kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 26 19:27:33 CDT 2006

Mithyaa jnaanam

We discussed some aspects of mithya earlier.  The whole second chapter
of ManDukya kArika deals with this subject.  That which appears to exist
but subsequently negated is mithya.  This is also called maaya.  That
which is subject to negation is mithya.  Many critiques of advaita
questioned the concept of maaya. Dvaitins, particularly Hare Krishna
community, call advaita as maaya vaada.  Actually advaita is non-duality
which ascertains that there is only Brahman and nothing but Brahman. 
Hence, it should be called brahma vaada (proponents of Brahman) rather
than mAya vaadins (proponents of maaya).  MAya is brought to negate what
appears to be different from Brahman since Brahman is infinite
consciousness, that is one without a second, and there cannot be
anything other than Brahman.  That which appears to be different Brahman
is called mithya or maaya.  In the final analysis, even the mAya is
negated since Brahman alone is, which is without a second.  

That it appears to be a snake different from what it is (which is a
rope) is mithya. We negate the reality of the snake in the knowledge
that it is a rope.  Similarly we negate the appearance of the world of
objects as real, in the knowledge that every thing is nothing but
Brahman, since according to Vedas, the substantive of everything is
nothing but Brahman and Brahman alone.   

Here, we state the fundamental laws of negation.  1. That which is real
cannot be negated. Or conversely, that which can never be negated alone
is real.  Krishna says that which exists can never cease to exist and
that is real, ‘naabhaavo vidyate sataH’.  Upanishad says existence alone
was there before creation of the world and that is Brahman.  Hence,
Brahman cannot be negated.  Being consciousness and infiniteness there
cannot be anything other than Brahman.  Hence the scripture says ‘sarvam
kalvidam brahma’ and ‘neha naanaasti kincana’ – every thing is nothing
but Brahman and there is nothing other Brahman.  

2. The second rule is that which is unreal or non-existent need not be
negated, since it is not there even for negation.  Krishna says that
which is non-existent can never come into existence, naasato vidyate
bhaavaH.  It is like vandhyaaputraH, son of a barren woman. There is no
locus for existence for negation.

Hence, what can be negated is that which appears to exist but upon
analysis that is different from what it is.  Whatever that undergoes
modification cannot be real.  This is where many daarshanikas err in
taking the world that continuously changes as real.  When some thing
changes into something else there has to be something that is changeless
in all the changes; and that by definition is real.  We have shown that
the substantive all the changing objects is nothing but Brahman.  That
which is changing is not unreal, since it is there to change.  Since it
is changing, it is not real either.  Hence, we cannot but have a
category, which is mithya or mAya.  To declare that there cannot
anything that is mithya, which is neither real nor unreal, is only
ignoring the facts.  I learned not to argue with those who are blind to
these simple facts. 

When everything is Brahman, and there is nothing other than Brahman, and
if I see something which is different from Brahman, then whatever I see
must be only mithya.  If I see two moons when there is only one, then
that vision is mithya.  Shankara uses this example in his AdhyAsa
BhAshya.  This is called arthaapatti sruti pramANa.  Deduction based on
the sruti’s statement that everything is Brahman and Brahman is the
material cause for the universe, ‘yatOva imaani bhUtAni jAyantE 
brahmEti’ (Tai.Up).  If Brahman which is of the nature of consciousness
is the material cause for the universe, then ‘inertness’ that one
perceives is only mithya.  This concept is not easily digestible since
we transact with the inert world very intimately, starting from our own
body.  In order to establish this fact Mandukya uses the dream

The concept of the second or dvaita arises with the mind.  When there is
no mind, the dvaita also disappears.  Thus, any dvaita that arises and
disappears is mithya. Any seen or perception is mithya, since seer-seen
duality arises in all perceptions. Hence Shankara says in his BhAShya
that the world is mithya since it is seen - dRisyatvAt.  From this, it
follows that any moksha that involves dvaita is also mithya.  Hence,
shruti declares that even a speck of duality causes fear and thus
samsaara or bondage. Advaita then alone is the truth that is Brahman, as
Mandukya upaniShad declares in Mantra 7.  Any creation is also mithya
since it requires modification of Brahman, which cannot happen since
Brahman is infinite, as GoudapAda emphasizes in his kArikas. 

Are there two Brahmans in Advaita?  

