Author Topic: adhyaasa sha~Nkaa samaadhaanam and sambhaavanaa  (Read 443 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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adhyaasa sha~Nkaa samaadhaanam and sambhaavanaa
« on: March 01, 2015, 02:14:37 AM »
adhyaasa sha~Nkaa samaadhaanam and sambhaavanaa

      (Response to the objections and showing the possibility for adhyaasa).

      Of the six topics of adhyaasa stated above (see Shankara's discussion of adhyaasa, section 3-6 ), we have covered two topics, adhyaasa lakshaNa and adhyaasa sha~Nkaa. The next two topics of adhyaasa; sha~Nkaa samaadhaanam and adhyaasa sambhaavanaa are very similar. Hence they will be discussed together in the following.

      Shankaracharya has to address the objections with regard to each of the four conditions stated by puurvapakshii or the objector.

      The first condition is that the thing that is mistaken should be 'pratyaksha vishhaya' - should be an object perceived in front. For that Shankara's answer is that the condition to be fulfilled is not exactly the same as stated by the puurvapakshii, or the objector. The first condition needs to be modified slightly since it was presented incorrectly by puurvapakshii.

      For a mistake to take place an object must be evident, or it should be a known object since an unknown object cannot be mistaken. I cannot make a mistake about 'gaagaabuubuu', since I do not know what that 'gaagaabuubuu' is. Hence it should be a known object or an evident object, but need not be an object in front, as puurvapakshii claims. There is no need for an object to be in front for it to be mistaken. It is sufficient if it is a known object. From the point of aatmaa, it is not an object in front, but still as the subject aatmaa is evident enough for one to commit the mistake. Hence the first condition should be restated as that it should be evident and not pratyaksha vishhaya, as the puurvapakshii claims. It should be an evident 'vishhaya' and need not be 'pratyaksha vishhaya' and aatmaa fulfils the modified requirement. Therefore the first condition should be restated as 'prakaashhamaanatvam', or a known existent entity and not 'pratyaksha vishhayatvam'. Then the modified first condition is fulfilled both in the case of rope-snake and in the case of aatmaa-anaatmaa. Hence adhyaasa is possible.

      The second condition is aGYaatatvam - that is it should be not known - that rope is not known - Rope is partially known as an object present but it is not fully known as a rope. Existence of a rope as an object is known, but the 'ropeness' of the existing object is unknown. Partial ignorance is the second requirement - it is 'aa.nshika aGYaatatvam' that is partial ignorance and not 'puurNa aGYaatatvam', complete ignorance. We claim in the case of aatmaa also it is partially known and partially unknown, and therefore the second condition is completely fulfilled. The aatmaa is partially known as 'aham asmi', that is 'I exist'. Whenever a person says 'I am' - the sat (am) and chit (I) of aatmaa is evident but not fully known as 'aham brahma asmi' or 'aham aanandaH asmi', I am the totality or I am bliss. Thus sat and chit are known but anantatvam, my infinite nature is not known; 'aham aanandaH', I am bliss, is not known. What is the proof for this? - Everybody's bio-data speaks for itself in proof of this. Everyone introduces himself as ' I am this or that' etc., where 'I am', the subject corresponding to sat and chit, and 'this and that' being an object with a limited qualification - apuurNatva - proving that one is ignorant of oneself. Because of the existence of this self-ignorance only Upanishads are coming to our rescue to teach us our true nature. In Chandogya Upanishad there is a statement, 'aatmavit shokam tarati' - 'the knower of the self crosses the sorrow' - From these it is very clear that a sa.nsaarii, who is always engulfed in sorrow, does not have self-knowledge. Hence self-ignorance is there. This is everybody's personal experience. Hence the second condition that there should be partial knowledge and partial aGYaatatvam is fulfilled. That is the requirement of aa.nshhika aGYaatatvam, partial ignorance is fulfilled.

      Third condition is 'saadR^ishyam', similarity, should be there between the'adhishhThaanam' that is the rope and the superimposed snake. For this objection, the advaitin's answer is that the similarity is a general condition, which always need not be fulfilled for adhyaasa to occur. There are exceptions to this condition. For example, the general rule is the creator, intelligent cause (nimitta kaaraNa) is different from the material for creation (upaadaana kaaraNa). That is the pot maker (nimitta kaaraNa) is different from the clay (upaadaana kaaraNa). But there are exceptions to this general rule - for example a dreamer creating his dream world, a spider creating its web, ultimately the Ishwara creating this world. Similarly 'saadR^ishyam' or similarity is a general condition but it is not an invariable necessity or compulsory condition. And adhyaasa is possible without having 'saadR^ishyam' or similarity. aatmaa-anaatmaa adhyaasa comes under this category of exceptions. Hence the third rule is not applicable here.

