[Advaita-l] adhyAsa - part XIII

Jay Nelamangala jay at r-c-i.com
Sat Jun 14 06:14:47 CDT 2003

    So far we understand that superposition presupposes a material
cause and this cause is nescience.  There are some considerations
against this conclusion.   There are two kinds of superpositions -
1) superposition of knowledge ( jnAna-adhyAsa)
2) superposition of a thing   ( artha- adhyAsa)

In connection with the latter, we may accept that the material cause is
nescience;  but in connection with the former,  one may regard
Atman or antahkaraNa as the material cause.  It is generally accepted
by other thinkers that at least either of these is the material cause for
knowledge.  To say that the superposition of knowledge has Atman or
antahkaraNa as its material cause is to deny that nescience is the 
material cause of the whole of superposition.  These considerations 
create a difficulty in regarding nescience as the material cause of
superposition as such.

    The above considerations are thus met :  Atman is changeless.
So it can not be the material cause of superposition.  AntahkaraNa
requires sense-contact, manas in order to produce knowledge. If it
is regarded as the material cause of superposition, then the sense-contact
that help antahkaraNa must be accounted for.  The thing that is
superposed is not real apart from its knowledge.  If sense-contact etc
are to help antahkaraNa, first there must be the object, then it must
be in contact with the sense etc., and next there follow the
activities of the antahkaraNa.  This order is impossible in connection
with superposition.  There cannot be sese-contact etc because there
is not the object before superposition.  

    It is not the contact of the sense with silver that produces the
shell-silver superposition.  The sense is in contact with the shell; but
owing to other causes there appears the superposition of silver in place
of the knowledge of the shell.  The sense-contact of the shell cannot
be regarded as the cause of the superposition of silver.  For,  the contact
of the shell cannot cause the knowledge of silver.  Nor can we regard
that the same contact helped by the samskAra of silver gives rise to
the superposition, just as the sense-contact of a person through the
samskAra of the experience of the same person at a past time, produces
recognition "This is the same man I saw before".  For, this analogy
does not hold good in the present case.  Recognition is true but the
superposition is not true.  So,  superposition can not be explained
on the analogy of recognition.

    In order to explain that recognition and superposition are of different
nature, we may draw this difference between them.  In recognition,
we experience that the thing perceived is identical with the thing that
is given through samskAra.  The man that is perceived is identical
with the man that was perceived in the recognition "This is the same
man as I saw before".  But in superposition,  the thing that is perceived
is experienced as different from the thing that is given through samskAra.
The shell that is perceived as "this" is experienced as different from
silver that is given through samskAra in superposition : "This is silver".
If this difference is admitted,  it follows that what appears in 
superposition is not perceived.  This is to deny superposition itself.

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