[Advaita-l] Multiple levels of reality.

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Feb 19 07:46:49 CST 2012

On Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM, Kalyan K <kalyankc.81 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Granted that there may be buddhists who might have used this before
> nAgArjuna (though I am not aware of any). But the point is that there is no
> evidence to show that vedAntins were using this concept before the
> buddhists.

Actually the Buddhists cannot claim to have used this concept for the first
time as their pUrvapakSha has been the Veda/Vedantins.  Since we have
incontrovertible evidence to the fact that this concept is contained in the
Veda/Vedanta it is well established that the Vedantins have used this
concept based on the Veda.  The absence of Advaitic works prior to Shankara
today does not mean that they were not there at all.  Shankara quotes, for
example, a DravidAchArya, in His Mandukya kArikA bhashya through a sUtra:
'siddham tu nivartakatvAt' to say that the 'knowers of the Agama-s (vedas)'
hold thus:  the prAmANya of the Vedic words is quite strongly established
by way of teaching the negation of the world of names and forms that has
been superimposed (adhyAropa) by the ignorant naturally.'  Thus, Shankara's
words are there to tell us there have been Acharyas earlier than Him and
GaudapAda who have used this concept of adhyAropa/adhyasa/mithyAtva which
all inevitably presuppose the acceptance of multiple levels of reality.
That we have not discovered a text pre-Shankara containing these terms:
pAramArthika/vyAvaharika does not automatically decide that the Buddhists
used them for the first time.

Shankara in the Gita bhashya quotes a line: 'adhyAropa-apavAdAbhyam
niShprapancham prapanchyate' as the words of 'sampradAyavit-s'.  So, there
has been a firm, vibrant sampradAy prior to Shankara that has eminently
used these concepts: adhyAropa for vyavahArika and apavAda for the
pAramArthika.   We do not know whether these works were prior to Buddhists'
works for even with the available works no one can conclusively fix the
dates.  Even with Shankra's date and why, Appayya Dikshita's and
Vidyaranya's date, which are relatively much more recent to our times,
there has been disagreement among scholars.

And Shankara's categorizing Bauddhas as 'dvaitins' is enough evidence to
show that Shankara would not borrow from them to establish the Vedanta
doctrine.  Thus, it is the Vedantins that have used these concepts much
before the Bauddhas. 'yatra hi dvaitamiva bhavati' of the Brihadaranyaka
and 'neha nAnAsti kinchana' are just a couple of Vedantic usages of these
concepts.  The 'iva' is for the vyAvahArika and that knowledge of the Self
that negates this is  of the pAramArthika.  The nAnAtvam is vyAvahArika and
the underlying adhiShThAnam is the pAramAthika.


> Regards
> Kalyan

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