[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (9)

Ravishankar Venkatraman sunlike at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 26 19:12:37 CST 2007

Sri.Krishnamurthy ji,

You are doing a wonderful job. I am sure that all readers are enjoying these 

Can you mention here how the view of creation mentioned in Advaitic context 
differs from other schools of Vedanta (visishitadvaita and dvaita)?

Though I know that it could be viewed as a digression, I am asking this as 
you already have made comparisons with other schools. This would really help 
in understanding the nuances within Vedanta better.


>From: "Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna" <puttakrishna at verizon.net>
>Reply-To: A discussion group for Advaita 
>Vedanta<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
>To: <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
>Subject: [Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (9)
>Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 12:27:48 -0500
>In the last unit, we determined that Brahman is the material and 
>causes of jagat.
>We also reviewed a couple of other views of the causes of jagat. We will
>continue with the review of
>what other philosophies say about the causes of jagat.
>The VaishEShika view.
>A vaishEShika is an ancient scientist. He posits that the gross universe we
>see is made of four elements - gross earth characterized by smell, taste,
>form and touch; subtle water characterized by taste, form and touch; subtle
>fire characterized by subtle form and touch; and subtle air characterized 
>touch only. During the time of dissolution, they divide and disintegrate
>continuously until they are like atoms, beyond which no further division is
>possible. At the time of the next creation, these atoms integrate to become
>the four elements described above. So the vaishEShikas say that these atoms
>are the kAraNa for the jagat; by which they also mean that the atoms are 
>svarUpa of the jagat. vEdAnta addresses these statements as follows;
>(i) The atoms being inert, cannot integrate without the support of
>intelligence during the time of creation. The vaishEShika believes in an
>Atma who is the doer and enjoyer and is the nimitta kAraNa for the
>integration of the atoms. However, the advaitin claims that this Atma needs
>tools and medium of a body to do so. However, this body has to come out of
>the integration of the atoms. So there cannot be a medium of a body before
>creation. Therefore the effort required for the integration cannot be
>provided by this Atma.
>(ii) If one concedes that somehow the Atma has obtained a body, the
>dissolution has to be initiated by this Atma, who is also the enjoyer
>according to the vaishEShikas. The jagat is created for his enjoyment only.
>Then why would he dissolve this universe, forsaking the enjoyment?
>(iii) The union of atoms - Two kinds of union is possible (a) Complete
>integration and (b) partial / localized union - Complete union of two atoms
>results in the fusion of two atoms and remain the size of an atom. So how
>can they come together and keep increasing the size to become the gross
>jagat? partial/ localized union posits that the atoms have parts, which is
>contrary to the vaishEShika theory.
>(iv) The characteristics of the atoms - Touch etc. and the Reality (nitya)
>of them contradict each other. Our experience suggests that all objects
>exhibiting touch etc. are effect (kArya) and not cause (kAraNa). For
>example, the cloth is the kArya of fiber; the fiber is the kArya of cotton
>etc. The fiber is more real than the cloth (if the cloth is destroyed, 
>still remains); cotton is more real than the fiber (if fiber is destroyed,
>cotton still remains). Likewise the atoms exhibiting the characteristic of
>touch can only be a kArya and cannot be a kAraNa. Being a kArya, they 
>be real.
>A point to be noted here is that Shankara has not rejected atoms. What He
>has discarded is the theory that the atoms are the kAraNa of the jagat and
>the characteristics of atoms as described by vaishEShikas.
>The naiyAyika view.
>The followers of the Science of Logic are naiyAyikas. They believe in a God
>defined by logic and not in the vEdic view of God. They define three
>entities - purusha (jIva), Iswara (God) and prakriti (nature). According to
>them all the three are mutually independent and infinite. In addition, the
>prikriti is inert and Iswara is omniscient. The naiyyAyikas posit that the
>prikriti is the material cause (upAdAna kAraNa) and Iswara is the
>intelligent cause (nimitta kAraNa). The purusha is the enjoyer. Though they
>invoke vEdas in arguments, they will not accept vEda as an independent
>pramANa. vEdAnta explains the following inconsistencies in the NaiyaAyika
>( i ) prikriti being inert, cannot by itself be the material cause of the
>jagat. This can only be possible if Iswara is tasked for the creation of 
>jagat; If so, Iswara's role violates the independency of prikriti.
>( ii) Iswara is omniscient, prikriti, purusha and Iswara are independent.
>This violates the omnisciency of Iswara, since he has no control over the
>form of prikriti and puruSha. However, even if it is conceded that Iswara
