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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun May 22 00:41:00 CDT 2011

2011/5/21 Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>

> Namaste
> Sribhashya has said Yathartha Sarva Vijnanam Iti Vedavidam Matam


There is pratyaksha (sAkShAt) shruti pramaNa for adhyAsa/bhrama:

I am quoting from an earlier post of mine:

//While commenting on the mantra सत्यं च अनृतं च सत्यमभवत् ''satyam cha
anRtam cha Satyam abhavat' (Taittiriya Up. II.6) Sri Shankaracharya says:
satyam = vyavaharavishayam since this is being mentioned in the context of
'sRishti' of the world. He adds: this is not paramArthasatyam (absolute
reality) since Brahman alone indeed is paramArtha satyam. This
vyavaharavishayam satyam is only Apekshikam, relative, empirical. He
explains: when compared to the water in a mirage, the water (that we
actually use for drinking, etc.) is real. This is what is meant by
'vyavaharika satyam'. That which is not thus real is anRtam, unreal.
सत्यं च व्यवहारविषयम्, अधिकारात्, न परमार्थसत्यम्; एकमेव हि
परमार्थसत्यं ब्रह्म । इह पुनः व्यवहारविषयमापेक्षिकं
*मृगतृष्णिकाद्यनृतापेक्षया उदकादि सत्यमित्युच्यते ।* *अनृतं च तद्विपरीतम्*
। किं पुनरेतत् सर्वं सत्यमभवत् परमार्थसत्यम् ।//

We have another Taittiriya Shruti: असन्नेव स भवति, असद्ब्रह्मेति वेद चेत्
...[He who knows Brahman to be non-existent himself becomes so.  ..]  If the
SrIbhAShya declaration: Yathartha Sarva Vijnanam Iti Vedavidam Matam is
correct, why does the Veda itself see the possibility of people getting
ayathArtha jnanam and denounce such a jnanam thru the above Tai.vaakyam?
Also we have in the Chandogya Upanishad: अनृतेन प्रत्यूढाः to show how man,
not being aware of the 'wealth' that is the Atman that is within him goes
about being deluded by the seeming pleasures of life.  In all these cases,
the scripture itself talks of 'ayathArtha jnAna' that man has. The very
reason the Veda teaches the Truth is with the fundamental conclusion that
man, in his state of ignorance, has 'ayathArtha jnAnam' alone.

Shankara, in that Taittiriya passage has shown how the Upanishad recognizes
'yathArtha jnAnam' and the ’संभावना’ of ayathArtha jnAnam with respect to
worldly objects itself.  That is why the Upanishad uses the word 'anRutam'.

In the Mahabharata Drona believed that the 'ashwatthAma' that was announced
to have been killed was his son.  Where is the 'yathArthatvam' of his
vijnAna?  It is only because Krishna saw the sambhAvanA of generating
ayathArtha jnana that He hatched the plan to get an elephant named
'ashwatthAma' and make such an announcement.  The claim of the srIbhAShyam
is contradicted by the Shruti and smRti.

In the Srimadbhagavatam is a verse on the mAyA-nature of the universe
explained with the rope-snake analogy:

आत्मानमेव आत्मतया अविजानतां
तेनैव जातं निखिलं प्रपञ्चितम् ।
ज्ञानेन भूयोऽपि च तत्प्रलीयते
रज्ज्वां अहेर्भोगभवाभवौ यथा ।। 10.14.25

//A person who mistakes a rope for a snake becomes fearful, but he then
gives up his fear upon realizing that the so-called snake does not exist.
Similarly, for those who fail to recognize You as the Supreme Soul of all
souls, the expansive illusory material existence arises, but knowledge of
You at once causes it to subside. //

The third line  'ज्ञानेन भूयोऽपि च तत्प्रलीयते’ specifically teaches that
'through Knowledge the falsely projected duality ceases' which is nothing
but ज्ञाननिवर्त्यत्वम्.  The rope-snake analogy too is significant in theabove
bhAgavatam verse.

The above Smriti also falsifies SrIbhAShyam's claim that all vijnAnam is
yathArtha alone.  The above verse uses the rope-snake in exactly the sense
that it is *not yathArtha jnAnam that arises in a rope-snake illusion.*

 योऽन्*यथा स*न्तमात्मानमन्यथा प्रति*पद्यते।*
किं तेन न कृतं पापं चौरेणात्मापहारिणा।।

 (महा० उद्योग० 42 ।  37)
This Mahabharata SmRti too straightaway contradicts Ramanuja's claim.  Here,
the ayathArtha jnAnam pertaining to the Self is straightaway taught.  This
encompasses the sambhAvanA of ayathArtha jnAnam with respect to everything
else in the world.

However much Ramanuja tries to prove that bhrama is a non-existent,
impossible phenomenon, desperately, he fails in the face of pratyaksha
shruti, smriti and everyday anubhava of everyone of us regarding adhyasa.

> SrutiSmrutibhyaha Sarvasya Sarvatmatva Pratititaha means all Jnana in this
> world is true Jnana only. There is no false Jnana because we know from Sruti
> and Smruti everything contains everything.

