'Burning Glasses' in Ancient India, another question

R.W.Perrett at massey.ac.nz R.W.Perrett at massey.ac.nz
Mon Apr 24 03:47:40 UTC 1995

The model of a clear crystal or jewel that reflects something coloured
(e.g. a red flower) is widely used in Advaitin texts to illustrate various
theses of the school, including the crucial epistemological notion of
superimposition (adhyasa).

It appears not only in late Advaitin epistemological textbooks like the
Vedantaparibhasa (I.116-117, Suryanarayana Sasri's edition), but also in
early Advaita. This includes Sankara himself: Upad.I.7.4, I,17,16, I,18,122
(Mayeda's ed.); BSBh I,3,19, III,2,11; BUBh IV,3.30; Chand. Up.Bh VI,
4,1-4.  The analogy is also utilised by Mandana Misra (Brahmasiddhi I,39,
III,49) and by Padmapada (Pancapadika XXVI,97-100).

Interestingly, the crystal analogy is not unique to Advaita. It also
appears in Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya III,3,41.

(I am originally indebted for most of the references above to Karl Potter's
Advaita Vedanta Up to Samkara and His Pupils, Princeton, 1981 (see index
under "red crystal, analogy of") and to the notes in Sengaku Mayeda's
translation of Sankara's Upadesasahasri, SUNY 1992.)  

email: R.W.Perrett at massey.ac.nz


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