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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu May 19 09:35:19 CDT 2011

> The Badhaka Jnana will be negating the object Jnana Vishaya but not
> Jnana. The silver is false but nobody can say I did not have
> experience of seeing silver. Nobody can say I did not have experience

How so? You see a piece of shiny shell, think it is silver and get a jnAna of
the form "this is silver". You pick up the object, realize it is only shell and
get a second jnAna of the form, "this is not silver." 

Is it your contention that both the first jnAna, "this is silver", and the second
jnAna, "this is not silver", are real? They cannot both be true of the same
thing and the same person at the same time. So, what is your definition of
"real" then?

As per advaita, the bAdhita jnAna and the bAdhaka jnAna cannot be at the
same level of reality, merely because they are both called jnAna. That is why
in advaita, care is taken to talk about vRtti-jnAna and pramA-jnAna. The 
bAdhita jnAna is merely a mano-vRtti, which appears to be real to you, only
so long as there is no bAdha occuring as a result of pramANa janita jnAna.

The operation of bAdha makes it clear to you, "even when I thought it was
silver, it was not silver." Your jnAna, "this is silver" was erroneous even when
you thought it was true. You realize that you were the one who was attributing
the quality of silver-ness to a shell. The silver-ness was not true when you
attributed it, is not true now, when you realize it is only shell and will never be
true in the future. That is what is bAdha.

Let me grant your contention that the bAdhita jnAna is nevertheless real. Was
the jnAna "this is silver" a result of the object you saw, or caused by your own
error? If it was caused by the object and you agree to the mithyAtva of the
vishaya, then you are agreeing that a mithyA-silver can cause a real jnAna of
the form "this is silver". If it was caused by your error, then you have to take a
stance on the satyatva or mithyAtva of your error. If your error is satya, then
you are saying that both truth and error can be satya, which is nonsensical. If
your error is mithyA, then you are again agreeing that a mithyA error can cause
a real jnAna. 

So, even what you present as an objection ends up agreeing with the idea that
a mithyA vastu can lead to a satya effect!

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