[Advaita-l] dRk, dRShya, etc

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Sun Aug 20 12:53:54 CDT 2006


This is with reference to the discussion on dRk, dRShya, Atman,
mithyA, etc in the earlier thread named "Buddhism related
discussions". However, this post is about advaita-vedAnta.

On 16/08/06, Abhishek RK <rkabhi at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 8/16/06, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com> wrote:
> > What is meant by "independent of that Atma"? When viewed as the Atman,
> > there is no nAmarUpa, as the Atman is undifferentiated. When one uses
> > the word 'pot', it connotes a particular nAma-rUpa, which is mithyA.
> When viewed as the Atma, nAmarUpa is also sat. That is the purport of the
> Shankara Bhashya on Chandogya I quoted.

Can you explain this a bit further? If you could explain this in the
context of Swami Dayananda's article, that would be very useful. Even
otherwise, I would request an elaboration.

> > Hence my earlier statement - "What is, is Atman/brahman". This is more
> > accurate than saying "Atman exists".
> This contradicts the Shankara Bhashya I quoted.

Are you saying that the statement "what is, is Atman" wrong, or are
you saying that "Atman exists" is equally accurate? The Atman is often
referred to as "pure awareness" or "pure consciousness". Is
"awareness" an entity?

On 8/16/06, Amuthan <aparyap at yahoo.co.in> wrote:
> since AtmA is the dRk and never a dRShya, there is
> nothing wrong in saying that AtmA does not exist as an
> entity. please note that the word 'entity' is
> typically used for something that is a dRShya, i.e for
> an object. as far as brahman is concerned, it is
> reasonable, within vedAnta in general, to say that
> 'brahman exists as an entity'. but within advaita
> vedAnta in particular, since AtmA is taught to be the
> same as brahman, such a statement becomes
> incompatible.

Maybe we could better understand it this way. Atman & brahman are not
synonyms in the sense (say) "daughter" and "putrI" are. Had that been
the case, there would be no need for a philosophical school to say
that Atman & brahman are the same.

At a preliminary level of understanding, 'Atman' stands for the dRk
(jIva), 'brahman' for the dRShya (ISvara, jagat or even another jIva).
We can talk about brahman being the material cause of the jagat, but
that alone does not lead to non-duality.

Therefore, advaita says that Atman and brahman are 'not-two', i.e dRk
& dRShya are not-two. The realisation of the identity of Atman &
brahman implies a dissolution of subject-object duality. Had advaita
merely said that the Atman is pure dRk and that dRShya is false, it
would have been a school of monism rather then non-dualism. Had it
said that both dRk & dRShya are true, and that moxa is the realization
that the dRk is not the body, mind, etc (which can be achieved by
following the neti-neti process), it would have been akin to
pAta~njala yoga.

Hence, it is the intersection of 'neti neti' with 'sarvam khalvidam
brahma' that brings out the non-dual philosophy.

What then do we make of statements such as "the self alone is
self-evident". Does this mean that the dRShya is false?  I would think
that such statements are phenomenological, a part of the advaitic
teaching process. advaita-vedAnta starts with the above statement as
the negator cannot be negated. Also, the sAdhaka would probably find
it easier to identify with the dRk than with the dRShya, as the
sAdhaka has the sense of being able to observe things. The sAdhaka is
then led through a process of "absorbing" the dRShya into the dRk.
Finally, the sAdhaka realizes that the dRShya and the dRk are not-two.
The experiencer, the experienced and the experience itself are
understood as being non-different.

The above process represents the true beauty of advaita-vedAnta. The
objective of the system is not merely to help people intellectually
understand the truth, but to actually lead them to it. Flashes of
non-dual realization are present in many traditions & cultures, but
advaita-vedAnta has perfected a method to lead people to the same.

All this might seem obvious to some of the learned members here.
Nevertheless, I would request them to post their comments.

Now, here comes a purely academic question. Can one conceive of a
system that takes the opposite route, i.e. takes the sAdhaka to
non-duality through a process of absorbing the dRk into the dRShya?


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