[Advaita-l] nyAyAmRta - advaitasiddhi workshop, Bangalore, 24th March 2012

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Mar 25 02:26:50 CDT 2012


Following the announcement I had made about the event, I attended the
workshop yesterday.  It was a well-conducted and well-attended event.
There was a very active participation in the discussions from the host of
Madhwa scholars of the young generation as well.  Dr. Mani Dravid SastrigaL
who took the Advaita Siddhi class in two sessions was impressed by the kind
of questions some of the scholars posed with a view to know about a few
finer details of Advaita.  The topic of the day's lesson-discussion was
'pratikarmavyavasthA', the explanation of Advaita to account for the
perception of the objective world and the objections raised by the
nyAyAmRta on this and the reply from the Advaita siddhi/commentaries to
these objections.

Some highlights of the day:

Dr. Haridas Bhattacharya, while replying to a point made by the Advaita
scholar remarked: the Advaitins hold the shruti passage: 'tasya bhAsA
sarvamidam vibhAti' (Mundaka 2.2.10) to support their view that Brahman
Consciousness alone is Jnanam and that it alone illumines the world.  The
nyAyAmRta points out: pl. see the earlier part of this very mantra: it says
'na tatra sUryo bhAti na chandratArakam...'.  This shows that the luminous
bodies the sun, moon, etc. depend on Brahman for their own effulgence.  So,
the 'sarvam idam' of this mantra refers to ONLY those luminous bodies.  So,
the Advaitins are not correct in holding this shruti for their support.

As Dr.Mani Dravid sastriNaH was not following this Kannada summary, I asked
his reaction to this comment of the Dvaita scholar.  He immediately quoted
(to me) the Bh.Gita 13.33 or 34 verse:  ' yathA prakAshayatyekaH kRtsnam
lokamiam raviH. kshetram kshetrI tathaa kRtsnam prakAshayati bhArata'   and
pointed out that the smRti has to be in tune with the shruti and this Gita
verse clearly says that it is Brahman (the kshetrajna/kshetrI) that
illumines the ENTIRE world, kShetram.  Therefore there is no room for
'sankocha' in the shruti passage too to restrict the application to just
the luminous bodies.

One could see that Dr. Mani SastriNaH was able to quickly respond to the
objections raised by the nyAyAmRta by pointing out several Advaitic
texts/bhashyams, shruti/smRti, the nyAya / pUrva mImAmsA shAstra
similarities etc. in favour of the Advaitic position.  There was one quote
from the VivaraNa text cited by the author of the TarangiNi which Dr.
Haridasa Bhatta pointed out.  Dr. Mani SastriNaH quickly responded saying
that this line of the VivaraNam has a different purport altogether (and not
the way the TarangiNi had understood it) as could be seen even in that very
section of the VivaraNa where the VivaraNa Acharya clarifies it.

At the close of the event Dr. Haridasa Bhattacharya, a renowned teacher of
NyAya at the Vidyapeetha and a specialist in nyAymRta summed up the day's
proceedings in Kannada.  Here are some important points that he made:

   - The nyAyAmRta objects to the Advaitic method of perception on the
   ground that it presupposes the existence of objects prior to perceptive
   knowledge arising, since only then there can be any contact between the
   instruments of perception and the objects and the vRtti vyApAra to bring
   about the perceptive knowledge. As such a pre-existence is inevitable why
   does Advaita not give up the idea of vyAvahArika status to the world and
   accept the world as satyam.  This objection is based on the Advaitic tenet
   that the world is a bhrama just as in the case of rope-snake: knowledge and
   existence of objects are coterminus and there are no objects when there is
   no knowledge of them.
   - The Advaitasiddhi's reply is that there can be shown cases where
   objects can be deemed to exist even when their knowledge is not being had.
   For example in the case of pratyabhijnA, recognition, one has seen an
   object before and when seeing it again later recognizes it as 'this is that
   same pot...'.  In this case it is deemed that the pot existed even during
   the time that intervened the two perceptions, past and present. Thus, even
   when there is no knowledge of the objects, there is an 'ajnAta sattA' of
   objects.  With this case contradicting the Dvaitin's objection, there is no
   strength in the objection.  And the corollary is that we can maintain a
   clear distinction between a bhrama and vyAvahArika.  In bhrama no doubt the
   imagined object exists only when its knowledge is had (imagined) and not
   before or after.  But in vyAvahArika, even though kalpita, on the analogy
   of the pratyabhijnA ajnAta sattA the case is clearly distinct from a
   bhrama. The distinction that brahmajnAna alone dispels the vyAvahArika and
   a non-brahmajnAna is sufficient to dispel the bhrama (rope-snake) instances
   is clearly brought out thereby.
   - Dr. Haridas Bhattacharya made an important remark: We are very
   fortunate that we have in Dr. Mani Dravid SastrigaL a very accomplished
   knower of the Advaita Shastra.  *It is very important for us (dvaitins)
   that we get a clear/correct understanding of Advaita as that alone will
   enable us to correctly understand the nyAyAmRta work/s. *
   - Another important point made by him was: *Advaita has a strong inbuilt
   reason-based method to establish itself on firm grounds.  It cannot be
   simply pooh-poohed away.  *

One should have been present in the assembly to enjoy the way the Dvaita
scholars participated with great enthusiasm in the deliberations.  One such
scholar, Vidwan Ruchira Acharya, told Dr. Mani SastriNaH at the end: 'it
was a real 'Ananda' experience for we were oblivious of the external world
throughout the discussions.'  [Actually the entire discussion centered on
the method involved in way the world was being perceived : ) ]

Everyone expressed and felt too that such events should be a regular
feature at the VidyApeetha.


On Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 11:51 AM, V Subrahmanian
<v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> This year's workshop on the above topic will be conducted at the
> Purnaprajna Vidyapeetha premises at the auditorium of the Samshodhana
> Mandiram, Bangalore.  Dr. Mani Dravid Sastrigal will be taking the
> Advaitasiddhi class on Saturday, the 24th March 2012.  Dr.Hayavadana
> Puranik, Dr.Haridas Bhattacharya and Dr.D.Prahladachar will be conducting
> the NyAyAmRta classes.  The workshop commences at 9.00AM and there will be
> an afternoon session too.
> subrahmanian.v

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