[Advaita-l] Interesting comment by Udayanacharya

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Sun Feb 18 02:37:41 EST 2024


In the Atmatattvaviveka, Udayanacharya, a pre Shankara naiyyAyika, says
this, while arguing against the Buddhist -

न ग्राह्यभेदमवधूय धियोऽस्ति वृत्तिस्तद्बाधने बलिनि वेदनये जयश्रीः ।
नोचेदनित्यमिदमीदृशमेव विश्वं तथ्यं तथागतमतस्य तु कोऽवकाशः ॥

The difference that is cognised between objects is not possible without
there being differences in the objects themselves. Without objects, there
can be no subject-object relationship between cognitions and objects. If
that difference is sublated, it is a victory for Vedic system (which holds
that all that exists is Brahman alone, via statements such as
ekamevAdvitIyam etc), not the Buddhists'.

If it is held that those Vedic statements have a different meaning, then
this world, being non permanent, is real, and has to be accepted as-is. In
either scenario, what scope is there for the Buddha's view?

Here we have a pre Shankaran, non advaitin, who argues that the position of
the world being mithyA, there being no difference whatsoever, etc is the
true import of the Veda (veda-naya).

That this is the true Upanishadic system, and not something that
Shankaracharya invented, can be discerned by statements such as these -
made by philosophers that predate him, belonging to non-advaita schools,
and having no bias towards advaita.

Secondly, Udayanacharya is saying that if the Buddhist holds the world to
be mithyA, and the upaniShad holds the world to be mithyA, it is the
Buddhist who has borrowed from the Veda, and not the other way around.
Sometimes, we see a charge leveled against advaita that in arguing for the
world's mithyAtva, we are veering into vijnAnavAda territory. Not so, says
Udayanacharya - if the advaitin holds the world to be mithyA and it turns
out to be correct, it is a victory for his vedic system, and not the

Kind regards,

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