[Advaita-l] Advaita-l Digest, Vol 2, Issue 29

Nomadeva Sharma nomadeva at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 16 03:59:12 CDT 2003


With answers to Nagarjuna Siddhartha mailS, this will be my last mail
in these threads. My intention in joining the list was to ask some
questions on advaita and NOT to get into a dvaita-advaita debate and
irritate one and all. However what provoked me in was (i) Jay N's
answers to the questions raised over dvaita position; they were not
satisfactory (esp the exposition of sAkShi) (ii) some arguments (such
as one depicting arthakriyAkAritva as in 'hitting oneself against the
brick'; they are not given to disprove the mithyAtva) are not dvaitic
and (iii) 'challenges'. So much so for Jay _and company_! 

I'll ask my questions after the turbulence is set to rest.

> First, I want to make it clear to the moderators that I am not 
> attempting to discuss buddhism here because the list policy 
> prohibits it. To answer Nomadeva's point - 

> >That is by your definition. Self-nature of an object is what 
> >describes the object (roughly speaking). There is no criterion 
> >like 'dependency' should not be an attribute of that 'self-nature' 
> >or its definition.

> An object in order to exhibit its self-nature does not need to 
> depend eternally on anything else. Because self nature is its 
> own nature, not that of anything else. So dependency or 
> independency inherently creep in. 

I am afraid you have repeated the position, without giving reasons why
independence should be a criterion.

The illustration of sun, moon, self-luminosity is good to say that
independence should be so, but it is not complete: The way light is
reflected from moon is different from the way light is reflected off
earth. The source of light is same in both cases, but the effect is
different. So, wouldn't you say that it is Moon's self-same nature that
it gives off a certain image, whenever sun's light fall on it? This is
an illustration as to why dependency could be a part of self-same

> Do you have a different criterion 
> in mind?

Yes. When we use the term, 'Self-same nature' of an object, we mean
that which is not dependent on anything else, but Brahman. Ofcourse
this defn does not apply to Brahman himself.

It is (part of) self-same nature of a 60W bulb to give that much
wattage, when Current passes through it. This dependency does not mean
the Current is the essence of the Bulb, or that the Bulb does not have
self-same nature.

> > I thought you were asking Jay to use the same yardstick, logic
> > or shruti, to evaluate every school. Now, how come you are not 
> > doing that?
> Show me where I did not do that.

You used logic to denounce the idea that different attributes are
identical. You used scripture to accept the idea that Brahman is
without attributes.

> >Since you are keen on using logic to determine the nature of
> >who admittedly is beyond logic, I'd like to know if you find the
> >of an attributeless object logical and reasonable? 

> It was Jay who was trying to assail the position of advaita using 
> logic to which I raised an objection. If brahman is beyond logic, 
> then there is no point in logically assailing advaita. 

Advaita's idea of Brahman is 'assailed' (strong word for a weak event!)
using scriptures. For example, the idea of nirguNa brahman is denounced
by 'parA.asya shaktirvividhaiva shrUyate svAbhAvikI j~nAna bala kriyA
cha'. If you show a scripture trying to hold the idea of nirguNa
brahman, we point out that such statements admit other explanations and
your insistence of nirguNa explanation is not binding. If you can show
how the above statement can be interpreted to mean nirguNa brahman, I'd
be interested (I wonder how you can take away the force of

Moreover, I am not sure what part of Advaita Jay has 'assailed' using
logic, but I find that advaita's definition of mithyAtva, bAdhyatva,
sattA-traividhya, its methodologies to arrive at Brahman are all open
to question and logic can be applied to evaluating them. 
> To your latter question, an attributeless object is not reasonable. 

I am afraid, that's an empty statement.

> But brahman is not an object in advaita.

The word 'object' was used for the lack of a better one (recall:
aprApya manasA saha).

> >I don't know if Jay used only logic. Shruti is used more than 
> >logic, as the matters pertain to Brahman.
> Srinivas tells me that shruti has to be interpreted so as 
> not to contradict perception or inference.

That is in matters where shruti coincides with other pramANAs. Wasn't
it Shankara who said that a thousand scriptures cannot make fire cold
and a crow white?

> > What criteria did you use to evaluate them to be better?

> One obvious criterion is the illogicalness of holding the position 
> that two attributes of something (brahman in this case) are not 
> different, so that this position may not be given serious 
> consideration.

See this particular point needs explanation of the concept of
visheShas. For a brief idea, visheSha is that which 'lets the
bheda-vyavahAra' happen despite any actual difference. Take the example
of color. It has various aspects -- hue, saturation, luminosity. For
the sake of vyavahAra, we recognize these aspects to be different from
each other, but finally it is all color. We also hold that an object is
not different from its attributes. However this identity is not
absolute, but through another medium called 'visheSha'. It is a special
category by itself, that lets one have the bheda-vyavahAra without
actual bheda between itself and the object, itself and the attribute,
the object and the attribute. Thus, the idea behind saying that two
attributes are same is: attribute1 V.I object V.I attribute2, where V.I
= identical through a visheSha. Had it been just identical, I would've
written '='; which is what you have assumed and rightly 'assailed' as

> >So your analysis starts with this assumption 'empirical' world, but
> >wouldn't such unwarranted assumptions bring down the quality of your
> >analysis? 
> On what criterion are you suggesting that the assumption is 
> unwarranted?

Because there is no proof to suggest that this world is empirical.
>>> ego, worldly desires, selfishness etc. But since brahman is also
>>> material cause of the world, the world is in its ultimate essence
>>> brahman only. 

> >'neti neti'
> I think I got what you are trying to suggest. 

Sir, that was pun. Sorry for misleading you. I was trying to use an
upanishadic statement to say that we do not consider Brahman as not the
material cause. Given that we are on that statement, I don't understand
how, the statement can make sense, if Brahman were to be the material
cause. Similarly, what would you say of 'tadsR^iShTvA


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