Samkara's Theory please!

Allan Curry acurry at UVIC.CA
Mon Oct 13 02:55:58 CDT 1997


My previous post was a bit unclear. I wanted to know whether Puligandla
has got *Samkara* essentially right here or not.  For the moment, I think
Puligandla *does* have Samkara right but if you think what Puligandla is
attributing to Samkara is not really Samkara's thought , then I'd like to
hear your reasons.  Samkara may have said a lot of things, I want to
know if the following quote is a fair representation of at least a part
of what he did say and whether or not it is itself contradicted by any
other higher truth which Samkara may have also expressed.

OK?  Let's try this again...

---------------Puligandla's Quote--------------------------

    "Central to Samkara's theory of reality is the concept
    of sublation. Sublation is essentially the mental
    process of correcting and rectifying errors of judgment.
    Thus one is said to sublate a previously held judgment
    when, in the light of a new experience which contradicts
    it, one either regards the judgment as false or
    disvalues it in some significant sense. It is obvious
    that sublation of a given judgment necessarily results
    in its being replaced by a new one. Not only judgments
    but also concepts, objects, relations. and in general
    any content of consciousness, can be sublated. For
    Samkara sublatability is the criterion of the
    ontological status of any content of consciousness;
    anything that is in principle sublatable is of a lesser
    degree of reality and value than that which replaces it
    as a result of sublation. It is through the concept of
    sublation that Samkara arrives at his ontological
    hierarchy. On the criterion of sublatability, Samkara
    distinguishes reality, appearance, and unreality.
    Reality is that which in principle cannot be sublated by
    any other experience. Apearance is that which in
    principle can be sublated by other experiences.
    Unreality is that which in principle neither can nor
    cannot be sublated.

    Let us first note that the act of sublation presupposes
    an essential dualism between the experiencer and the
    experienced, the subject and the object, consciousness
    and the contents of consciousness. It also presupposes a
    plurality of objects, concepts, judments - contents of
    consciousness in general. The distinction between
    subject and object is necessary for sublation because it
    is the subject who sublates the object. Plurality of
    objects is necessary for sublation because sublation
    analytically implies juxtaposing one object or
    experience against another incompatible object or
    experience and judging that the first has a lesser
    degree of reality (or is of lesser value) than the
    second. In the light of these remarks, to say that the
    experience of reality is unsublatable is to say that no
    other experience can conceivably contradict the
    experience of reality. The reason for this is that
    reality is devoid of all distinctions - not only the
    distinction between one object and another but also that
    between the subject and the object, the self and the
    non-self. Thus the experience of reality transcends all
    distinctions and is therefore the experience of pure
    identity between the subject and object, the self and
    the non-self. It is clear that the experience of reality
    is unsublatable, since there can be nothing besides the
    unitary experience which may conceivably contovert the
    experience. Reality is unsublatable because it is wholly
    bereft of any distinctions, oppositions, qualifications
    or relations. It is the experience of reality that
    sublates all else, itself being unsublatable by any
    other experience whatsoever."

-------------end of Puligandla's quote-----------------

- Allan Curry


    If it makes any difference to you, I could supply a
    quote or two from V.S.Iyer and T.M.P.Mahadevan along
    very similar lines regarding the same central criterion
    of non-contradictability in Advaita Vedanta.

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