Author Topic: Proofs for adhyaasa  (Read 487 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Proofs for adhyaasa
« on: March 01, 2015, 02:08:34 AM »
Proofs for adhyaasa

      Now we take up the fifth topic - adhyaasa pramaaNa. What is the proof for adhyaasa? It has already been stated that aatmaa-anaatmaa adhyaasa is based on shruti pramaaNa. puurvapakshii has no basis to question since he has already accepted in his system of philosophy, the sthuulashariira adhyaasa, error associated with the identification of aatmaa with the gross body, on the basis of shruti only. There are two shruti based pramaaNa for adhyaasa; one is called arthaapatti (postulate) pramaaNa and the other is called shaastriiya anumaana (inference from shruti statements) pramaaNa.

      arthaapatti, as discussed in Ch.II, is one of the six pramaaNa-s or means of knowledge. It is a means of knowledge based on an idea, which is postulated to explain an observed fact. For example, let us say, after I get up from sleep, I see lot of water flooding all over the streets. Based on this observed data, I postulate that last night, it must have rained heavily.

      Since I had a sound sleep last night, I did not have any direct knowledge of the rain. However I had to postulate that it rained last night to explain the heavily flooded streets, particularly in Madras, where the drainage system is very bad. Without postulating the last night rain, I cannot explain the observed fact, the flooded roads. One can, of course, make a different postulate, like for example, a 'miracle' must have occurred last night. However, such a postulate is not agreeable to a rational intellect, unless one first proves that the more probable cause, like rain, did not happen. Since the observed fact can only be explained by postulating an idea, that idea becomes a valid knowledge. Even though it is a postulated idea, it is considered as valid knowledge or pramaaNa. Postulation is to explain, as in the case of the rain, a pratyaksha anubhava, a directly perceivable experience or a fact. Hence we can call this as pratyaksha based, or direct observation based arthaapatti pramaaNa. But when we postulate something to explain the shaastra or scriptures, then it is scripture based arthaapatti pramaaNa. Shankaracharya points out that adhyaasa or error is an idea postulated to explain the shruti statements. adhyaasa is not directly mentioned in shruti. This does not imply that it should be considered as Shankaracharya's imagination, just as the postulation of last night rain to explain the flooded streets is not a segment of my imagination. Hence adhyaasa should be considered as valid knowledge, since it is postulated based on shruti pramaaNa. Some philosophers, for example, Shri Madhvacharya, consider that arthaapatti is only an extension of anumaana pramaaNa (see Ch. II), and not different from it. That is not completely incorrect, since one can possibly come up with a concomitant relationship or vyaapti vaakyam, such as in the case of flooded streets that 'wherever there are flooded streets there must be heavy rains'. But here the concomitant relation between the rains and the flooded streets does not necessarily apply at the same time and place, making it as a poor example of anumaana. One can have rains upstate somewhere at a slightly different times resulting in flooded streets down stream later. The fact remains, however, that a postulation in arthaapatti can be a means of valid knowledge or pramaaNa.

      Just as in the case of postulation of rains to explain the flooded streets, arthaapatti can be used to show that 'kartR^itvam', doer-ship, bhoktR^itvam, enjoyer-ship, and 'anityatvam', mortality, are all due to error. In reality, I am neither a kartaa, a doer, a bhoktaa, an enjoyer and 'anityaa' a mortal. For this we need to go to shruti pramaaNa, which tells me of a particular fact -For example the above quoted shloka (Ref. IIIC)- 'hantaa chenmanyate hantum.... ' is from shruti, kaThopanishad. In support of this a very similar shloka also exists in Gita [II: 19], where only the first line is slightly different but with the same meaning.

      ya enam vetti hantaaram yashchainaM manyate hatam.h |
      ubhau tau na vijaaniito naaya.n hanti na hanyate ||
      In this shloka it is very clearly implied that aatmaa is 'akartaa' and 'abhoktaa', neither a doer, nor an enjoyer. It says aatmaa is not a killer, killing representing all the actions, and aatmaa does not get killed, thus representing that it is not a bhoktaa or an enjoyer. Krishna also says:

      'naiva ki~nchit karomiiti yukto manyeta tatvavit.h' (Ch.V : Eight), one who knows the truth knows that one does not do any action. He knows that he is 'akartaa', non-doer. Also He says 'naiva kurvan na kaarayan.h' (Ch.V:13) - aatmaa does not do any thing nor instigate anyone to do. ' I am never a doer', therefore, the statement that 'I am a doer' is an error.

