Madhusudana Saraswati misrepresented
In the ‘Advaita Siddhi’ of Sri Madhusūdana Saraswati [Pariccheda 2, p.745 of the Edition published by MM Ananthakrishna Shastry] is stated:
//etena bhagavallokāderapi nityatvam apāstam. Na cha ‘ato hi vaiṣṇavā lokā nityāste cetanātmakaaḥ. matprasādāt parām śāntim sthānam prāpsyasi śāśvatam’ ityādyāgamavirodhaḥ, tasya avaAntarapralayasthatvaparatvāt. Tasmāt nirguṇam nirākāram brahma iti siddham. Iti advaita siddhau brahmaṇo nirākāratva siddhiḥ//
[Thus (in view of the foregoing arguments), the ‘eternality’ of divine/lordly/worlds too stands negated. One ought not to raise an objection that the following scriptural passage is contradicted by the above conclusion: ‘Therefore indeed the Vaiṣṇava loka-s are eternal and are sentient in nature. By My grace you shall attain the state of great and eternal peace.’ The ‘eternality’ stated in this passage has its purport in the ‘avāntara pralaya’, intermediary dissolution. Thus stands established that Brahman has no form in the work called ‘Advaita siddhi’.]
The ‘Laghuchandrikā’ gloss by Gaudabrahmānanda adds:
‘There is no pramāṇa for the existence of a Vaikunṭha loka which is not a product’ [abhautika-vaikunṭhaloke mānābhāvāt.’//
Not able to digest the above shocking statements, the blogger has desperately tried to twist the sentences:
//na ca avidyāyāmeva vyabhicāraḥ ; tasyā apyanityatvena vyabhicārāhāvāt । …. । etena bhagavallokāderapi nityatvamapāstam । na ca
“ato hi vaiṣṇavā lokā nityāste cetanātmakāḥ ।
matprasādāt parāṃ śāntiṃ sthānaṃ prāpsyasi śāśvatam ॥”
ityādyāgamavirodhaḥ ; tasyāvāntarapralayasthatvaparatvāt ।
(Advaita Siddhi, 2nd Pariccheda, p. 745 of
MM Anantakrishna Sastry’s edition)
Translation: There is no violation/contradiction (on the point of eternality) in the case of nescience itself, since even nescience is admitted to be non-eternal… By this, even the Abodes of the Supreme Lord are declared to be non-eternal. It does not contradict the Puranic verse quoted, since “eternality” there means continued existence between two universal dissolutions, or continued existence during intermediate dissolutions.//
Let’s consider the two options the above translation, by the blogger, contain:
//since “eternality” there means continued existence between two universal dissolutions, or continued existence during intermediate dissolutions.//
In the first option, vaikunṭha will exist ‘between two universal dissolutions (if that means ‘mahāpralaya)’. That means, as is rightly intended by Madhusudana, the vaikunṭha loka will exist only between two mahā pralayas: after the first mahā pralaya, it is created and in the second pralaya it is destroyed. The second option: ‘continued existence during intermediate (avāntara) pralaya’ is what is explicitly stated by Madhusudana ‘tasyāvāntarapralayasthatvaparatvāt.’ The first is implied, that is, the loka will not exist during mahā praḷaya.
There is no ‘or’ since both the meanings result in the same situation: vaikunṭha not existing during maḥa pralaya. In the sequel is quoted his interpretation of the Laghucandrikā commentary:
// ityādiśruteḥ bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt anāditvena śrutiyuktisiddhamāyādibhinnajaḍatvāvaccedena lāghavāt brahmopādānakatvāt sopādānakamātrasyāvidyakatvenāvidyānāśyatvāt jaḍasāmānyasya vināśitvamityuktavākyasthaṃ nityādipadamavāntarapralayasthaparamiti bhāvaḥ ।
Purport (for the last paragraph above): The cited shrutivAkya-s show that the limitation of (i.e., notion of/characterisation as) “bhUta”, while associating naturally (lAghavAt) with the creation and destruction of the universe from Brahman, cannot be considered to exist/associated with (mAnAbhAvAt) the Vaikuntha worlds that are abhautika (not of the nature of bhUta-s). Hence, their eternality is declared. But this is just like the eternality of avidyA, which shruti also declares in the statement “gauranAdyantavatI” (quoted by Madhusudana in the immediately preceding lines). However, since even these Vaikuntha worlds are also avidyAtmaka, they cease along with avidyA after Nirguna Brahman realisation.
