At the annual MahAgaNapati vAkyArtha vidwat sadas that concluded at Sringeri recenty, a scholar from Kalaty, Sri K.P.Babu Das, took up the prakaraNa work of Sri Madhvacharya named ‘Tattvodyota’ for a brief refutation. For want of time, he touched upon only a selection of the points raised/objected to in the book. In 2008 he had taken up the ‘mAyAvAdakhaNDanam’ of Madhva for replying. This paper is already published by the Sringeri Mutt and I shall try to upload it shortly.
In the present discourse the scholar highlighted several points a few of which are:
1. Madhva says: The advaitins have accepted that ‘negation/sublation’ (of the world) ‘bAdhyatvam’ is also mithyA. This would render the world ‘abAdhya’, un-negatable. To this point the reply given is: the pair bAdhyatvam and abAdhyatvam belongs to the vyAvahArika in Advaita. As only the secondless Brahman is the ultimate reality all notions such as the world, its negatability or otherwise, etc. belong to the phenomenal.
2. All the verses quoted therein from a Buddhistic work to show that Advaita is no different from it only confirm the Upanishadic statements about the Truth, the world, etc. The scholar also quoted the verse from the ‘matta vilAsa prahasanam’ which I had quoted which says that the Buddhists formulated their system by taking inputs from the Upanishads and the Mahabharata.
3. Madhva says: प्रत्यक्षबाधितं च जगन्मिथ्यात्वम् । सदिति प्रतीयमानत्वात् । [The claim of unreality of the world is contradicted by pratyakSha as the world is experienced as ‘is’. ] The reply given for this is: The ‘is’ness of the adhiShThAna Brahman alone is experienced while the world is experienced as ‘is’. So, there is no contradiction in the claim of the unreality of the world vs. its being experienced as ‘is’. It is also to be noted that the Madhva school itself has admitted that the ‘sattA’ (‘is’ness) of the world derives from the ‘sattA’ of Brahman. यदधीना यस्य सत्ता तत्तदित्येव भण्यते I (quoted by Sri Raghavendra Tirtha in the PuruSha sUkta bhAShyam )
Also it is to be noted that to prove that प्रत्यक्षबाधितं च जगन्मिथ्यात्वम् one has to undertake the examination only AFTER the bhrama has gone. In the case of the world-bhrama, the mithyAtvam is understood/determined only AFTER enquiry and the resultant realization. In the post-enquiry/realization state there is no bAdha for this realization. The pratyakSha-born prateeti as ‘the world is’ is no harm since such a prateeti is had even with regard to the experience of sunrise/sunset, the experiencing of the rotation/revolution of the world, etc. In all these cases, even after the right knowledge has arisen (through another pramANa), the prateeti continues as nature would have it. However, the knowledge about the real state of affairs is certainly present in the perceiver.
Some points other than what the scholar mentioned:
4. Madhva says: न च प्रत्यक्षसिद्धं अन्येन केनापि बाध्यं दृष्टम् . We have the experience that the Earth is stationary. Yet, from the words of the scientists we come to know that such is not the case; the Earth is in constant rotation and revolution. This is another case of प्रत्यक्षसिद्धस्य आप्त (अन्य) वाक्येन(शास्त्रेण) बाध्यत्वम् । So is the case with the ‘experience’ of sun rise and sun set. Nor can there be an objection, as stated by Madhva, such as: चन्द्रप्रादेशादिविषयं तु दूरस्थत्वादिदोषयुक्तत्वादपटु । [The illusion of the small size of the moon etc. when compared to their original/real sizes, is owing to their distant location from the seer on the earth and as such due to the inadequacy/incapacity of the perceiving eye to see the correct size of the moon, etc.] न च जगत्प्रत्यक्षस्यापटुत्वे किञ्चिन्मानम् । [Nor is there any proof for holding that the world-perception is due to the defect/inefficiency in the perceiving apparatus.]
To this observation of Madhva we have this to say:
Even in the case of the of the size of distant objects, it is to be reckoned as a case of illusion/bhrAnti. This is because we come to know of the actual size of the object only from another pramANa, a shAstra that specializes in it. Till then one believes that what one sees as the size of the object as the real size. Since our wrong knowledge has been contradicted/replaced / bAdhita by another yathArtha jnAna, it is indisputably a case of bhramA alone. That the wrong knowledge was caused by ‘inefficient capacity of the sense organ – eye’ is no sufficient explanation for in every case of a bhrama there is one or the other cause, an incapacity in the indriya. Even in the rope-snake illusion, it is only because the eye is incapacitated to have perfect vision of things in insufficient light does the bhrama takes place. What is common to all illusions, including the one about the size of the distant object, however, is the baadha that comes about from a pramANAntara. It is ONLY AFTER the bAdha comes about we seek explanations like defect/inefficiency, etc. as causing the bhrama and NOT BEFORE. Hence these post-bAdha explanations do not save the situation from being experienced as a bhrama in the first place.
Similar is the case with the jagat bhrama. It is owing to the ignorance about the true ‘thing’, ‘vastu’ Brahman that one gets into the bhrama of the deha-manas Self and the world of names and forms. It is the Upanishad pramaNa that contradicts / corrects / brings about the bAdha of this bhrama pertaining to the atma and jagat.
The Upanishad wants the jiva to see Brahman and not the world.