      Why saadR^ishyam is not a compulsory requirement? Because we do have cases where error or adhyaasa takes place without any similarity or saadR^ishyam. Shankaracharya gives an example - 'apratyakshetiH aakaashe baalaaH talamalinataadi adhyasyanti' - To illustrate this take the example of the blue sky or blue space - the blue sky, is it an error or knowledge? We know that the sky is niruupam or without any color or form. When we say it is a blue sky, we are superimposing blueness upon the colorless sky. Not only the blueness but the sky seems to look like a vessel turned upside down (due to horizons) - the concavity of the space (talatvam) and its niilatvam (blueness) and also malinatvam (space pollution) are all falsely superimposed on space. When such an error or adhyaasa takes place what kind of saadR^ishyam or similarity one can attribute between aakaasha or space and the superimposed blueness or pollution or concavity? In fact aakaasha is never similar to anything else - there is beautiful statement to this effect in Ramayana.

      Gagana.n gaganaakaara.n saagaram saagaropamam.h |
      raama raavaNayor yuddha.n raama raavaNayoriva ||
      There are no other similar things to compare, for space other than with the space, ocean other than with the ocean and similarly the Rama-Ravaa war other than with Rama-Raavaa war.

      Therefore aakaasha is not similar to anything and therefore no saadR^ishyam' is possible. However aakaasha adhyaasa is every body's experience. Thus adhyaasa seems to take place even with out having a similar object and therefore the third condition saadR^ishyam is not compulsory. In the rope-snake case, it is applicable but in the case of blue sky or aatmaa-anaatmaa adhyaasa it is not applicable. Hence the third condition for aatmaa-anaatmaa case is invalid.

      The forth condition of the puurvapakshii is related to the mixing up of satya and asatya or anR^ita vishhaya. Such a mixing up is possible as in the case of rope-snake case if one has prior experience of real snake before. That is prior sa.nskaara of the real snake exists in the mind for one to project it on the rope in front. Thus a false snake is possible due to experience of a real snake before. Such sa.nskaara is not possible for aatmaa-anaatmaa case since there is no real anaatmaa for one to have that experience or sa.nskaara. This is the objection of the puurvapakshii. This objection is answered by advaitin as follows. sa.nskaara is required and it comes from previous experience and up to this part, it is acceptable. But we differ from objector's statement that the previous experience of a real snake is required for adhyaasa to take place. Previous experience of a snake is required all right, but it need not have to be a real snake. One can have a previous experience of a false snake and that experience of false snake or sa.nskaara can create an impression, which can produce another false snake.

      For example if I have never seen a real snake but experienced a false snake in a movie (if it is real snake, no body will remain in the theater) which created sa.nskaara for me to project a snake on the rope, and I experience the fears associated with seeing a snake. People project ghost on a post without having seen a real ghost in their life. Concept of a ghost in book is sufficient to create a sa.nskaara for adhyaasa to take place.

      Similarly the adhyaasa in the case of aatmaa-anaatmaa is possible by the previous sa.nskaara of unreal anaatmaa. How did this previous experience or sa.nskaara of unreal anaatmaa occur? That again is due to adhyaasa involving previous to previous unreal anaatmaa. And for the previous to previous adhyaasa there is previous to previous to previous unreal anaatmaa. This can go on. Then how did the very first unreal anaatmaa experience occur?

      Shankaracharya says - 'naisargitoyam lokaH vyavahaaraH' - it is anaadi adhyaasa. We never talk about the beginning of adhyaasa. It is naisargitaH (uncreated or beginning-less or anaadi) - puurva puurva adhyaasaH, uttara uttara adhyaasasya kaaraNam (previous previous adhyaasa is responsible for the following and the following adhyaasa). anaadi avidyaa vaasanayaa - the beginning-less ignorance based sa.nskaara. Therefore real anaatmaa is not there and is not required for adhyaasa to take palace. Previous experience of unreal anaatmaa is there which is the cause for adhyaasa.

      Hence all the four conditions are effectively fulfilled. The first condition is fulfilled in a modified form - prakaashamaanatvam instead pratyaksha vishhayatvam that is it should be evident rather than directly perceivable in front. The second condition aGYaatatvam is fulfilled since aatmaa is indeed partially known and partially unknown. The third condition is not compulsory and the fourth condition is also fulfilled since sa.nskaara is there not of real anaatmaa but of unreal anaatmaa, which is sufficient to produce adhyaasa. Therefore aatmaa-anaatmaa adhyaasa is possible.

      This forms the first answer to puurvapakshii. This answer is only a provisional or temporary answer. This is a defensive argument. This above answer is applicable to both objectors that belong to aastika and naastika camps. The answer is given using the same laukika anumaana that puurvapakshii used in his objections. Thus Shankara first shows using the same language of the objector that it is not adhyaasa that is wrong but his objections against adhyaasa are based on wrong postulates. In the process he provides the correct postulates too and shows that adhyaasa is possible.

      Since the objectors are mostly aastika-s a more complete answer is provided in the next post.