(Laghucandrika, from the same source as above)//
The above passage of the Laghuchandrika has been misinterpreted deliberately by the blogger to avoid the imminent destruction of vaikunṭha during maha pralaya. What the laghuchandrika actually says and means is:
By quoting a number of shruti passages (I am making a few comments in between [ ] below):
tasya uktāgamasthanityādipadasya । avāntareti ।
“ātmā vā idameka evāgra āsīnnānyatkiñcanamiṣat”,
“eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīt na brahmā neśāno nāpo nāgnīṣomau na ime dyāvāpṛthivī na nakṣatrāṇi na sūryaḥ”
ityādiśrutibhiḥ pralaye sakalakāryasaṃskāropahitamāyāvaccinnacinmātrasattāmuktvā
[The above shruti passages show that during pralaya just the ‘māyāvaccinnacinmātra’ exists. What qualifies the māyā? He says: sakalakāryasaṃskāropahita..the latent state of the entire created world (of the previous creation which has just got dissolved). So, during pralaya just the above qualified maya-associated Brahman (cinmātra) Pure Consciousness alone exists. That is, nothing else in the form of vyakta, exists that can be identified as ‘this is so and so’. ]
“sa īkṣata lokānnu sṛjā iti sa imān lokānasṛjat । so’kāmayat”
ityādinā tasya dhyānāntasthasyetyādi puruṣāścaturdaśā jāyantetyādi pañcatanmātrāṇi mahābhūtānītyādinā ca sarvalokaghaṭitaprapañcasṛṣṭeruktatvāt,
[The above means: based on the shruti cited, that mayavacchinna chinmātra Brahman deliberated, ikṣata, ‘let me create these lokas’ and thus desired. The creation of the universe consisting of all the lokas, sarvalokaghaṭita, takes place through the medium of the panchatanmātras, etc. By explaining thus, the laguchandrikā implies that there was no loka called by any name whatsoever during pralaya. ]
“yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante yatprayantabhisaṃviśanti suṣuptikāle sakale vilīne etasmādātmanaḥ sarve vedāḥ sarve devāḥ sarvāṇi ca bhūtāni vyuccaranti”
[all that is created undergoes dissolution and emerge during the next creation ]
Now, in the light of the above cited shrutis, what the laghuchandrika concludes becomes clear. I am breaking the pretty long sentence into convenient segments to enable ease of understanding:
1.ityādiśruteḥ bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt
- abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt
- anāditvena śrutiyuktisiddhamāyādibhinnajaḍatvāvaccedena lāghavāt
- brahmopādānakatvāt sopādānakamātrasyāvidyakatvenāvidyānāśyatvāt । [the highlighted portion in blue is a printing mistake in the book: it should be ..tvena vidyānāśyatvāt..]
- jaḍasāmānyasya vināśitvam
- iti uktavākyasthaṃ nityādipadamavāntarapralayasthaparamiti bhāvaḥ
One can notice the four hetu-s, all ending in panchamī, that go to establish the vināśitvam of the jaḍasāmānya.
Now the meaning of the above segments is given below, with the above and below serial numbers matching:
- Vaikunṭha is within the category of bhūta, that which is created. Bhūtatvāvacchedena…(this tṛtīyā vibhakti is in the sense of reason, hetau tṛitīyā.) (That is why so many shruti passages were cited) It is but fit to conclude that since it is born of Brahman will be destroyed during pralaya. This reasoning is lāghava kalpanā (with minimum postulates, as opposed to gaurava kalpanā, prolix, with needlessly more postulates).
