[Advaita-l] Attributes and upadhis

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 12 12:29:54 CDT 2015

Dear Shri Sadanandaji,

On Sat, Jul 11, 2015 at 10:02 AM, kuntimaddi sadananda <
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I am confused by the following statements:
> Is recognition different from knowledge when you say - knowledge 'this is
> a that pot'  does  not involve any attribute of the pot. Obviously this is
> not any other pot but that pot implies recognition. Unless one is seeing
> for the first time, the cognition and recognition involves comparison to
> some extent current attributes with those of previous ones.

> Pot itself is akaara and recognition of an object as Pot itself involves
> attributive knowledge since it is not pot not a jug. This is that pot
> involves as you mentioned recognition and some common attribute of this pot
> and that pot. Without a basis of some common attributes one cannot say this
> is that pot -
> Epistemological -there is always knowledge of x or y, or objective
> knowledge, but pure unqualified knowledge is undefinable and that is Jnaana
> swaruupam or Braham.
> Hari Om!
> Sadananda
I think here the confusion that keeps arising is about what does
akhaNDArthatva belong to? Does it belong to an object such as the pot, or
does it belong to words and sentences? The advaitasiddhi, citsukha's
tattvapradIpika, vedAnta paribhAShA, and other texts speak of
akhaNDArthatva of words and sentences or meanings of words and sentences.
Such words and sentences that have akhaNDArthatva produce knowledge (vRtti,
jnAna) that is also valid (pramA). Here, there is no claim that the object,
regarding which knowledge is so produced, has no attributes or has
attributes. In the case of the text "satyaM jnAnaM anantaM brahma", there
is akhaNDArthatva because the words satyam, jnAnam, and anantam refer to
the same substantive, i.e. brahman. Further, they define Brahman, as
opposed to qualifying Brahman. The advaita siddhi gives another technique
of determining akhaNDArthatva - by question and answer (prashnottara),
where the question seeks to know the svarUpa of an object, not an
attribute. The Vaidika example that can be given is the question "kiM
brahma?" (what is Brahman?) followed by an answer, "satyaM jnAnaM anantaM
brahma". A laukika example that is commonly cited is the question "kaH
candraH?" (What/which is the moon?) followed by the answer,
"prakRSTaprakashashcandraH", the moon is abundant brilliance. The context
is the following. Someone who has never seen the moon is shown the starlit
sky at night, upon which he may ask "Of these luminaries, which is the
moon?" To this, the answer would be that the abundantly brilliant object
shining among the stars is the moon. The word "prakRSTaprakAsha" (abundant
brilliance) is not an attribute of the moon, rather it defines the moon.
The sentence,  "prakRSTaprakashashcandraH" is said to have akhaNDArthatva,
as the sentence generates a meaning regarding a single substantive, the
moon in this case. The reason why the words have to refer to a single
substantive is because there cannot be any relation expressed the words and
sentences, nor can the words have inter-relationships among themselves. Any
relation, of course, implies duality, and this is exactly what
akhanDArthatva rules out. However, a combination (saMyoga) of two or more
akhaNDArtha sentences (or words) is allowed and in that case we will have
as many separate akhaNDArthavAkyajanya jnAna's as there are such sentences.
An example from the advaitasiddhi is the sentence "shItoShNasparshavantau
payaH pAvakau", water is cold to touch and fire hot. Each of the two
sentences "shItasparshavat payaH" and "uShNasparshavAn pAvakaH" has
akhaNDArthatva, although the two are simply combined to form a compound


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