The question itself is self-contradictory since advaita implies
non-duality.  However, there is notion among some Vedantins that advaita
subscribes to two Brahmans; one is nirguNa Brahman and the other is
saguNa Brahman.  We have already noted that being infiniteness, Brahman
cannot have any guNa or attributes since attributes belong to finites. 
There  are no sajAti, vijAti swagata bhedAs in Brahman. SajAti bhedAs
distinguish different vyashhTi-s in the same jAti like different types
of cows among the category of cows. All cows have some general
attributes that fulfill their cowness, but each cow can be distinctly
different in terms of its size, color, etc.  VijAti bhedAs distinguishes
one jAti from anther similar to cows are different from horses.  Swagata
bhedAs arises due to internal differences with in one vyakti – say for a
given cow, legs, head, neck, stomach, tail etc are all different from
each other.  Since Brahman is one without a second,  no sajAti or vijAti
differences are possible.  Since it is
existence-consciousness-infiniteness, there cannot be internal
differences in it.  One existence cannot differ from another existence
or from the existence of the space that separates the two.  Hence,
existences has to be homogenous infinite and eternal. Since Brahman is
consciousness entity (prajnAnam brahman), that existence is conscious
existence and not inert existence.  Since it is one without a second, it
is infinite conscious existence.  There cannot be any divisions in the

Objection: Space is infinite.  Yet we can have mountains in space that
are different from space. By the presence of mountains, infiniteness of
the space is not compromised.  Similarly, Brahman can remain as infinite
with jiivas and jagat in side Brahman. Brahman remains one while jagat
and jiivas constitute internal differences in the Brahman. Therefore
Brahman cannot have internal differences is wrong. 

Answer: There are several fallacies in the above argument. 

1. If one assumes that mountains are different from space then we have
two entities, space and mountains and not one.  If Brahman and jIvas and
jagat are different from Brahman then the statement ‘ekam eva
advitiiyam’ ‘one without a second’ for Brahman is compromised.  One can
argue that one without a second would mean that there is only one
Brahman with out a second Brahman, Jiiva and jagat are not Brahman but
exist separately.  Then there is no dependent- independent relation
between jiiva and jagat and Brahman, which again violates the scriptural
2. In the case of space and mountains both are ‘inert’.  The same
analogy cannot be applied for Brahman, jiiva and jagat.  Brahman is not
only of the nature of existence, it is of the nature of consciousness –
‘prajnAnam brahma’. One cannot have inert jagat and still claim that
consciousness pervades that inert jagat. Inertness and consciousness are
contradictory to each other. If inertness is apparent then there is no
problem.  However, if one claims that inert is also real and Braham is
also real then Brahman cannot be inclusive of Jagat.  If it is not
inclusive of jagat, Brahman cannot be infinite. To overcome these
contradictions one has to resort to additional postulates relating the
jagat and Brahman. 
3. Mountain is actually a product of space only as per Vedanta. 
Creation progresses first from aatma, space; from space, air; from air,
fire; from fire, water; and from water, the earth. (Tai.Up.: tasmAt VA
EtasmAt Atmanam AkAShassabhUtaH 
.). Thus, earth is the product of
space.  Effect is not separate from cause – all resolve to Atma, the
conscious principle.  Hence there can not be anything other than
consciousness.  That is advaita. 
4. If consciousness is all-pervading, any creation that comes and goes
is not real but only apparent.  Apparent snake cannot disturb the rope. 
>From rope’s point, there is no snake any where.  Hence, there is no
inertness in Brahman.  If one sees the world, the world seen can only be
mithya as discussed above. 
5. Any differences or swagata bhedas are only apparent and not real.  
GoudapAda discusses that there is no real creation, and what appears to
be creation is not real.  Only real is Brahman.  

