[Advaita-l] adhyAsa - IX

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Fri Jun 6 05:33:58 CDT 2003

If superposition of the world on Atman presupposes the knowledge of it,
and the knowledge of it presupposes the superposition - then it forms a
vicious circle,  for,   without knowing a thing we can not superpose it
and without superposing it we can not know it,  since we can know only
that thing which appears.

    The foregoing considerations clearly shows that the theory of 
superposition does not give room for any vicious circle, since the knowledge
and superposition of the thing are explained by different entities.  If we 
hold that the same seed and plant are explained by each other, then it is to
create a vicious circle.  In the same way, if we explain the same knowledge
and superposition each by the other, then it is to create a vicious circle.
But no such explanation is entertained regarding the  present problem.
The knowledge of the previous body through the corresponding samskAra
helps the superposition of the present body and not the knowledge of the
present body.

Sri vidyAraNya in VivaraNa-pramEya-samgraha says,

"prateeti mAtrENa ArOpyatvasiddhou vastu sattAyA aprayOjakatvAt"

(The mere notion of a thing enables its superposition.   The reality
of it is not necessary).  So the thing that is superimposed may not be

The body etc., are not real.  But it does not follow that they cannot be
superposed.  For superposition presupposes only the idea of the thing 
that is superposed and not its reality.  In the shell-silver superposition,
silver has no reality and the shell is real from the empirical point of view.
Thus the unreal silver is superposed on the real shell.  In the same way,
the unreal  anAtman may be superposed on the real Atman.  In both the
cases, the idea of the things that are superposed cause the superposition.
All superpositions are of this nature.  

When the two distant trees are mistaken for one, it is not one tree that is
one tree that is superposed on the other,  but it is the superposition of 
oneness on the trees.   Here oneness is unreal,  and it is superposed on 
the real trees.

This leads us to the concept of  what is called,  itarEtara-adhyAsa or
mutual superposition.

So far we know that all that is superposed is unreal.  From this, it follows
that pure Atman cannot be superposed.  So we must understand by the
term Atman occuring in the previous statement "Atman and anAtman are
superposed on each other"   the qualified Atman i.e, the Atman that is in
relation with anAtman.  Atman as such is real  and its relation with anAtman
is unreal and anAtman as such is unreal.   ( samsarga-adhyAsa and
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