[Advaita-l] adhyAsa - part IV

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Sun Jun 1 06:42:41 CDT 2003

So far we have said,  the opposition between light and darkness
simply means that one can not be the other.  Similar is the opposition
between  Atman and anAtman, and this opposition determines that
they can not be superimposed on each other.

One may say,  well,  what about  shell-silver superimposition?
The fact that silver is superposed on a shell is very well known.
It is also quite obvious that a shell can't be silver and silver can't be shell.
In the same way,  why can't we hold that Atman and anAtman can be
superimposed on each other,  although there is opposition between them?

    What we should note here firstly is that there is no opposition between
a shell and silver.   In the illusion "This is silver",  "this" means shell
and "silver" means silver.  There is no opposition between "this" and "silver".
This can be known when a real silver is grasped as "This is silver".  The case
of Atrman and anAtman is not like this.  Atman is chit and therefore it is only
the subject; and anAtman is of the opposite character and therefore it is only
an object.  If there is any thing that has the character of both Atman and
anAtman, then that thing must be both subject and object at the same time.
This is contradiction in terms.  The same thing can not be at the same time
be both subject and object.  The subject is always subject,  and never the
object and the object is always the object and never the subject.  We might 
say that the thing that is the subject by nature becomes the object owing to
external conditions.  But this does not hold good in the case of Atman.  
Atman is partless and it cannot be externally conditioned.  Nor can it evolve
into the object for the same reason.  In fact,  nothing that is partless can
evolve into or take the form of a thing that is of opposite character.  
Space is  partless,  so it does not evolve or take the form of a thing that has

    Similar consideration applies to the case of anAtman.  By nature
it is of the character of object.  It is achit (non-chit).  So it can not be chit.
Nor can it be chit owing to external conditions; for to think of achit becoming
chit is contradiction in thought.  Achit evolves into achit.  Clay evolves into pot.
Pot is achit because clay is achit.  Nor can achit be regarded as chit because
it gives room for chit;  for by nature chit is omnipresent and to think of it
as being given room afresh is contradiction in terms.  So,  in no case does
achit become chit.  They are of oppposite characters and therefore one cannot
be superposed on the other.

    It might be said in favour of superimposition that Atman and anAtman need
not be superimposed on each other  as they are.  Yet their properties may be

Let us look into it next time.
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