Since creation appears to exist from jiivas point, then a creator, which
is both intelligent cause and material cause, has to exist in the same
reference plane, vyaavahaarika satyam.  Brahman is beyond cause and
effect (beyond the concept of time), paaramaarthika satyam.  Hence from
Brahman’s point there is no creation-creator (kAryakAraNa vilaxanam). 
On the other hand, since one sees or experiences the creation in the
vyaavahaarika level, the intelligent and material cause has to exist at
that level.  It is defined as Iswara.  Shruti takes us from the
experiential duality to transcendental reality in steps.  It starts with
creation, since duality is perceived, and subsequently negates the
duality saying, ‘neha nAnAsti kincana’ from the point of reality. 
SAdhana (spiritual practices), upAsana (prayers and meditations) and
yoga (karma, jnAna and Bhakti) are all within the realm of duality with
Iswara as the creator, sustainer and annihilator of the creation. 
Iswara, the creator, and the creation together is Brahman. Hence, it is
both intelligent as well as material cause for the creation.  Iswara who
is saguNa Brahman is there only as long as creation is perceived. 
Hence, from advaita point Iswara, jiiva and jagat all have relative
existence but from absolute point, all are nothing but Brahman.  ‘tat
tvam asi’ does not equate individual to Iswara, only equates individual
stripped of all qualifications (which is sat chit ananda) with
unqualified Brahman (which is also sat chit ananda).  Mandukya in fact
presents Iswara in the analysis of the deep sleep state and unqualified
Brahman in the discussion of the turiiyam.  One Brahman appears to be
many including Iswara, jiiva and jagat.  However, the apparent plurality
is not reality.  They are all appearing to be real only in their plane
of reference.  From absolute reference, Brahman alone is the truth and
that is advaita, one without a second.  Advaita subscribes to only one
Brahman, one without a second, which is the substratum for Iswara, the
Lord, Jiivas, individuals and jagat, the world.  Iswara, who is saguNa
Brahman and jiivas and the jagat are all real with in the relative frame
of vyaavahaarika or transactional reality. Iswara is different from
jiiva, jiivas are different from each other and world is different from
both Jiiva and Iswara, within the relative frame of reference.  At the
absolute level all merge into one.  The notions of reality are in the
mind of each jiiva due to delusion and liberation is the recognition
that I am that Brahman that is substratum for all jiiva-jagat-Iswara. It
is re-cognition in the mind of the jiiva since notions are in the mind. 
Knowledge of the substantive Brahman has to take place only in the mind
of jiiva.  A realized master can still transact with the apparent
plurality knowing very well that is only a transactional reality but not
absolute reality.  It is like a scientist enjoying the sunrise and
sunset knowing very well that sun never rises nor sets. 

Microcosm and macrocosm or vyaShTi and samaShTi :  

Creation can be viewed from two different references; one from
individual perspective, microcosm and second from the total perspective,
macrocosm.  The causal body or kAraNa shariira is nothing but vAsanas or
individual’s likes or dislikes.  Each jiiva has total account of vAsanas
called sanchita karma, accumulated whenever one performs an action with
an egocentric attitude that with the notion that ‘I am the doer’ or with
kartRitva bhAva.  He brings into the life only a part of it called
prArabda karma (translated as fate).  In the human form, where he is
given a choice of action, he can accumulate new ones (AgAmi karma) which
can be either exhausted in this life or deposited into his total
account, sanchita karma.  Given this scenario, individual gravitates
towards an environment conducive to his likes and dislikes or vAsanas. 
During his whole life, he will be moving from one environment to the
other determined by his vAsanas.  Swami Chinmayanandaji puts this in a
beautiful form – what I have is praarabda and what I do with what I have
is called puruShArtha.  Thus each environment that man faces is dictated
by the results of his past actions (praarabda) and he has a choice of
how to act in a given the situation.  The future prArabda is determined
by past prArabda modified by the present action.  Thus, he is the
prisoner or the past, while being master of his future.  The whole world
that he encounters from his birth to death is essentially dictated by
his vAsanas – that include the type of body (male or female, animal or
man), the parents, the relatives, the education, job, etc.  Thus, his
world is dictated by his vAsanas or product of his kAraNa sharIra or
causal body.  It is called causal because it is the cause for his gross
and subtle bodies. Similarly, everyone’s world is dictated by his or her
vAsanas. Family environment depends on the samaShTi vAsanas of all the
people in that family.  Extending further total world, therefore, is
dictated by the total vAsanas of all beings put together called samaShTi
vAsanas.  SamaShTi vAsanas or total causal body becomes cause or kAraNa
for the creation of the total world.  If there is Iswara or Lord for
creation of this world, his hands are tied in terms of what he can
create, since he is governed by the samaShTi vAsanas (we can state this
in more polite form- Lord out of compassion for the jIvas creates an
appropriate world that is conducive to exhaust their vAsanas).  Since
from individual point the future vAsanas are determined by past vAsanas
modified by the present action, the future world is the outcome of the
past modified by the present action by all the beings put together. 
This implies that if we want a better world, we need to work for it
since we are the masters of our future vAsanas and thus masters of the
future world too. We can make it or break it.  The choice is ours. 