      Thus there is a veda pramaaNa as well as smR^iti pramaaNa. A shloka from Geeta (V:15) as provided before which shows that aatmaa does not take either merits or demerits of anyone. There is also another statement in shruti that say 'aatmaa' is 'nirvikaaraH' - it is changeless. If aatmaa is kartaa, doer or bhoktaa, enjoyer, it will have to undergo a change, since action/experience requires a change. Hence aatmaa can be neither a kartaa or a bhoktaa. From this we postulate that 'I am a kartaa or doer' or 'I am an enjoyer or bhoktaa' is an error. Thus by arthaapatti pramaaNa based on shruti as well as smR^iti we postulate that 'aham kartaa', 'I am doer' 'aham bhoktaa', 'I am an enjoyer' are due to error or adhyaasa.

      One may note that shruti based arthaapatti pramaaNa is used not only by Shankara but also by other aastika daarshanika-s, such as saa~Nkhya-s, nayyaayika-s, etc., when they agree that 'I am mortal' is an adhyaasa or an error. Thus 'aatmaa anityatva adhyaasa', the error that self is mortal, is based on 'aatmaa nityatva', the aatmaa is immortal, shruti statement and hence it is shruti based arthaapatti pramaaNa. In contrast to other darshanams, advaita postulates, based on shruti statements, that aatmaa anityaH, aatmaa is mortal, is an error, kartR^itvam or doer-ship is an error and bhoktR^itvam, enjoyer-ship is an error.

      Similarly, the next superimposition is 'I am a knower' 'pramaatutvam' is also error or adhyaasa. 'I am the consciousness' is not a superimposition but 'I am a knower' is. It is again postulated based on shruti statement, which clearly says that aatmaa is not a knower. aatmaa is GYaanam, knowledge, but not a GYaataa or pramaataa, a knower. In Mandukya Upanishad it says 'naantaH praGYam, na bahishhpraGYam, na ubhayatah praGYam, na praGYaanaghanam, na praGYam, naapraGYam' meaning that aatmaa is not waking knower (knower in the waking state, vishva GYaata), aatmaa is not a dream-knower (taijasa GYaataa), aatmaa is not a sleep-knower (praaGYa GYaata). aatmaa is pure consciousness. Hence Shankara says that 'I am a knower' is also an adhyaasa or an error based on shruti arthaapatti pramaaNa.

      All these adhyaasa-s, I am a doer, enjoyer, mortal, knower, etc., can also be derived using another shruti statement. 'aatmaa nirvikaaraH', aatmaa is changeless from the statement 'achchhedyoyam adaahyoyam avikaaryoyam uchyate' -this is indestructible, incombustible, and changeless. If aatmaa is kartaa, bhoktaa or pramaata, it becomes subject to change. To be a kartaa is to undergo a modification. It is anubhava or an experience. Similarly to be bhoktaa or pramaataa - these all involve anubhava or experience of doing, enjoying, knowing etc. since they are all 'process' involving modification of one's state from say aGYaata to GYaataa - state of being ignorant to state of being knowledgeable, etc. In fact, in Sanskrit - any suffix 'taa' as in bhoktaa, kartaa, GYaataa, etc. indicates a modification just as in English the suffix 'er' after a verb - doer, enjoyer, knower, etc. involves a modification. The suffix 'taa' or 'er' indicates an action, action indicates a process and process indicates a modification or vikaara. But shruti says 'aatmaa is nirvikaaraH' meaning aatmaa is not a kartaa, bhoktaa, pramaata because 'nirvikaaratvaat', it is changeless. Thus from 'nirvikaara' shruti statement we can postulate that aatmaa is neither doer, enjoyer, knower, etc. Since they do not belong to me, the self, then kartR^itvam, doer-ship etc., are adhyaasa.

