[Advaita-l] Advaita Siddhi series 007 - prathama mithyAtva vichAra: (part 2)

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri Sep 15 08:15:38 EDT 2017

The first part of prathama mithyAtva vichAra is available here:

We had previously seen the nyAyAmritakAra's refutations of the first
definition of mithyAtva, sadasat vilakshaNatvam. He had proposed three
alternative meanings for this definintion, namely
1) the absence of existence that is endowed with non-existence, or
2) The two properties of the absence of existence and the absence of
non-existence, or
3) The absence of existence and the absence of non-existence being
simultaneously present.

He had suggested that there were errors with each of these alternatives,
which invalidate sadasat vilakshaNatvam as a definition for mithyAtva.

We now look at the siddhikAra's response.

The siddhikAra replies:
इति चेत्, मैवम् | If this is the argument of the pUrvapakshi, not so.

The siddhikAra does not choose to defend the accusations leveled against
the first option as he does not consider that to be the intended meaning of
mithyAtva. In relation to the second alternative, he says:

सत्त्वात्यन्ताभावासत्त्वात्यन्ताभावरूपधर्मद्वयविवक्षायां दोषाभावात् |
There are no faults in taking the meaning of sadasat vilakshaNatva as the
second alternative - the two properties being the absolute absence of
existence and the absolute absence of non-existence.

Coming to the second alternative, the nyAyAmritakAra had cited three
problems with this.
1) Contradiction / Impossibility - if sat is absent, asat must
automatically be present, and vice versa.
2) Proving something other than what is intended - The attributeless
Brahman cannot have sat (existence) as its attribute - that would be a
contradiction in terms. (Thus, it cannot have asat as its attribute too).
Despite lacking the attributes of sat and asat, Brahman is sat. The
advaitin wants to say that the world lacks the attributes of sat and asat.
If Brahman can be sat without having sat and asat as its attributes, so can
the world. This leads to the world being sat, not mithyA. This definition
of mithyAtva ends up with arthAntara, proving something other than that
which is intended.
3) Failure to establish mithyAtva in the example: The shell-silver is
sublated, thus it is asat (according to the dvaitin). Therefore it is not
sadasatvilakshaNa or mithyA. If the example used in the mithyAtva anumAna
itself is not mithyA, how can the world be mithyA?

*vyAghAta - Contradiction / Impossibility*
The first of these, contradiction, is taken up for analysis by the
siddhikAra. He says:

नच व्याहति: | There is no contradiction either.
The siddhikAra suggests that for sat and asat to be mutually exclusive, one
of the following three reasons must hold true:

सा हि सत्त्वासत्त्वयो: परस्परविरहरूपतया वा, परस्परविरहव्यापकतया वा,
परस्परविरहव्याप्यतया वा
1) they are paraspara abhAva - each is the absence of the other. The
absence of sat is asat. The absence of asat is sat. Here sat and asat are
not two things.
2) they are paraspara viraha vyApakam - the absence of sat implies the
presence of asat. The absence of asat implies the presence of sat.
3) they are paraspara viraha vyApya - the presence of sat implies the
absence of asat. The presence of asat implies the absence of sat.

तत्र नाद्य:, तदनङ्गीकारात् | The first of these possibilities is not
acceptable to us.
तथाह्यत्र त्रिकालाबाध्यत्वरूपसत्त्वव्यतिरेको नासत्त्वं, किन्तु
क्वचिदप्योपाधौ सत्त्वेन प्रतीयमानत्वानधिकरणत्वं - asat is not the absence
of a sat which is unsublated in any of the three periods of time. Rather,
(according to us) asat is that which does not appear in any locus. The
unsublatability of sat and the lack of appearance of asat are not the
mutual absence of each other.
तद्व्यतिरेकश्च साध्यत्वेन विवक्षित: | The absence of such an asat and sat
is what is meant by the sAdhya of mithyA.
तथाच त्रिकालाबाध्यविलक्षणत्वे सति क्वचिदप्युपाधौ सत्त्वेन प्रतीयमानत्वरूपम्
साध्यं पर्यवसितम् | The meaning of the sAdhya (mithyAtva) that emerges is
that which is different from the eternally unsublatable and that which is
capable of appearing as existing in some locus.

*sAdhyavaikalyam - mithyAtva not proven in the example*
एवञ्च सति न शुक्तिरूप्ये साध्यवैकल्यमपि That being so, the sAdhya is not
absent from the example of shell-silver (there is no sAdhya vaikalya).The
shell-silver is sublated when the shell is seen (so it is not the
unsublatable sat), and at the same time, it is seen (thus not asat).
Therefore it is neither sat, nor asat.
According to the dvaitin, asat is that which is sublatable. That is not the
intended meaning of asat in sadasatvilakshaNatvam.
बाध्यत्वरूपासत्त्वव्यतिरेकस्य साध्याप्रवेशात् The absence of an asat that
is sublatable is not intended in the sAdhya. Put simply, by asat
vilakshaNam, we do not mean the negation of sublatability, but the negation
of non-appearance.
नापि व्याघात:, परस्परविरहरूपत्वाभावात् there is no contradiction too, as
the nature of sat and asat is not one of mutual absence.

