Thursday, April 10, 2008

Brahma Sutra; Shankara Bhashya; 6

Now there is a question.
This question can either be taken as a simple question, from a student, a jijnasu, or it could be in the form of a objection from the opponent.
This type of a binary format is utilized in such a way as to present a dialog for ease of understanding

Koyam ahdyAsa nameti jape

smrti rUpaha

paratra pUrvadrshta avabhAsaha

Koyam adhyAsa -
On what basis are you saying there is adhyAsa. What is this adhyAsa.

Such is now defined. 2 examples are offered - one signifying fright the other attraction - snake on rope and silver on shell respectively.

Paratra AvabhAsa - something other than is experienced, is seen. So instead of a rope some other thing is seen i.e. a snake. What is this snake? It is smriti - smaryate iti - that which is remembered; rupAha - form - what is seen is from memory - i.e. it is a object with similarity that is seen from or based on memory (smaryamAna sAdrshyam); why? because of prior experience - pUrva drshtasya - This particular defintion by Shankara is so carefully worded that (as we shall see subsequently) no matter which school of epistemology you belong to - they all agree about this crisp defintion of what constitutes adhyAsa - koyam adhyAsa - what they all differ in is the how and the why.

Further the term avabHasa is quite important. You see a rope, आईटी in a particular way of a certain length. You think of a snake. Is this adhyAsa? It is smrti rUpah, it is of course pUrva drshtasya, but it is not adhyAsa - it is simple association - "i see a rope - i think of snake". For adhyAsa to happen there has to be absence of experience or knowledge about the rope. There is ONE unitary cognition. "This is snake" IN that particular cognition there is no rope! Hence the importance of the word avabhasa
WHen you recognize an object as it is it is jnanam when you dont and take it differently it also jnanam but it is viparyaya jnanam or mithya jnanam and this is adhyasa. And because it is adhyasa it has badhah - badha means sublation - in the wake of knowledge (of the reality of the object) that object goes away - that going away it is called badhah or sublation. Let us take the shell - it has a certain shine and that shine is one of the ingredients for adhyasa - it evokes in me the memory of silver - smrti sadrshah - purvadrshta - of what was similarly seen - (belongs to that jaati)...When the silver appears there is a pravrtti there is a desire iccha for that silver and therefore that desire is for the "real" silver alone - ishtatvat iccha...and hence there is krtih - an action on your part to pick up that silver and shabdhah - this is "s-i--lver" - this is called svarupa adhyasa or artha adhyasa. shuptau idam rajatam iti. Shupti i dont see at all - idam rajatam - this is silver - that is all i see. This is also called jnana adhyasa. In this adhyasa how much is the adhyasta? Is the whole shupti transformed into rajatam? No it is no - very important. Then how much? Only rajatam vishesha amsha is. The samanya is the idam or this-ness is called adharam. The idam is adhara. WHat is adhistana? the rajatam or vishesha alone is adhyasta. Bhrama is silver. To see silver ajnanam alone is the upadanam. Bhrama ajnana upadana vishaya.
Idam is not ajnana vishaya - "this" is something very well known to you. When you see the shell later - idam does not go away - it is abadhita - what goes away is badhita vastu which is silver alone. Abadhita idam vastu is called adharam and what appears after the badha is called adhistanam.
Adhistanam is something that appears after the badha.
What was appearing at bhamasthale/bhramakalepi at the place/tine of adhyasa also is called adharam.
Asti-bhati-priyam of an object like idam amsha is common and is adharam. It becomes the adhistanam for dvaitam of jnata-jneyam. Adharam is never negated. Whatever is negated is only aropita - ahankara adhyasa is negated - this jnatr-jnana-bheda alone is negated.
Ishwara srshti being there - body/senses/objects/jnatr-jnana-jneya will continue, but the bhrama of duality will not be there because ajnanam goes away, upadhi continues - this is called badhita adhyasa. As though jnata as though jneyam will continue because it is sopadhika adhyasa. Nirupadhika adhyasa - ahankara adhyasa upon the atma - ajnana is the only hetu for it , therte is no upadhi - so Ego goes away completely.
neha nanasti kinchana - iha atmani nanasti kinchana - in the adhara there is no question of there being anything else.
One is adhara the other is adhistana. This is a very important distinction to make. Adhistanam alone badhyate.
Now in order to explain adhyAsa or an erroneous perception 5 different views have been proposed by different schools of thought - it is important to note in this context that at this stage Adi Shankara is not interested in going into details about these various positions - his primary aim at this very preliminary juncture is to simply point out that while different schools postulate different views about the source of this error they all agree upon the basic definition that he has postulated. It would suffice then to simply examine these views very briefly at this juncture just to familairize ourselves in a broad sense with their positions.