      There is also a third method to show that these are adhyaasa based on shruti. This is also indicated by Shankara in his adhyaasa bhaashhyam. Any kartaa or doer has to be associated by a karaNam or an instrument. He cannot be a doer otherwise. For example, 'mind' is antaH karaNam, inner instrument. Similarly sense organs are baahya karaNam, external instruments. Instruments like spectacles or pen, etc., are called upakaraNam. Thus doer will be associated with a karaNam or instrument of doing, similarly a bhoktaa, enjoyer will also be associated with a bhojana karaNam, instruments of enjoyment. kartaa, bhoktaa, pramaataa - all have association or 'sa~Nga' with instruments of action. Thus if I am a kartaa, bhoktaa or pramaataa, 'I am sa+sa~NgaH' - one who has associated with an instrument. However scripture says - 'asa~Ngo hi ayam purushaH' - that is aatmaaa is not associated with anything. Hence aatmaa cannot be a kartaa, bhoktaa or pramaata since to be a kartaa, etc., aatmaa has to get associated with something other than aatmaa. Thus the shruti's statement that aatmaa is detached or asa~NgaH, it is non-doer, non-enjoyer, non-knower, etc. Hence kartR^itvam, bhoktR^itvam or pramaatR^itvam, doer-ship, enjoyer-ship, knower-ship, etc., must be due to error or adhyaasa.

      Next we consider another adhyaasa - parichchhinnatvam -"I am limited' - I am here, and not elsewhere - that the notion of space-wise limitation is also an adhyaasa. How is this postulated? This is because shruti clearly says, aatmaa is anantam - limitless. If limitlessness is the nature of aatmaa, then limitation is an error.

      In kaThopanishad (I-3-15) it says:

      ashabdam asparsham aruupam avyayam tathaa arasam nityam agandhavach cha yat.h |
      anaady anantam mahataH para.n dhruvam.h nichaayya taM mR^ityumukhaat
      pramuchyate ||
      aatmaa is beyond the five sense perceptions namely shabda, sparsha, ruupa, rasa, gandha (sound, touch, form, taste, smell). It is eternal and unlimited. Thus it is anaadi and anantam - beginningless and limitless.

      One who knows that is beyond the sense of limitations and is eternal. Since limitlessness is a fact, limitation must be an error - by shruti arthaapatti pramaaNa. The limitlessness alone is called 'brahmatvam', infiniteness, and  limitation is jiivatvam', individuality. Brahmatvam is a fact and hence jiivatvam is an error. Thus aham brahmaasmi is a fact and aham jiivo.asmi is an a error or adhyaasa. Thus parichchhinnatvam or jiivatvam, limitation or jiiva-hood is an error or adhyaasa based on shruti arthaapatti pramaaNa.

      Last example, which is also important is 'anekatvam' or 'bahutvam' or multiplicity of aatmaa, is also an error or adhyaasa. That is, that 'there are not one aatmaa but many aatmaa-s, is also an error or adhyaasa. That there are many aatmaa-s is accepted by many philosophers - saa~Nkhya, yoga, vaisheshhika, puurvamiimaa.nsaa, and even those that give importance to Vedanta such as vishishhTaadvaita and dvaita. They all say that there are many aatmaa-s.

      Shankara says 'anekatvam', multiplicity, is also an error or adhyaasa based on shruti arthaapatti pramaaNa. There are shruti statements that says aatmaa is ekaH - single. Shvetashvatara Upanishad says:

      eko devaH sarva-bhuuteshhu guuDhaH sarvavyaapii sarva-bhuuta-antaraatmaa |
      karmaadhyakshaH sarva-bhuutaadi-vaasaH saakshii chetaa kevalo nirguNash cha ||
      (this is very important mantra that Shankara quotes very often) 'eko devaH' and 'saakshii chetaa kevalaH' in the above sloka imply that aatmaa is one only.

      There is one indweller who is enlivening all beings hidden from all perceptions, while being all-pervading as the inner self in all. He presides over all actions and all beings reside in Him. He is the witness and is pure consciousness free from all qualities or attributes.

      yasmin sarvaaNi bhuutaani aatmaivaabhuud vijaanataH |
      tatra ko mohaH kaH shokaH ekatvam anupashyataH || [Isha Upan. 7]
      when the wise man sees everything is nothing but aatmaa alone as ekaH, then where is the delusion or sorrow, when one does not see anything other than oneself - emphasizing singularity in statement 'aatmaa ekah eva abhuut.h'.

      Since aatmaa ekatvam or is single, is a fact then aatmaa anekatvam, that there are many aatmaa-s, must be an error or adhyaasa.

