advaita-siddhi 13 (Madhusudana's reply)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 7 10:58:08 CST 2000

On Mon, 6 Mar 2000 18:02:29 +0200, Charles Wikner <WIKNER at NAC.AC.ZA> wrote:

>On Thu, 2 Mar 2000, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> The bhATTa-mImAMsakas, for example, hold that abhAva is a separate
>> category and it is cognized through a separate pramANa called
>> anupalabdhi or non-apprehension.
>That sounds like the advaita position.

 Yes, but in the ultimate analysis advaita has to reject all categories
 except Brahman or sat, together with the pramANas. It is only in
 empirical matters that advaita agrees with the bhATTas.
>> The naiyAyikas and MAdhvas hold
>> that abhAva is a separate category but they do not recognize a
>> separate pramANa like anupalabdhi for it, and hold that abhAva can
>> be known through standard pramANas such as perception, inference,
>> and verbal testimony. The prAbhAkara-mImAMsakas hold that abhAva
>> is not a category in itself, nor is there a pramANa such as
>> anupalabdhi.
>Why subsequently take this non-advaita position ?????

 This is a very good question. We should bear in mind here that
 MadhusUdana is basically answering the question: What is the
 ontological status of the negation of the world? Is it absolutely
 real, empirically real or illusory? In answering this question,
 we should also bear in mind that negation of the world is a
 complex, consisting of two parts - a real part that is non-different
 from Brahman, and an empirically real part that has the same status
 of reality as the world. So MadhusUdana's answer to the question
 will be in two parts! In the first part, MadhusUdana shows how the
 negation can be treated as identical with Brahman, the substratum. In
 this case, it so happens that it agrees with the negation concept of
 the PrAbhAkaras. But bear in mind that the PrAbhAkaras will never
 use their concept of negation to prove the world is unreal. And
 we will see in the next part of MadhusUdana's reply that the negation
 of the world can also be viewed as empirical. That would satisfy the
 naiyAyikas, bhATTas, and others who hold that negation has to be different
 from the substratum.

 On this issue, it is clear the advaitin cannot take sides either with
 the MAdhvas, naiyAyikas or bhaTTas who say negation is a category by
 itself, nor with the PrAbhAkaras who say there is no category for
 negation and that negation is nondifferent from the substratum.
 Again, this is because the negation at hand is a complex one.
 In strictly empiricial matters, the advaitin's position agrees with
 the bhATTas who say that negation or absence is a separate category
 and is known through anupalabdhi, a separate pramANa.

>I have no training in formal logic, Eastern or Western, so please
>forgive my responses being descriptive/explanatory rather than in
>term of abstract logic.
>> When we say "there is no pot on the ground", we are really only
>> saying that we perceive the ground alone where a pot was supposed
>> to have been present. We do not perceive such a thing as "absence
>> of pot" on the ground. Therefore, "absence of pot" is the same as
>> the ground alone, the substratum. Here the pot which is supposed
>> to have been present but not seen is the pratiyogin.
>That does not seem a valid instance of negation from anupalabdhi,
>but merely an inference (anumAna): i.e. the pot may still exist,
>it is just somewhere else.
 Again, the position of the advaitin on this particular issue of
 negation of the world matches (in the first part) with the PrAbhAkara's

>A more appropriate illustration is silver-nacre (or snake-rope or
>thief-post), where the negation of the illusory silver reduces to
>its nacre substratum: the silver never is there (past, present or
>I may be missing the thread of the argument, but I would think
>that MadhusUdana would now be showing that, at the pAramArthika
>level, the knowledge and the negation and the substratum of the
>world are not other than Brahman.