>has control over prikriti and puruSha, (a) then the infiniteness of 
>and puruSha is violated, and (b) If the infiniteness of purusha is violated
>(ie. the number of puruShas), then a finite number of purushas, when they
>all get liberated from the cycle of birth and death, where is the need for
>creation of jagat? Then Iswara looses his role of creation! This violates
>that Iswara is omniscient. Therefore the  naiyAyika view is contradictory
>(Sutra 2.2.39-41). In here, the logic of naiyAyika is used to show the
>inconsistency of his view. This is called uShtra laguDa nyAya (Logic of
>camel and the club) - using the firewood load on the camel as a club to
>control the straying of the camel.
>The sAnkhya view.
>The sAnkhyAs also use logic as their basis; that is, they use anumAna
>pramANa, though they invoke vEda in arguing with vEdAntins. There is no
>Ishwara in this view. They posit that there are two entities - jaDa (inert)
>and chEtana (consciousness). They claim they don't see jaDa being the cause
>of chEtana or chEtana being the cause of jaDa. They therefore conclude that
>the material cause of jagat should be jaDA. The jagat appears to be a
>composite of satva, rajas and tamas ( We will take up the review of guNas
>later in the study. At this point, we can understand that satva is divine
>quality, rajas is characterized by activity and tamas is laziness or
>lethargic). Therefore the material cause of jagat should also be composite
>of satva, rajas and tamas. They call this composite of guNas (triguNAtmika
>or triad) as pradhAna or prikriti. The other is the consciousness or
>puruSha, (a proxy for jIva). They posit that in each living being, there is
>a separate puruSha. This puruSha is only a witness, non-engaging, remains
>detached and does not have any attributes. The pradhAna, by itself
>automatically transforms to jagat for the enjoyment of puruSha. The three
>guNas of pradhAna, when they are out of balance, creation happens; when 
>are in balance, it is dissolution. There are three objections to this
>(i)                  How does pradhAna, being jaDa, transform by itself to
>jagat? They respond that it is like water flowing by itself? Water can flow
>on a downward slope, which must have been created by an intelligent force.
>Or need external agency like a pump to make it flow. So the flow of water 
>the result of intelligence behind it!
>(ii)                The purusha, being inactive, cannot be the cause behind
>the transformation of pradhAna to jagat, like the potter transforming the
>clay to a pot.
>(iii)               pradhAna, being jada, obviously has no benefit in
>transforming itself to jagat. Even if so, the puruSha also has no benefit,
>since he is unattached and has no enjoyment; since he is unattached, even
>the benefit of self realization over time is absurd (the purusha, being
>detached, no desire to live or even attain self realization, what is the
>purpose of his existence?).
>These arguments make the sAnkhya view flawed and unsustainable.
>Contemporary Scientific View
>The contemporary scientific view, like the sAnkhya view, believes that the
>cause of this jagat is jada. They cite the example that the atoms in a gas
>are continually in a state of motion and are responsible for the enjoyment
>of puruSha! Or the atoms explode by themselves. If this were true, then the
>atoms must always be moving in a uniform path or speed. However, it has 
>a scientific observation that the temperature changes cause the atoms to
>move faster or slower. In fact it is thus controlling the movement of the
>atoms that the puruSha uses it for his enjoyment. So the movement is
>controlled by heat and heat is controlled by an external agency or chEtana;
>so chEtana should be the cause of the movement of atoms.
>Again, the movement of the atoms cannot be stopped at all, even by
>controlling temperature, for at some low temperature, the movement of atoms
>attains a certain state, beyond which any further decrease of temperature
>does not change the movement of atoms. The scientist counters then, that
>this is its natural behavior (jaDa undergoing no change even with
>application of heat - external force or chEtana). The vEdAntin argues that
>the chEtana of the scientist is overpowered by a higher chEtana in subduing
>further change in movement. Similar logic applies to the explosion of atoms
>The scientist is contradicting himself when he says that an inert body 
>an external force to change its state of rest or of uniform motion and at
>the same time saying that the inert atoms move by its own.
>In summarizing these views, the following observations can be made. As much
>as the jagat is visible, the cause of the jagat is invisible. Therefore 
>of the visible pramANas can be applied to determine the cause of the jagat.
>Inference and arthApatti (Inference by removing inconsistency) are also
>helpless, since there are no telltale signs for the jagat; since jagat 
>unique, even a simile fails to describe jagat. Therefore its cause has to 
>determined by shruti statements only, as has been proposed by advaita
>vEdAnta, that we studied earlier.
>Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih ( Om peace, peace, peace).
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