      Thus shruti arthaapatti pramaaNa, Shankara shows that 'anityatvam (mortality), kartR^itvam (doer-ship), bhoktR^itvam (enjoyer-ship), pramaatR^itvam (knower-ship), parichchhinnatvam (limitedness), and anekatvam (multipleness) - are all due to adhyaasa.

      So far we have discussed one pramaaNa - that is shruti arthaapatti pramaaNa for adhyaasa. Now we will discuss the anumaana pramaaNa for adhyaasa.

      In Ch. II we have discussed in detail the technical aspects involving what is anumaana pramaaNa, the four factors that are involved, and its relation to vyaapti vaakyam or statement of concomitant or coexistent relation between hetu and saadhya. The famous example is 'yatra yatra dhuumaH, tatra tatra agniH', wherever there is a smoke there is a fire'. This relation is required to establish the inferential statement, anumaana vaakyam - 'parvatah agnimaan dhumavatvaaat yathaa mahaanase', the mountain is fiery, because it is smoky, just as in the kitchen.

      Hence to prove adhyaasa using anumaana, we need vyapti vaakyam or statement of concomitant relation. We can express Shankara's analysis for adhyaasa in vyapti vaakyam form as 'yatra yatra vyavahaaravatvam tatra tatra adhyaasavatvam' 'wherever there is transaction there is adhyaasa. Any transaction proves adhyaasa or error. Why? Shankara says 'aatmaa cannot do any transaction' because aatmaa is different from the body, which is accepted by all the 'aastika darshanam-s'. An example, Shankara gives for this anumaana is 'pashu aadi vyavahaaravat' -just the transactions of a cow and other animals. 'pashvaadibhischa avisheshhaat' is the statement in the bhaashhya. When we are chasing a cow or showing fresh green grass to a cow, the cow comes towards the grass - why does it come towards the grass?

      Because the cow has the notion that 'I am the body, I am hungry and the grass is tasty treat for me'. Only cow comes towards the grass because it has the notion or error that 'I am this body'. In motivating the action, the cow may think, "I am hungry and grass will remove the hunger, and the fellow seems to be a nice guy offering me tasty grass". Because of deha adhyaasa only (error or notion that I am the body), the cow comes towards the grass. This is called pravR^itti vyavahaara or going after for some thing conducive to one's happiness. This cannot happen without the deha adhyaasa. Shankara gives another example - if the same person drops the grass and takes a stick, a cow realizes that this person is worse than any brute that I know off, not dependable. It is true, beasts are more trustworthy and predictable than humans, and there is a danger involved in staying here - making such an inference the cow goes away from him - this is called 'nivR^itti vyavahaara', going away form things that cause unhappiness. This is again due to 'deha adhyaasa', because of the notion that I am the body. The person is going to beat with the stick only the sthuula shariiram, gross physical body and not the suukshma shariiram, subtle body. - thus there is a sthuula shariira adhyaasa error that I am this gross body. Hence both pravR^itti and nivR^itti vyavahaara takes place only because of adhyaasa or error. Hence the study of the behavior of the cow, provides an example or dR^ishhTaanta for vyaapti GYaanam. 'pashu aadi vyavahaaravat' - just as the transactions of the cow and other animals, particularly since the behavior of humans is not different from animals. He goes after something he likes, pravR^itti vyavahaara and he goes away from things he dislikes, nivR^itti vyavahaara. Hence we can express the statement of anumaana in our standard format - manushhyaH adhyaasavaan vyavahaaravatvaat, yathaa pashuvat - similar to our familiar statement - parvataH agnimaan dhuumavatvaat, yathaa mahaanase. manushhyaH is paksha, adhyaasavaan is the saadhyam, hetu is vyavahaaravatvaat and pashuvat is the dR^ishhTanta.

      Hence Shankara says all human activities are based on adhyaasa or error since all activities can be considered as either pravR^itti going after or nivR^itti or going away. Hence all human beings have got this adhyaasa.This is the second pramaaNa for adhyaasa. Thus Shankara provides two types of pramaaNa for adhyaasa.

      With this adhyaasa pramaaNa section is also completed.

      Next we will take up the concluding section of adhyaasa in terms of its implication in human life. That constitutes the last section on adhyaasa.