of the mistaken
> identity or the presence of unreal snake. From our point who knew the whole
> truth, he is mixing up of the two entities. From the mistaker point, he is
> not aware of the two things. In his cognition, there is only one entity but
> only on analysis we find that in his unitary perception there is a satya
> amsha and anR^ita amsha. When he says 'the snake is frightening' -
> frightening part belongs to anR^ita amsha, the snake, whereas the 'is' part
> belongs to the satya amsha, the rope. 'It is a long snake' - the length
> belongs to the rope and it is therefore satya amsha. "It is a poisonous
> snake' - the poisonous part belongs to snake which is anR^ita amsha. ' It is
> a curved snake' - the curved part belongs to rope, hence satya amsha. Hence
> a peculiar mixture of some aspects which are satyam and some aspects which
> are anR^itam. He mixes them both to arrive at one unitary entity.
> Similarly when a person says 'I am so and so' - he takes himself as one
> unitary entity but Shankara says there are two aspects mixed in that
> statement - a satya amsha and anR^ita amsha, creating a jiiva who is
> miserable. When he says 'I am existent conscious being' - existent and
> conscious are from satya amsha. When he say 'I am a fat person' - fat person
> is anR^ita amsha. Hence jiiva is neither pure aatma nor pure anaatma, it is
> a mixture of aatma and anaatma, satya and anR^ita amsha. It is this mixed
> unitary entity, jiiva, is striving for liberation. This missing up is
> called 'error' called 'satyaanR^ita mithuniikaraNam.
> The purpose of Brahmasuutra is to inquire into the nature of jiiva to
> discard the unreal part and to get established in the real part. In this
> process, the samsaara which is associated with the unreal part gets
> dissolved and that is Moksha or liberation. This is the general background
> on adhyaasa.
> 3.6 Shankara's discussion of adhyaasa:
> The discussion of Shankaraachaarya on adhyaasa bhaashhyam can be broadly
> classified into six subtopics: 1. adhyaasa shankhaa (objections to the
> theory of error) 2. adhyaasa shankhaa samaadhaanam (answering to the
> objections) 3. adhyaasa lakshaNam (the definition of error) 4. adhyaasa
> sambhaavanaa (showing the possibility of error) 5. adhyaasa pramaaNa (proof
> for adhyaasa) 6. adhyaasa upasamhaaraH (conclusion of the adhyaasa topic).
> For convenience, we take the third topic first, adhyaasa lakshaNam, the rest
> of the topics will be discussed in the order.
> 3.7 Definition or lakshaNa for adhyaasa:
> Shankara gives two definitions for adhyaasa. An additional third definition
> is indirectly available and is often quoted. The first definition is:
> 'smR^iti ruupaH, paratra puurva dR^ishhTaavabhaasaH adhyaasaH'|
> meaning 'the perception of a previously experienced object on a wrong locus'
> - In the rope-snake example, one is perceiving a snake - a snake which is
> already experienced before. A person who has never seen a snake will not
> mistake a rope for a snake. I am superimposing an experienced snake upon a
> wrong locus, which is a rope. This is called an error.
> Second definition which is more popular and simpler and that is:
> 'atasmin tat buddhiH' meaning 'perception of an object on a wrong locus' -
> The snake is seen on a wrong locus that is the rope. Or perception of
> silver on a shell.
> The third indirect definition is what was discussed before 'satyaanR^ita
> mithuniikaraNam' - mixing up of real and unreal.
> When I say 'I am the body' - the error is seeing the body on a wrong locus
> 'aatma' which is not the body. I, the immortal, is seen as the mortal - I,
> the all pervading, is seen as the limited - This is the error.
> This is the adhyaasa lakshaNam.
> 3.8 Objections to adhyaasa -adhyaasa Shankhaa:
> The objections are raised by all other systems of philosophies, saankhya,
> yoga, vaiseshika etc., who claim that adhyaasa introduction is an improper
> introduction because aatma-anaatma adhyaasa is impossible. Rope-snake
> adhyaasa is possible which can be accepted but not aatma-anaatma adhyaasa.
> To establish that the puurvapakshi (the objector) gives the following
> reasons. Any super imposition like rope-snake super imposition requires
> four conditions to be satisfied simultaneously. Only if all the four
> conditions are fulfilled then this satyaanR^ita mithuniikaraNam can occur
> otherwise it is not possible. In the case of aatma-anaatma adhyaasa not a
> single one of the four conditions is satisfied. Hence the idea of adhyaasa
> is itself an adhyaasa or a mistake.
> Let us illustrate the four conditions using the rope-snake example. First,
> the rope is a 'pratyaksha vishaya', a directly perceivable object in front.
> Hence the first condition is 'pratyaksha vishayatvam', an object which is
> directly perceivable in front. That is 'there is a rope in front', for
> anyone to mistake it as a snake. The second condition is that the rope
> should not be completely known. One should be ignorant of the fact that it
> is a rope. Hence the second condition is called 'aJNaatatvam', absence of
> the complete knowledge of the rope. The third condition is saadR^isyam -
> there should be a similarity between what I superimpose and what is there in
> front. I mistake the rope only as a snake but not as an elephant or monkey,
> because there is no saadR^isyam between rope and the elephant or monkey.