Advaitins need not be taught about this.  They are the champions of
sarvAtmatva both at the Atman/Brahman level and at the prakRti level.  Yet
they have taken care to maintain 'arthakriyAkAritva' where the sarvAtmatva
jnAna does not impede the proper conduct of daily vyavahara unlike Ramanuja
who has given out a theory that puts everyone in utter confusion:

Advaita bhaavanaa has to be there at the background.  In vyavahara, however,
a distinction will have to be made between the cause, clay, and the effect,
pot.  I cannot store water in a lump of clay; I require a pot.   This is
called: अर्थक्रियाकारित्वम्, practical utility.  Advaitins have amply
provided for this when they proclaim the non-separateness of the cause and
effect.  The author of the BhAmati, Sri Vachaspati Mishra in the gloss to
the Bhashya on the sutra: 2.1.14 तदनन्यत्वं आरम्भणशब्दादिभ्यः says -:  We do
not declare 'abheda', non-difference; we only denounce bheda, difference.
He has said this keeping in view the practical utility aspect.

In the Bh.Gita chapter 7.4 Krishna says:

भूमिरापोऽनलो वायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च ।
अहङ्‍कार इतीयं मे *भिन्ना* *प्रकृतिरष्टधा* ॥

The Lord finds it necessary to state the One Lower prakRti as eight-fold.
Does He not know that this One prakRiti is the one that is in and through
all its modifications?  Yet why does He go to present this One prakRiti as
eight-fold?  It is only because there will be unimpeded vyavahara by
admitting appropriate cause-effect relationships.


> Shell will have silver silver will have shell iron will have gold and
> diamonds and platinum. Even mud will have gold silver and platinum. Why it
> is like this? Chandogya Sruti has said Tasam Trivrutamekaikam we see by
> Pratyaksha the Trivrutkarana of elements in combining. All things in
> the world have the same basic elements.  Even our body has the same
> elements like Carbon. So everything contains everything. But the question is
> how much? Even mud has gold and silver but they will be here in very small
> quantity. We cannot get gold and silver from mud lying in front of our house
> because the quantity is very small. We may get only some Nano grams of gold
> from tonnes of mud. We may spend more than the gold value to get it from
> mud.

If it is true that only a nanogram of gold/silver is contained in even
tonnes of mud, it is clear that such an insignificant quantity of
gold/silver is beyond one's ordinary ocular perception.  However, in the
case of an error where silver is seen in shell, it is not stated that the
man is wearing any special instrument to be able to perceive the silver in
the shell.  The example is not talking of tonnes of shells. In the example
articulated by Shankara in the adhyAsa bhashya, it is 'shuktikaa hi
rajatavad avabhAsate'  It is only in singular number.  Even in just one
shell, a person is able to see at least a one inch patch of 'silver'. In
just one shell this patch is not insignificant; it is an enormous quantity.
If this much silver is perceivable by a man with naked eyes, and that too
admittedly, defective eyes, one can imagine the capacity, efficiency of his
eyes.  He is the one fit to replace electronic gadgets employed by those who
search for gold/silver deposits to divine gold/silver at great depths.  In
the example, it is not that over a spread of tonnes of shells he sees silver
spread over the vast area.  On the other hand he perceives silver
concentrated in just one place, of a significant quantity in  just one

> But the law everything contains everything is correct. It
> cannot be tested always. It is coming from Chandogya Sruti.

In the Chandogya mantra 'तस्य यथा कप्यासं पुण्डरीकं एवम् अक्क्ष्णी’ Ramanija
makes a great objection to Shankara's bhashya that was taught to him by
Yadavaprakasha where  Shankara's bhashya says: the Lord's eyes are akin to
the lotus that is as red as a monkey's ass, despite Shankara clarifying
there that it is not a case of a हीनोपमा since it is only an upama to
another upama. If everything is contained in everything is true for
Ramanuja, why did he not see the truth that the monkey's ass is contained in
the lotus and the lotus in the monkey's ass and everything is contained in
the Lord's eyes and the Lord's eyes are contained in everything?  Why indeed
he take the pains to write the srIbhAShya if he had no intention of
correcting some wrong views? Why did he not realize that Shankara's was
yathaartha jnanam by the very same dictum of his that 'every jnanam is
yathartha' ?

The Panchadashi Ch.6 gives a fine analysis of the shukti-rajata analogy:

shuktau rUpyavadadhyastA vikShepAdhyAsa eva hi .. 33..
idama.nshasya satyatva.n shuktiga.n rUpya IkShyate .
svayantva.n vastutA chaiva.n vikShepe vIkShyate.anyagam.h .. 34..
nIlapR^iShThatrikoNatva.n yathA shuktau tirohitam.h .
asa~NgAnandatAdyeva.n kUTasthe.api tirohitam.h .. 35..
Aropitasya dR^iShTAnte rUpya.n nAma yathA tathA .
kUTasthAdhyastavikShepanAmAhamiti nishchayaH .. 36..
idama.nsha.n svataH pashyan rUpyamityabhimanyate .
tathA sva.n cha svataH pashyannahamityabhimanyate .. 37..
ida.ntvarUpyate bhinne svatvAhante tathekShyatAm.h .
sAmAnya.n cha visheShashchetyubhayatrApi gamyate .. 38..
devadattaH svaya.n gachChettva.n vIkShasva svaya.n tathA .
aha.n svaya.n na shaknomItyeva.n lauke prayujyate .. 39..
ida.n rUpyamida.n vastramiti yadvadida.n tathA .
asau tvamahamityeShu svayamityabhimanyate .. 40..

One can read the translation from any
standard book.



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