[Advaita-l] 'asat' also means 'mithyA'

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 9 20:27:27 CDT 2013

Rajaram – PraNAms – I am providing
my  understanding without getting into
extensive discussions on it.
It is not and let me explain. A
pot has prAgabhAva (non-existence prior to
creation) and dhvamsabhAva (non-existence after destruction). Does it have
atyantAbhAva (absolute non-existence)? If it does have atyantAbhAva, then
how do we experience it? You have to say that it does not have atyantAbhAva
nor does it have bhAvA (existence) but is an adhyAsa (superimposition) on
sat (pure existence) due to ajnAnA.
Sada: The fact that you have
experienced implies it has existence – hence it is not asat.  We say the object is – just as the scripture
provides an example – ring has existence due to gold – and ring is
vaachaarambhanam vikaaraH – in the same way – pure existence which was there before
creation and which became many as existence as this and this and this. Hence
anything experienced has existence as its adhiShTaanam which, from scripture, comes
from pure Brahman which is of the nature of sat-chit-anantam. Hence you have to
modify the first part of your last sentence – it has borrowed existence coming
from its adhiShTaanam which is Brahman since there cannot be anything other
than Brahman. Hence the correct way of looking at is – pot is – and the is-ness
is coming from Brahman as its adhiShTaanam. Pot ,does it have ajnaanam? Inert
thing cannot be locus of jnaanam or ajnaanam. 
Hence Jiiva who think pot is different
from Brahman has ajnaanam. Pot came into form due to anaadi avidya – which is
maaya from the point of totality or Iswara. Iswara does not have ajnaana since
he sees all these plurality as his vibhuuti only. All beings are in Me; and yet
no beings are in Me – look at my glory Arjuna. A jnaani when he sees the
existence of any object – he sees the pure existence Brahman plus the superimposed
form which has a name – hence its reality part, a jnaani sees it as coming from
Brahman,  while ajnaani sees the pot name
and form are real and will make theories about it. 
 I ask the same question with respect to
ajnAnA - whether it exists (bhAvA) or not (abhAvA). If you say it exists
(sat), then I say it cannot be negated. If you say it does not, then you
have not answered the cause of my experience of jagat. 
Hence ajnaana and maaya are sat asat vilakshanam – hence only vyaavahaarika
satyam. It has relative existence borrowed from Brahman and when knowledge take
place it disappears. Same is maaya too. Hence ontologically avidya and maaya
have different degrees of reality in comparison to Brahman. Iswara who has
maaya his Shakti hence also belongs to vyaavahaarika level only since from
paaramaarthika – no disctinctions of any kind can be made – yato vaacho
nivartante apraapya manasaa saha. Does ring exists or not. I say there is no
ring but only gold- yet ring is experienced and has a form or attributes
different from bangle and even from gold. Yet ring has no independent existence
apart from gold – These are the things we learn in the analysis of sat vidya of
ch. up. Hence Ring is just namkevaste or vaachaarambhanam vikaaraH as there is
only relative reality but not absolute reality – that is what mithyaa means.
Hence Shankara’s statement – any object experienced is mithyaa only – neither sat
nor asat. 
You may get around
it by saying that mAyA is itself an adhyAsA on sat. And I will ask due to
Due to karma. Total Karma all beings forms the driving force maaya for
 You have to say due to mAyA leading to an
infinite regress. Or you
have to say that mAyA is anirvachaniya, which is acceptable but you call
mAyA anrtam (asat) sometimes in the context of ajAti vAdA - hence my
question "How do I experience a non-existence world?" remains.
Sada:  The statements are confusing to me. Sat asat
vilakshanam – hence anirvacaniiyam – infinite regress does not follow since it
is a scriptural stamen not logically deduced statement. Of course the cycle of
creation is eternal and infinite regress is embedded in the eternal cycle of
It does not end here. What is the
counter-correlative (pratiyogi) of sat if
asat is not (meaning abhAvA)? Also, if sat is different from knowledge (of
pot), then it will have objective limitation though not spacio-temporal. If
it is not different from knowledge due to superimposition, then it will
subject to creation and destruction as knowledge pot originates and
Sada: There has to be three words
in principle – sat asat and tuccham. – but based on context asat is used in the
place of mithyaa as Subbuji rightly pointed out with reference to 2:16. I
interpreted asat as non-existence to invoke the law of conservation and it can
be justified in the context too – hence my write-up. 
About knowledge of the pot –
besides its existence – please not that object has – naama and ruupa – vaak arambhanam
– naming involves knowing and knowing involves a conscious entity. Hence
existence of pot is established not by pot but by the knower of the pot.  Hence one has to analyze how consciousness
and hence the knowledge comes into this in establishing – POT IS- This has been
treated in the Vedanta Paribhaasha (see adviataform.org for details). 
Madhusudana Saraswati answers these objections in 2.16 and 2.17 (but he
also does not differentiate between Brahman and Ishwara). Quoting from the
end of his long commentary on this* "... great, endless, infinite Reality
is but Pure Intelligence" (Br. 2.4.12), "Brahman is truth, knowledge
infinite" (Tai., 2.1) ... "There is nothing Higher than the Purusha.
He is
the culmination, He is the Highest goal" (Ka 1.3.11). It has also been
said by the commentator (Sankara) "All perishable things get destroyed
the Purusha as their end. The Purusha does not perish, because there is no
means to His destruction"*
Sada: True. In the final analysis –
Jiiva – Iswara – are identified as one as Brahman in the tat tvam asi statement
– aitadaatmyam idam sarvam tat satyam sa aatma – tat tvam asi – swetaketo. The
first part is very important – the essence of all this is the pure existence
and that is the self and that self is that which is the pure existence that was
there before creation. Existence of an object is established by the knowledge
of its existence – hence sat and chit both aspect of Brahman come into picture
as one.
Personally I do not see any
problem in Madhusudana’s analysis – In fact he address this exhaustively in
Advaita siddhi – as five definitions of falsity. 
With this I stop.
Hari Om!

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