[Advaita-l] Re: GITA - 2.16 : part 1

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Thu Dec 29 07:36:35 CST 2005

namo nArAyaNAya!

dear shrI sthAnunAthan rAmakR^iShNan,

--- sthanunathan Ramakrishnan
<r_sthanu_at_yahoo_dot_com> wrote:
>   The other schools of philosophy dont agree with
> our
> definition of "unreal" and assert that all are real,
> even though they may be changing in form, with space
> and time.
>   Is it just a definition issue. What makes this
> definition of "unreal" superior to the other.

'unreal' here is a translation for 'asat'. the
dualistic schools do infact agree that anything that
is limited by space or time is asat. this asattvam is
due to anityatvam (temporary nature of those objects).
[for instance see shrI rAmAnuja's gItA bhAShya 2.16,
'...vinAshasvabhAvo hi asattvam avinAshasvabhAvashcha
sattvam.'] in advaita, this point of view is also
accepted in our normal vyavahAra. but from a
pAramArthika dR^iShTi, asat is mithyA - it does not
exist at all. 

the difference of this definition of asat from other
schools lies is the inclusion of vastu
parichChinnatvam as a deciding criteria for something
to be asat. this is absent in other dualistic schools
since it's inclusion will make all their tattva-s

for instance, in vishiShTAdvaita, the ultimate tattva
is chid-achid-vishiShTa brahmam - brahman which has
both chit (the infinite no. of jIva-s) and achit
(prakR^iti, kAla and shuddha sattva) as it's
'sharIra'. three ultimate tattva-s, namely chit, achit
and nArAyaNa (identical to brahman in this school) are
accepted in this school of thought. both chit and
achit are vastutaH different from brahman. hence,
vastu parichChinnatvam cannot be used in the
definition of asat in this school.

as you have mentioned, in dualistic schools, 'abhAvam'
is interpreted as existence in sUkShma sthiti.
'bhAvam' is interpreted as existence in sthUla sthiti.
thus, according to these darshana-s, 'asat' is not
mithyA, but it merely changes states : sthUla -
sUkShma - sthUla - sUkShma etc. 

--- sthanunathan Ramakrishnan
<r_sthanu_at_yahoo_dot_com> wrote:
> First we define "unreal" quite differently from its
> normal meaning, like say something that doesnt exist
> or something that isnt perceived at all times. An
> example of an unreal object would be, to use a
> familiar example, say a hare's horn.

objects like hare's horn, water in mirage etc. are
accepted as having prAtibhAsika sattA. normal objects
that we perceive have vyAvahArika sattA. the
definition of 'asat' given includes both of these.
both are asat (and mithyA) from the pAramArthika

the intention is to show that anything that fits into
the definition of asat is mithyA. how we choose to
differentiate (terminologically) a hare's horn from an
object perceived is not relevant in this context.

--- sthanunathan Ramakrishnan
<r_sthanu_at_yahoo_dot_com> wrote:
>   Now with this new definition of unreal, we find
> that
> the world and pretty much everything we know becomes
> "unreal". And then we go on and say that there is
> something beyond this definition of "unreal" and
> call
> that "real".

(i don't quite understand your point here. is this is
a statement or is it a question? assuming it is a
question, i'm providing a reply based on whatever i
understood from it. in case i missed your point,
please state it more clearly so that we can discuss

BP's bhAShyam in this context is very clear: all
kArya-s are asat ( = mithyA). the kAraNa alone is
real. the ultimate kAraNa is brahman. when all the
kArya-s are resolved into their kAraNa-s, the one
which remains finally is brahman. thus, the statement
that 'something exists beyond this' is just to show
the nature of brahman as being different from all the
three limitations that asat has. since we can only
perceive objects with these limitations, it is
necessary for the shAstra-s to postulate the existence
of brahman and it's nature as the mUla kAraNa for
everything that we perceive.    

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.

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