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Thread: How do we counter this argument?

  1. #1
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    How do we counter this argument?

    namaste everyone.

    In a discussion at the Tamil Brahmins forum, an agnostic professor who calls himself an atheist when it comes to worship of saguNa Brahman, has posed this question:

    "The main issue is Vedic pramana for some central concepts like vyAvahArika and pAramArthika; nirguna and saguna; or jagat is mitya/unreal because it is created. With Ishwara being not just nimitta karana, but upAdhaana karana as well, how can jagath be interpreted to mean mithya/unreal."

    http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/42114-post110.html

    In other words, according to the professor, there is no Veda pramANa for Shankara's terms vyAvahArika and pAramArthika satyam as well as the jagat being mithyA, because according to the Vedas and UpaniShads, Ishvara is both the nimitta as well as the upAdhAna kAraNa for this world.

    I seek help from Yajvan, Atanu, Devotee and all other members to counter this argument effectively. Is it right to say that there is no Veda pramANa for Shankara's concepts, so they are not to be accepted? I have given the link to the professor's posting in question, to enable members to read what went before it in the thread.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~


    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    namaste everyone.

    In a discussion at the Tamil Brahmins forum, an agnostic professor who calls himself an atheist when it comes to worship of saguNa Brahman, has posed this question:

    "The main issue is Vedic pramana for some central concepts like vyAvahArika and pAramArthika; nirguna and saguna; or jagat is mitya/unreal because it is created. With Ishwara being not just nimitta karana, but upAdhaana karana as well, how can jagath be interpreted to mean mithya/unreal."
    In your opinion saidevo does the professor accept the knowledge of the upaniṣads and the brahma sutra-s both addressing saguṇa and nirguṇa ? Does he see these mentioned śāstra's as pramāṇa¹ ? I would think so, no?

    Does he discount any/all of ādi śaṅkara-ji 's works? I have seen the debate between avidyā and māyā as root issues leading back to śaṅkara-ji . That is, mithyājñāna (false knowledge) = avidyā, yet for others avidyā is the cause of mithyājñāna. Hence the pickle of ādi śaṅkara-ji 's writings not being clearly understood. Also that of ānanada reluctantly refused ( or accepted) as a property of brahman, and associated with śaṅkara-ji's works.

    praṇām

    words
    • pramāṇa- means of valid knowledge; logical proof; right measure , standard , authority
    Advanced ideas on this matter of pramāṇa:
    A means of acquiring pramā or certain knowledge. Some consider 6 in vedānta:


    • pratyakṣa or perception by the senses
    • anumāna or inference
    • upamāna or comparison
    • śabda or āpta-vacana , verbal authority or revelation
    • anupalabdhi or abhāva-pratyakṣa , non-perception or negative proof
    • arthāpatti or inference from circumstances
    Now nyāya considers the first 4 above and , excludes the last two ;
    The sāṃkhya approach views only 3 from the above list - pratyakṣa , anumāna and śabda ;
    Others get more robust and add 3 more ( for a total of 9) adding:
    • sambhava or equivalence
    • aitihya or tradition, some call fallible testimony
    • ceṣṭā - that of gestures
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    Dear brother saidevo, greetings!

    I also thought I was signing off, but you have come back with an exegesis of terms but leave the central question not satisfactorily answered. There is no intent to force an answer from you, but a reluctance to discuss is surprising.

    The main issue is pramana for some central concepts like vyAvahArika and pAramArthika; nirguna and saguna; or jagat is mitya/unreal because it is created. With Ishwara being not just nimitta karana, but upAdhaana karana as well, how can jagath be interpreted to mean mithya/unreal.


    Your citations from Vedas do not address any of the above:
    Now, the Vedic pramANa for the concept 'brahma satyam jagat mithyA' are:
    • ekam sat--Reality/Existence is One.--RV i.164.46


    • ekam evadvitiyam brahma -- Brahman is one, without a second.--Chandogya upaniShad VI.ii.1

    • prajnanam brahma -- Consciousness is Brahman.--Aitareya upaniShad 3.3, of Rg Veda

    • sarvaM khalvidaM brahma -- All of this is brahman. -- Chandogya upaniShad 3.14.1 of the Sama Veda

    None of these can mean jagath is mithya/unreal.
    ekam sat--Reality/Existence is One.--RV i.164.46
    "Ekam sat" simply means only one is unchanging, how can this mean jagat is mitya/unreal.

    ekam evadvitiyam brahma

    This is preceded by "agre", at that time, i.e. during pralayam before shrushti begins, there was only one, and no two. This is not to say the jagat created by Ishwara is mitya/unreal.
    prajnanam brahma

    This is not germane in this context.
    sarvaM khalvidaM brahma
    If anything this, statement only says everything is real, not mitya.

