In this posting we shall see how the objection raised in the last posting has been answered and continue with the treatise of Sriman U.Ve. Raghunathacharya swami on Mundakopanishad.
Answer: “idam agre adviteeyam, ekameva sath eva aaseeth” – “agre = in the beginning, before the creation has started, idam = this visual world, with many varieties of the names and forms, sadeva Aseeth = was there as sath only, an entity with Brahman at its core, was there. advitheeyam – ekameva = that sath was only in subtle form, as the material cause, devoid of name and shapes, and there was no other instrumental cause.” This is the meaning of the above s’ruthi vAkya. Thus, this word eka is only proving the existence of an entity (as the material cause) without any divisions of names and shapes. We see all those varieties of forms and names in today’s universe. It does not prove the statement – there exists only Brahman and nothing else exists. From the structure of the sentences like bahusyAm prajAyeya and tharhi avyAkrithamAseeth – thannAmarUpAbhyAm vyAkriyatha etc., attaining the nomenclature like name and form. Further is the word eka not showing the universe was in the subtle form devoid of the division with name, form etc.? Leaving aside such a meaning which is in line with the other lines in that part of the texts, saying that “Brahman only is real, the rest is all illusory” is only stubborn refusal to accept the logical conclusion in line with the rest of the texts. Hence, this word eka does not show that the eternal universe of SriVaikuntam etc., are non-existent. It tells us that for this visible universe, it was existing in subtle form for which no specific nomenclature or shape or form were possible before the creation or evolution started, and hence it does not say that the other universes like the eternal SriVaikuntam etc. do not exist. If that be so, what meaning does the word advitheeya carry? It has two meanings. The first one says Brahman, the upAdAna kAraNa – the material cause for the evolution of the entire universe, on His own, without requirement of any other entity as instrumental cause, transformed Himself into the visible universe. Sri S’ankara BhagavathpAda also gave this meaning only. The other meaning can be there was no second entity either equal to or higher than, Him. It is used in the same meaning as the sentence “The emperor is supreme, and has no second. There was no second one like him” has its meaning. According to the s’ruthi VAkyas like pathim vis’vasya etc., Brahman is the material cause for the entire universe and the controller and ruler of the entire universe. Saying that such Brahman is without a second one like Him, expresses the greatness of the Brahman, but not that there is no other entity existing. It does not negate the existence of millions of entities, which cannot be compared to Him in any way, since all of them are much less than Him in all possible ways and are controlled and ruled by Him. When we say the emperor is supreme and has no second one, it does not mean that he does not have a wife, house or children, he has no retinue etc. Similarly, this word advitheeya in the s’ruthi vAkya ekamevAdvitheeyam does not mean that He does not have celestial residence or retinue of innumerable nithya sUris, muktha Purushas – the persons released from the cycle of births and deaths and or other eternal entities. The s’ruthi vAkya eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAnam means that from the knowledge of the upAdAna kAraNa – the material cause, the entire evolved universe which is the kArya prapancham, will be known. Since the matter under discussion is about the evolved or created universe – the kArya prapancham, eternal entities like the SriVaikuntam are not in the picture at all. So knowledge about them is of no consequence. An objection: The meaning of the s’ruthi vAkya “eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAnam” is said to be the knowledge of only this visible universe, which has been created – that is the kArya prapancham, will be available from the knowledge of that Unique Single Brahman – the material cause for this universe. Further it is said that it does not matter even if the eternal bodies like the eternal supreme dominion – the nithya vibhutI etc.; that are not the created entities; do not form a part of this word sarva. Earlier it is said that all that, other than Brahman, does not exist and such matter is indicated by the word sarva in the s’ruthi vAkya – “eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAnam.” Further it is said that because every material other than Brahman is included in the word sarva, Brahman alone becomes the instrumental cause in absence of a material which can be the instrumental cause – nimitta kAraNa. If that be so, is it not contradicting the earlier statement? Is it proper to say that there exist some eternal entities like nithya vibhutI etc., and they do not get covered by the word sarva? If some eternal entities other than Brahman do exist, why should not any one of them be the instrumental cause also? Answer: This matter definitely needs a careful review. This statement about eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAna is mentioned in many Upanishads. The treatise has been supported in two different ways by different Upanishads. In ChAndOgya Upanishad the thesis of support is as follows – by giving the instances of the lump of clay and the pots etc., the relationship of Brahman and the universe has been confirmed as that between the material cause and effect. It is thus proved that through such relation-ship, the knowledge of the universe – the effect can be had from knowing about the Brahman – the cause. In other words, since there is no entity without being permeated by Brahman – i.e., there is no material which does not have Brahman as its inner controller, it is possible to have the knowledge of the universe consisting of the material having all-permeating Brahman as the inner soul, from the knowledge of the Brahman. The BrihadAraNyaka Upanishad has the following VAkyas in this context –
Athmano vA are dars’anena s’ravaNena mathyA vijnAnenedagm sarvam viditham bhavathi| brahma tham parAdAth yo anyathra Athmano brahma veda | kshathram tham parAdAth yo anyathra Athmano kshathram veda | lokAstham parAduh yo anyathra Athmano lokAn veda |” etc. In this second treatise, the treatise is as follows – Even though the entities in the eternal world – nithya vibhutI, are not the Brahman’s creations, since they all have Brahman as the inner controller (permeated by the Brahman), the word sarva can encompass them also. So, when the question of the causes for this created universe – the kArya prapancham, even without the confirmation of the cause-effect relationship with upAdAna, nimitta causes etc., the material cause for this universe is Brahman alone. Since any other entity, that does not have Brahman as its inner controller, and is not a part of the Brahman’s characteristics, is not qualified to be an instrumental cause, Brahman alone is instrumental cause also. Thus in the second treatise, it has been established by negating the possibility of any other entity other than Brahman to be the instrumental cause. In the first treatise, when it is proved that sarva vijnAna means the knowledge of the Universe – the effect, by the cause-effect character – the upAdAna-upAdeya bhava, a doubt as to why one of the entities of the eternal dominion – the nithya vibhutI cannot be instrumental cause can arise. Even then, it should be understood that Brahman only and none other than Him is forbidden to be the instrumental cause by referring to the s’ruthi VAkyas like AthmAnam svayam akurutha or the word advitheeyam. Hence there is no contradiction of the earlier statement, where it is proven that none other than Brahman is there to be instrumental cause. This is only reaffirming the same. In the next posting, we shall show that the argument of the advaita doctrine in this respect is untenable.
To continue …
Courtesy Srinivasa Ramanuja DAsan.