Atma khyati
Anyatha khyati
Akhyati
Anirvachaneeya khyati
Asat khyati
Atmakhyatiasatkhyatiakhyatikhyatianyatha

tathaanirvacchaneeya khyati ye tattukhyati panchakam
kechitu yatra yad adhyAsaha

anyatra anyadharmaadhyasaha it vadanti
kechittu yatrayad adhyasaha

tadviveka agrahana nibandhanaha bhrama iti anyetu yatra yadadhyasaha

tasyaiva viparita dharmanattukalpana achakshate sarvatapitu anyasya anya dharmavabhesatAm

na vyabhicharati

pracha loke-anubhavaha shuptikAhi rajatavat avabhasate

eka chandra sat driteyavat iti.

Some indeed define the term 'superimposition' as the superimposition of the attributes of one thing on another thing. Others, again, define superimposition as the error founded on the non-apprehension of the difference of that which is superimposed from that on which it is superimposed. Others, again, define it as the fictitious assumption of attributes contrary to the nature of that thing on which something else is superimposed. But all these definitions agree in so far as they represent superimposition as the apparent presentation of the attributes of one thing in another thing. And therewith agrees also the popular view which is exemplified by expressions such as the following: 'Mother-of-pearl appears like silver,' 'The moon although one only appears as if she were double.'


Atma khyAti - this is also called idealism or subjectivism.
The school of philosophy that adpots this is the yogAchArA school of madhyAmkia Buddhism or kshanika vAdins.
There is no external object. Only internal cognition is externalized as objects.

Buddhi is a stream of momentary consciousness.

So Snake is one momentary consciousness; Rope is another momentary consciousness;
Without being able to appreciate this you think consciousness is continuous and hence there is adhyAsa.
Atma's dharma is vijnAna rUpah - momentary flicker of consciousness. Because of avidya which is anAdi one is unable to appreciate its momentariness. vijnAna atmA itself is superimposing snake on rope or silver on shell.


What is the problem with this? Why should we reject this?

Well, for one, if both snake and rope are momentary both are illusory - then what is bAdhA? what is sublation? - if you accept adhyAsA superimposition of false on real then you have to accept sublation or bAdhA - so how do you explain "going away" of silver?

Possible answer - sublation is this - the "external"ity of silver goes away. what remains is atmA. or AtmA alone is.
BUT
this AtmA itself is momentary.
So near
yet
So far!!

AnyathA khyAti
The school of philosophy that espouses this is vaisesikA and naiyAyikA, parinAmAvAdins, vishishtadvaitA.

They dismiss the atmakhyAti by saying - how can you dismiss externality completely? If you keep walking you will hit the wall. The wall is not your projection. I throw a rock at you - you will experience how real the external object is. On what basis are you saying there is no external object - based on what pramAna? You always feel the silver is out "there" - no one ever says i see silver in me. If you say - yes - in dream one experiences this - then we reply that is why it is a dream and this is reality. When you are in a dream that can happen - but the reality of wakehood is that objects are always seen to be outside. There is distance involved, non-acquisition of the same object involved, etc. There is no basis on which you can establish or even postulate that there is total absence of externality to objects. Then how to explain adhyAsa - he has his explanation - listen -

AdhyAsa is accepted as bhramA. Silver is not unreal. Silver is real. There is a real thing "silver."
The cognition of the silver or "silver-buddhi" is also real. It is not unreal like vandhyAputra - son of a barren woman - it is not totally unreal like gagabubu.

