[Advaita-l] Debunking Drishti-Srishti Vada and Eka Jiva Vada - part 1

Aditya Kumar kumaraditya22 at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 14 13:59:19 EDT 2017

Namaste Sir,
I am aware that many Advaitins subscribe to this view. However, Prakasananda has himself admitted that he doesn't accept either Maya or Vivarta. There are so many inconsistencies apart from this. In fact, in this part of the essay, most of the content is borrowed from Surendranath Dasgupta. He has differentiated the standard Vedanta view from Drishti-srishti vada very well.
Surendranath Dasgupta writes –“Prakasananda thus preaches the extreme view of the Vedanta, that there is no kind of objectivity that can be attributed to the world, that maya is absolutely non-existent, that our ideas have no objective substratum to which they correspond, that the self is the one and only ultimate reality, and that there is no causation or creation of the world. In this view he has often to fight with Sarvajfiatma Muni, Prakasatman, and with others who developed a more realistic conception of maya transformation.” 


 On Friday, 14 July 2017 10:57 PM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com> wrote:

 Namaste Sri Aditya Kumar Mahodaya
There were discussions on this subject some time back. Kindly go through those past discussions. DSV and EJV are accepted here and in other Advaita circles. But some people may not like it because it makes everything like a dream and there is only one dreamer. What is the difference? In Aneka Jeeva Vaada there are many dreamers. In the end all dreamers are Brahman only. 
On Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 10:44 PM, Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

Hi All,
Pls download the PDF for easier reading : https://files.fm/u/ppg2v2w2
This is part 1 of the essay. I hope to finish it soon. Feedback will be appreciated. Thanks!
Part1 – Brief Introduction

SurendranathDasgupta in his book ‘A history of Indian philosophy’ writes –

“SomeVedantists hold that there is but one jiva and one body, and that all the worldas well as all the jivas in it are merely his imaginings. These dream jivas andthe dream world will continue so long as that super-jiva continues to undergohis experiences; the world-appearance and all of us imaginary individuals, runour course and salvation is as much imaginary salvation as our world-experienceis an imaginary experience of the imaginary jivas. The cosmic jiva is alone theawakened jiva and all the rest are but his imaginings. This is known as thedoctrine of ekajiva (one-soul).”

AboutDrishti-Srishti Vada, he says thus –

“Accordingto Drishti-Srishti Vada, phenomena are not objectively existent but are onlysubjectively imagined; so that the jug I see had no existence before I happenedto have the perception that there was the jug; as soon as the jug illusionoccurred to me I said that there was the jug, but it did not exist before. Assoon as I had the perception there was the illusion, and there was no otherreality apart from the illusion. It is therefore called the theory of DSV, i.e.the theory that the subjective perception is the creating of the objects andthat there are no other objective phenomena apart from subjective perceptions.”

Hefurther writes, differentiating this view from the standard Vedantic view –

“In thenormal Vedanta view however the objects of theworld are existent as phenomena by the sense-contact with which the subjectiveperceptions are created. The objective phenomena in themselves are ofcourse but modifications of ajnana, but still thesephenomena of the ajnana are there as the common ground for the experience ofall. This therefore has an objective epistemology whereas the DSV has noproper epistemology, for the experiences of each person are determined by hisown subjective avidya and previous impressions as modifications of the avidya.The DSV theory approaches nearest to the Vijnanavada Buddhism, only with thisdifference that while Buddhism does not admit of any permanent being Vedantaadmits the Brahman, the permanent unchangeable reality as the only truth,whereas the illusory and momentary perceptions are but impositions on it.”

Mycomments –

AlthoughDSV claims that it differsfrom Vijnanavada because it accepts permanent unchangeable Brahman, it does notchange/affect anything really. It is like a redundant part of the equation withno value. That is because, this view cannot accommodate Maya, Ishvara andParamartha satya. This is established in the subsequent portions of the essay.

Ashade of Variation :  This is again aquote from the book ‘A history of Indian philosophy’ –

“Some Vedantists hold that there are many individuals andthe world-appearance has no permanent illusion for all people, but each personcreates for himself his own illusion, and there is no objective datum whichforms the common ground for the illusory perception of all people; just as whenten persons see in the darkness a rope and having the illusion of a snakethere, run away, and agree in their individual perceptions that they have all seenthe same snake, though each really had his own illusion and there was no snakeat all. According to this view the illusory perception of each happens for himsubjectively and has no corresponding objective phenomena as its ground. This must be distinguished from the normal Vedanta viewwhich holds that objectively phenomena are also happening, but that these areillusory only in the sense that they will not last permanently and have thusonly a temporary and relative existence in comparison with the truth or realitywhich is ever the same constant and unchangeable entity in all ourperceptions and in all world-appearance.

2)The context

Prakasanandawas probably the first who tried to explain Vedanta from a purelysensationalistic view-point of idealism and denied the objective existence ofany stuff. The existence of objects is nothing more than theirperception(drishti).
Tounderstand this view, we have to understand Prakasananda. When some advocatesof this view claim that Adi Shankara and gaudapada proposed DSV, they take onlythe perception-creation aspect and neglect other aspects, in my opinion. Unlikecontemporary advocates of DSV, Prakasananda did not claim perception-creationin isolation. He also made many more claims which, in my view, is clearlydifferent from Shankara’s Advaita. Here are a few :

All thequotes are from the book ‘A history of Indian philosophy’ -

“….Speakingon the subject of the causality of Brahman, he says that the attribution ofcausality to Brahman cannot be regarded as strictly correct ; for ordinarilycausality implies the dual relation of cause and effect; since there is nothingelse but Brahman, it cannot, under the circumstances, be called a cause.”

My comment - Thisis an oversimplification and gross misrepresentation of causality in Advaita.

“Nescience (avidya), again, cannot be called a cause ofthe world ;”

“Since the self and its cognition are identical and sincethere is nothing else but this self, there is no meaning in saying that theVedanta admits the vivarta view of causation ; for, strictly speaking, there isno causation at all (vivartasya bala-vyutpatti-prayojanataya)”

My comment - Thisis beyond all doubt that Prakasananda is unwilling to accept Maya, which iscentral to Vivarta vada. In other words, Maya is what differentiates Vivartavada of Advaita from Satkaryavada of the Sankhyas. Vivarta itself is thenegation of causality. To negate vivarta itself makes no sense whatsoever.

“If one looks at maya in accordance with the texts of theVedas, maya will appear to be an absolutely fictitious non-entity (tuccha),like the hare s horn”

My comment - Wehave three possibilities, by any logic. Sat, Asat and Neither Sat nor Asat. Tobreak it down further, Trikala-abhadita satya, bhadita-satya and asat ortuccha. Shankara defines Maya as sat-asat-vilakshana, which literally meansthat which does not have the nature of either sat or asat. But Prakasananda isclearly considering Maya as tuccha or asat. This is a death-nail to this viewin terms of legitimacy.

SurendranathDasgupta writes –

“Prakasananda thus preaches the extreme view of theVedanta, that there is no kind of objectivity that can be attributed to theworld, that maya is absolutely non-existent, that our ideas have no objectivesubstratum to which they correspond, that the self is the one and only ultimatereality, and that there is no causation or creation of the world. In this viewhe has often to fight with Sarvajfiatma Muni, Prakasatman, and with others whodeveloped a more realistic conception of maya transformation.”

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