[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** Advaita Siddhi series 019 - caturtha mithyAtva vichAra: (part 1)

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri Dec 1 08:52:11 EST 2017

Until now, we have considered three (out of five) definitions of mithyAtva.
Now we will take up the fourth definition of mithyAtva, proposed by
chitsukhAchArya, for discussion.

स्वाश्रयनिष्ठात्यन्ताभावप्रतियोगित्वं वा मिथ्यात्वं | Alternatively,
mithyAtva is the appearance of an object in the location of its absence.

This appears similar to the second definition of the mithyAtva. The entity
being described being the same, the siddhikAra seeks to differentiate the
two definitions. A cup of water can be described either as a cup containing
water, or water contained in a cup. The difference between the two
definitions of mithyAtva is similar.

There are two components to mithyAtva - appearance (pratIyamAnatvam) and
absence (abhAvatvam). The second definition is the absence of the object in
the location of its appearance and the fourth definition is the appearance
of the object in the location of its absence. Essentially, the visheShya
(qualified entity) and the visheShaNa (qualifier) are reversed in the two

तच्च स्वात्यन्ताभावाधिकरण एव प्रतीयमानत्वम् | this means in the location of
the absence of the object, its appearance is also present.

अत: पूर्ववैलक्षण्यम् | thus it is different from the previous (second)

The nyAyAmritakAra says that the fourth definition of mithyAtva is the same
as second definition, and therefore,  the defects cited for the second
definition also apply here. In reply, the siddhikAra says:

दूषणपरिहार: पूर्ववत् |  The defects cited to this definition can be
remedied as described previously.

The pUrva pakshi argues:
नच - संयोगिनि समवायिनी वा देशे तदत्यन्ताभावासंभव:,  if an object is present
in a location with samyoga sambandha (i.e. it is physically located
somewhere, e.g. a pot on the ground), then it cannot be absent in the same
place with samyoga sambandha itself. Similarly, if it is present in a
location with samavAya sambandha (i.e. it is present in its material cause,
e.g. pot being present in clay), it cannot be absent  in the same place
with samavAya sambandha.

There is an issue with this objection because if a pot is present in a
place and it is later moved, both the counterpositive and its absence can
be said to be present in the same place. Similarly, before a piece of cloth
is weaved, only the thread is present. Later the cloth comes into being.
Here too, before the cloth is created, the absence of cloth is in the
thread, and later the cloth is present. Therefore, the objection, on the
face of it, appears invalid. Sri GauDabrahmAnanda in his laghuchandrika,
finds a way to validate the objection first and then goes on to prove why
that objection is refuted.

BrahmAnanda says that the usage of the suffix - "in" (in samyog-ini and
samavAy-ini) implies a sense of nitya yoga, permanent relationship - that
is, the nyAyAmritakAra means that it is impossible for the absence of an
object in the locus where it is *permanently present* with samyoga
sambandha, or samavAya sambandha.

संभवे तूपादानत्वाद्यनुपपत्तिरिति - वाच्यं - even if it is assumed that the
absence is somehow co-present with its counter-positive, this would
invalidate upAdAnatva, material causation.

If something can be created from something else, even a completely
unrelated entity, then any anything can be created from anything. A Pot can
be weaved from threads! Thus, the idea of upAdAna kAraNa, material cause,
is invalidated if a thing is both present and absent in a location (with
samavAya sambandha). Similarly, everyday reality is that a pot is present
where it is seen (samyoga sambandha). Its absence in the very location of
its presence is never experienced. Thus not only does the advaitin's
conception of mithyAtva invalidate causation, it also invalidates
experience. This is implied by the term 'Adi' in the sentence.

The siddhikAra responds to this line of argument by saying - Not so.
- काले सहसम्भववद्देशे अपि सहसम्भवाविरोधात्, It is possible for a pratiyogi
and its abhAva to be present at the same time. For example, in the same
instant, a pot is present here and absent elsewhere. Therefore, just like
it is possible for presence and absence to be colocated in the same time,
it is possible for presence and absence to be colocated in the same space
too. For example, a pot is present here now, but absent in the same place
later. Therefore, just like an object's absence and presence are
simultaneously present in time, its absence and presence can be
simultaneously present in space.

In response to the argument that this view invalidates upAdAna kAraNatvam,
material causation, the siddhikAra says:
प्रागभावसत्त्वेनोपादानत्वाविरोधाच्च | if prior-absence is possible, so is
material causation. The pUrvapakshi accepts that the clay has the pot's
prAgabhAva, prior absence. He also accepts that the cloth does not have the
pot's prAgabhAva. Therefore we can argue that the presence of prAgabhAva in
one and the absence of prAgabhAva in the other means that the material
causation is possible only in one, and not in the other.

