[Advaita-l] The current advaita-dvaita debate

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Tue Jun 17 15:22:56 CDT 2003


> I find your language usage remarkably obfuscating and simultaneously
> remarkably revealing. Ultimately, it is all remarkably self-contradictory.
> Funny that you should find internal inconsistency in advaita.
The doctrine of vishEsha is just not there in advaita,  so
terminology may sound very funny and obfuscating and
self-contradictory to many advaitins.

Here is an attempt to explain vishEsha using concepts from advaita

Advaita holds that the identity of jIva and Brahman is chaitanya itself.
Chaitanya is svaprakAsha or self-evident.  Yet it is not so manifest
during the life of an individual.  How are we to reconcile these two
positions?.   Further,  chaitanya is signified not only by the word
chaitanya,  but also by various other names as Brahman and Atman.
Has each name its own signifance or not ?  If it has, then Brahman
must have various properties corresponding to the various
signifacances of various names.  If it has not, then there is no point
in calling the same entity by different names.   Further,  advaita says
different things about Brahman.  Chaitanya is self-evident.  It is not
opposed to beginningless ajnAna.  It is One.  It is satya.  It is jnAna.
It is ananta.  It is Ananda.  It is akhanda and so on.

Has each expression here its peculiarity or not?  If it has not,
then it is useless.  If it has, then  it is to attribute different
to Brahman.  If these properties are identical with Brahman,  how
can there be the thought of the properties of Brahman, which points
to their difference from Brahman?.

That is exactly what we have called 'vishEsha'.   VishEsha does not
create a fresh difference and then show it.   VishEsha explains the
presence of the properties of the thing without making them different
from it.

I would like to know how else you would maintain the Oneness
of Brahman,  and still explain Brahman by different things such as
satyam, jnAnam, anantam, akhanda, Eka,  etc. without making all
these different  teachings useless while maintaining that Oneness.

> Firstly, whose definition is "abhede bhedakArI viSesha:"? Is it your own
> one used by an AcArya of your tradition?
Not mine.

> Secondly, what do you mean by the term abheda here? Is it that the
> is really, essentially non-different?
I mean the abhEda between a substance and its properties.

> Thirdly, what do you mean by bhedakArI? Is it that the bheda is a result
> some action? If so, does it come into being and does it go out of
> If not, then how do you countenance the usage of the word abheda in your
> definition?
It is not the result of any action.  The relation between a substance and
properties is that of identity.  That relation is what is denoted as
'abhede' in the defn.
But this identity admits the idea of differenece. The reason for this is the
of 'vishEsha' in the thing.

> Fourthly, what do you mean by viSesha? "That which shows difference where
> there is none," are your own words. So, is there intrinsic difference or
> there no difference? Particularly, are the viSesha-s different from one
> another?

White-cloth.  The whiteness is inseperable from its cloth, so they are
Still,  there is difference between them. Whiteness is a color and therefore
a cloth,  and white-cloth is a cloth and therefore not a color.

So, this peculiarity of identity whch admits of difference,  is known as

To explain various properties and aspects of a thing, there must be as many
visheshas in the same thing.   Visheshas do not add fresh properties to the
They only explain the presence of properties without making them different
from that thing.   So, they maintain themselves.  To try to explain one
by means of other vishEshas is to ignore the very starting point.

I hope I am clearer.

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