[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** Re: [advaitin] rope has some problem in rope snake analogy :-)

Vikram Jagannathan vikkyjagan at gmail.com
Tue Dec 26 00:30:24 EST 2023

Namaskaram Shri Sreenivasa Murthy ji, Shri Chandramouli ji and Shri
Venkataraghavan ji,

Thanks a lot for additional details and clarifications. I will reflect more
on the shared points.

with humble prostrations,

On Sat, Dec 23, 2023 at 8:50 PM Vikram Jagannathan via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaskaram Shri Bhaskar ji,
> Before we continue on the main thread, I would like to understand the
> extent we are aligned on the fundamentals of Advaita. Below, I have
> mentioned my current understanding in a sequential order. Please let me
> know if you agree with these points or not. If you disagree with any point,
> please stop there and do not proceed until we discuss that particular point
> and come to an agreement.
> I would like to open this discussion to the entire group and request others
> to share & contribute their agreements / disagreements. I have
> deliberately kept the explanations for these statements to a minimum. If we
> agree to the statement, but have different explanations / reasons for
> arriving at that, that's fine; we will get an opportunity to clarify as we
> go deeper.
> With the right spirit and intention, we will have subsequent posts where we
> continue to add more points.
> 1. The svarupa lakshana of Brahman is: existence (sat), real (satya),
> consciousness (chit), knowledge (jnana), bliss (ananda), eternal (nitya),
> infinite (anadi & ananta), full (purna), partless (avyaya), homogeneous
> (eka rasa), immutable (kutastha), unchanging (avikara), pure (suddha),
> devoid of any differentiation whatsoever (sajatiya, vijatiya, svagata
> abheda)
> 2. Per ekam-eva-advitiyam, there is no sajatiya or vijatiya or svagata
> bheda, whatsoever, in Brahman
> 3. Per neha-nanasti-kinchana, there is no plurality or ‘other’ or something
> ‘else’ whatsoever in Brahman
> 4. An infinite homogeneous partless immutable entity cannot have any
> attributes (viseshana), since an attribute is defined as a quality that is
> inseparable but distinct from the substance, and there cannot be any
> distinction in a completely abheda homogenous entity
> 5. This Brahman is designated as nirvisesha Brahman for the sake of
> convenience
> 6. Any quality associated with Brahman, that has in context or in relation
> something ‘else’, is only a tatastha lakshana of Brahman. This includes
> qualities such as sarvajna, sarvasakthi, sarveshvara,
> creator-sustainer-destroyer of the universe, antaryami, witness, being the
> locus for something else, etc.
> 7. These qualities are the attributes (viseshana) of Brahman and are
> distinct manifestations
> 8. Their relationship with Brahman is that of attribute-substance or
> shakti-shaktivan or possessed-possessor. In all these cases, they are
> inseparable but distinct from Brahman.
> 9. Brahman described as possessing these qualities is designated as
> savisesha Brahman for the sake of convenience
> 10. Ontologically, sat is that which once ascertained as existing always
> remains unchanged across all time. Nirvisesha Brahman is sat.
> 11. Ontologically, asat is that which is never experienced as existing.
> Hare’s horn is asat.
> 12. Ontologically, mithya is that which is neither sat nor asat nor both
> (sadasat-vilakshana) - it appears to exist but later sublated. The universe
> of plurality, the viseshanas & sakthis of savisesha Brahman, snake on a
> rope, rope itself, mirage, double-moon are all examples of this mithya
> category. If you do not agree with this definition, please clarify what is
> the ontological status of a mithya entity.
> 13. Anirvachaniya explicitly means the entity cannot be specifically
> described as sat or as asat or as both simultaneously - the reason why an
> object may appear to exist but later sublated. There may be other
> definitions, but if you do not agree with this definition, please clarify
> what is the right definition of anirvachaniya and if anirvachaniya is sat
> or asat or both or something else?
> 14. If the above two points are in agreement, then the ontological status
> of anirvachaniya is mithya
> 15. In our current ignorance we believe the entire perceived universe of
> plurality and change has an independent existence. What is the actual
> ontological status of the universe and what is the ontological status of
> the universe as we believe it to be in our ignorance? Both mithya?
> 16. But let’s say that through shastra and sadhana, we gain the knowledge
> that this universe is only a nama-rupa change of Brahman and is completely
> dependent on Brahman. What now becomes the actual ontological status of the
> universe and the ontological status of our perception of the universe?
> Still both mithya?
> 17. Does the nitya-suddha-buddha-mukta-svarupa nirvisesha Brahman perceive
> or cognize the universe? Answer is no?
> 18. Is there the perception of this universe for the savisesha Brahman?