My world is dictated by my vAsanas and the total world is dictated by
total vAsanas.  The first is called microcosm and the second is called
macrocosm.  Describing creation, shRiti says ‘sa kAmayata 
.’  He
desired and He became many.  The desire is the product of vAsanas.  His
desire is therefore is prompted by total vAsanas of all beings, since he
has no personal desires of His own.  He became many – that he is both
intelligent and material cause for the universe.  The total vAsanas can
also be called mAya, while the individual vAsanas are called avidya or
ignorance.  Consciousness or Brahman as though manifesting at an
individual level or microcosm is jiiva and the same consciousness as
though manifesting at the total level or macrocosm is Iswara. From
consciousness point there is an identity but from the manifestations
point, one is jIva and the other is Iswara. Subjective creation from
individual point (praatibhaasika) includes snake that one sees while
there is rope.  All subjective notions about himself and the world
constitute microcosm or jiiva sRiShTi.  Objective creation is from total
point (vyaavahaarika) that includes the total objective world such as
rope and all other objects, and is called Iswara sRiShTi or God’s
creation or macrocosm.  Individual creation comes form individual
samskaara or vAsanas and total creation comes from total samskAra or
samaShTi vAsanas.  For both micro and macrocosms, Brahman remains as
substantive.  From Brahman point (pAramArthika) there is neither micro
nor macrocosms.  Since the individual is part of the total world, when
he deals with the total creation, he is at transactional or
vyaavahaarika state.  When he sleeps and creates the dream world, he is
in the praatibhaasika state.  When he realizes that he is sat chit
ananda svaruupa only, then both praatibhaasika and vyaavahaarika fold
into him, the Brahman that he is.  Hence, shRiti says ‘brahma vit
brahmaiva bhavati’ or knower of Brahman becomes Brahman and ‘brahmavit
Apnoti paramam’, knower of Brahman gains the supreme. One cannot become
Brahman since a finite cannot become infinite.  Here becoming is only
understanding that one is Brahman, ayam Atma brahma.  

In the analysis of perception above, attributive knowledge is only
gained and not the substantive.  To understand the distinction between
micro and macrocosms, analysis of the dream state is very useful.  When
one dreams and projects the dream world where in both subject as well as
objects are projected. Dream is experienced by everyone.  It provides a
powerful analogy to evaluate the reality of the waking world.  We can
reach the following conclusion by systematically analyzing the dreams. 

Dream provides a powerful analogy:

We can appreciate the glory of Mandukya, since it provides this powerful
analogy of the dream to understand the reality of the waking world also.
 Our humble praNaams to those great Rishiies, who were able to bring out
this beauty of this dream analogy in a very systematic and scientific
way, that too thousands of years ago.  From the analysis of the dream we

a). The waking mind provides both the material cause and intelligent
cause for creation of the dream world.  One can only dream what one
knows.  Hence, one is a sarvajna of the dream. He is the Iswara of the
dream world.  Material for the dream world comes from the waking mind
only.  So, we can say Iswara is nondifferentiable intelligent and
material cause (abhinna nimitta upaadaana kAraNa) of the dream world. 

b). For a dreamer the dream world appears to be real just as for a waker
waking world appears to be real. That it appears to be real does not
make it as real.  That it appears to be real does not make it real. 

c). For a waker, who has awakened from the dream, the dream world is
dismissed as unreal.  The bank deposits made in the dream bank in dream
are not useful in the waking world.

d). In the dream, the dream subject has dream-body, dream-mind and
dream-intellect, which differ from those of other dream beings.  The
tiger that is chasing in the dream has mind of its own different from
that of the subject who is running away to save himself from that tiger.
 Both may be praying; one to catch its pray and the other to escape from
the tiger.  Lord of the dream can declare – samoham sarva bhuteShu na me
dveShyosti na priyaH – I am equal to everybody, neither I favor one nor
disfavor one’. One gets what one deserves, even in the dream. 

e) From the dream subject in the dream, the objective world exists
outside his body just as for a waker the waking world of objects exists
outside in his body.