- The second point above follows from the first: since there is no pramāṇa for vaikunṭha being abhautika, that is, there is no pramāṇa for its being uncreated // abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt//
- Māyā is admitted to be anādi on the authority of the shruti and yukti. Vaikunṭha is distinct from the category of anādi māyā but yet it is jaḍa. [This is stated because while māya is admitted to be jaḍa and unproduced, vaikuntha is not akin to māyā, not anādi, but produced and jaḍa.]
- Since vaikunṭha has Brahman as its vivartopādāna, cause, whatever is having this vivartopādāna cause, sopādānaka, is ‘āvidyaka’, caused by avidyā, and therefore destroyed by vidyā.
- Whatever is jaḍa, jaḍasāmānya, is subject to destruction (since Brahman alone is chaitanya).
- The word ‘iti’ means: due to the above mentioned reasons (iti hetubhyaḥ). The words ‘nitya etc…’ of the purāṇa vākyam has the purport of ‘existing during the avāntara, intermediary, pralaya.’
It can be noted that all the six segments are about Vaikunṭha. Vaikunṭha, not being existent during pralaya, coming under the category of sarvaloka, all lokas, that are produced, there being no pramāṇa for its being abhautika = not being produced, its being distinct from māyā, etc. which are anādi – for all these reasons the purāṇa word ‘nitya’ cannot mean absolute nityatva but only relative, up to the point of mahā pralaya.
The laghuchandrikā is not admitting anāditva to vaikuntha. If it did not intend this, the citing so many creation-shruti vākyas will be with no purpose.
The laghuchandrika is establishing the vināśyatvam of vaikunṭha on two grounds: one: everything that has Brahman as the vivartopādāna cause, being illusory, (‘avidyaka’) is subject to destruction upon the gaining of Brahmajnānam. Vaikuntha has Brahman as its vivartopādāna cause. This destruction is of the nature of bādha, not the kind of dissolution in pralaya. The unreality of everything except the Chinmātra Brahman is realized. And the second ground is: since all jaḍa is created, produced during the creation, all lokas, sarvalokaghaṭita prapancha, will undergo dissolution during the subsequent mahā pralaya.
The blogger, not able to, not wanting to, understand the passages cited, twists the actual sentences to mean: //…. cannot be considered to exist/associated with (mAnAbhAvAt) the Vaikuntha worlds that are abhautika (not of the nature of bhUta-s). Hence, their eternality is declared.//
While the commentary is unambiguous // abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt // the blogger gives a completely incongruent meaning as ‘the limitation cannot be applied to vaikuntha as it is abhautika.’ He means to say: there is no pramāṇa to attach limitation to vaikuntha.’’ What a travesty of interpretation!! And nowhere ‘their eternality’ is declared or even implied in the text or the commentary.
The abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt expression is so very clear: ‘since there is no evidence for the vaikuntha loka to be un-created.’ Even someone who has no background of Vedanta, with a mere high school Sanskrit knowledge will be able to understand what that phrase means. He did not understand the meaning of the words ‘kalpane’ and ‘lāghavāt’ and therefore gives a nonsensical meaning: //while associating naturally (lAghavAt).// By no stretch of imagination can this meaning be correct.
// It is amusing to see desperate ones mistranslating “abhautikavaikuNThaloke mAnAbhAvAt” as “pramANAbhAvAt” i.e., there is no pramANa for abhautika vaikuNTha loka.
Note that if Madhusudana/Gauda Brahmananda meant that Vaikuntha is eternal only up to the point of pralaya, Laghucandrika must have stated “Vaikuntha worlds are destroyed after Brahma’s kalpa” and shown shruti/smR^iti passages to that effect//.
1.While the blogger is aware of what that expression abhautikavaikuNThaloke mAnAbhAvAt means, he does not want to accept it since it cuts at the root of his theory. And to not to allow its correct meaning, he struggles to twist it to give a nonsensical interpretation. With his interpretation, the original sentence itself will not make a correct grammatical one:
This is what the sentence, in two segments, originally is: // bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt, abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt //
His interpretation will make the sentence read thus: at the first stage: bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke, mānābhāvāt.
It makes no sense whatsoever. It does not contain a pratijñā, claim, at all for the subsequent hetu, reason/ground, to correspond to. If the blogger’s interpretation is to be read into the sentence, it should ideally appear thus, with all the fracturing and repairing:
bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpanam abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke na lāghavam, mānābhāvāt.
