[Advaita-l] adhyAsa - part VII - evaluation of the difficulties

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Wed Jun 4 06:35:32 CDT 2003

It is only in cases of superposition that are conditioned,  such as 
crystal-red flower,  the thing superposed need not be similar to the
thing on which it is superposed.   But,  in other cases one must be
similar to the other - for example snake-rope, both have same posture.

Because Atman and anAtman are not similar,  they can not be 
superposed on each other.

It might be said against this conclusion as follows:  In such cases as
"I do" "I enjoy" etc doing, enjoying are imposed on Atman.  Doing etc belong to
ahankAra "I".   Owing to the closeness of ahankAra,  Atman appears
as the doer.  The superimposition of doing etc is also conditioned by "I".
This means that in this case of superimposition also there need be no
similarity between Atman and ahankAra "I".

In answer to these considerations, we may note that they do not explain
the situation fully.  The point at issue is that there can not be superposition
between Atman and anAtman because they are dissimilar.  Granting the
superimposition of doing etc on Atman is conditioned, we may hold that
this superposition does not require any similarity between Atman and doing etc
But the superposition of ahankAra, body etc on Atman presupposes that Atman
must be similar to the other things.  In the absence of similarity there cannot
be any such superimposition.   We have already made it clear that 
Atman is not similar to any other thing.  So we may tentatively conclude that
there is no superimposition at all.

We may meet this difficulty as follows:  To deny superposition on the ground
that there is no similarity between Atman and anAtman is wrong and irrelevant
with experience.    We know that odour is qualityless and partless.  Yet we
can compare one odour with another.  The comparison simply means that
the two odours are similar to each other because they are odours.
In the same way,  Atman and anAtman are things,  and as things,  they may
be similar to each other.

Or even regarding Atman as not similar to any other thing,  we can not deny
superposition.  Superposition need not presuppose similarity.  Shell and yellowness
are not similar,  yet the latter is superposed on the former in "Shell is yellow".
The superposition of yellowness on a shell may be due to  biliousness 
such as "jaundice" and other health disorders of the percipient.  Similarly
the superimposition of Atman and anAtman,  each on the other, may be due to
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