    I may be living in the west, but in as much as my formative years were in India, I am also of the East. Rudyard Kipling not withstanding, if there is a desire the twain can meet.

    Cheers!
    Namaste saidevoji,

    I have pasted the full post here for members to discuss. It is possible to go through every point and refute but for the time being i pick only one.

    ekam sat--Reality/Existence is One.--RV i.164.46

    "Ekam sat" simply means only one is unchanging, how can this mean jagat is mitya/unreal.

    If sat is ekam then how the jagat, which is purported as a second, be sat?


    To paraphrase, is jagat a second sat?
    Om Namah Shivaya
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    namaste everyone.

    In a discussion at the Tamil Brahmins forum, an agnostic professor who calls himself an atheist when it comes to worship of saguNa Brahman, has posed this question:

    "The main issue is Vedic pramana for some central concepts like vyAvahArika and pAramArthika; nirguna and saguna; or jagat is mitya/unreal because it is created. With Ishwara being not just nimitta karana, but upAdhaana karana as well, how can jagath be interpreted to mean mithya/unreal."

    http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/42114-post110.html

    In other words, according to the professor, there is no Veda pramANa for Shankara's terms vyAvahArika and pAramArthika satyam as well as the jagat being mithyA, because according to the Vedas and UpaniShads, Ishvara is both the nimitta as well as the upAdhAna kAraNa for this world.

    I seek help from Yajvan, Atanu, Devotee and all other members to counter this argument effectively. Is it right to say that there is no Veda pramANa for Shankara's concepts, so they are not to be accepted? I have given the link to the professor's posting in question, to enable members to read what went before it in the thread.






    Dear Saidevo,
    As its evident in your post above, you have already encountered the professor on a concept like pAramArthika .

    I realize within my limited experience, that someone can encounter either the concept of vyAvahArika or the concept of pAramArthika , but not the two together(may be its hard).

    The Professor preaches ONE truth while he believes/experiences in two!

    So, let the professor be happy with the rope and snake, pear and silver and the mirage and oasis.

    Professor is visualizing the non existence according to Shri. Narayana Guru Devan.


    The blue of the sky is neither "in us" nor out there", but is a subjective awareness in a more accentuated sense than in the previous vision. The perceptual and the actual are here cancelled out in the Absolute, which can contain them both without contradiction. By the time we reach the last verse of this chapter, all duality between the universal and the specific will have been abolished in favour of a unitive view.


    III. ASATYA-DARSANAM (VISION OF NON-EXISTENCE)

    1. manomayamidam sarvam na manah kvapi vidyate
    ato vyomniva niladi drsyate jagadatmani

    All this (world) is of mind-stuff,
    The mind, however, is not anywhere.
    Therefore, like the blue and so on in the sky,
    The world is seen in the Self.

    2. manaso'nanyaya sarvam kalpyate'vidyaya jagat
    vidyaya'sau layam yati tadalekhyamiva'khilam

    By nescience, which is no other than the mind,
    All this world is a presentiment of the will.
    This (nescience) by knowledge gets reabsorbed,
    Then the whole world (becomes) a mere configuration.

    3. vijrmbhate yattamaso bhiroriha pisacavat
    tadidam jagrati svapnalokavad drsyate budhaih

    Here, what a coward finds through darkness
    To be like a looming ghost,
    The same is seen to be by the wise
    Like a dream-world of a waking state.

    4. sankalpakalpitam drsyam sankalpo yatra vidyate
    drsyam tatra ca nanyatra kutracidrajjusarpavat.

    This visible world results from a willing presentiment.
    Where willing is present alone
    Is this visible world seen, not anywhere else,
    As a snake, too, when alone a rope is found.


