[Advaita-l] looking for a comparative study on these two topics

Vikram Jagannathan vikkyjagan at gmail.com
Mon Apr 10 00:38:33 EDT 2023

Namaskaram Shri Krishna Swami,

Deferring formal (technical) definitions; And with the fear of preaching to
the choir or sounding condescending, here are some thumb-rules, in my
humble opinion, for your questions:

>> substance attribute relationship in Advaita and comparison with other
vedantic schools or in other words "guna-guni bhava" or "dharma-dharmi

Substance / nature (svarupa): qualities that are inseparable and indistinct
from the entity: "is-ness" relationship: no svagata bhedha
Attribute (viseshana): qualities that are inseparable but distinct from the
entity: "has-ness" relationship: implies svagata bhedha - same as guna &

My personal definition - researching if this matches or conflicts with any
traditional acharya's definition:
Nature or svarupa: qualities that directly identifies a species (svarupa
lakshana) or distinguishes one species from another (vijatiya) - example,
cow vs horse
Attribute or viseshana: qualities that relatively identifies a species
(thatastha lakshana) or distinguishes within a species (sajatiya) -
example, brown horse vs white horse

Advaita's Brahman has no sajatiya or vijatiya or svagata bheda whatsoever.

More details have been provided by other respected members.

>> what is sublatability? Sat is defined as that which is not-sublatable. I
need a serious in depth explanation of what sublatability is?

Sublation: In general terms, the change of a specific cognition or
cognitive knowledge of an object with respect to time or space or realm of
reality is called sublation.
In another definition, sublation is the process that renders the previous
cognition as a false cognition. False cognition is that which is not the
true cognition. True cognition of an object is the cognition of an object
as is it; it is based on the object itself.
In other words, cognition of “that as that” is true cognition; cognition of
“that as not that” is false cognition; realization of the previous
cognition as a false cognition is called sublation of the previous
A more technical definition of “badha” is given in Vedanta Paribhasha Ch-1.
Deeper discussion will also involve the definitions of Mithyatva
(particularly the 2nd) in AdvaitaSiddhi.

A wonderful article by our Acharya Shri Sadaji:

>> Is adhyaropa apavada some kind of step-by-step process of sublation?

Yes, it can be seen as a 2-step (or 4-step) process for the explanation or
understanding of the true nature of reality. Adhyaropa is the deliberate
superimposition and apavada is a negation of the superimposition.
Essentially, for the observed experiences / phenomenon, taken for granted
as effects, a cause-effect relationship is built or explained by connecting
the effects with the ‘source’ cause. This is adhyaropa. In the next step,
the entire effect, along with the cause-effect relationship, is completely
negated; leaving the pure source alone (bereft of even its aspect as a
cause, in the absence of effects). This is apavada. There is a whole lot
deeper discussion as to why such a tactic is required & established, and
how this is the only logical way to explain the advaitic nature of absolute

Here are couple of wonderful introductory articles:
>From advaita-vedanta site: https://www.advaita-vedanta.in/adhyaropa-apavada
Article by our Shri Subbuji:

>> Are there just 2 levels of reality mainly  (vyavaharika and
paramarthika) in advaita?

There are 3 fundamental levels of reality in Advaita. They are paramarthika
(absolute), vyavaharika (transactional or day-to-day), pratibhasika
(illusory). Pratibhasika can be seen as a nested sub-aspect of vyavaharika.
The term ‘level’ is subject to severe misunderstandings. Essentially, it
boils down to this: all knowledge / experience is considered contextually
real; if the knowledge / experience involves adhyasa, it is vyavaharika
real. If it transcends adhyasa, it is avyavaharika or paramarthika real.
One of the easiest ways to realize the levels of reality is the
perspectives. For example, in a limited context, cognizing a pot as a pot
is vyavaharika, but realizing the pot as clay alone is paramarthika. In
this example, the entity remaining one and the same, it is a matter of our
perception whether as the name / form or as the substratum. Other popular
examples of different perspectives are the states of waking & dream, rope
as a snake etc.

A great summarization by our Shri Subbuji:

>> If so, does adhyaropa apavada, or even neti neti process accept many
levels of reality since one level is sublated to get to the other? Or it
will be a flat acceptance of the same level of reality for all experiences
within the realm of vyavaharika satya (or duality of some kind).

”Net neti” is an example of adhyaropa apavada (as demonstrated in the above
advaita-vedanta site reference). This involves the two levels of reality -
vyavaharika & paramarthika. Whether there is any inclusion of pratibhasika
is quite inconsequential, as it is negated by the negation of vyavaharika.
The fact that adhyaropa involves a deliberate superimposition, this is at
best vyavaharika perspective. Apavada, in turn, negates the entirety of
vyavaharika, explaining the paramarthika perspective to the best of its
ability. It is important to keep in mind that even the term ‘paramarthika’
(or ‘avyavaharika’ as in Mandukya Upanishad) is only to contrast and
differentiate from the day-to-day ‘vyavaharika’ perspective. With the
negation of apavada, Brahman alone is; even the characterization as
‘paramarthika’ is only superficial.

Here are a couple of wonderful articles by respected Shri Vidyasankarji.
Detailed but subject to further discussion / debate: (
Short and precise: [saguNa, nirguNa brahman and Shankara](

.... contd .....

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