Exegesis of mahAvAkyas

S. V. Subrahmanian svsubrahmanian at YAHOO.COM
Wed Sep 26 20:54:23 CDT 2001

Excerpt from Sri Ramakrishnan B's posting:

Step 3: relation of laxya-laxaNa:

Although there is the relation of visheshhNa and visheshhya, the words is not
used in the sense of an object having different attributes, as in a lot s being
blue or red. They are used in the sense of laxaNa-laxya. laxaNa is the
implication and laxya is what is implied. To give an example: when the ether in
the pot and the ether outside it are equated, there is the relation of
visheshhaNa-visheshhya. But, there is really one ether which has no attributes.
The relationship is understood by laxya-laxaNa-artha. I.e, the incompatible
elements between the pot ether and the other ether, namely the idea that ether
is constrained within and outside the pot, is discarded - ghaTetarakhyariva
(see NaiSi 3.9). Similarly, the wrong notions that the individual self is the
duHkhin, limited by the body, senses, etc, and that brahman is remote, not the
immediate self, etc, are both sublated by the sentence.


If you have time please explain the following (I have read the earlier portions
too of your posting which is conveniently available on the website now):

You are saying that the statement (pot ether) is(outside ether) should not be
treated as visheshhaNa-visheshhya, because "there is really one ether which has
no attributes".  As per your explanation.

"There is really one ether which has no attributes" can be or is established
independently of this statement (some means of pratyaxa).  Hence the statement
can be treated as an identity/equality based on this independent observation
and hence the statement (pot ether) = (outside ether) is not a

If there is no other way of establishing it, then there is no way you can prove
that (pot ether) = (outside ether) is not visheshhaNa-visheshhya but

So also, in the equation Atman = brahman, if this equation is the sole means of
establishing equality/identity, then how can you prove that it is not
visheshhaNa-visheshhya?  Unless I can know by some other means that they are
identical, I cannot prove that it is not visheshhaNa-visheshhya, but instead
laxaNa-laxya.  And if I have some other means, then it invalidates the
uniqueness of mahAvAkya(vedAnta).

In other words, to prove that Atman = brahman is laxaNa-laxya you are using the
fact that they are laxaNa-laxya, which is not proof enough.

I hope I have explained myself clearly.


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