[Advaita-l] Multiple levels of reality

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Feb 19 00:13:49 CST 2012

On Sun, 19 Feb 2012, Kalyan K wrote:

>> How then does he know that he is ignorant?
> Ignorance is adhyAsa and adhyAsa is natural.

Doesn't answer the question.

>> "Hindu" works of that era did not survive whether due to invasions,
> neglect, eclipse by later works etc.
> I think by the words "that era", you mean the era of nAgArjuna, which is
> 150-250 CE?

Yes, I believe that these are the generally accepted dates.

> Firstly - Are you suggesting that any "Hindu" works of the era would have
> had the concepts of empirical and ultimate truths in them?

I think it is very probable though in the absence of hard evidence I can't 
say more than that.

> Secondly - There were no advaita vedAntins during that era, at least not
> anyone who are counted in tradition. The advaita parampara is listed in
> this website (as you might be knowing already) -
> http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/advaita-parampara.html

That's the formal parampara.  However several pre-Shankaran Advaitins are 
known from quotations in various works such as Sundara Pandya, 
Brahmanandin, Dravidacharya etc.  How far back do they go?  We are unable 
to say at this time.

> Thirdly - What invasions are you talking about? Can you elaborate?

It could be any.  What I mean is that whether a particular work survives 
or is lost is up to the vagaries of fortune.  And invasions are just one 
possibility.  Perhaps Shankaracharyas exposition of Advaita Vedanta was so 
brilliant it obsoleted all earlier attempts.  According to tradition this 
is what happened to Mandana Mishras brand of Advaita Vedanta as expressed 
in the brahmasiddhi.  He is said to have given it up after meeting 
Shankaracharya.  In the Indian environment if a manuscript is not 
periodically copied then it soon ceases to exist.

> In summary, we need some basis to insist that there were advaitins in that
> era, whose works were lost.

The names I mention above are well known to historians of Advaita Vedanta.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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