[Advaita-l] [advaitin] 'Dvaita accepts body-adhyasa'

Srinath Vedagarbha svedagarbha at gmail.com
Wed Oct 27 10:20:48 EDT 2021

Dear Vinodh-ji

Thanks for responding.

On Wed, Oct 27, 2021 at 8:14 AM Vinodh via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Sri Srinath ji,
> Thank you for your excellent points on body-self adhyasa and on pramana
> from the Dvaita perspective! I really enjoyed reading them :)
> I will summarize my understanding of your main points and attempt to
> address each of them from an Advaita perspective. I also look forward to
> reading the responses to these points from other scholars.
> Below is my understanding of your main points against the standpoint of
> Advaita from the Dvaita perspective:
> 1. pramatrtva (knowership) is denied to the Self by Shankara but this
> cannot be so because adhyasa implies that there is a pramatr (knower) on
> whom the body-mind are being superimposed? Therefore, prmatrtva to the Self
> must be accepted.

Yes, correct understanding of pUrvapaxa.

> 2. pramanatvam of sruti must also be acknolwedged becaused it only through
> sruti that the existence of the Self is known

Yes, here too the correct understanding of pUrvapaxa.

> 3. any pramana provided in support of the Dvaita position which can be
> accepted by an Advaitin must naturally be accepted as valid and existing,
> regardless of the details of the pramana.

 Yes, here too the correct understanding of pUrvapaxa.

> 4. on the other hand, by claiming that the pramana-prameya-pramatrtva are
> avidya kruta and hence unreal, the Advaitin's position does not stand on
> firm ground (having negated the very prameya using which any claims can be
> made).

Summerily correct, but need more clarity here.  The very claim that the
pramana-prameya-pramatrtva are
avidya kruta and hence unreal, is itself a pramEya (nirNaya)  derived after
the analysis of adhyAsa. This final pramEya is antithesis. That makes the
dheAtma adhyAsa still remain unexplained.

> 5. Sruti vaakyas in support of Dvaita position "Satya aatma, satyo jivaha,
> satyam bhidaa satyam bhidaa satyam bhidaa" etc.
Yes, correct understanding of pUrvapaxa.

> Below is my attempt at addressing the above points from an Advaita
> perspective based on my limited understanding of this philosophy:
> 1. In Advaita, the pramatr (knower) is typically understood to be the
> individual Jiva. This Jiva, whose true form is the Atma (Self), is unaware
> of its true form and considers itself to be an individual self (Jivaatma)
> separate from other similar individuals.

When pure Atman is claimed to be having no pramAtR^itva, how could you
claim Atman "unaware" of its true form? Aware/unaware can only be talked
about entity where pramAtR^itva is admitted.

Hence your starting position of Jivatman distinct from shuddhAtman stands
on loose grounds.

> It is just like a rope when not
> seen to be.a rope is seen to be something else like a snake or a stream of
> water etc. The adhyaasa of the prana, mind, senses on the Atma is what
> results in a Jivaatma (individual self).

Are you admitting this fundamental adhyaasa (of prana, mind, senses) on
shuddhAtman? If yes, then my earlier objection remains. When pramAtR^itva
is denied in (shuddha)Atman, how could you claim this first adhyAsa? Also
this leads to a position that shuddhAtman has avidya even before you talk
about Jivatman.

> The pramatrtvam
> of a Jiva is because of its true form being the Atma. One of Atma's
> defining characteristics is Jnanam (Satyma-Jnanam-Anantam Brahma,
> Taittiriya Upanishad), which is understood to be the ability to cognize
> (consciousness).

In Advaita, jnAnam has not been used in sadrUpa, but in a negative form as
"not having ajnAna" etc. Reasoning you provide for your conclusion is not

 It is in this sense that Shankaracharya has said
> that the Atma does not have pramatrtva even though its very essence is
> cognizing / consciousness (satyam-jnanam-anantham).

In my limited understanding pramAtR^itva in Atman is denied to avoid
kartu-karma virOdha (to avoid duality) in Atman. I am arguing that the very
jIvabhAva in Atman is impossible unless a fundamental adhyAsa is admitted
in (shuddh)Atman.

> 2. Sruti is also accepted to be part of this maya which is perceived only
> under avidya. Therefore, it does have pramanatvam under avidya from a
> vyavaharika perspective, but it has no independent existence from a
> paramarthika perspective, just like the illusory snake does not have an
> independent existence without the underlying rope. If one asks 'how can one
> say that sruti is a pramana (valid means of knowledge) if it is part of
> avidya', it is similar to how one may be woken up from a dream by something
> happening in a dream. Of course, what happens in the dream is unreal, but
> it could still lead to the person waking up from the dream and realizing
> that what happened was a dream. In the same way, Advaita considers sruti to
> be a pramana which is part of this dream of Jagat which leads to one's
> awakening to one's true form which is the Atma.

Are we saying just as scary dream scene wakes the dreamer up, so also
Shruti **could** wake Jivatman from his avidya? Are we speculating or do we
know for sure? If the former, then it is a speculative philosophy. If
later, why are still debating in this vyavahAra as knowing it wakes for
sure puts us in paaramArthika reality already!

Whatever the case may be, the knowledge about waking up due to a scary
dream tiger is after the fact and realized in a waking state only. After
waking up can you deny the reality of the very dream state itself? In the
same way, can you offer to admit duality of state when in pAramArtha?

> 3. Any pramana offered by a Dvaitin or otherwise is naturally accepted by
> an Advaitin as valid and existing as vyavaharika satyam within this maya.
> Just like in one's dream, one assumes that all of one's pramanas are real
> and existing and uses it to observe, infer, and interact with dream
> objects, in this Jagat also (which Advaita considers to be just a dream),
> one uses such pramanas for all vyavahara within this Jagat-dream. However,
> these are only given the status of vyavaharika satyam. Just like once a
> person wakes up, it is clear that everything seen earlier in the dream,
> including all the dream-pramanas, were false, when one wakes up from the
> dream of Jagat, one sees that the paaramarthika satyam (fundamental truth)
> is advitiyam (without a second) and that all the pramanas and the dvaita
> prapancha (like individual jivaatmas, panchabhootas, etc.) were equally
> false from a paaramarthika perspective.

So also, the idea of paaramarthika-vyavaharika states is equally false from
this very state in which we are debating!

> 4. The above two points explain why Advaitins are able to still use the
> pramana-prameya-pramatrtva to deduce their conclusions from a vyavaharika
> perspective even though from a paramarthika perspective they are illusory.
> Just like inferences drawn using dream pramanas can lead to one waking up,
> the jagat-pramana can lead to one waking up from this Jagat-dream.
> 5. I am not familiar with the sruti passage. Perhaps some other scholars
> here can shed light on the context of this passage and discuss how such
> vakyas can be interpretted given the broader context.
> In summary, Advaita accepts pretty much all of the Dvaitins positions as
> vyavaharika satyam, however, from a fundamental (paramarthika) perspective,
> the Truth is said to be without a second (advitiyam).

 Well, the so called non-dual paramarthika state is still not established.

You cannot establish vyavahara unless you admit fundamental adhyAsa in
shuddha Atma. You cannot posit adhyAsa unless Jiva bhAva and vyavahara is
admitted on Atman. This is exactly called anyOnashrya.


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