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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed May 18 08:24:54 CDT 2011

> There can be objection from Visistadvaiti-
> Looking at the unreal shell silver the man feels joy. He wants to
> pick up the silver. Looking at rope as unreal snake he feels fear. He
> wants to run away. What is the cause of joy? What is the cause of
> fear? It is not silver but Jnana this is silver. It is not snake but
> Jnana this is a snake. The unreal silver cannot be cause of real joy.
> The unreal snake is not the cause of real fear. The Jnanas are the
> causes. But the Jnanas are real. Real causes real. Advaiti has
> accepted this. He says Mithya Maya causes Jagat. Like that Mithya
> snake cannot be cause of real fear. Mithya woman in dream cannot
> cause real joy. The real Jnanas in every case are causing it.

One answer to this would be as follows.
The jnAna, "this is silver", which causes joy, is negated by the act of
picking up the shell and discovering that it is not silver. The jnAna, 
"this is snake", which causes fear, is negated by the subsequent jnAna
that it is rope, which eventually removes the fear.
You therefore come to the conclusion that the silver and the snake 
are illusory, and your so-called "real" joy and your so-called "real"
fear are caused by a so-called "real" jnAna. The problem is that the
said instances of jnAna cannot really be real, because they are subject
to negation. Technically, it is calld bAdha.
An instance of jnAna that is subject to bAdha is not true jnAna in the
paramArtha sense. It is a mental impression. Technically, it is a vRtti.
The "reality" of vRtti-jnAna is changeable and therefore the "real"
emotions of joy and fear caused by them are also changeable. They
are also subject to bAdha.
Any serious response to the above points about bAdha has to have a
robust definition of what constitutes the "real" and has to have a clear
perspective on the inevitable conclusion about levels of reality.


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