advaita-siddhi - 5 (The first definition of mithyAtva)

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 18 12:36:09 CDT 1999

Earlier, MadhusUdana set forth the objective of establishing
 the unreality (mithyAtva) of duality (dvaita), or in other
 words the unreality of the world (jaganmithyAtva).

 After a brief digression of navya-nyAya, we will now look at
 the first definition of mithyAtva (unreality) that comes under
 attack from the mAdhva opponent. This definition is the one
 given by PadmapAdAchArya in his PanchapAdikA.


   atha prathamamithyAtva-vichAraH |

 The opponent criticizes the definition of mithyAtva as

 nanu kimidaM mithyAtvaM sAdhyate, na tAvat.h "mithyAshabdo-
 anirvachanIyatAvachana" iti panchapAdikAvachanAt.h sadasad-
 anadhikaraNatvarUpamanirvAchyatvam.h, taddhi kiM asatva-
 vishishhTa-sattvAbhAvaH, uta sattvAtyantAbhAva-asattva-atyanta-
 abhAvarUpaM dharmadvayam.h, Ahosvit.h sattvAtyanta-abhAvavatve
 sati asattva-atyanta-abhAvarUpaM vishishhTam.h |

 Now, what is this unreality (mithyAtva) that (you) want to
 infer (as characterizing the world)? This unreality is by no
 means non-definability as defined by the statement of the
 panchapAdikA that the word mithyA (unreal) is denoted by
 non-definability, the non-definability being of the nature of
 NOT being the substratum (adhikaraNa) of either existence or
 non-existence. What is "not being the substratum of existence
 or non-existence"?

 Is it 1) the absence of existence qualified by non-existence
 or 2) the pair of attributes of a. absolute absence of existence
 and b. absolute absence of non-existence, or 3) the property of
 the absolute absence of nonexistence during the absolute absence of
 existence, ie. being a common substratum of the attributes -
 the absolute absence of existence and the absolute absence of

 nAdyaH, sattvamAtrAdhAre jagatyasattvavishishhTasattva-anabhyu-
 pagamAt, vishishhTa-abhAva-sAdhane siddha-sAdhanAt.h |

 (You) cannot (claim) the first (regarding the world) because the
 world is the substratum of only existence (sattva) and existence
 qualified by non-existence is not admitted. And by proving the
 absence of existence as qualified by non-existence , (you commit
 the flaw of) proving what is already established (siddha-sAdhana).

 [Please see Note 1 below]

 na dvitIyaH, sattva-asattvayorekAbhAve aparasattva-avashyakatvena
 vyAghAtAt.h, nirdharmakabrahmavatsattva-asattva-rAhitye .api
 sadrUpatvena amithyAtvopapattyA arthAntarAchcha, shuktirUpye
 abAdhyatvarUpasattva-vyatirekasya sattvena bAdhyatvarUpa-asattvasya
 vyatireka-asiddhyA sAdhyavaikalyAchcha |

 (You) cannot (claim) the second. Because, wherever there is an
 absence of one of existence and nonexistence, there the presence
 of the other is necessary; this leads to a contradiction. (Also),
 the world, just like the Brahman without attributes, even being
 without the attributes, existence and nonexistence, by (its very)
 nature of existence, is established as NOT unreal; this would
 lead to (the defect of) arthAntara, proving something other than
 what is to be proved. In the silver-in-nacre (example of illusion
 that is often quoted by advaitins to show the ontological status
 of the world), (we grant that) it (silver-nacre) is without existence
 whose nature is non-sublatability (noncontradicted-ness), (but)
 the absence of nonexistence, whose nature is sublatibility
 (contradicted-ness), is NOT established; this leads to the
 defectiveness of (your) sAdhya, what (you) seek to prove.

 [Please see Note 2 below]

 ata eva na tR^itIyaH, pUrvavadvyAghAtAt.h, arthAntarAtsAdhya-

 For the very same reason(s) as before, the third (alternative
 in defining mithyAtva, ie. the common substratum of the attributes,
 absolute absence of existence and the absolute absence of
 nonexistence) cannot (be claimed) because of the fallacies of
 contradiction (violation of the law of the excluded middle),
 proving something other than what is intended, and defectiveness
 of the sAdhya.

 MadhusUdana now begins his reply thus:

 iti chet.h, maivam.h

 If this is what you say, it is unjustified.

 (To be continued)

 Note 1: BrahmAnanda points out that the siddha-sAdhana allegation
  made by the mAdhva in his criticism of the first alternative to
 defining sadasadanadhikaraNatva is not technically accurate.
 Here is why:

 mAdhvamate alIkasyaiva-atyanta-abhAva-svIkAreNokta-vishishhTa-
 pratiyogika-abhAvaprasiddhAvapi matAntare tadaprasiddhirityapi
 bodhyam.h |

 Even though the absolute absence of an alIka (fictitious entity)
 is accepted by mAdhvas and the absence of the qualified adjunct is
 (accepted) as exampled, in some other system (mata) it is not exampled
 (and, therefore, it is not accepted.)

 ViTThalesha clarifies here that matAntare means naiyAyikAdi mate,
 among naiyAyikas, etc.

 The argument is this. The first alternative to sadasadanadhikara-
 Natva is claimed by the mAdhva as leading to sidhha-sAdhana,
 establishing what is already accepted. But this is true only in
 the case of mAdhva's system, not in the case of others such as
 naiyAyikas who do not accept the negation of a purely fictitious entity.
 For example, the sentence "a hare with horns is not in the forest"
 is not accepted by the naiyAyikas because it involves the negation
 of a purely fictitious entity, a hare with horns. The naiyAyikas
 absolutely insist that what is being negated must be an exampled entity.
 The naiyAyikas are extreme realists as much as mAdhvas are. If any
 false knowledge creeps into the inference process, the naiyAyika feels
 that the whole process is suspect. Therefore, he insists that any and
 all terms that are used in an inference must be only exampled terms,
 not unexampled terms, fictitious terms. In fact, vAtsyAyana makes it
 clear in the nyAya-sUtra-bhAshhya that the conclusion that is to be
 proved must be possible - saMbhavastAvat.h pratiGYa.

 In any case, the naiyAyika would also object to the first alternative
 in defining sadasadanadhikaraNatva, just as the mAdhva does, but for
 a different reason.

 Note 2: Here, the opponent argues that the world (with duality) could be
 just like Brahman in that Brahman does not have existence as an attribute
 but existence is Brahman. So the duality of the world can also be such
 that existence is not an attribute but its very nature. If the advaitin
 admits this, he would be proving something other than what he wishes
 to prove.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list