ब्रह्मैवेदं पुरस्तात् ब्रह्म पश्चात् ……ब्रहमैव विश्वमिदं वरिष्ठम् [MundakopaniShat]
पुरुष एवेदं सर्वम्
तस्य को मोहः कः शोकः एकत्वमनुपश्यतः ।
यत्र त्वस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत् तत्केन कं पश्येत् …
आत्मैवेदं सर्वम्, ब्रह्मैवेदं सर्वम्
यत्र नान्यत्प्श्यति …तद्भूमा
यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति…[भ.गी]
ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविः….
By saying: मामुपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते the Lord says that once the realization of Brahman takes place, there is no longer the perception of the world as the world. The perceiving instrument, the perceiving person and the perceived world, which are all part of mAyA/prakRti/Ishwara IcchA /moha shakti are now realized to be none other than the One akhaNDa Brahma vastu.
यत्र नान्त्पश्यति नान्यच्छृणोति …तद्भूमा , यत्र अन्यत्पश्यति…तदल्पम् By this teaching the Chandogya shruti makes it very clear that the non-perceiving of the world as the world but perceiving it as none other than the substratum Brahman is true realization. The opposite of this vision is bondage. By this anvaya-vyatireka method the shruti establishes the unreality of the world. This is the reply to Madhva’s objection: न च जगतोऽज्ञानजन्यत्वे किञ्चिन्मानम् [Nor is there any proof for the ignorance-base of the world]. ज्ञाननिवर्त्यता / बोधनिवर्त्यता of the world-bhrama/perception is what is taught by such Shruti passages. Sri Krishna has made several statements to teach that ignorance is at the base of the world-experience:
अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः
ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः
मम माया दुरत्यया
भूतप्रकृतिमोक्षं च ये विदुर्यान्ति ते पराम्
All these statements go to prove that it is owing to ignorance (of the Truth, Brahman, Atman, one’s own real nature) one experiences the world. Shankaracharya comments on the Gita verse:
इति क्षेत्रं तथा ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं चोक्तं समासतः।
मद्भक्त एतद्विज्ञाय मद्भावायोपपद्यते।।13.18।।
//मद्भक्तः मयि ईश्वरे सर्वज्ञे परमगुरौ वासुदेवे समर्पितसर्वात्मभावः यत् पश्यति शृणोति स्पृशति वा ‘सर्वमेव भगवान् वासुदेवः’ इत्येवंग्रहाविष्टबुद्धिः मद्भक्तः। स एतत् यथोक्तं सम्यग्दर्शनं विज्ञाय, मद्भावाय मम भावः मद्भावः परमात्मभावः तस्मै मद्भावाय उपपद्यते मोक्षं गच्छति।।//
It is the one with the Brahman-vision that is able to give up the world-vision. This correction of the world vision by jnanam into Brahman-vision is the proof that the world-experience is a bhrama.
The experience of distant objects with the distorted knowledge about their size, etc. , the experiencing of the superimposed snake and the experiencing of the world – all these three have one thing in common: what is being experienced is not the truth but the correcting / corrected knowledge is the truth. There is a prior pre-correction knowledge and a later post-correction knowledge to replace the former. पूर्वप्राप्त-अयथार्थज्ञानस्य पश्चात्प्रमाणान्तरप्राप्तज्ञा
The jiva is in samsara owing to the non-perception of the Truth, Brahman, and perceiving the world in the place of Brahman as the truth. It is prakRti /mAyA/Ishwara icchA that makes us to perceive the world and remain in samsara. Also Brahman/Atman cannot be perceived owing to its being extremely subtle. It is beyond one’s sensory grasp.
Also, prakRti comprises of the seer, the seeing instruments and the seen world. The paTutvam and apaTutvam both pertain to the instruments that come under the common nomenclature of ‘prakRti’.
5. On the sidelines of the sadas I enquired with scholars about the meaning of the Rg.vedic mantra 2.24.12 commencing with the words ‘विश्वं सत्यं’ (vishwam satyam) quoted by Madhva to show that the world is real. I learned that this mantra is taken up by the Advaita Siddhi by Madhusudana Saraswati to give its correct meaning and it is: It is a praise by the yajamAna in a yAga addressed to Indra and Brahmanaspati saying that ‘whatever/everything (vishvam = sarvam) is said about you, satyasamkalpatva, etc. is definitely real (satyam = anAropitam). Whatever you do, resolve, will not be a waste.’
The amarakosha 2154 / 54 / 55 says for the word vishvam:
विश्वमशेषं कृत्स्नं समस्तनिखिलाखिलानि निःशेषम्
समग्रं सकलं पूर्णमखण्डं स्यादनूनके
The TIkA for the above says: all these 14 words denote the concept of ‘totality’.
This mantra does not talk about the world or its reality. The mere words ‘vishwam’ and ‘satyam’ in juxtaposition will not constitute a vedic proof for the notion that the world is real. Moreover, the Madhva school has designated only a relative reality (paratantra satyam) to the world, clearly distinguishing it from the absolute reality (swatantra satyam) of Brahman. They also admit that the world has no ‘sattA’ (existence/reality) of its own; it borrows sattA from Brahman. In other words brahmasattA alone is the basis for the world’s sattA. I had quoted a verse quoted by the Madhva school: यदधीना यस्य सत्ता तत्तदित्येव भण्यते. There can never be an analogy other than the rope-snake, shell-silver type to explain the svasattAshUnyatva and parasattAdheenatva of an object. This is a brief translation of the Rg.vedic mantra from Griffith’s translation:
// the waters do not violate the vratas of Brahmanaspati (RV 2.24.12)// http://tinyurl.com/3wsl59p
The Sayana Bhashya also says the same thing that I have stated above on that Rg.vedic mantra.