[Advaita-l] An adhyAsa challenge

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 9 12:01:43 CDT 2003

--- Nomadeva Sharma <nomadeva at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Dear Jayanarayanan,
> --- S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Premise: logic and experience only, no quotes from
> > shruti or smR^iti.
> > 
> > The debate:
> > 
> > (1) Surely, you will accept that the Self is
> > conscious.
> > 
> > (2) Surely, you will also accept that the body is
> > inert or unconscious. 
> > 
> > (3) We observe, as a matter of experience, that
> one
> > assumes a relationship between the Self and the
> body
> > ("I am tall", "I am typing this email" etc.). 
> This is a matter of linguistic convenience. For eg;
> one knows that it is one's fingers that is typing
> this
> mail. Just an observation, not to rule out your
> question.

The point about linguistics is understood, but the
reason for quoting people as saying such things gives
credence to the observation that people do, as a
matter of common experience, assume the body to be
intimately related to the Self. 

> > I declare that you and your school are incapable
> of
> > providing a satisfactory answer to the following
> > question:
> > 
> > A co-existence of the Self that is of the nature
> of
> > consciousness with the body that is of the nature
> of
> > the unconscious ought to be impossible (indeed,
> one
> > might as well consider light to co-exist with
> > darkness), yet, it so happens that people perceive
> a
> > connection between the Self and the body - how do
> > you explain this?
> If you used anumAna of light-darkness, here's a
> duShaNAnumAna supporting co-existence of mutually
> contradictory things (I am not talking of
> samanAdhikaraNya, though).
> vAyu, one of the panchamahAbhUtas, is generally
> taken
> to be "rUparahitaH sparshavAnvAyuH", while, pR^ithvI
> is 'rUpasahitaH'. One notices their co-existence.

Firstly, leaving aside tradition for now, I would
argue that the above analogy is highly defective since
air is not completely formless. We conceive of a fluid
such as water assuming the form of a container such as
a jug or pot, and rather than being "formless", it is
actually of "flexible form". In the same manner, air
is most definitely not totally formless, it being much
more fluid than water, takes the form of whatever
contains it in any direction, and possesses way more
"flexibility of form" than water.

Secondly, since no analogy can perfectly bring out the
difference between the subject and object of
knowledge, one can only be considered as an
approximation. In this context, the analogy of light
and darkness is much more in line with the original
question. Darkness is exactly the non-existence of
light that illumines an object so that "seeing" can
happen --> very similar to the case of unconsciousness
as the non-existence of consciousness which
"illumines" an object so that "knowing" can happen.
Whereas such is not the case for "form", which does
not "illumine", and hence is not as appropriate for
the discussion as light is. 

> If you are asking how the link between consciousness
> and body happens, noting that the consciousness is,
> to
> a great extent, incapable and ignorant,

These are very loaded terms. To claim that
consciousness is "incapable" is absurd. The "capacity"
for consciousness is simply to be conscious. In this
way, it is superbly "capable".

"Ignorant"? Hardly - being the subject of knowledge,
it is in fact the only entity that really "knows".

> I'd
> postulate
> another being, who has inconceivable powers, whose
> ichChA shakti can by itself move the world.
> Any corresponding quote in the shruti is coincidence
> :-)

:-) We still haven't come to the reality of the world,
which being the object of perception, comes much

> > Consequences: if the referees decide that your
> > answer to the above question is invalid, then you 
> > will immediately quit your postings on adhyAsa, 
> I'd go for it.

Since you are not posting a series on adhyAsa, I don't
see why I should quit my adhyAsa postings when you
can't do (quit) the same thing. 


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