To this, the pUrva pakshi argues that the advaitin's definition refers to
the atyantAbhAva of an object in a place, not its prAgabhAva. While it is
acceptable that prAgabhAva and upAdAna kAraNatvam are simultaneously
present, it is not possible for atyantAbhAva to be also present there, at
that time. According to the ancient school within nyAyA (prAchina nyAya),
atyantAbhAva and prAgabhAva cannot be simultaneously present in a place.

The siddhikAra says - Do not argue thus:
नच - अत्यन्ताभावाधिकरणे प्रागभावस्याप्यनुपपत्तिरीति - वाच्यम्; "It is not
possible for atyantAbhAva and prAgabhAva to be present in the same locus."
If prAgabhAva is present somewhere, atyantAbhAva cannot be present there
and vice versa. The advaitin's definition claims that atyantAbhAva and its
pratiyogi are present in a place. Therefore if an object is mithyA, its
atyantAbhAva is present is there, and thus its prAgabhAva cannot be present
there. If prAgabhAva is not present there, material causation is not
present there. Therefore, the idea of material causation is invalidated by
this definition of mithyAtva.

The siddhikAra says - that is not true. prAgabhAva and atyantAbhAva can be
located in the same place.

काले व्यभिचारात् | according to naiyyAyikas, everything is located in time
(kAla adhIna), nothing can exist outside time. Therefore, prAgabhAva is
present in time, and so is atyantAbhAva. atyantAbhAva being eternal, there
is no time when it is not present. Therefore the rule that atyantAbhAva and
prAgabhAva cannot be located in the same locus breaks down when the locus
is kAla, time.

If the locus can be time, why not extend it to space?

To this, the nyAyAmritakAra says:
नच - काले प्रागभावात्यन्ताभावयो: सामानाधिकरण्यमिदानीं घटात्यन्ताभाव इदानीम्
घटप्रागभाव इति प्रतीतिबलादङ्गीकृतं, देशे तु तदुभयसामानाधिकरण्ये न किञ्चिदपि
प्रामाणमिति - वाच्यम् |
We accept the prAgabhAva and atyantAbhAva are colocated in time, because of
the experience -  "the pot's atyantAbhAva is present now", "the pot's
prAgabhAva is present now", etc.
However, there is no experience (or pramANa) to conclude that  prAgabhAva
and its atyantAbhAva are present together in space.

The siddhikAra says: not so.

navya nyAya, which refutes the prAchina school in holding that atyantAbhAva
and prAgabhAva can be simultaneously present, gives a worldly example for
this (from the dIdhiti of raghunAtha shiromaNi).

Let us consider a pot, black in colour. Later, when it is burnt in a kiln,
it becomes red hot. When it turns red hot, the blackness is destroyed, as
it were. There is the dhvamsa of the blackness present. If someone is
asked, is the pot black, they will reply "no". This negation refers to the
atyantAbhAva of the blackness, as the person who answered has no inkling
that it was black previously. As the blackness has been destroyed, its
dhvamsa also is present. Thus both blackness' dhvamsa and atyantAbhAva are
present in the pot. If dhvamsa and atyantAbhAva can be co-present, it is
possible for prAgabhAva and atyantAbhAva to be co-present as well.

To refute this, if it is argued that the negation in the speaker's reply
"it is not black" refers only to the dhvamsAbhAva and not atyantAbhAva,
another example is given. An object called pancharangi is considered, which
changes colour between red and black continuously. If we consider a set of
5 transitions - BRBRB (B=black, R=red) - and within that, if we consider
the time when the object is in stage 3 (ie the middle of the 5 transition
sequence), the object contains blackness, the dhvamsAbhAva of the previous
blackness and the prAgabhAva of the subsequent blackness.

At that point, if someone asks - "is the object black?", the reply cannot
be "No." - because the object happens to be black in colour then. If it was
possible for the negation to refer to either the prAgabhAva or the
dhvamsAbhAva, the answer to the question "is the object black", would have
been "No.", because black prAgabhAva and black dhvamsa are both present
then. However, the answer is not "No.", it is "Yes, it is black". In order
for the speaker to say "No", it would necessarily have to refer to the
atyantAbhAva of the blackness. Therefore, the object of negation is not the
prAgabhAva or dhvamsAbhAva, but atyantAbhAva.

Extending this to the previous example, when the pot changed colour from
black to red and a person was asked "Is the pot black?", the reply was
"No". As we just proved, the object of the negation is not dhvamsa of
blackness, but its atyantAbhAva. Therefore, to a seer, atyantAbhAva exists,
in addition to which dhvamsa exists too. Hence it is possible for dhvamsa
and atyantAbhava to coexist, and similarly, so can atyantAbhAva and

However, instead of going through this explanation, the siddhikAra simply
replies, it is possible for prAgabhAva and atyantAbhAva to be colocated on
the basis of shruti pramANa and mithyAtva anumAna.

मिथ्यात्वानुमिते: श्रुत्यादेश्च प्रमाणत्वात् |  because their
colocation is proven
by both shruti and mithyAtva anumAna.

