[Advaita-l] adhyAsa - part V

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Mon Jun 2 05:50:18 CDT 2003

So far we have said,  in no case achit becomes chit
and chit becomes achit.   They are of opposite characters
and therefore one can not be superposed on the other.

It might be said that Atman and anAtman need not be 
superimposed on each other as they are.  Yet the properties
of Atman may be superimposed on anAtman.

Bliss (Ananda), realisation of object (vishayAnubhava) and
eternality (nityatva) are properties of Atman.  Of course,
Advaita vedAnta does not regard Ananda etc as properties.
They are Atman itself.  Yet these properties conditioned by
antahkaraNa appear as different from one another.

The superimposition of these properties on anAtman does not
presuppose the superimposition of Atman which is the 
substratum of the properties.   There are cases where only the
properties are superposed but not the substratum itself.
When the sphatika (crystal) is by the side of a red flower,
it appears as having red color.  Here only the redness of the flower
is superposed and not the flower itself.  Why can't we take
it the same way in the Atma and anAtma case as well ?.

This  also does not hold good.  There cannot be the superposition
of the properties without that of the substratum.  It is not only
the redness that is superposed on the stone,  but the flower also.
The flower is reflected in the stone and so its redness.  So the
properties of Atman cannot be superimposed on anAtman without
Atman being superimposed.

When the things can not be superimposed,  their apprehensions
also cannot be superimposed on each other.   The superimposition
of one apprehension on the other presupposes that of the respective
objects on each other.  Thus,  there can neither be the superimposition
of things (arthAdhyAsa)  nor of the apprehensions of them (jnAnAdhyAsa).

So far we have stated the difficulties in holding the superimposition of
Atman and anAtman.   These difficulties are framed in accordance with the
teaching of Advaita vEdAnta itself.    

In Advaita works,  they try to show the seeming internal discrepancy in the
advaita teaching just to give room for their evaluation.   So it is very important
for everyone to not only know the position of Advaita regarding the various
problems connected with the question of superimposition,  but also the
nature and the place of superimposition in Advaita vEdaanta.  It is for this
double benefit that Advaita works employ this device in discussing the problem
of superimposition.   

Next we will study the evaluation of the difficulties.
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