The ‘purport’ according to the blogger is: // The cited shrutivAkya-s show that the limitation of (i.e., notion of/characterisation as) “bhUta”, while associating naturally (lAghavAt) with the creation and destruction of the universe from Brahman, cannot be considered to exist/associated with (mAnAbhAvAt) the Vaikuntha worlds that are abhautika (not of the nature of bhUta-s).//
But the sentence is never like this; there are clearly two different hetu-s, with panchamī, in those two segments. There is absolutely nothing in the original sentence to mean or accommodate //cannot be considered //
- There is no need for showing any such passages since the Laghuchandrika has made the case very tight. It has started the explanation by citing a list of shruti passages which show: 1. Only māyopahita chinmātram existed during pralaya. During that state nothing else, not even vaikuntha, exists; the earlier creation, including all lokas, exists only in a samskāra, latent, form. 2. During the next creation, the prapancha consisting of all worlds, sarva loka ghaṭita, is created. By using the word ‘sarva loka’, he is including the vaikuntha loka too in that. 3. By citing the yato vā imāni, etc. shruti, he means to say that all that is created during that māha sṛṣṭi from Brahman, has to get back into it during mahā pralaya. 4. All Vedas, all devas, all bhūtas (beings) emerge from that Atman during creation. Vaikuntha is included in the ‘bhūtas’ that emerge.
Therefore there is no need for him to cite any passages for only the vaikuntha entering mahā pralaya. He groups vaikuntha with all lokas. He takes it as jaḍa but distinct from māyā which is also jaḍa, but anādi. He does not accord anāditva to vaikunṭha. If he had not meant vaikuntha to be created, he would not give the hetu: abhautikavaikunthaloke mānābhāvāt. He explicitly says: bhūtatvāvacchedena.
The blogger’s ‘summary’ too is faulty:
// To summarize, advaita posits the idea is that Shri Vaikuntha is beyond the material universe and is not subject to pralaya. That way, it is eternal as compared to other things in the vyAvahArika. But since even this Sri Vaikuntha is a product of mAyA from the view of the pAramArthika sat, it is anitya as compared to pAramArthika sat. And this is what Madhusudhana was arguing with Dvaitins about – since Dvaitins consider Shri Vaikuntha as absolute eternal reality, Madhusudhana was merely arguing that any reference to its nityatva only pertain to its immunity to pralaya and that it is non-eternal *in comparison with paramArthika sath* only.//
- Advaita never posits that vaikuntha is not subject to pralaya. If the siddhi had meant that it is not subject to pralaya, it will not give the purport of the nityatva contained in the purānic verse as ‘avāntara pralayasthatva paratvaāt’ as the hetu. This hetu is to substantiate his pratijñā: that the bhagavallokas’ nityatvam is denied. He takes up the verse cited by the opponent and concludes that the verse does not pose any contradiction to the pratijṇya, claim, since the nityatva in the verse is only relative: the worlds stay only during the intermediary pralaya (and therefore not during mahā pralaya).
- The laghu chandirka clearly gives the hetu: jaḍatvasāmānya. It is inert.
- The question of its not being of a pāramārthika satya is a different point.
- Madhusūdana is not granting vaikuntha any absolute immunity from pralaya; he explicitly says that its nityatva is only in the sense of existing till, during, the avāntara pralaya. And therefore, not existing during mahā pralaya.
Thus, the ‘summary’ does not truly summarize either the siddhi or the laghuchandrika. It is rather a misunderstanding of the entire concept.
- The blogger completely bungled with the laghuchandrika
- The ‘purport’ is wrong
- The sentence in the laghuchandrika does not at all bear the purport. No one can match the ‘purport’ with the original sentence.
- Instead of clearly admitting that the vaikuntha loka too undergoes pralaya like all other lokas during mahā pralaya, an exercise in vain is undertaken to somehow save vaikuntha from mahā pralaya.
- The idea of vaikuntha existing eternally is not consistent with the shruti as pointed out by the laghuchandrika
Om Tat Sat