> Answer is yes?
> 19. Do you believe that, per “brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati”, a knower of
> Brahman (jnani) verily becomes (is) Brahman? Is this savisesha Brahman or
> nirvisesha Brahman? Answer is nirvisesha Brahman?
> 20. Does this knower of Brahman perceive or cognize the universe? Answer is
> no?
> 21. In Adhyasa Bhashya, right after stating the first definition of adhyasa
> as “smriti rupa …”, Bhagavan bhashyakara explains various theories of how
> adhyasa could occur. After the last theory, bhagavatpada states in the
> sentence “sarvathapi tu…” that the one common mechanism in adhyasa is
> “cognition of one thing having the qualities of another”.
> 22. Various later acharyas have called this particular section of the
> Bhashya as explanation of “khyati-vada (theory of error)”. Bhagavan
> bhashyakara calls this error (khyati) itself as adhyasa.
> 23. “Khyati”, as related to an incorrect cognition, is a term used in
> pre-Sankara period itself, such as PatajaliYogaSutra-2.5.
> 24. Various later acharyas, in their sub-commentaries, have explained that
> the common mechanism (sarvathapi tu ...) stated in the bhashya is the
> universal concept of “anirvachaniya khyati”.
> 25. Anirvachaniya, also because the various khyati vada can be broadly
> categorized as sat-khyati, asat-khyati or sat-asat-khyati. Bhagavatpada’s
> common explanation is an underlying thread amongst all these khyati vada.
> Hence it transcends being exclusively described as sat or asat or sat-asat.
> 26. In answering the question on how there can be a superimposition between
> light & dark or ‘I’ and ‘thou’, bhashyakara says that nevertheless
> (tathapi) this is a natural worldly experience of coupling the real &
> unreal
> 27. Though of mutually conflicting attributes and a logical impossibility,
> bhashyakara still says that adhyasa is still a common observation in the
> world and only explains it as a 'natural' (naisargikah) phenomenon.
> Implying that this phenomenon cannot be exactly described or is thus
> anirvachaniya.
> 28. This natural phenomenon is adhyasa
> 29. This adhyasa is also later termed as avidya
> 30. The entire gamut of loka vyavahara (secular and religious) depends on
> this adhyasa or is the effect of this adhyasa
> 31. Since adhyasa is also avidya, the entire gamut depends on and is the
> effect of this avidya
> 32. Since this natural phenomenon is anirvachaniya, the exact explanation
> for adhyasa or avidya is anirvachaniya
> 33. In other words, Adhyasa as a term is described as “atasmin tad buddhi”.
> But, how or why adhyasa take place in a certain way cannot be exactly
> described.
> 34. Examples of this anirvachaniya adhyasa are shell silver, double moon,
> rope snake, mirage, colored crystal, red hot iron ball, ‘I’-ness and
> ‘mine’-ness with BMI and objects
> 35. In all these examples, the resulting entity, the result of adhyasa, is
> distinct from the true object; and the true object doesn’t actually contain
> all the perceived qualities of the resulting entity
> 36. For example, when a rope is perceived as a snake, there is actually no
> snake whatsoever in the rope. The qualities of the snake are superimposed
> on the rope and the rope appears as the snake.
> 37. Prior to the perception of the rope as the snake, while the rope is
> perceived as the snake, after the true cognition of the rope as a rope,
> across all these periods, there is never actually a snake in the rope
> 38. The superimposed qualities, which actually are not present in the
> actual object, only appears to be present in the object during adhyasa
> 39. As long as the resulting adhyasa entity is perceived to be so, the
> entity is considered as real and existing
> 40. But on the dawn of true discriminative knowledge, the true nature and
> qualities of the actual object is perceived as-is
> 41. At this point the earlier cognition of the adhyasa entity is understood
> to be false and not actually present in the actual object
> 42. Because the adhyasa entity is actually not present in the actual
> object, the adhyasa entity cannot be called as sat
> 43. At the same time, because the adhyasa entity was experienced as
> existing prior to dawn of true knowledge, the adhyasa entity cannot be
> called as asat
> 44. Obviously the adhyasa entity cannot be both sat and asat simultaneously
> due to mutual contradiction
> 45. Thus the ontological status of the adhyasa entity is neither sat nor
> asat nor both (sadasat-vilakshana). The adhyasa entity is mithya
> 46. Since adhyasa is also called avidya, avidya too is only mithya
> 47. Since adhyasa or avidya is anirvachaniya, mithya too is anirvachaniya
> 48. Anirvachaniya is sadasat-vilakshana
> 49. Nirvisesha Brahman is perceived as savisesha Brahman due to adhyasa. In
> other words, the viseshanas are superimposed on Brahman
> 50. When adhyasa is overcome, the nirvisesha Brahman is realized as-is
> with humble prostrations,
> Vikram
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