[Advaita-l] Can a mithyA-vastu produce an effect? असत्यवस्तुनः अर्थक्रियाकारित्वम्

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Apr 24 05:35:48 CDT 2011


In the category of 'asatya vastu' that produces a valid effect, in other
words असतः साधकत्वम् , here is another set of examples:


//Latitude and longitude are the basic tools of map-making. They are the
language used by mapmakers to communicate accurately about the locations of
the various places on planet earth. Latitude and longitude are *imaginary
lines* traced on the surface of the earth for the purpose of locating a
specific place.//



// On the map shown, and for that matter on all other maps, the Arctic
Circle, Antarctic Circle, Equator, Prime Meridian, Tropic of Cancer and
Tropic of Capricorn are *imaginary lines.* //


// In simpler language, the Equator is an *imaginary line* on the Earth's
surface equidistant from the North
Pole<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Pole>and South
Pole <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pole> that divides the Earth into a
Northern Hemisphere <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Hemisphere> and a
Southern Hemisphere <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Hemisphere>. The
equators of other planets <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet> and
astronomical bodies are defined analogously. //

(see this URL for the 'purpose/use' of the Equator)


We can express area in square feet or square meters or hectares/cents/acres,
etc.  All these units of measurement of area are 'anavasthA', that is, have
no 'absolutism' while the area is the same in whatever units it is

The same with the measurement of volume.  We have
pints/ounces/gallons/litres etc.

About weight of an object too, while the weight remains the same the
expressions vary with kilograms/pounds etc.

With heat it is F or C.  There are many other things in the above category
where the 'content' is 'real' but the 'container' is 'unreal'.

While the language, for example the adherence to PANini, might remain the
same, the script through which it is written can vary.  It is very unlikely
that Shankaracharya wrote the commentaries in the same script that we are
reading them today.  Even in our own lifetimes the very devanAgari script
has undergone changes with respect to certain letters.  Tamil and Malayalam
letters too have undergone changes in the recent past.  It is these that
have been categorized as unreal, anRtam, by Shankaracharya while He said in
the BSB 2.1.14:

तथा अकारादि-सत्य-अक्षर-प्रतिपत्तिर्दृष्टा रेखानृताक्षरप्रतिपत्तेः ।

//Also, the knowledge of the 'real' letters/sounds like 'a' is seen to be
acquired through the 'unreal' letters (script) written by the use of lines
(curved, straight, etc.).//

An explanation to the above is:
(रेखासु अकारत्वादिभ्रान्त्या सत्या अकारादयो ज्ञायन्त इति प्रसिद्धम् )
[It is well known that the sounds 'a' etc. are known through the 'delusion'
with regard to the 'lines/scripts' that they themselves are the sounds.]

Thus there is the fundamental sound that is 'real'.  But the line/figures
that represent that 'real' sound is 'unreal'.  Why? The sound does not
change but the method/medium through which it is expressed can/does change
over a period of time and across different languages thus proving that there
is no finality, absolutism, with regard to them. The 'same' ('real')
'bhavAnyaShTakam' can be written in different ('unreal') languages/scripts
Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, etc.

It is in this sense that the BhAgavatam says that unreal objects too
generate utility.  So we have

(1) natural 'unreal' objects like a shadow, a reflection, an echo,
appearances like the sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moon
set, the earth appearing to be static to those who dwell here though
'really' the earth is in constant motion and
(2) manmade 'unreal' 'imaginary' objects like the latitudes/longitudes,
weights and measures, scripts for expressing sounds, etc. all of which have
some or the other utility.  This is the असतः साधकत्वम् the scripture
(bhAgavatam) and Shankaracharya point out to.

The example given in the scripture is aimed at teaching that the entire
kShetram, the created universe, is only an expression of the Truth,
Brahman.  The 'total' utility, the परमप्रयोजनम् of the unreal kShetram is to
inform us about the real kShetrajna, Brahman/Atman.

The kShetram has प्रतीयमानत्वम्, अर्थक्रियाकारित्वम् and बाध्यमानत्वम् .
The last verse of the 13th chapter of the BhagavadgItA (भूतप्रकृतिमिक्षं च )
is the proof for this.


2011/4/21 V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>

> The following remark supplies the material for this post:
> // Moreover, the objects in this world and its experiences satisfy
>  human ends i.e. arthakriyakAritva.
> Unreals cannot satisfy us. They are non-existent. //  sourced from the
> following URL:
> http://dvaita.info/pipermail/dvaita-list_dvaita.info/2011-February/004163.html
> From the above remark it is clear that according to the Dvaitin:
>    1. An unreal object is the same as a non-existent object
>    2. If there is arthakriyAkAritva then the object must be admitted to be
>    real.
> The BhAgavatam  proves these assumptions/beliefs wrong. In Chapter 23,
> verse 5 of the 'UddhavagItA', the BhAgavatam says:
> *छायाप्रत्याह्वयाभासा* हि *असन्तः अपि* *अर्थकारिणः*।
> एवं देहादयः भावाः यच्छन्ति आमृत्युतः भयम्॥५॥
> //A reflection, an echo, and an illusive appearance (like the appearance of
> silver in nacre), even though unreal, produce some effect.  So do things
> like the body etc., cause fear till death.//

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list