[Advaita-l] adhyAsa - part VI - evaluation of the difficulties

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Tue Jun 3 07:42:41 CDT 2003

The considerations against superimposition merely show that it is not real.
This means that it is merely an appearance ( mithyA : anirvachaneeya).
We cannot deny superimposition because it is not supported by reason.
The probable considerations that would be further advanced in support of
the denial of superimposition are as follows :

Silver is superimposed on shell because both are similar in so far as both
glitter.  A serpent is superimposed on rope because both are similar in
so far as their shape and posture are similar.  Thus,  any superimposition
presupposes the similarity of the thing that is superposed to the thing on
which it is superposed.

The case of Atman and anAtman is not similar.  Atman is propertyless (niguNa)
and partless (niravayava).  It can not be similar to any other thing; and therefore
it can not be superposed on any other thing.  

Of course, all cases of superimposition do not require that the thing that is
superposed should be similar to that on which it  is superposed.
Red flower is not similar to sphatika,  yet the former is superposed on the latter
in "This is red" where "this" refers to sphatika.  

In the same way to consider that Atman is superposed on anAtman is wrong.
The superposition of redness on spatika is a peculiar kind of superposition.
The redness appears in sphatika because the red flower is reflected in it.
So the flower conditions the redness that appears in the sphatika.
If we remove the flower from the side of the sphatika, the latter no longer
appears as red.  So,  we may regard this superposition as conditioned (sOpAdhika).
It is only in such cases of superposition that are conditioned,  the thing
superposed need not be similar to the thing on which it is superposed.
But in other cases, one must be similar to the other.  From these considerations
it follows that Atman and anAtman can not be superposed on each other.
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