> The fourth condition is 'samskaaram'. That is a false snake is superimposed
> because I had an experience of a real snake before which left the impression
> or vaasana in my mind. Because of that snake vaasana or 'samskaara' alone I
> commit the mistake that the rope as a snake. If I have not experienced a
> real snake before then there is no question of mistaking the rope as a
> snake. Therefore the fourth condition is 'puurva anubhava janya
> samskaaraH', a vaasana which is born out of the experience of a real snake
> before. Hence only when the four conditions, pratyaksha vishayatvam,
> aJNaatatvam, saadR^isyam and puurva samskaara, are there, then one can have
> an error due to the superimposition or adhyaasa. If one applies this to
> aatma-anaatma case, none of the four conditions is fulfilled. Hence
> aatma-anaatma adhyaasa is impossible.
> Let us examine this in detail. The first condition is pratyaksha
> vishayatvam - rope is clearly perceived as an object for the mistake to take
> place. In the case of aatma, is it an object to be perceived in front to
> commit a mistake? aatma is apratyakshaH, avishayaH -it is imperceptible and
> also not an object - Thus it is not an object in front for any one to commit
> a mistake. Hence the first condition is not fulfilled. aatmanaH
> apratyakshatvaat, a claim made by advaitin himself that aatma cannot be
> directly perceived, and that violates the first condition.
> The second condition is aJNaatatvam, ignorance with regard to rope in the
> rope-snake example. But in the case of aatma advaitin accepts that aatma is
> svayam prakaashaH(self evident or self-effulgent), nitya chaitanya
> swaruupaH (always conscious). Hence how can there be ignorance with regard
> to self-evident aatma? nityopalabda swaruupaH - swayam jyotiH -It is
> self-luminous or shines by itself - these are advaitin's own statements
> regarding aatma. If that is the case, how can there be ignorance in that
> chaitanya swaruupa swam prakaashha aatma, self-conscious, self-shining
> aatma? Hence the second condition of aJNaatatvam is not fulfilled and hence
> no adhyaasa is possible.
> The third condition is saadR^isyam, similarity. Between aatma and anaatma
> what similarity is there? They are diagonally opposite to one another in
> all features. aatma is the subject and anaatma is the object. aatma is
> chetanam (conscious entity) and anaatma is jaDam( inert), aatma is sarva
> gatam (all pervading) anaatma is alpa gatam (limited in time and space),
> aatma is nirguNam (attributeless) where as anaatma is saguNam(with
> attributes) - In every aspect they are opposite. Shankara says in his
> bhaashhyam 'tamaH prakaashavat viruddha swabhaavayoH, vishaya vishayinoH,
> yushmadashmat pratyaya gocharayoH' - they are diagonally opposite to each
> other like light and darkness, one is object and the other is subject etc.
> Hence saadR^isyam or similarity is not at all there. Hence the third
> condition is not fulfilled.
> The fourth condition is samskaaraH - Advaitin claims anaatma is unreal and
> aatma is real - since it involves satyaanR^ita mithuniikaraNam - satya
> aatma and anR^ita anaatma are mixed up. In the case of snake the unreal
> snake is possible because we have experienced a real snake before. The
> samskaara of real snake is there in the mind. In the case of aatma-anaatma
> superimposition, for the unreal anaatma to be superimposed on real aatma,
> we should have prior samskaara or experience of real anaatma, that is, we
> should have experienced before a real anaatma. But advaitin himself claims
> that there is no real anaatma at all because aatma alone is real, which is
> one without a second. Therefore the samskaara, the fourth condition is also
> not fulfilled. Since all the four conditions are not fulfilled the
> aatma-anaatma adhyaasa is impossible. Hence the very foundation of Advaita
> Vedanta is on shaky grounds.
> Thus according to puurvapakshi for adhyaasa to operate all the four
> conditions need to be satisfied - they are 1. pratyaksha vishayatvam, 2.
> aJNaatatvam, 3. saadR^isyam, and 4. samskaaraH. Puurvapakshi, the objector
> shows while all the things are applicable to snake-rope case but none for
> aatma-anaatma case. Therefore aatma-anaatma adhyaasa is impossible and hence
> the whole theory of based on adhyaasa is wrong.
> This ends the arguments of the puurvapakshi or an objector.
> (A Note: We pause here for few days for us to think deeply - Is puurvapakshi
> or objector right in his arguments? If we are convinced of Adviata can we
> contour his arguments to show that adhyaasa is possible in the case of
> aatma-anaatma case? - what do you think? How do you address these
> objections? Can one argue that all the four requirements are met in the case
> of aatma-anaatma case as in the case of rope-snake example and therefore
> adhyaasa is applicable? Or is it the time now to switch our party and move
> to a different list? The ball is now in your court.)
> Hari Om!
> K. Sadananda
> Code 6323
> Naval Research Laboratory
> Washington D.C. 20375
> Voice (202)767-2117
> bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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