[Advaita-l] AchArya on the Objects of the Waking State (B.S. II.2.29)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Aug 30 18:14:01 CDT 2007

On Thu, 30 Aug 2007, br_vinayaka wrote:

> While commenting on the aforementioned sutra AchArya
> makes the
> following comment:
> ||jAgaritOpalabdham vastu na ksyAmchidapyavasthAyAm
> bAdhyatE||
> "Those things, on the other hand, of which we are
> conscious in our
> waking state, such as posts and the like, are 'never'
> negated in 'any'
> state"
> What is he exactly conveying by this statement? Aren't
> waking
> objects negated in the dream and sushupti/samadhi
> state? Can
> anybody elaborate this abstruse topic which is
> seemingly
> contradicting the mAndUkya kArika(In my
> understanding/mis-
> understanding?)?

The Buddhists (or atleast some sections amongst them) were philosophical 
idealists.  They believed that consciousness was literally an illusion. 
The so-called "reality" is no different in materiality to a dream.

By contrast Advaitins are not.  What we see, think, and feel is actually 
there.  The problem is we misunderstand its nature.  This is why I like to 
translate maya as "delusion" rather than "illusion." It illustrates that 
the problem is primarily epistemological not ontological.

What is meant by negation?  For the Baudha nirvana is like the awakening 
from a dream.  Just as when you wake up, the objects of your dreams cease 
to exist, when you Capital-A Awaken, the objects of the world cease to 
exist and then you are free.

The Advaitin considers himself liberated when the notion of difference is 
gone.  Whether or not the underlying objects actually exist is in that 
sense irrelevant, it is equanamity with which one approaches them which is 
freedom from samsara.

Shankaracharya points out that though they may seem similiar, the dream 
and waking states  are in fact profoundly different.

1. The events of the dream are contradicted by our waking 
experiences.  No effort is required, this is just the normal working of 
consciousness.  On the contrary true illusions require a suspension of the 
normal working of consciousness.

2.  Dreams do not arise without prior waking experiences.  People who have 
never seen an elephant do not dream of elephants.  The dream is a 
distorted recollection of a previous perception of an elephant.  But one 
can perceive in the waking state without prior recollection.

3. The Buddhists can employ all the rhetoric they want but no sane person 
of any religion actually lives their life thinking the dream and the waking
state are the same and reality is "all in your head."  So why should we 
take their assertions seriously?

Does this match with the teachings of the Karikas?

Some critics have noted the Buddhist tinge to Gaudapadacharyas writings 
however I think if you check you will see that he only says that the dream 
state and the waking state are unreal relative to Brahman which is far 
short of the idealist position.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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