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    vitatha - an incorrect view

    hariḥ oṁ

    namasté & hello,

    This offer deals with the vaitathyaprakaraṇa (I will define in a moment) which is the 2nd chapter of gauḍapādacharya’s work called the māṇḍūkyopaniṣatkārikā (māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad-kārikā), also known as gauḍapādiyakārikā.

    Now, why would you care about this at all ? Well, any one that is part of this great knowledge of sanātana dharma is introduced to the notion that the world is an illusion. The people that I know and much that I read take this in stride and consider it to be the case, but as I have found, they are not really sure why this illusion is so; they may mutter, 'oh yes, this is all māyā ' and leave it at that, not really getting to the jest of this insight.
    This series of posts will offer some reason as to why, at least from gauḍapādacharya’s point of view, that most of us have an incorrect assessment of the world and have not taken the time to ponder the idea in depth.

    First the definition - vaitathyaprakaraṇa

    • vaitathya = falseness. Many times we see this word as vitatha which means untrue , false , incorrect.
    • prakaraṇa = chapter; a more refined definition is treatment , discussion , explanation. Where ‘chapter’ keeps count, what really is occurring is an explanation and discussion.

    Now tangential to this term prakaraṇa is ṭīkā which is a commentary. It is our good fortune that ‘coaching’ on this matter comes from ādi śaṅkara-ji as he offers his commentary on this writing of his grand-master. And there is another person ānandagiri1 who offers us a commentary (ṭīkā) on ādi śaṅkara-ji’s commentary.

    Let’s begin with the answer first
    An incorrect view of the world ( some say unreal, false) is simply because of its transitory nature. That is, it is impermanent. It ( the world) is full of change. For something to be real it must be changeless; the absence of all change. This is the definition we will go with, as that is what gauḍapādacharya informs us of, and it is backed up by the śrīmad bhāgavad gītā & kṛṣṇaḥ -jī’s words in chapter 2, 16th verse, the unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be.

    Now we will go deeper and wider into this in future posts, as we need a firm handle on this notion to build comfort and confidence. Yet let’s take an example. Take a car. Place this car in a field somewhere and wait. Just wait. This could be years, centuries, etc. What occurs to that auto made of metal, rubber, etc. ? It decomposes. It, at first was all shiny and new, but in a century or two it has decomposed into something else. It did not stand the test of time. It did not pass the test ‘the real never ceases to be’.

    Okay you do not have 1,000 years, so take an apple. Place that apple in the same field. Wait a month. Where now is that apple? It failed to keep its continuity. Take a human – we go from embryo to infant, to toddler, teen, adult, sr. citizen and then expire. Take all the elements of the periodic table...the table basically offers an elemental view of world, yet what did they start from? Hydrogen and how it evolved over time. Each individual element came to be over time and though a process of change. They ( the elements) did not pass the test of ‘changeless’ nor did the human body, and therefore fit the bill for being ~unreal~.

    In the examples above we can see transition going from one condition to another – that is, one state does not remain permanent and is in constant transition – perpetual change.

    So, let’s see how gauḍapādacharya would call this out ( in chapter 2)
    ādāvante ca yannāsti vartamāne'pi tattathā |
    vitathaiḥ sadṛśāḥ santo'vitathā iva lakṣitāḥ || 6

    that which is non-existent at the beginning and in the end, is necessarily so (non-existent) in the middle.
    the objects are like the illusions we see, still they are regarded as if real ||6

    Think of the apple... it was non-existent in the beginning; and in the end it decomposed and is no more. And, if you asked a scientist, the apple is in constant state of change i.e. growing and eroding or decomposing, not to mention apple A is not consistent with apple B ( in size, shape, atom count, etc). Hence, using gauḍapādacharya’s point of view, it too must be considered ~unreal~ while in the middle condition i.e. of it being an apple for a short time ( before it was a seed, and before the seed it was the sap of the tree). See the point?

    From the reader’s point of view there should be many questions ‘ but what if, how can _____ ( fill in the blank)’; many questions are provoked by this conversation. But, the best one is , if this world is unreal what then am I seeing, what then am I touching? I am experiencing something! How is that ~unreal~ ? These will be answered accordingly, but as usual a run way ( just like an airplane) is needed to get lift and to launch the knowledge that will be offered.

    Launching the means of knowledge
    This is offered in the traditional form found in the upaniṣad-s. These compoents will be used to frame the conversation:

    • anumāna – inference; inferring or drawing a conclusion from given premises
    • pratyakṣa – perception ( cognition), insight; this can be apparent, or a revelation in thought
    • śruti - verbal testimony; drawing on the wisdom of those that ‘see’; realized beings
    • dṛṣtāna – illustration ; examples and logic to compare and contrast.

    So, with the next post it must begin with , what is meant by ~unreal~ ?

    The overall conversation will take some time, so if there there is some impatience, one can read the
    gauḍapādiyakārikā on their own ( and I hope contribute to the conversation). Yet that is why I have started with the answer first approach. The goal is not to get to the answer ( like on a college test) but to show how all this comes about. Some have patience for this, others? not so much.
    And above all, I take my support from those seers that offer the knowledge to us. I take no authorship of this knowledge. I pass it along the way I have come to understand it and try to bundle it the best I can for one's consumption. Any and all mistakes must be allotted to me and none other.

    iti śivaṁ

    1. ānandagiri - head of the dvārakā pīṭha during the 13th century, common era; author of several ṭīkā-s and ṭippaṇa-s on various upaniṣad-bhāṣya-s of ādi śaṅkara-ji. He is commonly known as ‘ṭīkākāra’ in the advaita tradition

    Last edited by yajvan; 31 March 2017 at 04:33 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva


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