Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Aug 9 21:47:06 CDT 1999

On Mon, 9 Aug 1999, Greg Goode wrote:

> Yes, the bhAshhya does give this formulation.  Thanks.  It is likely that
> Gaudapada read Nagarjuna, since some of the arguments, esp. in Chapter 4,
> are similar, and the twirling firebrand image was used by both.  (Likely
> also that this image was current in Indian philosophy of the time).

Yes there are a lot of stock images and motifs used by all the various
philosophical schools such as "the space in a pot", "the city of the
Gandharvas" etc.  Somebody has collected a lot of these together but I
don't remember the name of the book.

> Is there a scriptural reference for that outlook?  There are several
> definitions:
> 1. A non-dualist philosophy doesn't entail dualism.
> 2. A non-dualist philosophy entails unity.
> 3. A dualist philosophy entails dualism.
> 4. A dualist philosophy doesn't entail unity.
> I was interpreting dualism and non-dualism according to (1) and
> (3).  Especially for the definition of non-dualism, the emphasis seems to
> be on not-two. It seems that you are interpreting Shankara as operating
> according to (2) and (4).  I read Nagarjuna as not asserting unity or
> dualism, and Shankara as asserting unity.  Interesting.  Thanks!

Your (1) is correct but the key thing to remember is that Shankaracharya
isn't just putting forth a non-dualist philosophy but a non-dualist
*vedanta*.  Thus (2) becomes more accurate in his case.  Although the
technique of negation is employed (to great effect) in Advaita Vedanta,
this school insists that after as much is negated as possible *something*
remains, a fundamental reality upon which the world of opposites is based.
This is revealed in many places in the shastras.

On the other matter, I would go with (3) rather than (4) because
depending on how you define non-, a non-non-dualist is not necessarily a
dualist!  (The definition and analysis of negation or Nanyavada was an
important topic in later Indian logic.)

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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