[Advaita-l] A question on PariNAma and vivarta

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 8 00:24:08 CST 2017

Just another take on the discussion so far. Since all the objects in the
world are made of avidyA "stuff" and avidyA is itself unreal, there is  no
*real* transformation (vikAra) of anything into some other thing. In this
sense, all transformations are vivarta alone. If clay is transformed into a
pot in a dream, would you call the transformation real? However, admitting
vyAvahArika satya as in the sRShTi-dRShTi vAda, for example, one can
identify examples where the transformation is 1) relatively real
(gold transformed to earring) and 2) relatively unreal (rope transformed to
snake). Another point brought out by Shankara in the Br.Up. bhAShya is that
every pramANa is powerful in its sphere of operation- स्वविषयशूराणि हि
प्रमाणानि, श्रोत्रादिवत् (2.1.20). Consequently, a pramANa cannot be
overruled by another pramANa in the former's sphere. न च प्रत्यक्षम्
अनुमानेन बाधितुं शक्यते, as Shankara says in Br. Up. Bh. (4.3.6). This is
the reason why illusions such as the sunrise and the "red flower" continue
to be perceived after knowing them to be illusions. There must be a
correcting perception, such as a view from space confirming the absence of
sunrise or the view of the crystal after removal of the red flower from the
proximity of the crystal. Note, however, that in the case of rope/serpent
illusion, the correcting *perception* of the rope is enough to remove the

Regarding PanchadashI 13.8, the commentary thereon explains why the
transformation of gold into jewelry or clay into a pot is classified as
pariNAma rather than vivarta. mRtsuvarNayoH kuMbhakuNDala-avasthAyAM
mRtsuvarNayoH pratIyamAnatve .api mRtsuvarNavyavahAraparityAge
kuMbhakuNDalarUpeNa vyavahArAt pariNAma ityuktam| Although one does
(continue to) perceive the clay and gold when they are transformed into the
pot and earring respectively, one gives up treating them as just clay and
gold (for everyday purposes) and treats them as pot and earring. Hence,
this (transformation) is called a pariNAma (not vivarta). The point being
made here is that, obviously, one cannot store water in a mere lump of clay
nor can one wear a random shaped piece of gold as an earring.


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