[Advaita-l] akhanDaakara-vRtti‏

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed Jul 8 05:15:32 CDT 2015

PraNAms Sri Venkatraghavan prabhuji

Hare Krishna

Ø  At the risk of stretching this analogy, let me share my thoughts with you.

The question was if it is possible to cognize an object without its attributes.

The answer in certain cases, like "soyam devadatta", you can. Please consider the sentence soyam devadatta, leaving all notions of whatever or whoever devadatta is.

What does that sentence, taken in isolation, convey? Do we know, just by that sentence, if devadatta is a man, a woman, a dog, an alien? We don't.

The sentence simply conveys that there is an object called devadatta, which is commonly referred to by the sa: and ayam padAs.

Ø   Yes, that sentence would simply convey that there exists  some object by some ‘particular’ name (‘devadatta’ in this example) on which I donot know anything.

Because we don't know the attributes of devadatta, can we say that no knowledge whatsoever is produced by the sentence?

We cannot, because that sentence produces knowledge that there is such a common object referred to by sa: and ayam, we just dont know what exactly he/she/it is.

Ø   As Sri Keshava Prasad prabhuji observed, normally an inquisitive mind does not stop by mere getting the knowledge that there is something out there!!  Though knowing something more on that something exists is a subsequent process, as soon as some object has been pointed and addressed  ‘this’ object is ‘that’, our mind would grasp this sentence with some attributes only, it may be either way, wrong or right immaterial here, but invariably our mind associates some attribute to ‘this’ to know that ‘this’ is nothing but ‘that’.  We may recall here shankara’s observation in bruhadAraNyaka here with regard to ‘drum sound’ ( in second adhyAya!!?? Not sure).  Here shankara clarifies by grasping the genus sound as produced by the beat of the drum, that species underlying it are also grasped, but ‘they cannot be grasped as distinct from that genus’.  For as species they have no independent existence.  If we apply this rule to this particular example, this and that devadatta must have some underlying common genus through which this devadatta has been  equated with that devadatta.  And without this common underlying devadatta there cannot be independent existence for both ‘this’ and that devadatta.  Hence, this underlying common genus (called devadutta who is common in both this & that) must be recognized first to declare that this is that devadatta.  This recognition need not be directly related to currently perceiving attributes of object (this devadatta)  nor it is necessary that it should have the similarity  with the previously cognized ‘that’ devadutta, but what needs to be there is some commonality which can be termed as attributes to correctly identify the devadatta.  I think this commonality what Sri Ananda Hudli observed while narrating his observation, he said :


Both the Devadatta seen now as "this" and the Devadatta seen earlier as "that" have attributes. They are both men, with parts such as hands, feet, etc. What is going on here?

Although Devadatta is very much a perceivable person with attributes, the crucial point here is that the perception "this is that Devadatta" does not involve any of those attributes. It is exactly expressing an identity between two objects, this Devadatta and that Devadatta, nothing less, nothing more. So there is no "appeal" made to any attribute in the knowledge "this is that Devadatta", although Devadatta does have attributes.


So, bottom line is ‘devadatta’ (any object) does have the attributes which is common in both this & that but directly not related in raising the knowledge i.e. this is that devadatta.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!


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