f). The dream experiences could be contradictory to the waking state
experiences.  One may be a prince in the dream while being a pauper in
the waking state. Both appear to be real in their respective states. He
may be heavy weight lifter in the dream while does not have the strength
to lift any weights in the waking state.  Weights in the waking state
are no more real than the weights in the dream world.  Since the dream
world appear to be outside the dream subject, he also transacts with his
world of objects as though they are outside him (vyaavahaarika satyam). 
He can also experience praatibhaasika satyam or subjective reality.  For
example, if he can go to sleep in the dream and have a dream in side his
dream (second order dream), then it forms praatibhaasika satyam for him.
The analogy between the waking world and the dream world is exact. 
g). The Vasanas provide the kaaraNa or cause or basis for projecting the
dream world.  Thus nature provides a dream field of experience to
exhaust the suppressions and oppressions of the waking state.  From
there is a subject ‘I’, an existent and conscious entity who takes the
role of dream subject in the dream world and interact with other dream
subjects. In analogy with the waking world, we can state that the
vAsanas of all beings in the dream constitute the samaShTi vAsanas
projecting the total world of dream. Hence ‘I’ the conscious entity
taking the role of Iswara for the dream world using the waking mind,
create the dream world consisting of both inert and multitude of
conscious beings and who transact mutually in the dream world.  There is
mini microcosm and mini macrocosm created in the dream world.  All are
supported by consciousness using the waker’s mind as a base. Mind
(kAryam) which is the product of the vAsanas (kAraNam) are played out
both in the waking state and dream state.  Mini minds are also created
in the process of creation of individual subjects in the dream for them
to interact with each other.  For each subject in the dream, the dream
objects are ‘out there’, but when awaken, all the objects and subjects
resolve into the waker’s mind.  Thus inside or outside becomes relative
to a subject. The dream subject’s knowledge is relatively valid for a
dreamer and is negated once awaken. What remains the absolutely real is
the Brahman, which pervades and supports the universe in the waking
state, which pervades and supports in the dream state. In the deep sleep
state, the subject and objects distinctions dissolved into unmanifested
forms or more correctly, into a potential form, which can be projected
in total once awakened from deep sleep state.  Thus subjects, objects
and their interrelations all go into subtler form or potential form or
unmanifested forms to be projected again all intact since vAsanas that
are cause for the projections remains.  

Dissolution at micro and macro levels: 

When one goes to deep sleep state, both the waking world of subject-
objects (stored as information in the memory) and dream world of objects
resolve are all dissolved into unmanifested forms, which remain as such
due to the pressure of the vAsanas one gets up from sleep.  Iswara
sRiShTi and jIva sRiShTi both are projected back in exactly the same
condition.  Thus, they are stored in subtler form in the mind. 
According to Vedanta the same mechanisms seems to occur at macro level
too.  The waker is picturized as four-faced Brahma, who is the first
born jiiva to Iswara and is represented as the creator for the Universe,
who creates in his waking state the world of subjects and objects.  When
his day of work is over, he also goes to sleep, where in all the
creation goes back into his mind into a subtle unmanifested form or
potential form.  They project again to the world of subjects and objects
when his day of work starts.  The day of Brahma last billions of years,
and the process of dissolution of the world of subjects and objects is
termed as Pralaya or great dissolution.  Thus at individual mind level,
there is ‘laya’ dissolution of his small world, as one goes to deep
sleep state, microcosm dissolution; and at Brahma’s level there is a
‘pralaya’, great dissolution, or macrocosm dissolution.  Thus, there is
parallelism between microcosm and macrocosm.  Similarly, there is a
macrocosm from the point of dream subject who see the world outside of
him, which gets dissolved when the waker’s mind (creator) goes to deep
sleep state.  Thus dream state and waking states are parallel and
microcosmic dissolution and macrocosmic dissolution are parallel.  All
these aspects are presented in a cryptic form in the Mandukya Upanishad.

As I move from one plane of consciousness to another that is from waking
state to dream state to deep sleep state I, the conscious entity remains
the same.  I am the waker, I am the dreamer and I am the deep sleeper. 
States keep changing but the experiencer or knower of the state, pramAta
remain changeless.  ‘I am’ the subject, without any state attached is
pure existence consciousness that I am and will be referred to the
fourth pAda or turiiyam. It is actually not a state to be named as the
fourth, but it is that pervades all the three states taking the names
and forms, as manifestations with saguNa or attributes.  ‘I am’ in
essence is pure (‘shivam) without association with any state, advaitam,
one without a second, where all seconds or dvaita arises in me sustained
by me and goes back into me (prapancOpashamam).  ‘I am’ is that pure
existence-consciousness, infinite and eternal.  Hence, ManDukya
UpaniShad provides a daring declaration of the truth, ‘ayam Atma
brahma’, the self that I am is Brahman, the infinite and eternal sat
chit ananda swarUpam.   

With this background, we will enter into the study of the ManDukya
Upanishad and GoudapAda kArikas.  

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