Then what is mistake? The mistake is anyadeshasta-kalasta - the real silver is in another place in another time. What is bhramA - that i see the real silver here - thats all.

Shell is real and outside. Silver is real and in your buddhi. Because of a limitation of the sense organ, a defect in the indriya or defect in perception, and samskara, I am seeing "that" silver - belonging to a different time and place, here.

[The problem for the vaisesika is the world is real - if he accepts adhyAsa his philosophy is in trouble.]

What is the problem with his explanation?

The pravrtti, the attraction, is to "this" silver alone! Why are we talking about the silver in the shop, etc - no one is saying "that" silver is unreal. But this silver - in front of me - which i am attracted to, which i perceive a value in - is not real - what is real is only a shell.

Next is a-khyAti
This is the philosophy of Prabhakara school of pUrvamimamsA, and also importantly of sAnkhyA.
A false appearance of silver is caused by viveka agrahanam.

In any bhramA there is sambandha - a relationship between object and eye - indriya - and whenever there is this sambandha - there is jnAnam - cognition takes place.
This indriyajanya jnAnam - cognition born of contact of object with a sense organ - is satyam - is real.

But it is seen to be a shell - why? Because of some fault in the indriya - in the eye, in the faculty of sight. There is hence vishesha jnAna abhAva - the characteristic knowledge of the shell does not take place.

"This" or "Idam" is indriya sannikarsham jnanam.
Because of dosha in the indriya there is vishesha jnana abhAva of shell.
Memory of silver is evoked and a real silver walks into your brain.
Thus this memory based cognition is also real. Hence you have iccha, desire for "it", you perhaps start walking towards "this".

So perception based cognition is real,
memory based cognition is also real.

We have two pieces of knowledge - both real.
Due to a defect in perspective i am unable to appreciate them as two - bheda agrahanam - and see silver as idam - and see the memory cognition as "this".

A example is given of two trees - if i see them from a distance and in a particular angle - from a particular perspective where they are both aligned - it appears as one tree. Once i come close and change my perspective it is very clear there are two trees.

So this misperception is part of the Order - really speaking there is no adhyAsa no error - hence a-khyAti.

So what is bAdha? what is sublation - with a restoration of my discriminatory capacity, i see the 2 cognitions were indeed separate. I realize the silver was a memory cognition. So all the pravrtti, icchA, desire,etc towards the silver "here" in "this" object goes away. Silver jnAna does not become unreal.

Very ingenious and quite convincing?
So on what grounds do we reject it?
Problem is had you seen the real shell there would have been no silver at all!
You may still have remembered a silver but that would only be an association.

Then there is asat khyAti
The shunyavAdins or Nihilist school of Buddhism espouse this theory.

The silver is totally nonexistent, unreal. Meaning on a real shell what is projected is totally asat - unreal - like the horn of a man.

Problem in this case is - do you see or dont you see>? what? this totally unreal silver? if yes, isee - then how is it asat?

Finally there is the vedantic position of anirvacchaneeya khyAti - this alone is the truth. With regards to the snake on the rope, the silver on the shell - no definitive categorization can be made. It is neither sat - real - nor asat - unreal. It is sat-asat-vilakshanam - hence anirvacchaneeyam - doesnt mean indescribable in this context - means no categorization can be made in this regard.

If snake was asat, unreal, it would never appear. asat chet na prateeyate.
If snake is sat, real, it would never disappear (upon cognition of rope) - sat chet na bAdhate.

Now all of the 5 khyAtis - one thing they all accept is paratra avabhAsaha.


(....to be continued)