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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 26 09:17:55 CDT 2011

> If we tell a lie to a mother her soldier son is dead in the war she
> will weep with sadness. Her son is not dead but her tears are not
> false. But when she comes to know after some time it is a lie she will
> think I wept for no purpose. It was a waste. What is the use of her
> tears? Where is the Arthakriyakaritva of the lie?

You are missing the point of arthakriyA-kAritva. The moral value of the
result is quite independent of the reality of the result. What is important
to note, from a philosophical standpoint, is that a false cause can produce
a real result. That is all that arthakriyA kAritva means. Whether the result
is morally good or bad is a different issue, to be evaluated according to
other yardsticks, is it not?
Everyone who speaks a lie has some personal purpose for that lie. Unless
of course, the person actually believes the said lie to be the truth. In your
example, the only person who can respond about the arthakriyA of the lie
is the one who lied to the mother about the son being dead. Your question
has to do with the morals and values of the liar, not the reality or falsity
of the mother's grief. Inasmuch as you acknowledge that her tears were
not false, you agree that a relatively false cause can produce a relatively
real result. For the purpose of understanding one of the advaita vedAnta 
arguments about SAstra and brahmavidyA, that agreement is sufficient.


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