Posted by: adbhutam | July 30, 2012

Advaita THE Vedanta – 2

The following post was found in the URL:
Here it is copied and taken up for a short analysis purely with a view to show how there are misconceptions pertaining to Advaita Vednta that form the basis of such ‘attacks’ on Advaita. It will give an opportunity to know the positions the different schools take on different concepts. No personality attack is intended in this analysis.

Inicio del mensaje reenviado: > De: “K A Harnahalli” <nharnaha at> > Asunto: Advaita is Vedanta? > Fecha: 12 de julio de 2012 5:32:46 p.m. GMT+05:30 > Para: <dvaita-list-owner at> >>

Brahma satyam, jaganmithya a Hindu Mahavakya? While all Vedantins are one in upholding tha satyatva of Brahman, great two(Shri Ramanuja, Shri Madhva) of the triumvirate have rejected jaganmithyatva. So have the remaining three  acharyas viz. Nimbarka, Vallabha and Chaitanya. So ‘Brahma satyam, jaganmithya’ is only a mahavakya of the Advaita branch of Vedanta.

Satayatva need not always be accompnied by nityatva though the whatever is nitya is always satya. Satyatva is connected with ‘being there’ while nityatva-anityatva are concepts relating to the length of time.

Advaitin’s Response:

Actually ‘satya’, real, is that which has a ‘sattA’, existence. Says Dr.B.N.K.Sharma (maybe in the book ‘A History of Dvaita Vedanta and its literature’):

// Though *existence is thus ‘reality’*, Madhva recognizes that its highest expression must be metaphysical independence of every other form of existence in finite reality, in respect of its being, powers and activity. Everything in finite reality is therefore grounded in the Independent Reality,
known as Brahman and needs it for its being and becoming. // (emphasis mine)

My comment: On the basis of BNK’s words above, it is pertinent to note that just as in Advaita, ‘existence’ ‘sat/sattaa’ is the same as ‘reality’, ‘satyam’ in the Madhva system. In the famous definition of ‘Satyam’ provided by Shankara in the Taittiriya Up.bhashyam for the word ‘satyam’ occurring there it is said: ‘sadeva satyam’. It is now confirmed that in the Madhva system too, this equation is valid: sat (Existence) = satyam (Reality).

// yadadhInA yasya sattA tat tadityeva bhaNyate’ // (quoted by Sri Raghavendra Tirtha in the PuruSha sUktam bhaShyam for the line: ‘पुरुष एवेदं सर्वम्..)This quote is eminently applicable (only) to the general concept of adhyAsa. No one can deny this. That the dependent is sva-sattA-shUnya and it derives its sattA ONLY from an entity different from itself is an essential and unique feature of the rajju-sarpa illusion. And hence there is nothing wrong in my citing it here. And it amounts to that alone for there can be no example in the world other than the rajju-sarpa type to demonstrate that cited line. It cannot escape the definition:
// svasattA-shUnyatve sati anyasattA-adhInasattAkatvam स्वसत्ताशून्यत्वे सति अन्यसत्ताऽधीनसत्ताकत्वं परतन्त्रसत्यत्वम् is what paratantrasatyatvam is.//
The superimposed sarpa is dependent on the rajju’s sattA for its own (imagined) existence. Thus the world in the Dvaita school has no independent existence (and therefore reality) just as in Advaita.
Here is what Dr.B.N.K.Sharma says (culled from an article which appeared on this page till a few months ago:\l: (maybe now moved to some other location):
//The dependence of the world of matter and the souls on Brahman is in the sense that both are functioning at His will, which is the essential condition and sustaining principle that *invests them with their reality* and *without which they would be but void names and bare possibilities.* //

[‘His will’ or ‘IshwarecchA’ is substituted in Advaita with the word ‘Brahman’s Maya’ or some other equivalent.]

The above explains the rajju-sarpa condition in exact terms.

Thus, going by Dr.Sharma’s words, it is clear that the world does not have the fundamental ‘existence’ itself of its own. And therefore, it can be concluded that it does not have the absolute ‘reality’ also. Just like the superimposed serpent has to depend on the substratum rope for its seeming existence and reality.
> The theory of Brahma satyam, jaganmithya is closely associated with an attributeless and formless Brahman, two levels of stayatva and Maya/avidya.


It is important to note Dr.B.N.K. says that there are two ‘realities’: Infinite and finite.  That makes it not very different from Advaita which specifies  Paramarthika and vyAvaharika realities.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says:

// Madhva (1238-1317 CE)

According to Madhva there are two orders of reality: 1. svatantra, independent reality, which consists of Brahman alone and 2. paratantra, dependent reality, which consists of jivas (souls) and jada (lifeless objects). Although *dependent reality would not exist apart from brahman’s will*, this very dependence creates a fundamental distinction between brahman and all else, implying a dualist view. //

That the two pairs Paramarthika-vyavaharika and Swatantra-paratantra are only synonymous has been elucidated in an article:

That the Brahman of Dvaita system also ultimately amounts to an attributeless one is clear if we understand that:

  • The ‘attributes’ attributed to Brahman are all only jagat or jiva specific.
  • It is suffice to say that independent of His creation there will be nothing for Brahman to know about Himself. In such a scenario He will be the Advaitic Brahman. For all the Kalyana guNas (jagatkAraNatvam, sarva niyAmakatvam, kAruNyam, sarvaishvaryatvam, et., etc.) that the Dvaitins speak of are invariably either jiva or jagat specific. If these two are removed from the slate there is nothing to talk about Ishwara’s/Brahman’s guNa. Thus the Swatantra Brahman’s ‘independence’ is ever dependent on the paratantra jagat/jiva.

