[Advaita-l] mithyaa / anirvachaniiya and asattva

Naresh Cuntoor nareshpc at gmail.com
Sun Mar 17 00:32:11 CDT 2013

I agree with Sri Sadananda's point about the limits of example. And I am
trying to understand those limits with this somewhat obsessive dissection.
Also, I did not bring up any dream avasthaa in the discussion of the
vandhyaaputra example.

> That's wrong way to interpret a word. vandhyAputraH is a word, while you
> are interpreting it as a sentence.
> The specific word means 'son of a barren woman'. It doesn't mean that 'a
> barren woman doesn't have a son' or repetition of any kind.
> The relation of 'son' with the 'woman' which is denoted by word 'of' is
> opposed to barrenness of woman. Hence, there is contradiction.
> ​​

One could think of other examples like vandhyaaputraH - andha-dRuShTiH
(sight of the blind), mUkavachanam (i.e., mUkasya vachanam - speech of a
mute person), etc. Such things do not exist (modulo medical advancements
anyway) because a blind person does not see and so on. These things do not
exist because of a tautology, not a contradiction.

For a contradiction, you would need a set of statements along the following
(a) All people can see
(b) Some people are blind
(c) Blind people cannot see.

But in andhadRuShTiH or vandhyaaputraH, there are no such contradictions.
It is tautological to say that "blind people cannot see" or "vandhyaa does
not have a putra" or equivalently "son of a vandhyaa does not exist".

Yes, vandhyaaputraH is a word. Surely, it is the same as putrahInAputraH
who does not exist because of the first part of the word.

In the case of mUkavachanam, it is even more apparent. Substitute vAgdInaH
for mUkaH (mUkaH .. vAgdInaH .. iti haimakoShaH) and then we have
vAgdInavachanam which does not exist because of a tautology.

> I don't think the famous snake is accepted as vyAvahArika anywhere by
> anyone.
> It is actually prAtibhAsika.
My bad.

(From Sri Sadananda's email)
>> Sometimes asat word is used in the meaning of mithyaa.

In such cases, I assume then that the context makes it clear that asat
means mithyaa and not asat itself. The lack of clarity is when they are
used interchangeably without regard to contextual cues. In English, I think
it is especially easy to lose contextual nuances.


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