Shrisha Rao shrao at IA.NET
Fri Mar 5 03:37:39 UTC 1999

On Tue, 2 Mar 1999, nanda chandran wrote:

> Even this statement is subjective, as ultimately all statements are :-)

Don't you think that is just a variation of the liar's paradox?

> It was with Shankara that a full fledged logically consistent view of
> AtmavAda developed, which itself played a significant part in the
> disappearance of Buddhism in BhArath.

I don't think you understand; Dr. Hebbar's point was that Buddhism had
*already disappeared* by the time of Shankara's advent (or coming of age),
and that thus he had nothing to do with the same.  This of course is not
connected to whether his view was logically consistent or otherwise; the
matter is decidable merely based on historical research, and more than one
scholar has concluded on the basis of such that Buddhism was either
completely gone, or otherwise on its last legs and destined to lapse, by
the time Shankara came around.  If you disagree, then the proper thing to
do would be to do a deconstructive analysis of the historical research
which has gone into providing this conclusion, and to suggest or prove a
different one.  Merely asserting the beauty or otherwise of Shankara's
system does not provide a satisfactory answer.
> >Advaita  does  not  in  any  way  represent  the  best  logical
> >theory.
> When making such a statement please explain yourself.

I believe he meant to point to the various logical errors that arise if
Advaita is accepted; for example:

 1> AtmAshraya -- it is said that mAyA superimposes upon the Brahman
    to create the illusory world, but the mAyA itself is not a real
    entity, and is created by mAyA; ergo, we have mAyA itself as its own

 2> upajIvya-virodha -- the perceptions of the world and its elements
    including texts is essential, and their truth must be admitted if
    the truth of Advaita (allegedly) derived from them is to have any
    meaning, yet they are sought to be controverted by their own

Note that it is not merely enough to say that one must achieve Realization
and that only until then do these fallacies appear, because that is merely
a case of argumentum ad nauseum -- it is hoped that an assertion repeated
often enough will pass muster in spite of the lack of decisive evidence.
If errors are shown in the theory of illusion and that very same theory is
presupposed as its own defense, there is a serious logical error.  It has
been suggested that notwithstanding this, Advaita is truth, but insofar as
logic as we know it goes, there is just no other answer.
> >Again,  to  say  Shankara's  Advaita  is  the  simplest  view  >is  the
> understatement  of  the  year.
> Advaita � Brahman OR Atman
> Visistadvaita and Dvaita � Brahman + Atman + world
> So which of these equations is simpler?

That is a non sequitur.  There is no rule that a "simple equation"
necessarily corresponds to the truth.  Besides, if we were to admit such a
rule, would it not follow that shUnyavAda, which [allegedly] admits even
less, be even "more simple"?
> the same thing with an Ishvara included, so they can seek refuge in
> adhrshta or the God's mysterious will, in case of logical inconsistency!

Such as what, for example?
> But philosophically the so called nAstikas are on better footing than
> the theists.

My turn, again, to ask you to explain yourself.
> >Yes,  Shankara  is  a  prachanna  MahAyAnika.  Anybody,  who  >believes
> in  two  levels  of  reality  like  them  certainly  >befits  the
> nomenclature.  The  vast  majority  of  the  >"Vedic"  systems  are
> realistic.  Shankara  is  the  odd  man  >out!!!  (BNH)
> When the shruti says Brahman is beyond the intellect and senses, how
> else can you develop a logically consistent philosophy? By definition
> the absolute is beyond the relative. So the only way out is two levels
> of reality.

It is possible to develop a logically consistent philosophy by simply
admitting that Brahman is beyond the intellect and the senses, as Shruti
advises.  It is unclear why denying the reality of the intellect and the
senses, and their products, beyond which Brahman is stated to be, would
not amount to denying Brahman as well.  Any "Brahman" who is posited after
denying these is a product of someone's imagination or declarative
statement, and is not a product of the statement of Shruti.  Of course, it
is also unclear why interpreting Shruti to mean that the world is unreal,
given that Brahman is beyond it, is "logically consistent."  Surely there
is no rule, "if there is an X beyond a certain Y, then Y is illusory,"
thus?  Or even that "if Brahman is beyond X, then X must be illusory,"
thus?  These assertions cannot simply be made in their own aid; the fact
remains that nowhere do we find Shruti directly stating these things.

Note also that your assertion of two levels of reality is rather dicey,
for you are unable to meaningfully state which level of reality your
statement itself is on.
> You think Madhva�s question about the source of the illusion in
> VijnAnavAda is sharp dialectic. How can I reason with you?

Do you something wrong with the question itself, or do you know the


Shrisha Rao

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