How can contradictory attributes be present in the same location?

विषमसत्ताकभावाभावयोरविरोध: पूर्वमुपपादित: | It is possible because
existence and non-existence can co-exist if they have different orders of
reality. The absence of silver in shell is vyAvahArika, the presence of
silver is prAtibhAsika, both can co-exist simultaneously. Similarly in the
paksha where the absence of the world is taken as adhikaraNAtmakam - ie the
absence of the object *is* the locus itself, then the absence of the world,
which is nothing but the adhikaraNa, Brahman, is pAramArthika, whereas the
world is vyAvahArika. This has already been said in the chapter on the
second definition of mithyAtva.

नच असत्यतिव्याप्ति:, स्वात्यन्ताभावाधिकरण एव सत्त्वेन प्रतीयमानत्वस्य
विवक्षितत्वात् |
There is no ativyApti, overextension of this definition to include asat,
because what is covered by this definition of mithyAtva is the appearance
of the object's existence in the very locus of its absence.

This is quite obvious, on the face of it. However, the pUrvapakshi is
arguing that asat is the object of sentences like "asat is not existent".
Thus, if asat being the object of sentences such as these is taken to be
"pratIti", appearance, then - they appear, but do not really exist. Thus,
his argument is that asat would thus be covered under the definition.

In reply, the siddhikAra says that pratIti is not merely appearance,
but *appearance
as existing* (sattvena pratIti). A hare's horn never appears to exist
anywhere, thus there is no sattvena pratIti for it.

नच - "तद्धैक आहुरसदेवेदमग्र आसी" दिति श्रुत्या असत:
सत्त्वप्रतीतेस्तत्रातिव्याप्ति: दुष्परिहरेति - वाच्यम् ;
In reply, the pUrva pakshi says asat can have the sattvena pratIti, for the
veda itself says "Some say - asat was in existence before this", as a
result of which, the defect of ativyApti is not so easily removed. The
pUrva pakshi is arguing that asat is the object of the vedic sentence which
talks of its existence in the past, and that itself confers sattvena
pratIti to asat.

The siddhikAra replies - Not so, because:

"सदेवेदमग्र आसी" दित्यस्यार्थस्याभाव एव नञा प्रतिपाद्यते, न त्वसत: सत्त्वम्
; The अ in the sentence, which serves as a means of negation (अमानोनाः
प्रतिषेधवाचका:) is used to negate the entire sentence "Sat was in
existence", and not to indicate that asat was in existence. That is, the
right interpretation should be "Some say - Sat was in existence - No" and
not "Some say - asat was in existence". First the veda says that "sat was
in existence" and then presents the view held by contrarians who negate the
previous view, saying "sat was in existence - No". (Which, in turn, is
later refuted in the next mantra). It does not mean asat existed in the
beginning. In the chAndogya bhAshya by ShankarAchArya, the same
interpretation is given.

Why is the pUrvapakshi's interpretation untenable?
विरोधात् | it would be contradictory to say that asat, non-existence, was
in existence.

The author of the nyAyAmrita tarangiNi writes in response to the
siddhikAra's reply. According to the siddhikAra's interpretation, a wrong
view held by some is presented in the veda. They hold that "sat was not in
existence in the beginning". Brahman (sat) being eternal, its absence is
asat, absolutely absent. Thus the sentence "sat was not in existence in the
beginning" is conferring the pratIti (appearance) of existence to brahma
abhAva, an asat entity. Therefore, the sentence's subsequent denial
notwithstanding, the defect of ativyApti still exists as an asat object has
sattvena pratIti.

There is a defect with this argument of the tarangiNikAra. The
interpretation by siddhikAra is interpreting अ as a negation of the
previous sentence. It is saying - "सदेवेदमग्र आसीत् - न." It is not saying
"सदेवेदमग्र न आसीत्" which is what the tarangiNikAra understood it to be.

What is the difference between the two?

Take the sentences -  "the pot previously existed as a clay" and "the curd
previously existed as milk". Let us also examine two sentences where a
negative is used, "the pot was not clay before" and "the pot was milk
before - No". While the first sentence, by objectifying the pot's
existence,  can be said to have sattvena pratIti, the second sentence is
simply a negation of the previous sentence and does not objectify the pot's
existence. Similarly,  "असदेवेदमग्र आसीत्" or "सदेवेदमग्र आसीत् - न " does
not objectify Brahman's absence (asat) - therefore sattvena pratIti is not
conferred to asat in the siddhikAra's explanation.

अतो नातिव्याप्ति: | Therefore there is no ativyApti.

सर्वे चान्यत् पूर्वोक्त्मेवानुसंबन्धेयमित्युपरम्यते || All the other
defects in this definition have been answered in the chapter on the second
definition of mithyAtvam.

This concludes the chapter on the fourth definition of mithyAtvam -


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