Chandran, Nanda (NBC)
Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Wed Mar 4 10:30:48 CST 1998
The reason why Vedantins of other schools accuse Advaitam as being
pracanna Bouddham or Buddhism in disguise, mainly stems from the school
defining the empirical world as Maya. But since Vedanta is based on the
Upanishads, the Bhagavat Gita and the Brahma Sutras what exactly is
these scriptures stand on Maya?
All the three texts never really use the world Maya or in any instance
directly declare that the empirical world is unreal (am I right in
this?). In the Chandogya, when Svetaketu brings the fruit to Uddhalaka,
he first asks him to break the fruit in half. Further he asks him to
split the seeds and then says whatever was in the seed, which your eyes
can't see, is the Atman. If Brahman is the only reality (what are the
other schools stand on this?), then both the fruit and the seeds inside
are not, and so unreal in a sense.
But what exactly does Shankara mean by Maya? As reasoning however strong
cannot contradict direct experience - I'm not sure that Shankara means
unreal in the normal sense. Infact Shankara says for the Vyavaharika,
all the rules of the empirical world still apply. Since we consider the
dream state as unreal compared to the waking state due to the longer
duration of the latter, so is the waking state unreal when compared to
the absolute reality of the Brahman, which is immortal. So can we state
that whatever is transient in nature is Maya?
The logic of the clay pot which is actually only clay with a name and
form, hence unreal in a sense, is also used to expound the concept of
Can we have some thoughts on this and other instances from the three
texts to support the Advaitic view?
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