[Advaita-l] RE: rope and snake argument
svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 23 16:04:42 CST 2004
>I would like to know how the rope and snake argument
>is used in kevala advaita. I have heard it being used
>in two ways -
>1) That you think of "it" in terms of rope/snake
>because you are still conditioned and you are still
>trying to think in terms of concepts and dualities. In
>reality, it is neither a rope nor a snake.
>2) When you see a rope and think of a snake, you are
>superimposing the concept of a snake on top of the
>reality (rope). Likewise, we superimpose dualistic
>concepts on top of non dual reality.
In the traditional Advaita texts, it is used only in the second sense. The
rope-snake discussion is used as an analogy. Just as an erroneous judgment
sees a snake where there is nothing but a rope, an erroneous judgment
ascribes reality to duality where there is nothing but non-duality.
The first sense is wrong, in and of itself. Duality is never one of rope vs.
snake, but one of rope vs. not-rope and snake vs. not-snake. In the case of
the rope-snake, the erroneous cognition is of the form, "this is a snake"
and the correct cognition is of the form, "oh, this is a rope". Of course,
there is, ultimately, no duality and therefore, no external object that is
either a rope or a snake. However, this knowledge comes from a different
source, i.e. SAstra, not from the rope-snake discussion itself.
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