*vyAghAta - Contradiction / Impossibility (continued)*
The second possibility for mutual exclusion is if the absence of one
implies the presence of the other. The siddhikAra says this is also ruled
अत एव न द्वितीयोऽपि, सत्त्वाभाववति शुक्तिरूप्ये विवक्षितासत्त्वव्यतिरेकस्य
विद्यमानत्वेन व्यभिचारात्, The second option is also not possible. In the
case of shell-silver, the absence of sat does not imply the presence of
asat, as the shell-silver is available for appearance. The rule of the
nyAyAmritakAra was that if sat was absent, asat must be present. In the
shell-silver, the hetu of this rule present, but the sAdhya of this rule is
not. Thus this rule has a vyabhichAra, exception, in the case of the
shell-silver. It is not universally true.

नापि तृतीय:, तस्य व्याघाताप्रयोजकत्वात्, गोत्वाश्वत्वयो:
परस्परविरहव्याप्यत्वे अपि तदभावयोरुष्ट्रादावेकत्र सहोपलम्भात् |
The third reason for mutual exclusion that may be offered is that the
presence of one implies the absence of the other. However, upon
examination, this does not result in contradiction either. For example, a
cow cannot be a horse, and vice-versa. Therefore, where there is "cow-ness"
there can be no "horse-ness". However, despite the presence of cowness
implying the absence of horseness (and vice-versa), this in itself does not
mean that the absence of cowness and the absence of horseness cannot
co-exist in another entity.  Both are simultaneously absent in a camel. So,
even if the presence of sat implies the absence of asat (and vice versa),
their co-absence (mithyAtva) is not an impossibility.

The defects of vyAghAta and sAdhyavaikalya cited by the nyAyAmritakAra
cited have been addressed.

*arthAntara - Proving something other than what is intended*
The defect of arthAntara will be taken up next.
यच्च निर्धर्मकस्य ब्रह्मण: सत्त्वराहित्येऽपि सद्रूपवत्प्रपञ्चस्य
सद्रूपत्वेनामिथ्यात्वोपपत्त्या अर्थान्तरम् - उक्तं. it was said (by the
nyAyAmritakAra) - as the attributeless Brahman is considered sat despite
the absence of sat attribute (and absence of asat attribute), the world can
be considered sat (despite having the absence of sat and asat attributes),
leading to arthAntara.

The siddhikAra replies:
तन्न This is not correct.
The siddhikAra gives two reasons for disproving this. There is no sAdhaka
pramANa (positive proof) to prove that the objects of the world are sat
like Brahman. Further, there is a bAdhaka pramANa (negative proof) that
proves that the objects of the world are not sat like Brahman.

एकेनैव सर्वानुगतेन सर्वत्र सत्प्रतीत्युपपत्तौ ब्रह्मवत् प्रपञ्चस्य
प्रत्येकं सत्स्वभावताकल्पने मानाभावात्, अनुगतव्यवहाराभावप्रसङ्गाच्च |

एकेनैव सर्वानुगतेन सर्वत्र सत्प्रतीत्युपपत्तौ - It is the one existence
that inheres in every object, leading to the appearance of the object as
existing. Why?

ब्रह्मवत् प्रपञ्चस्य प्रत्येकं सत्स्वभावताकल्पने मानाभावात् because there
is no pramANa (or valid proof) to conclude that each of the objects that
constitute this world has a sat like Brahman. The objects of the world are
all different. If each different object was uniquely sat, there would be
multiple existences. That is, there would be an infinite set of realities
corresponding to the infiniteness of creation. Not only would existences be
manifold, it would also mean that each object would *appear* to have a
different sat. However, there is no pramANa to conclude such a thing.

अनुगतव्यवहाराभावप्रसङ्गाच्च on the other hand, this contradicts everyday
experience, where every object in the world appears to have the same
existence inherent in it. The objects may have differences between them,
when we say they exist, it means the same thing, irrespective of which
object we refer to.  If the existence was different between objects, why do
we use the same word, "is", to describe the existence of a pot and the
existence of a table?

It can be argued that a common word does not necessarily denote a common
attribute. That is true, but not applicable here. Words are sometimes used
based on the nature of objects (shabda pravritti nimittam is based on some
quality in the object denoted by the word). For example,  different animals
of the same species are called "cow" on the basis of the anugata dharma,
common attribute of cowness (gotva). If one knows what a cow looks like,
the next time one sees an animal of the species, one is able to identify it
as a cow.

However, the word may not be based on an inherent quality of the denoted
object. For example, two people may share the same name, Devadatta, but
there is no inherent "devadattatvam" between them. In this case, just
because I know one Devadatta, the next time another person with the same
name appears, I am unable to identify that individual as Devadatta on the
basis of an inherent Devadattatvam.

If existence was not an anugata dharma, a common attribute in all existent
things, then if I see an object for the first time, like in the case of the
second Devadatta, I would be unable to know of its existence. However,
everyday experience is not that - irrespective of whether I know an object
 beforehand or not, if I see it, I automatically assume its existence.

Thus saying that every object of the world was sat like Brahman would mean
that each sat is different. There is no pramANa for that. It also means
that I cannot use the same word to describe all their existence.

(to be continued)

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