Dvaita also accepts mAyA.  It goes by the name ‘IshwarEcchA’.  In the Mandukya shruti: अनादिमायया सुप्तः यदा जीवः प्रबुध्यते..Sri Madhvacharya says: the jiva-s are in samsara due to IshwarEcchA and are released from samsara due to the same IshwarEcchA. In Advaita the jiva-s are in samsara due to anAdi mAyaa.

>>By designating Brahman as ‘ekamevaadviteeya’ reality, you have to deny the reality of everything else.

Since, as shown in the foregoing, there is no fundamental existence for the paratantra, its reality is as good as being denied. Only that it is not said so explicitly.

>>As a result the sadhaka, his sadhana, his sadhya (i.e.liberation or God realization and
ultimately God Himself), dharma, shastra and all else become unreal.

One serious misconception about Advaita is: The Advaitic Self-realization or Brahman realization is mistaken to be God realization. In Advaita ‘God’ is Ishwara and is not the same as Brahman that is realized for mokSha. So the above statement/charge is based on a wrong idea about Advaita. The sadhaka’s sAdhya is not Ishwara-realization.

>>The vyavaharika level of reality is nothing but an honourable designation for something which ultimatey is going to be sublated. Thus whatever the man does to achieve higher paramarthika level also gets discounted, if not discredited.

This is because in Advaita ‘bandha and moksha’ are not absolutely real Going by Shri Madhwacharya’s commentary we saw before, the jiva’s samsara and mokSha are within the realm of ‘IshwarecchA’ which is nothing but mAyA.  

>>I hear that about jaganmithyatva, Dr.Radhakrishnan has said somewhere that you cannot condemn the world and still be a part of it.

I would like to have the exact reference of this to determine what exactly was said and in what context.

>> As for Jeeva, you cannot accept the theory unless you accept the theory of Brahman Himself being covered by  ajnana because you are none other than Brahman!

This is because there is no chetana vastu (for whom alone avidya can be there and consequently samsara and the release from it) other than the secondless Brahman See an article here:

>>Similarly, Maya is associated with Brahman in such a stupendous  phenomenon as the Creation(and sustenance and ulimate destruction).

The Lord says in the Bh.Gita:मयाध्यक्षेण प्रकृतिः सूयते सचराचरम् । हेतुनानेन कौन्तेय जगद्विपरिवर्तते ।।१०।।
With Me as the presiding One, prakRti (mAyA) creates the world of moving and unmoving.

>>Also, an Akhanda Brahman has to be divided as Brahman and Apara Brahman to undersatnd association of sarvajnatva and kartrutva etc. with the Creator; only to sublate all (except ekamevadviteeya Brahma devoid of attributes and forms) later on.

I have shown how the apara brahma is only dependent on the paratantra world/jiva and therefore cannot be the svarUpa guNa of Brahman.

> I know the debate on Dvaita and Advaita in all their aspects is an endless one. It means that the issue is far from clinched. If at all, Dvaitins believe theirs to be the ultimate Vedantic siddhanta (‘ante siddhastu siddhantah’ –  Shri Vadirajateertha) because it has not bee rejected by any subsequent Acharya of the stature of Shri Shankara and  Shri Ramanuja. > It therefore does not call for Advaita being designated as THE Vedanta. >> K.A.Harnahalli

In fact the above is exactly the subject matter of a book ‘vyAsatAtparya nirnayaH’ of Sri AyyaNNa DikShita of the 18th century. He has shown how all the non-Vedantic schools have stated and refuted ONLY Advaita by taking it alone as the Vedanta. And this Vedanta that they have refuted, has itself refuted all these schools which are dualistic in nature: the salient feature being: 1. jagat satyatva
and 2. jIva nAnAtva, which are the salient features of VishiShTAdvaita and Dvaita as well. Since these two features are the key subject matter of contention, by upholding them those schools (sAnkhya, vaisheshika, nyAya, pUrva mimamsa and yoga) have refuted Vedanta (because Vedanta does not approve these) and Vedanta, in turn, has refuted all these schools. Hence the post-Shankara ‘Vedanta’
schools stand already refuted even before they took these present-day forms. The arguments contained in these post-Shankara schools against Advaita are already present in the pre-Shankara schools enumerated above in their arguments against Vedanta. If it is required that subsequent Acharyas
must refute the post-Shankara schools, we have Swami Vidyaranya, Madhusudana Saraswati, Appayya Dikshita, etc. who have done this and established Advaita, in the face of any ‘new’ opposition.      Thus ‘Vedanta’ continues to be only Advaita or Advaita alone continues to be ‘Vedanta’.

Om Tat Sat


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