[Advaita-l] World is Flower in the Sky

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Apr 3 12:36:21 CDT 2013

On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 5:13 AM, Srinath Vedagarbha <svedagarbha at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 2:18 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >The Yo.VA example that is endorsed by the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata and
> >the Gau.kA. is to show that the world experience is just like a dream
> >experience which has to be seen as that which is available for experience
> >ONLY during the time of experience but  before and after.  Such entities
> >are deemed to be non-existent, that is, not existing at all times.
> It seems there is some meaning in dualist’s accusation that advaitic
> ‘mithya’ is another name for plain old asat and just a fig leaf
> attempt to distance themselves from jagat shUnyavAdins?

Dear Srinath,

The concept of 'mithyA' or 'sadasadvilakShaNa' is an upaniShadic one and
not a concoction of Advaitins.  The TaittiriyopaniShat: सत्यं च अनृतं च
सत्यमभवत् teaches that Satyam Brahman manifested Itself as satyam
(vyAvahArikam) and anRtam (the prAtibhAsika).  And the Chandogya upaniShat
by declaring 'वाचारम्भणं विकारो नामधेयं मृत्तिकेत्येव सत्यम्’ emphasizes
that all transformations are no more substantial than mere words and the
only real substance is Sat, Brahman. In all these the Upanishat is pointing
to the Sat, Brahman, while stating that the transformations are only
unreal/non-existent/asat from the absolute standpoint.  Therefore it is not
a concocted category to differentiate it from asat.  In other words the
adhiShThAnam Brahman, Sat, is always held out as the ground for the
adhyasta asat.

There is no desperation on the part of the Advaitin to distance himself
from the shUnyavAdin.  Shankara lists the bauddha along with the sAnkhya
and jaina and others as dvaitins.  Dr.A.V.Nagasampige, Director of
Purnaprajna samshodhana mandiram, Bangalore, a premier research institution
for Dvaita Vedanta, in his Kannada book 'mata traya sameekShA' has, on
pages 54 - 57 presented a number of references from authoritative Advaitic
texts to conclude that there is no basis in the charge that Advaita is only
buddhism/shUnyavAda in disguise: 'Therefore, having admitted/adapted the
concept of Vedantic nirvishesha Brahman, the bauddhas are 'pracchanna

It would be interesting to see what Swami Vidyaranya says in the
Panchadashi 5.130:
तुच्छा अनिर्वचनीया च वास्तवी चेत्यसौ त्रिधा ।
ज्ञेया माया त्रिभिर्बोधैः श्रौत यौक्तिक लौकिकैः ॥

[ From three standpoints Maya is seen as having three different positions:
From the Ultimate standpoint, of the Shruti-based tattva jnAna, mAyA istucchA;
it never existed in all the three periods of time; Brahman is the only
satya vastu, adviteeya of any kind.  From the point of logical analysis, it
is held to be anirvachaneeya (sad-asad-vilakshana) on the basis of: सत्
चेत् न बाध्येत, असत् चेत् न प्रतीयेत.  From the worldly, ignorant, view
point maya is real. ]

And moreover, 'shUnyavAda' will mean brahmavAda, for the term 'shUnya' is a
name of Brahman ( in Vishnu sahasra nAma too).

Here is an exposition in the Panchadashi 2nd chapter that is relevant to
this discussion:

bhagavatpUjyapAdAshcha shuShkatarkapaTUnamUn.h .
AhurmAdhyamikAnbhrAntAnachintye.asminsadAtmani .. 25..
anAdR^itya shrutiM maurkhyAdime bauddhastapasvinaH .
Apedire nirAmatvamanumAnaikachakShushaH .. 26..
shUnyamAsIditi brUShe sadyoga.n vA sadAtmatAm.h .
shUnyasya na tu tadyuktamubhaya.n vyAha tattvataH .. 27..
na yuktastamasA sUryo nApi chAsau tamomayaH .
sacChUnyayorvirodhitvAchChUnyamAsItkatha.n vada .. 28..
viyadAdernAmarUpe mAyayA sati kalpite .
shUnyasya nAmarUpe cha tathA chejjIvyatA.n chiram.h .. 29..
sato.api nAmarUpe dve kalpite chettadA vada .
kutreti niradhiShThAno na bhramaH kvachidIkShyate .. 30..

The translation of the above verses:
30. The highly respected Bhagavatpada Sankara also refers to the MAdhyamikas,
  experts in dry ratiocination (contradicting the vedic view), as
confused regarding
  the self-existent Brahman who is beyond thought.

  31. These Buddhists, merged in darkness, and seeing through the one
eye of inference
  and neglecting the authority of the Vedas, reached only the ‘nothingness’.

  32. (We ask the Buddhists): When you said, ‘nothing existed’ did you mean it
  (nothing) was connected with existence (Sat) or it (nothing) was of
the nature
  of existence ? In either case its nothingness is contradicted.

    33. The sun does not have the attribute of darkness; nor is it
itself of the
  nature of darkness. As existence and non-existence are similarly
  (you cannot predicate something about nothing, so) how do you say
‘nothing existed’

  34. (The Buddhists retort): (According to you Vedantins) The names and forms
  of Akasa and other elements are conjured up by Maya in (or on) Sat,
the existence
  or Reality. Similarly (according to us) they (names and forms) are illusively
  produced by Maya in (or on) non-existence, Asat. (Reply): Our answer is, ‘May
  you live long’, i.e. you have fallen into a logical trap.

  35. If you affirm that name and form attributed to an existing
thing: are both
  creations of Maya (an illusory principle), then tell us what is the
  upon which Maya creates names and forms; for illusion without a substratum,
  is never seen.

Also when we look at the word 'jagatshUnyavAdin', we are in agreement
with the bauddha-s that the jagat is shunya, a mere appearance, not substantial.
But the  shUnya part with the buddhists is with regard to the ultimate
entity.  Here we disagree with them, for, as shown by Vidyaranya above,
there cannot be a superimposition without a substratum that is
existing, positive, entity.

Thus there is no basis for the non-Advaitins' charge of Advaita being shUnyavAda
in disguise.  Also, Shri Anand Hudli, a learned member, has presented
with authority
that the Dvaitins admit of a twin-category in 'asat': adhyasta asat
and atyanta asat: hare's horn, etc. :
"त्रिकालसर्वदेशीयनिषेधाप्रतियो गिता सत्तोच्यते अध्यस्ततुच्छे तु तं
प्रति प्रतियोगिनी" इति न्यायामृतकारव्यासतीर्थवचनात्। अध्यस्ततुच्छे इति
पृथगेवोक्तत्वात् अध्यस्तं शुक्तिरजतादिभ्रमे प्रतीयमानवस्तु, तुच्छम्
अत्यन्तासच्छशशृङ्गाद्यलीकवस्तु। कस्मिन्श्चिदप्यधिष्ठाने कदाचिदपि
सत्त्वेन प्रतीत्यनर्हत्वमलीकत्वम्। अलीकवस्तु कुत्रापि कदापि न विद्यते।


> -SV
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