Posted by: adbhutam | June 10, 2011

Buddhism, Advaita and Dvaita – 2

In this post the second Buddhist verse quoted by Sri Madhvacharya is taken up for a study:

विचार्यमाणे नोऽसत्त्वं सत्त्वं चापि प्रतीयते ।
यस्य तत्सांवृतं तत्स्यात् व्यवहारपदं च यत् ॥ २

//When enquired into, one will find that neither is there non-existence nor is there existence (of the observed duality).  This is the characteristic of the ‘sAmvRtam’, which is what obtains in the realm of the relative, vyavahArapadam.//

The above is what is termed ‘ सदसद्विलक्षणम्, अनिर्वचनीयत्वम्’ in Vedanta.  The following post explains this concept in detail:

https://adbhutam.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/sadasad-vilakshana-of-advaita-in-the-bhaagavatam/

In the srImadbhAgavatam (uddhavagItaa) we have a fine instance of this phenomenon.  In the following verse (11.23.50) –

देहं मनोमात्रमिमंगृहीत्वा ममाहमित्यन्धधियो मनुष्याः |

एषोऽहमन्योऽयमिति भ्रमेण दुरन्तपारे तमसि भ्रमन्ति ||

//Foolish men, coming to look upon the body, which is but a phantasm of the mind, as ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and thinking erroneously, ‘This am I but this other man is different’, wander in a limitless wilderness of ignorance.//

the word ‘देहं मनोमात्रमिमं ‘ is what conveys the concept of ‘anirvachanIyatvam’.  Something that is only in the imagination and not available as an existent entity upon enquiry, and at the same time available for experience unlike a hare’s horn or a sky-flower, is what is termed ‘manomAtram’, a phantasm of the mind.

Some other verses of the Bhagavatamwere are also taken up in support of the concept of ‘anirvachanIyatvam’ with regard to the dRshya prapancha.

The Upanishads too contain this concept that is unmistakable.  For instance, the MandukyopaniShat specifies the first three pAda-s as the world obtaining in the three states of waking, dream and sleep, both in the micro (individual, vyaShTi)  and macro (cosmic, samaShTi) levels.  After this exposition, the Upanishad enters the negating mode while embarking upon specifying the turIya, Brahman.  All that was shown as the phenomenal world in the first three pAda-s, is now negated in the fourth pAda.  This shows that according to the Upanishad the world consisting of the experiences obtaining in the three states is ultimately non-existent.  Yet the Upanishad does not choose to remain silent about it; it does explain it in the three pAda-s.  That is what is meant by the Buddhist verse quoted by Sri Madhva as:

विचार्यमाणे नोऽसत्त्वं सत्त्वं चापि प्रतीयते ।
यस्य तत्सांवृतं तत्स्यात् व्यवहारपदं च यत् ॥ २
//When enquired into, one will find that neither is there non-existence nor is there existence (of the observed duality).  This is the characteristic of the ‘sAmvRtam’, which is what obtains in the realm of the relative, vyavahArapadam.//

The Upanishad presents the world as an ‘anuvAda’, alluding to the experience the jiva-s have, in the state of ignorance.  However, the aim of the upanishad is to present the true state of affairs.  That is the reason it undertakes the vichAra of negating the world of objects in the Turiya.  From the absolute standpoint, when the world of experience is enquired into, one comes to the conclusion that ‘even though experienced नोऽसत्त्वं, not non-existence, असत् चेत् न प्रतीयेत, the world has no absolute existence, सत्त्वम् , सत् चेत् न बाध्येत.  Thus, the world is ‘अविचारितसिद्ध’ , having a basis only in the un-enquired into state.  However, when enquiry is initiated and carried out to its logical end, based on scripture,  विचार्यमाणे, of the Buddhist verse quoted by Sri Madhva, the world is determined to be neither having existence nor non-existence.

The Taittiriya Upanishad too has the root of this concept.  In the mantra: सत्यं चानृतं च सत्यमभवत् (It, Brahman, Satyam, became both satyam and anRtam).  Shankaracharya has explained that the first occurring Satyam is Brahman.  The second appearing ‘satyam’ is the vyavaharika satyam, the world.  ‘anRtam’ is the prAtibhAsika satyam within the vyAvahArika.

In the part 1 of this series we have already seen that the Madhva school specifies the paratantra (the vyAvahArika), as ‘void names and bare possibilities’ in the absence of the ‘sattaa’ provided by the Swatantra, Brahman.  This is nothing but the phenomenon of anirvachanIyatva with regard to the world of objects.  It is not non-existence either, because the paratantra satya does have an existence, satvam, borrowed from Hari’s Sattaa (असत् चेत् न प्रतीयेत).  In the absence of such a borrowed sattaa, however, it is only ‘void names and bare possibilities’ which is none other than ‘asatvam.’  So, the condition of ‘विचार्यमाणे नोऽसत्त्वं सत्त्वं चापि प्रतीयते’ of the Buddhist verse quoted by Sri Madhva perfectly fits the paratantra as explained by BNK in the Book.

In conclusion we say:

  • The world of experiences of objects-subjects is there as existent; it cannot be ruled out as non-existent.
  • Nor can they  be said to be absolutely existent as enquiry shows that from the absolute standpoint of Brahman, it has no unconditional existence.
  • The above is the teaching given out by the Scripture, a few cases of which we have cited from the Upanishad and the bhAgavatam.
  • The Buddhistic verse says only what the Upanishads have already stated.
  • Sri Madhvacharya has quoted this verse to show that Advaita is no different from Buddhism.
  • We have also seen how from BNK’s presentation of the paratantra the situation in the Madhva school too is no different from what obtains in Buddhism, which itself is not completely different from what is taught in the Upanishads/Bhagavatam.

Om Tat Sat

 


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