[Advaita-l] Interpreting "abhEda" shruti sentences

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Sun Jun 8 20:10:48 CDT 2003

In general,  any identity statement is always sAvakAsha i.e, it lends
itself for different interpretations.

When I say,  "He is a man,  not a bear"  it is niravakAsha because there
is only one interpretation possible that "he is a man and he is not a bear".

However if I say, "He is a bear"  trouble starts.  The context becomes
extremely important, because, there are several possibilities now.

One may say, "He is a bear"  because he sleeps too much and hybernates.
One may say, "He is a bear"  because he ia a very hairy person
One may say, "He is a bear"  because he catches fish efficiently
and so on and on.

That is why such vAkyas are known as sAvakAsha because they lend
themselves for different interpretation.  Shruti vAkyas are no different.

We may classify the sAvakAshatva based on :

1. Common properties - He is a lion. He is a bear. "I am God",  "aham
    Shruti is trying to say that there are some common properties such as
    being a chEtana,  having a will etc which are kind of common to both
humans and God.

2. Power  - Microsoft is all Bill Gates
    Microsoft is a corporation and therefore is a entity on paper, and Bill
Gates is not. This usage is to show that all power in Microsoft rests in
Bill Gates.

3. Thinking:  mati-Aikya (All senators should become one and pass this bill)
    does it mean all senators should combine, and become one huge senator?

4. Region-sthAna-Aikya(All of you assemble in the library ) - You do expect
all of them
    to occupy seperate chairs in the library,  don't you?

5. Tastes/Interests -The three sisters are one and the same.  (  There are
still 3 sisters)
.             Closeness - Husband and wife became one again.
.             Inseperable - Sugar is sweet.   Sugar is white.

Thus,  "abhEda" (Aikya or identity ) is always sAvakAsha. It lends itself to
several interpretations,  where as "bhEda" vAkya can be interpreted only in
one way.

Hence, interpreting sentences which talk of identity beg for definition of
context before interpreting them.

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