    5. sankalpamanasoh kascinnahi bhedo'sti yanmanah
    tadavidyatmahprahkyam indrajalam ivadbhutam

    Between the will and the mind,
    There is no difference at all,
    That which is mind and called nescience and darkness,
    Like the magic of Indra, is a marvel.


    6. maricikavatprajnasya jagadatmani bhasate
    balasya satyamiti ca pratibimbamiva bhramat

    Like a mirage, to a wise man,
    The world looms in the Self,
    Just as to an infant, by confusion,
    A reflected image might real seem too.

    7. atma na ksiravadyati rupantaramato'khilam
    vivartamindrajalena vidyate nirmitam yatha

    This Self, like milk (that turns),
    Does not attain to another form.
    Therefore, the whole (universe), as if created
    By Indra's magic, exists as (an eidetic) presentiment.


    8. mayaiva jagatamadikaranam nirmitam taya
    sarvam hi mayino nanyadasatyam siddhijalavat

    Maya itself is the prime (material) cause
    Of the world, by that which is no other
    Than the Maya-maker (Self) is all this
    Created, as various magical effects.


    9. vibhati visvam vrddhasya viyadvanamivatmani
    asatyam putrika rupam balasyeva viparyayam

    To the mature mind, this universe
    Looms like a sky-forest in the Self -
    Even as an unreal puppet-form
    To a child (would seem) contrariwise.


    10. ekam satyam na dvitiyam hyasatyam bhati satyavat
    silaiva sivalingam na dvitiyam silpina krtam

    One (alone) is real, not a second,
    What is unreal, indeed, seems as being real.
    The Siva Lingam is stone itself,
    Not a second made by the mason.


    Read full दर्शनमाला- Darsana Mala-Nārāyana Guru (नारायण गुरु)

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    If sat is ekam then how the jagat, which is purported as a second, be sat? To paraphrase, is jagat a second sat?Om Namah Shivaya
    Just curious...,

    If Jagat is also Brahman, the original declaration still holds true that Brahman is Sat and 'Ekam' can also include Jagat isn't? So, the praamana that is required now is, how this Jagat is not real existence and the above statements alone seems not providing the evidence that jagat is Mitya, is what i believe the question to be answered..

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    namaste Yajvan, Atanu and Brahman.

    I spent sometime and prepared an elaborate paraphrase covering all discussion between us in the TBF, but Atanu has made my job easier by quoting the professor's entire latest post, which I find is more than enough to discuss among ourselves and be convinced of Veda pramANa for Shankara's statement "brahma satyam jagat mithyA". So, please give us your valued opinion on the post Atanu has quoted in full.

    Thank you Atanu, for making my job easier. You have a valid point about the sat being ekam, and the world which is changing cannot be a second sat, and so must be a superimposition over the only sat, and so it can only be of that sat by that sat even for that sat, and I am totally convinced about it,

    but I would still ask you, from the POV of the professor, that why should the reality of the world, although it is mutable and changing, be considered an illusion and hence unreal, specially when except a tiny percentage of jnAnis (whose experience is not within the realm of common people) consider it real by common consent and experience?

    In other words, is there any explicit statement in the Veda/UpaniShads or the prashnatraya (UpaniShads, BrahmasUtra, GItA) that the world is mithyA?

    Brahman I shall go through your valuable post to learn its contents.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    In other words, is there any explicit statement in the Veda/UpaniShads or the prashnatraya (UpaniShads, BrahmasUtra, GItA) that the world is mithyA?

    Brahman I shall go through your valuable post to learn its contents.
    That jagat is mithya is only accepted by Shankaras Kevala advaita, it has no definite proof in the shruti, thats why most if not all other hindu darshanas reject that statement. Since i also reject it, therefore of course in my opinion the statement of the professor cannot be refuted since it is true that there is no proof in Shruti for Kevala advaita, and as i said i think all other, or at least the majority of darshanas accept that the world is real, these darshanas are also more compatible with the results of modern western scientific research about the nature of the universe , which proves that matter does exist outside the mind and sense impressions are caused by objects and are not merely happening in conciousness, as some buddhist philosophers (like madhyamika) and Kevala advaita claims. Even Shakta advaita, which is very close to kevala advaita, does not accept the unreality of the world but also the causal doership, and therefore follow parinama vada (even when practised within shankaras sampradaya) Some shaktas within shankara sampradaya claim that secretly Shankara taught parinama vada and openly, only to refute budhhist philosophers, preached kevala advaita. Which of course does not really make sense.

