advaita-siddhi 14 (MadhusUdana's reply contd.)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 17 14:12:05 CST 2000

On Sat, 18 Mar 2000 00:51:50 +0530, elmec <elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN>

>Hari Om,
>I am really getting bugged by this phrase "order of reality". When you
>lesser order of reality does that mean it is less real than the other
>one which
>it superimposes and which looks more real but is also not really real
>??? KIndly

Strictly speaking, there are no orders of reality, because Brahman
alone is real. There is only one Reality. It is only for convenience of
explanation that we introduce three orders of reality - pAramArthika,
vyAvahArika, and prAtibhAsika. PrAtibhAsika or illusory order is
"less" real than vyAvahArika or empirical order, and vyAvahArika
is "less" real than pAramArthika. I agree this notion of one order
being "less" real than another is rather confusing. One way to understand
it is as follows. An object that is prAtibhAsika is superimposed on
a substratum that is vyAvahArika, but the vyAvahArika substratum
itself is superimposed on the pAramArthika substratum. Take the example
of the snake-on-rope illusion. The illusory snake is superimposed on
the rope. But the rope itself is only vyAvahArika and is superimposed
on the pAramArthika Brahman. Although only the pAramArthika substratum
is ultimately real, we can say in some sense that the vyAvahArika rope
is "more real" than the prAtibhAsika snake.

What the objection says is that if the negation or denial of something
is itself sublatable, then the reality of the thing that is negated is
not affected in any way. But MadhusUdana shows that this is true only
if the order of reality of the negation is less than
the the order of reality of the thing negated. This has practical
applications! For example, we often resort to denying the reality of
a situation that we don't like. But our mere denial turns out to be
only counter-productive and does not change the situation one bit.
I may deny the fact that I am an ordinary human being and start
considering myself to be someone I am not, say Superman. But as soon
as I try to carry ten bags of groceries all at once, I find out that
my denial of being an ordinary human is itself negated. And this
brings me back to my senses and shows that I am an ordinary human
after all. This happened because my earlier denial was born of an
illusion that I am someone different from what I am in a vyAvahArika
sense. The denial of who I am empirically was of a "lesser" order of


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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