[Advaita-l] Re: The current advaita-dvaita debate

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 17 20:31:32 CDT 2003

On Tue, 10 Jun 2003, "Jay Nelamangala" <jay at r-c-i.com> wrote:

Re: An adhyAsa challenge,

>Certain difficulties in the position of Advaita made a reconsideration of
>the whole of Vedaanta thought necessary and as result there appeared
>VishishTAdvaita.  But this system also was not without difficulties, and by
>way of removing them there appeared Dvaita.

Difficulties in dvaita caused the gauDIya vaishNava-s to design an "acintya 
bhedAbheda" school and the pushTi-mArgI vaishNavas of the vallabha 
sampradAya to come up with a "SuddhAdvaita" school. And numerous 
difficulties in all these schools cause people like me to reaffirm advaita. 
If you think that the last word on vedAnta was spoken at the advent of 
dvaita a few centuries ago, or if you expect any of us to believe so, you 
are highly mistaken.

Re: Interpreting "abhEda"  shruti sentences,

>The context there is OmkAra.  It starts with "sarvamOkAra Eva"  - "All is
>indeed Omkara" But nowhere in prasthAna-traya it says "this jeeva is 

Before you start interpreting away, ask yourself, "is jIva part of sarvaM or 
not?" Your analogy, "Microsoft is all indeed this BillGates" fails, because 
unlike brahman vis-a-vis sarvaM, Mr. Bill Gates does not pervade Microsoft. 
He cannot be at the Seattle office and the Los Angeles office of Microsoft 
at the same time. He cannot be at a closed board meeting of Microsoft and a 
public shareholder meeting of Microsoft at the same time. brahman, on the 
other hand, pervades sarvaM and is also beyond this sarvaM. None of your 
constructions of "abheda" examples comes even close to Sruti sentences 
imparting abheda.

Re: brahman as jagadeka-kAraNa,

>Parabrahman is aprAkrita. All other kAraNas are prAkrtic as well, and 
>they are all sa-vikAra just as prakrti itself is.
>Parabrahman is aprAkrita jagadEka-kAraNa, so our siddhAnta still holds.

No, it does not. Previously, you had said that in your siddhAnta, "brahman 
is jagadeka-kAraNa". Now you want to qualify that by saying it is the 
"aprAkRta jagadeka kAraNa". So in your siddhAnta, you also need prAkRta 
kAraNa-s, i.e. prakRti in one form or the other, in addition to the aprAkRta 
brahman, to account for the causation of jagat. So there is no longer eka 
kAraNa in your siddhAnta, only aneka kAraNa-s, of which brahman is one. And 
you also have to maintain that the prAkRta kAraNa-s are also real, not just 
brahman, because if you do not, you are in danger of stepping into some 
variety or other of advaita. Therefore, when you said earlier, "brahman is 
jagadeka-kAraNa", you forgot to qualify it as "aprAkRta", either as a matter 
of oversight on your part or as a deliberate attempt to mislead us about 
your siddhAnta. As Bhaskar mentioned earlier in another context, please set 
out your siddhAnta in a consistent fashion, and not in bits and pieces.

This aneka-kAraNa business, where all kAraNa-s are quite real, is quite 
Sruti-virodha. Even if you don't accept the advaita interpretation, the 
upanishad-s and brahmasUtra-s allow only brahman as the one kAraNa, period. 
That, by the way, is the proper meaning of "ekam eva advitIyam". For the 
Srinivas Kotekal-s out there, who want to explain away the word "advitIyam", 
please learn your own lesson properly and take the entire text into account. 
It says, "sad eva saumya idam agra AsId ekam eva advitIyam". "sat" - 
existence eva - only, i.e. brahman alone, "ekam" - one, "eva" - only (note 
the emphasis given to "eva", by virtue of repetition) and "advitIyam" - 
without a second, "AsIt" - was here, "agra" - before the universe was born. 
No matter how you interpret advitIyam, this text leaves no room for anything 
other than brahman.

Now, how this One brahman gives rise to the manifold jagat is the mystery 
explained in different ways in vedAnta. advaita talks of mAyA and 
viSishTAdvaita talks of apRthak-siddhi. dvaita, on the other hand, is so 
keen on refuting each and every point of advaita, that it misses the forest 
for the trees, and has to take brahman as only the efficient cause, thereby 
admitting prakRti in by the back door as another kAraNa. No wonder you have 
to interpret akshara-avyakta in gItA chapter 12 as prakRti. You may like to 
explain away advitIya in terms of superior-inferior, svatantra-paratantra 
relation, but you fall afoul of the term "ekam eva" in the process.


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