Fundamental terms within Advaita.

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Namaste Everyone,

I have decided to give certain fundamental terms that are used in Advaita , which are the basis of analysis in Advaita.

Some terms are as follows Satyam, Mithya, Anrutam, Tuccham, Chit and Maya.

Satyam- "Abadhitam hi Satyam" which means that which cannot be dismissed is Satyam.

Mithya- That viz dependent upon Satyam. This means that Mithya does not have independent existence.

A classic example is that of Pot and clay, although we agree that both Pot and Clay exist and Pot serves a certain purpose of bringing water, the Pot does not have any existence apart from the Clay. We must note that the Clay was there before the Pot came into being and is also there after the pot is destroyed. Hence Pot is Mithya and clay is Satyam.

Anrutam- This is not a non translatable word, it simply means false, which means that it is an illusion and so on.

Tuccham- completely non existent, the classical example given for this is a hare's horn. Which is completely non existent.

Mithya is divided into 2 parts

Vyavaharika Satta and Pratibhasika Satta.

Vyavaharika Satta - This means that the Mithya is such that it is therefore I see.

Pratibhasika Satta- This means that I see therefore it is, a classic example is the illusion of a snake on a rope.

Chit- This is the very content of the observer, it is the content of the mind and thoughts as well.

Maya- We know what Satyam means therefore if we analyse everything in this world it gets resolved into it's components, let us take the example of a peace of cloth, we can resolve the cloth into it's threads, therefore over here the threads become Satyam and the cloth becomes Mithya. We analyse the thread further we can reduce it to cotton, hence in this case cotton becomes Satyam and threads become Mithya. If we analyse further, the cotton can be reduced to atoms, hence atoms become Satyam and the cotton becomes Mithya. Similarly if we keep analysing from the atoms which is a form we have to reach an existence which is irreducible and formless. This is reasonable, also the irreducible, formless existence must necessarily pervade everything and must not undergo change. The problem arises as to how a formless substance does not undergo change produce this world. We understand Satyam to be the basis of this world but since it does not undergo change how can it produce this world. Hence logically speaking for a mithya world which is apparent, we need an apparent cause. This apparent cause is called Maya. Now the cause is not different from the effect hence Maya viz the cause of Mithya is also Mithya.

A question may arise, will this not break Advaita since we are admitting 2 existences Brahman and Maya. It is not so, let us take the example of clay and pot, are there 2 separate existences viz clay and pot, if yes then we must show the existence of the pot independent of the clay. It is not possible to show the existence of the pot apart from the clay. Similarly it is not possible to show the existence of Maya apart from Brahman. Hence Maya + Brahman = Brahman.

This in short is the basics of Advaita, from the stand point of Satyam there is no creation, Hence Satyam is Paramarthika. From the point of view of Vyavahara we see this world.

The cause of this Vyavahara world is the Vyavahara Ishwara. All other concepts like Karma and so on are accepted from the Vyavaharika level and these concepts are common to almost all schools of thought as it has been borrowed from Yoga.

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  1. newwaysys's Avatar
    Well said. thanks for the post.
    mumbai local.