  I believe it is my mistake too for not giving a brief recap
of the arguments so far. MadhusUdana started by accepting the definition
of unreality (of the world) as "pratipanna-upAdhau traikAlikanishhedha-
pratiyogitvam.h" (please see advaita-siddhi 10). Unreality is that
which is subject to absolute negation in the substratum where it is
cognized. So the opponent asks: OK. Now, how do classify this absolute
negation that you speak of? Is this absolute negation pAramArthika,
vyAvahArika or prAtibhAsika? This is what MadhusUdana is answering here.
He is not, at this point, showing the illusory nature of the world
using the silver-nacre example.
>To explain:
>Let Brahman = sat-cit-Ananda
>  and world = sat-cit-Ananda + nAmA-rUpa
>Negation of nAma-rUpa is by knowledge (cit), with the negation as
>the content of that knowledge; all this resolves to the substratum
>which is non-different from Brahman, therefore advaita holds good.
>Any opposition to this must take some sort of dvaita standpoint:
>either nAma-rUpa is an independent reality separate from its
>substratum of sat-cit-Ananda, or else the nAma-rUpa has its own
>substratum of sat-cit-Ananda which is separate from the
>sat-cit-Ananda of Brahman.
>To illustrate, using the wave-ocean analogy: according to advaita
>it is all water and the wave is an illusory transient appearance
>superimposed upon that water; but the dvaita view must assume that,
>either the wave is separate from the water (waterless waves!), or
>that the waves are independent lumps of water floating on top of
>the ocean!
>Describing the world as sat-cit-Ananda + nAma-rUpa is in fact the
>prAtibhAsika view: an illusory superimposition upon a real substratum.
>However, the world at the vyAvahArika level is described differently:
>the real remains real (Brahman), and the unreal (horns of a hare, son
>of a barren woman) is never seen, but the world is neither real
>(because it changes) nor is it unreal (because you see it), and is
>therefore logically indeterminate (anirvacanIya) or false (mithyA).
>The problem arises when texts (such as this one) speak of asat or
>abhAva: are they referring to prAtibhAsika or vyAvahArika level ?
>Furthermore, the objection and response may be at different levels.
>Adding technical terminology and very long compound words, makes
>translation difficult and very slow (for me anyway); nevertheless,
>I had a go at the text of this post.  For comparison:
>> advaita-siddhi text:
>> prapaJNchanishhedha-adhikaraNIbhUta-brahmAbhinnatvAnnishhedhasya
>> tAtvikatve .api na-advaitahAnikaratvam.h | na cha tAtvikAbhAva-
>> pratiyoginaH prapaJNchasya tAtvikApattiH, tAtvikAbhAvapratiyogini
>> shuktirajatAdau kalpite vyabhichArAt.h |
>> Translation:
>> (If we hold that) the negation (of the world) is real, non-different
>> from Brahman which is the substratum of the negation of the
>> world, then there is no damage done to the non-duality principle.
>> And the world as the counter-positive (pratiyogin) of the
>> absolutely real (pAramArthika) negation cannot be (forced to be)
>> absolutely real (based on an erroneous rule that the pratiyogin
>> of a negation and the negation itself must necessarily belong
>> to the same order of reality.) An exception (to this rule which
>> proves the rule to be erroneous) is the silver-in-nacre that is
>> (illusory only) and its negation (at the end of illusion) which is real.
>With regard to the reality of the negation, it is not detrimental
>to advaita because the world, as the substratum of the negated
>phenomena, is not different from Brahman.  And the real aspect of
>the phenomenal world is not dependendent upon "real" non-existence
>(absolute negation, total absence ??); the dependence upon a "real"
>non-existence in an illustration such as silver-in-nacre, is due to
>false reasoning.
>                 [ copyleft, all wrongs reserved ]

 Let me explain by giving meanings of specific phrases in the text.
 Then it should be clear. prapaJNchanishhedha - negation of the world,
 adhikaraNIbhUta-brahma - Brahman which is the substratum of (the
 negation of the world), abhinnatvAt.h - due to being non-different from,
 nishhedhasya tAtvikatve .api - even if the negation is (absolutely)
 real (pAramArthika), na-advaitahAnikaratvam.h - it does no harm to
 advaita (non-duality), na cha - And there is no, tAtvikAbhAva-
 pratiyoginaH - of the counter-positive (pratiyogin) of the real
 negation (ie.) , prapaJNchasya - of the world,  tAtvikApattiH -
 conclusion that it is real, tAtvikAbhAva-pratiyogini - in the
 counter-positive of the real negation, shukti-rajatAdau - in such cases
 as silver-in-nacre, kalpite- in illusions (literally imaginations),
 vyabhichArAt.h - due to the exception.

 vyabhichAra, as per nyAya terminolgy, is specifically the case where
 a paxa (subject) has the hetu (reason) but not the thing to be inferred
 (sAdhya). For example, if we are trying to come up with a rule that says
 "where there is fire there is smoke" then a case where a paxa (say a
 brightly burning incandescent electric bulb) has the reason (fire or flame)
 but there is no smoke (the thing to be inferred or sAdhya), becomes the
 "rule-breaker" or vyabhichAra. When this happens, we can no longer
 call the rule valid.

>I confess that I have not followed this series of posts closely: it
>is the sort of text that I would skim lightly until it reaches some
>sort of (intermediate) conclusion, and then I (may) go over the whole
>argument at one sitting.  But if, in skimming, I come across something
>that jars (such as anupalabdhi here), I treat it as an opportunity
>to test and correct my own understanding, to remove a little ignorance,
>so do please shoot down or correct my opinions where they differ from
>traditional advaita vedAnta.

 Please go through the series at your convenience. The third part
 deals with the nyAya terminology and concepts that keep recurring
 in the arguments. One needs to be aware of some peculiarities of
 nyAya concepts. For example, a negation is always said to be of
 an object or attribute that is in a locus (substratum). nyAya does
 not allow negations of arbitrary things. The way to get around this
 is to formulate a negation as that of something in a subtratum, even
 though the thing being negated and the substratum do not necessarily
 have to have a physical "contained-container" relationship or occur
 as a thing physically on top of a substratum. When we say the world is
 negated in Brahman we do not mean that the world physically inside
 Brahman or the world physically on top of Brahman, the substratum, is
 negated! Such idiosyncrasies tend to increase in the case of navya-nyAya
 which highly formalized the concepts of the old school.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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