[Advaita-l] DSV in the advaitasiddhi: adhyAsa is substantiated

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 19 04:05:42 EDT 2017

The point regarding how pratikarmavyavasthA does not apply to DSV due to
adhikAri-bheda was made earlier. Moving to the next topic of how adhyAsa
can be substantiated within the context of DSV, we see the sharp logic
skills of Madhusudana at play. As an introduction using elementary modern
logic, it is known that p-> q (p implies q or in simple terms if p then q)
does not necessarily mean ~p-> ~q (not p implies not q). For example, let
p->q mean the statement, "if it is raining(p)  then I take an umbrella
(q)." However, this is not equivalent to saying nor does it logically
follow that "if it is not raining (not p) then I do not take an umbrella
(not q)." I might still take an umbrella, just as a precaution, force of
habit, etc., if it is not raining. Or, I might not take an umbrella if it
is not raining. In the context of DSV, jnAtaikasattA may be put in a
logical form "existence (E) of an object implies knowledge (K) of the
object", or let us say E->K. It is logically correct to say ~K->~E, if an
object is unknown (or there is ignorance of an object) then the object does
not exist. In other words, ignorance of an object implies its nonexistence.
Indeed, this is the same as the property ajnAtasattvAbhAva, which we saw in
the first definition of dRShTi-sRShTi earlier. Note here that it is not
necessarily the case that ~E->~K, which means it is not necessarily the
case that nonexistence of an object implies its ignorance. So when ~E
(nonexistence of an object) holds, we may have ~K (ignorance of the object)
or K (knowledge of the object). In Madhusudana's words, knowledge (jnAna)
or ajnAna of an object has no opposition (virodha) to its nonexistence.
What DSV prohibits is ignorance of an existing object. It does not prohibit
*ignorance*of*a*nonexisting*object*. Another point made is that DSV does
not prohibit ignorance of an object that will exist at some future time (a
predestined object) or that will never exist (hare's horns). This is shown
by means of a dream example. Suppose a friend tells you in a dream, "I have
left a surprise gift for you at home." At the point in time when the friend
utters this, the gift is not perceived/known and therefore it does not
exist for the listener, you who are also the draShTA. However, upon
reaching home, you will perceive the gift. This means DSV does not prohibit
ignorance of an object that will exist sometime in the future (or will
never exist). What it does rule out is ignorance of an object that exists
currently (right now) and ignorance of a thing that existed in the past.

The above logic is brought to play in responding to the pUrvpakShin's
objection against the adhyAsa prakriyA in the context of DSV. The example
used is the familiar silver-nacre illusion, where illusory silver is
perceived in nacre (shell).
 na ca- "idaM rUpyam" iti jnAnakAle shuktitvAder-abhAvena-adhyAsasya
tadajnAnakAryatvAdiprakriyAvirodha iti- vAcyam| The objection- since the
substratum of an illusion (such as nacre/shell) is not known (and hence
does not exist) at the time of perceiving silver, there is contradiction
with the ajnAnopAdAna-prakriyA of adhyAsa (and hence, you cannot explain
adhyAsa under DSV)- should not be raised. The (fallacious) reasoning of the
pUrvapakShin is as follows. 1. At the time of perceiving the illusory
silver, there is no knowledge of the substratum (shell), for if the shell
is known, there would be no illusion in the first place! 2. Now, under DSV
rules, if a thing is not known, it cannot exist because of the prohibition
of ajnAtasattA. 3. So we are led to the conclusion- the shell does not
exist at the time the illusory silver is perceived. 4. If the shell does
not exist, then it follows that its ignorance too does not exist. 5.
Without the ajnAna of the substratum, it would not be possible for an
adhyAsa to take place, since it is the ajnAna of the substratum that is the
upAdAna for the illusory object, silver. Madhusudan, the astute logician
that he is, replies: idaM rUpyamiti jnAnakAle shuktitvasya-abhAve api
tadajnAnasthityavirodhAt| na hi sattAkAla iva sattAvirahakAle api ajnAnaM
virudhyate| There is no opposition to the ignorance of nacre at the time
when the knowledge of silver arises as "this is silver." As in the case of
sRShTi-dRShTi, where ignorance of an existing object can be present,
ignorance of a nonexistent object can be present without opposition in
dRShTi-sRShTi case. Madhusudana just points out the logical flaw in the
pUrvapakShin's argument, specifically step 4 above. BrahmAnanda points out
to that the phrase used by Madhusudana "sattAkAle" above refers to the
sRShTi-dRShTi case. Or, one may interpret Madhusudana's second sentence
above, purely within DSV, "na hi sattAkAle..." as saying that nonexistence
of an object does not oppose ignorance of the object *unlike* existence of
an object opposes its ignorance. Here, the nyAyAmRta-tarangiNI-kAra raises
another objection from the pUrvapakSha side. The avacchedaka (delimiter) of
the content (viShaya) of an ajnAna is the object of the ajnAna. For
instance, the ajnAna of a pot has for its content the pot itself. Without
this content (viShaya) the corresponding ajnAna cannot make sense. However,
in DSV, the content of ajnAna, which is the object whose ignorance is
proposed to be admitted, cannot exist, because, if it existed it would be
already known. Hence, such an ajnAna cannot exist and the adhyAsa prakriyA
fails. To this objection, BrahmAnanda replies that it is not the object
that is the avacchedaka of ajnAna-viShayatva, rather the avacchedaka is a
future object. Thus, it is possible to have an ajnAna  whose content is
delimited by a future object.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list