    When following advaita vedanta one should be aware of the fact that no other astika darshanas accept that jagat is mithya, or the Jnana less part of Brahman then is the Kriya, at least i do not know of any other, except the nastika Bauddha mata.
    Last edited by MahaHrada; 23 February 2010 at 03:38 AM.

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    Namaste Saidevoji, Atanu, Brahman and all,

    The professor is not clear about the term, Satyam and Mithya, imho. "Ekam Sat", "ekam evadvitiyam brahma" etc. declare that Brahman alone is "Sat" ... whatever exists. When we say this, what happens to "jagat"/the World ? How can the existence of World be explained ? If the professor is seeing the world as Brahman then there is nothing like Mithya ! But has he attained that state ?

    "Mithya" doesn't mean non-existent ... it means "appearing something different from the reality". The substratum of this world is One Brahman without a second. However, in VyAvhArika (in our worldly life, practically) we are unable to perceive the World as Brahman. Those who are seated in Turiya see this World as Brahman but not the others. A person who has the torchlight can see the rope as rope but those who don't have that torchlight perceive the rope as snake. Perceiving the Rope as rope is the ParmArthika Satyam as it removes our ignorance & all associated fears due to this wrong perception. However, the world must also be seen as world to be able to live in this world. Let's understand that life is important to tread the path of Dharma .... to attain the Absolute. So, this importance of the world as world brings in the term, "VyAvhArika Satyam".

    Truth stated by the Shruti and Sankara are same .... Sankara has the task of explaining the difficult to understand Truth of the Shruti ... & for that he uses these terms. The use of different terms don't change the Truth being told. If anyone is able to understand the Truth stated in the Shruti without such an explanation ... there is nothing like it. But in that case, let him answer the basic question I asked above. Let him put forward a theory which can explain things as clearly without using the terms/metaphors Sankara used.

    I don't understand the problem of the professor. The basic question is : The world is Brahman alone but why do we not see it as Brahman ? There is One alone but perceived in this world as Many .... how ?? Unless the Mithya theory is brought in here, how can this be answered ??

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 23 February 2010 at 04:11 AM. Reason: Modified for better clarity
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  9. #9

    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by MahaHrada View Post
    .... which proves that matter does exist outside the mind and sense impressions are caused by objects and are not merely happening in conciousness, as some buddhist philosophers (like madhyamika) and Kevala advaita claims....
    MahaHrada Ji :
    Is Shankara saying that the world does not exist? He is saying that the world does not exist the way we see it. And, finally when one does SEE, the realization dawns that what was being seen and understood was not the reality. That was unreal in that sense.
    Most modern theories in physics actually support it. Before Einstein, people thought that since energy and matter are perceived differently, therefore, they are different. It turned out that one can be converted to another, but that is not our general perception. The recent discoveries in String Theory further show that at the smallest geometries, the dimensions of existence are more that four (three spatial and one time), and are curled up. Do we experience that with our common senses. What we experience is sometimes an approximate, and sometimes not correct form of real existence. Such examples are filled up in qauntam mechanics as well.

    I have to add that I have not seen conclusive statements in Vedopanishad offering this viewpoint in clarity. Neither have I seen offering a conclusive statement opposing this viewpoint. But then, I am still learning . Any input on this is highly welcome.
    HariH Om!
    Hare Krishna

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    Re: How do we counter this argument?

    Namaste Harekrishna,

    Quote Originally Posted by harekrishna View Post
    Most modern theories in physics actually support it. Before Einstein, people thought that since energy and matter are perceived differently, therefore, they are different. It turned out that one can be converted to another, but that is not our general perception. The recent discoveries in String Theory further show that at the smallest geometries, the dimensions of existence are more that four (three spatial and one time), and are curled up. Do we experience that with our common senses. What we experience is sometimes an approximate, and sometimes not correct form of real existence. Such examples are filled up in qauntam mechanics as well.
    Yes, modern science endorses Shankara's "Mithya" theory like nothing else. I have tried to touch this subject in post 17 of this link http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...?t=4824&page=2

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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