[Advaita-l] DSV in the advaitasiddhi: no anavasthA doSha in dRShTi-sRShti

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 4 22:39:19 EDT 2017

An interesting discussion takes place in the advaitasiddhi, based on the
objection by the pUrvapakShin that there is an infinite regress inherent in
the way dRShTi is defined. This discussion allows us to look "under the
hood" and understand how dRShTi-sRShTi works at the vRtti level.

न च- चैतन्यमात्ररूपा दृष्टिर्न सृष्टिः, वृत्तिविशिष्टचैतन्यरूपा वा
वृत्तिरूपा वा दृष्टिः सृष्टिरिति वाच्यम्, तथा च तस्या अपि दृष्ट्यन्तरं
सृष्टिरित्यनवस्थेति- वाच्यम् । You should not object saying: The creation
(sRShTi) cannot be the perception (dRShTi) consisting of Consciousness
alone. sRShTi should be dRShTi consisting of either Consciousness qualified
(delimited) by a vRtti (mode of avidyA) or vRtti. Accordingly, the creation
of the vRtti is another dRShTi, (leading to) an infinite regress.

The pUrvapakShin says Consciousness by itself cannot be dRShTi in DSV. Why?
If Consciousness is accepted as dRShTI, and hence sRShTi (creation), the
creation gains permanence and eternality, since Consciousness is permanent
and eternal. So dRShTi must be Consciousness qualified by a vRtti or a
vRtti. If this is the case, the vRtti that qualifies Consciousness needs to
be created by another dRShTi, where this second dRShTi involves another
vRtti. The second vRtti must be created by another dRShTi, which involves a
third vRtti. This automatically leads to the charge of infinite regress
against the advaitin.

Madhusudana: चैतन्यमात्रस्य दृष्टित्वे यद्यपि तत्समानसत्ताकतया घटादेः
सदातनत्वापत्तिः, तथापि वृत्त्युपहितचैतन्यमेव दृष्टिशब्दार्थः। वृत्तावपि
वृत्तिरेव स्वस्वरूपा चैतन्योपाधिरिति नानवस्था। Although there is a
contingency of objects such as a pot, etc. becoming eternal if dRShTi is
defined to be Consciousness alone, (we say) dRShTi means Consciousness
delimited by vRtti. And the vRtti is a delimiter by (svarUpa, its essential
nature) itself (without the need for Consciousness delimited by another
vRtti) and hence there is no infinite regress (anavasthA).

However, the tarangiNIkAra, rAmAchArya is not satisfied with this
explanation and raises a further objection, as summarized by Pt.
Anantakrishna Sastri, वृत्तिज्ञानं विना वृत्तिस्वरूपासिद्ध्या
वृत्तिविशिष्टचैतन्याभावेन वृत्तिस्वरूपसिद्ध्यर्थं
वृत्त्यन्तरविशिष्टचैतन्यस्य वृत्तिज्ञानत्वम् एवं अन्यस्यान्यस्येत्यनवस्था|
The svarUpa (essential nature) of a vRtti without the knowledge of the
vRtti is not established. It requires Consciousness qualified by another
vRtti to provide the vRtti-jnAna. This requires Consciousness qualified by
another vRtti, which requires Consciousness qualified by yet another vRtti,
etc., leading to an infinite regress.

Brahmananda refutes this objection as follows. svaccheShu sukhAdiShu
citpratibiMbasaMbhavAt vRttirna svIkriyate| tatsvIkAre api
parasparaviShayakavRttidvayasvIkArAt na anavasthA| We do not accept a
(mental) vRtti in the case of pleasure, pain, etc, in which Consciousness
can be reflected. Even if we accept vRttis, we accept two vRttis that have
contents of each other. Hence, there is no infinite regress. Here,
BrahmAnanda is referring to avidyAvRtti, through which pleasure, pain, and
other subjective feelings can be known. However, even with this type of
avidyAvRtti, there is a second (mental) vRtti that reveals the experience
of such pleasure, pain, etc. In order to understand this subtle concept, we
need to examine the experience of happiness in dreamless sleep. This
happiness is surely not known during sleep, rather it is known upon waking
up, when one exclaims, "I slept happily". What happens here is that there
is an avidyAvRtti whose content (object) is happiness. But this is not
enough for the experiencer to know that he/she experienced happiness in
sleep. This is known only through a mental vRtti that arises upon waking up
and that refers to the avidyAvRtti. Thus there is a mutual dependence
between the two vRttis, in the sense the first depends on the second to
enable knowledge of the experience and the second depends on the first to
objectify the happiness experienced. In a similar fashion, in DSV too,
there are two vRttis involved in a dRShTi. Remember that in DSV all objects
are produced by an avidyAvRtti, unlike in the SDV case, where an object
"out there" corresponds to an antaHkaraNa vRtti. The first, avidyAvRtti,
has the shape of the object that is being created (example, a pot), without
the need for another vRtti. The second vRtti enables knowledge of the
object in the form "I know the pot". These two mutually dependent vRttis
are all that is required for sRShTi in DSV. No third vRtti is involved,
thereby ruling out infinite regress.

Madhusudana: अत एव दोषाज्ञानादृष्टदेहेन्द्रियानामभावे न भ्रम इति तेषामपि
दृष्टिसृष्टित्वे अनवस्थेति निरस्तम्।
अन्वयव्यतिरेकानुविधानं च तद्वदेव। Hence, the objection that there can be no
illusion (bhrama) without defects, ignorance, adRShTa, body, sense organs,
etc., and their being subject to dRShTi-sRShTi gives rise to an infinite
regress is refuted, since there can be a bhrama like a dream, which has no
dependence on body, sense organs, etc. The compliance with the
anvaya-vyatireka method of bhrama with body, sense organs, etc. is also due
to similarity with dreams. The pUrvapakShin makes an erroneous observation
that there can be no bhrama without factors, such as defects, ignorance,
body, sense organs, etc. and those factors themselves need to be created by
another dRShTi, thereby leading to infinite regress. This is disproved in
the case of dreams, where one can experience a dream without being aware of
factors such as the body, sense organs, etc. The presence of the factors
such as body, sense organs, etc, in the waking state is anvaya, while the
absence of those factors in dreams is vyatireka. Hence, it is possible to
justify the absence of those factors in dRShTi-sRShTi also, based on the
similarity with dreams.


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