advaita-siddhi 12 (Objection by opponent)
The objection of the opponent is based on the acceptance by advaitins of three orders of reality as defined in, for example, the Vedaanta paribhaashhaa of dharmaraaja adhvarin:
yadvaa trividhaM sattvaM -- paaramaarthikasattvaM brahmaNaH,
vyaavahaarikaM sattvamaakaashaadeH, praatibhaasikaM sattvaM
The absolute reality of Brahman is paaramaarthika satya, the empirical reality of the objective world, which includes space etc., is vyaavahaarika satya, and the illusory appearance of silver in nacre (oyster-shell), etc. is praatibhaasika satya.
The Objection in brief:
The objection by the opponent is aimed to trap the advaitin in an unrecoverable position by pointing out defects in any assignment of ontological status to the negation (sublation) used in the second definition of the mithyAtva.
nanu, pratipannopAdhau traikAlikanishhedhasya tAttvikatve advaita-
hAniH prAtibhAsikatve siddha-sAdhanaM, vyAvahArikatve .api tasya
bAdhyatvena tAttvikasattvAvirodhitayA arthAntaraM, advaitashruter-
atattvAvedakatvaM cha tatpratiyoginaH prAtibhAsikasya prapaJNchasya
pAramArthikatvaM cha syAt.h,
Objection by the opponent: Now, if the absolute negation (of a thing, such as the world, that is being called mithyA as per the second definition) is absolutely real (pAramArthika), then the basic principle of advaita (non-dualism) is destroyed! (If the absolute negation) is only illusory (prAtibhAsika), then you are proving what is already established (ie. the reality of the world). Even (if the absolute negation) is empirical (vyAvahArika), you will be proving something other than what you intended because (such negation) will not be opposed to the absolute reality (of the world). The shruti texts that are non-dualistic will be incapable of revealing the truth. And (if it be claimed that) the world is illusory, (that will not hold) and (the world) would have absolute reality (pAramArthikatva).
Let us examine the opponent's objection in more detail.
The opponent says: You define three orders of reality - pAramArthika, vyAvahArika, and prAtibhAsika. And you have defined mithyAtva as the counter-positive-ness of the absolute negation (for all periods of time) in the very substratum where the thing that is mithyA is cognized. In essence, you would like to categorize the world as mithyA. Now, what reality do you assign to such a negation of the world?
1) Is this negation pAramArthika (absolutely real)?
2) Is this negation prAtibhAsika (illusory) ?
3) Or, is this negation vyAvahArika (empirical) ?
Regardless of the type of reality you assign to this negation, you run into problems.
1) The negation of the world is pAramArthika. In this case, you have a direct contradiction with the non-dual principle of advaita. BrahmAnanda explains the objection:
advaita-hAniH "neha nAne"tyAdishrutibodhitasya brahmaNi dR^ishya-
(There is) damage to the principle of non-duality as known from shruti statements such as "neha nAnAsti kiJNchana" (there is no manifold-ness here whatsoever) (because) of the contradiction due to the common absence of the "perceived" (dR^ishya) in Brahman.
If the negation of the world is pAramArthika, then you have two such realities - 1) Brahman, and 2) the said negation of the world. This compromises the non-duality principle.
2) The negation of the world is prAtibhAsika, illusory. In this case, you have siddha-sAdhana-doshha. BrahmAnanda explains:
siddha-sAdhanamiti | kapAle ghaTo nAstItyAdibhrame prAtItikasya-
atyantAbhAvasya vishhayatvena siddha-sAdhanamityarthaH |
siddha-sAdhana means that in cases of erroneous cognition or illusion such as denying the pot in its parts, the absolute absence of the (erroneously) cognized negation is already established (in another system).
In other words, if you say the negation is illusory, such as the negation of a pot in its two halves, such a position is already admitted by another system (such as nyAya). (A whole is said "inhere" in its parts as per nyAya. So a whole, such as a pot, cannot be denied in its parts. Any such denial is erroneous.)
In other words, if you say the negation of the world is illusory or erroneous, that is already admitted by the realist schools. So you are committing the mistake of siddha-sAdhana, proving what is already established.
3)The negation of the world is vyAvahArika. In this case, what you are saying is that the negation of the world will itself get sublated upon realization of Brahman. What does this mean? The world itself CANNOT be vyAvahArika because it is absurd (a contradiction) to say that the world as well as its negation get sublated upon Brahman realization. Either the world or its negation can get sublated at the same time but not both! Therefore, you are left with two possibilities - a. the world is pAramArthika (absolutely real) OR b. the world is prAtibhAsika (illusory). But you deny the world is illusory yourself, and so the world can only be pAramArthika. This point is stated by BrahmAnanda as:
prAtibhAsikatva-asaMbhavena pAramArthikatvameva balAtsyAditi bhAvaH |
(Since the world) cannot possibly be illusory it is forced to be absolutely real (pAramArthika) only. This is the purport (of the opponent).
Again, ViTThalesha explains why the world cannot be illusory when he comments on the term "prAtibhAsikatva-asaMbhavena" of BrahmAnanda: brahmaGYAnAnyAbAdhyatvAditi
(The world cannot be illusory) because (it is admitted by the advaitin) to remain un-sublated (not negated) by anything other than knowledge of Brahman.
So what is the result of accepting the world as pAramArthika and the negation of the world as vyAvahArika? These are the defects. First, you will have established the world as absolutely real which is different from what you set out to prove. This is the defect of arthAntara. Second, the shruti texts that speak of non-duality such as "neha nAnAsti kiJNchana" will have to be accepted as NOT revealing the ultimate truth because they can only reveal what is empirical ( vyAvahArika), ie. the negation of the world.
In response to the objection of the opponent, MadhusUdana now begins his reply:
iti chet.h? na |
If this is what you say, we say no!