[Advaita-l] A note on adhyAsa

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Sat Sep 9 18:52:14 CDT 2006

Namaste Shastrji,
Thank you very much for a very clear exposition of adhyasa. A question just
to clarify my understanding of Samasarga Adhyasa:

You Said:
"Because of the superimposition of the non-self on the self, the
existence of the self is not recognized at all, and the non-self, (that is,
the body, mind and organs), is alone recognized as existing. This is
svarUpa- adhyAsa. In the superimposition of the self on the non-self, only
the existence and consciousness aspects of the self are attributed to the
body, mind and organs. This is samsarga-adhyAsa."
My Question:
If in samsarga adhyasa, both the substartum and the superimposed object are
simultaneously available for perception eg. flower and crystal, how can the
superimposition of self on the non-self be called that when the self itself
is not available for perception?

 Namaste Venkataramanji,
In svarUpa AdhyAsa one thing is totally superimposed on another, as in the
rope-snake case. In samasarga adhyAsa only the quality of one thing is
super-imposed, like the red colour of the flower on the crystal. Both
crystal and flower are physical objects and so they can be seen. In the case
of self-and not-self, what is meant is that two different things are
considered (though wrongly) to be existing and the qualities of each are
attributed to the other. When one says 'my hand', 'my leg', etc, one speaks
as if there are two different things, namely 'I' or the self and the 'body'
or the not-self. This assumed relationship between the self and the not self
is what is superimposed in the samsarga adhyAsa of the self and the
not-self. Two things are considered to exist in this manner, though one is
absolutely real and the other is only phenomenally real. The qualities of
the body-mind complex, such as doership and enjoyership are superimposed on
the self.      By the mutual superimposition of self and not-self, the
existence and consciousness aspects of the self are attributed to the
not-self, just as the existence of the rope is attributed to the illusory
snake.  The qualities of the not-self such as agency and enjoyership are
attributed to the self.
Please let me know if you have any further doubts.

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