[Advaita-l] Discussion on pratitya-samutpada and Adwaita

Ananta Bhagwat ananta14 at yahoo.com
Mon May 5 23:16:59 CDT 2008

Sri Srikanta says (May 5) pratItya samutpAda (PS) can not be equated to vyavahAra; that they are diagonally opposite. Further, he said brahman can be realized only through Vedanta (implying not through any other prakriyA like pratItyasamutpAda).

1/ PS has two parts: one, dvAdaSa siddhanta (DS) and two, its causal (interdependent) relationship which I have explained earlier.

DS has its first cause as avidyA and the remaining nodes described in Tipitaka also are traveresed in avidyA and hence they are part of vyavahAra to use the Vedanta terminology. The 12-node chain is cyclically operational hence the name bhAvacakra which has its analog in brahmacakra in SvetASvatara. The only (and important) difference is the brahmacakra has the substratum of brahman while bhAvacakra has none. Thus pratItyasamutpAda, to use the Vedanta  terminology, is operational only at "vyavahara" (and obviously not at pAramArthika level).

2/ I never said that PS is used to realize the brahman in Vedanta tradition. The Self realization tradition is based on BU II.4.5. I must admit however, that I indirectly suggested the possibility of pratItya-samutpAda being used as empirical vedanta prakriya like adhAropa-apavAda (false attribution to negate the opposite and then retract it to be directed towards substratum) and anvaya-vyatireka (juxtapose what is transitory against that what is unchanging - brahman) etc.  The rationale is: with PS too one can identify what is dependent, conditionally arising etc to juxtapose it with absolutely independent eternal brahman, the substratum). I said that as my own guess,  this possibility was foreclosed (assuming in first place that it was existing) by explicit identity of pratItyasamutpAda = Sunya. Thus "PS=0" preceded "PS --> brahman" making it difficult to absorb PS in Vedanta tradition due to stigma attached to SUnya. 

Here, I am not at all blaming the tradition, but suggest that traditions evolve many times with their own social dynamics. They need not be unchanging or un-evolving (otherwise we would be elevating them to the status of brahman). The process of syncretism can go  on without doing violence to core principles (the way AcArya gauDapAda did with his kArikA-s). This is of course a personal view without offense to anybody holding a contrary view.


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