We continue with the Mundakopanishad establishing the authenticity of the s’ruthi vAkya eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAnam to be true and valid by examining the objection and the answer to that.
An objection –
The substance of the illustration of the lump of clay etc. is to make it known that the objects like pot, pan etc., derived from the real material cause clay, are unreal and illusory only. To establish this only the sentence “mriththikethyeva sathyam” is brought out in the s’ruthi. Similarly, from the knowledge of real Brahman, the s’ruthi vAkya eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAna is there only to make it known that the rest of the objects/entities other than Brahman are all illusory or unreal, because they have opposite characteristics to Brahman. It is similar to the lump of clay being real and its derivatives the pots, pans etc. are being illusory. Hence the objects other than Brahman are only illusory and not real. Further it is to be noted that the s’ruthi vAkya, using the method of comparative characteristics, does not give the meaning that the universe is real simply because the Brahman is real.
It is to be noted that neither from the knowledge of the lump of clay one does get the knowledge of the gold rings etc., nor the knowledge about the lump of gold result in the knowledge about the products like pots, pans etc produced from lump of clay. The reason for this is very simple – lack of similarity of the same class of materials in them – the gold and clay do not belong to the same class of materials. If the three illustrations, quoted from the s’ruthi VAkyas, are examined carefully with an open mind, it will be clear that it identifies the sarva vijNAna from the eka vijNAna where the characteristics are similar – the sAdharmya theory.
From this it can be only concluded that as Brahman is a reality, so is the universe. Under the circumstances there is no possibility to draw a conclusion that the universe is an illusion. If so, what could be the meaning for the s’ruthi vAkya – mriththikethyeva sathyam? It may be noted that it does not say that the lump of the clay only is real and the derivative products like the pot, pan etc are mere illusions. If the s’ruthi vAkya were to read mriththikaiva sathyam that could have been the meaning. But it reads – mriththikA- ithi- eva- sathyam. The word ithi is there in this sentence. The significance of this should be carefully examined.
The thArkikas – one class of philosophers profess wide difference for the material cause and its derivative i.e., for the upAdAna kAraNa and kArya vastu. The two hemispheres of the pot – joined two together to form the pot – are considered to be entirely different than the pot. Similar is the case with the threads and the cloth woven with them. These politicians say that a new entity in the form of a pot has come into existence. They are called asathkAryavAdins or ArambhavAdins. These types of arguments are accepted by neither SAnkhyas nor the pUrvameemAmsakas. Their method of explaining these formations are as follows – Both the clay hemispheres joined together under a specific procedure obtains the form of a pot. Similarly a number of threads joined in a particular pattern form a piece of cloth. According to them, an entity existing in a particular form – called sath, on transformation gets a different name. Hence, they are called sathkAryavAdins. According to their reasoning both the objects are single entity only. It can be summarised as follows – The earlier form before the transformation is called the cause – the kAraNa and the subsequent form as a result of the transformation, different than the previous form is the effect – the kArya. This line of argument is also called as pariNAma vAda – the argument of transformation. The s’ruthi vAkya which begins sadeva Somyedamagra Aseeth has given three illustrations to make it known that by knowing the (material) cause one can know the effect. Thus oneness has been shown to the Brahman and Universe – the cause and effect respectively, and has become authentic to show the sathkAryavAda as true and valid. Since the context here is proving the sathkAryavAda to be true and valid, the vAkya mriththikethyeva sathyam is showing that both the lump of the clay – the material cause and the pot, pan etc – the effect are constituting the same entity. It is not showing that both of them are different entities. Neither it is showing that the transformations into the pots pans etc as unreal and illusory nor does it show the names like pots and pans etc to be illusions. Sathyam means it is authentic. The transformation into clay pots and clay pans etc from the lump of clay is found to be real from the authentic sources. The entities like pots and pans etc. from lump of clay – the result of transformation, are said to be clay only – mriththikA ithi eva sathyam – it is true that it is clay only, from the authentic sources. They are not different from the clay. We observe this phenomenon from the direct perception that these pots pans etc. are the same clay only. Hence the lump of clay, the pots, pans etc. – the different forms of the material cause and the effects are all the same clay only, i.e., it is the same entity only. Thus the asathkAryavAda is refuted and oneness is proved for the forms of lump of clay and the pot – the cause and effect forms. It is confirmed that materials of the cause and effect is the same one and thus the statement eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAnam is firmly proved. It is a futile exercise to try to prove that in this context there is nothing other than Brahman and thus trying to establish that the universe is illusion only, when the words sathyatva and mithhyAtva which are absent in the sentence, are borrowed to draw a meaning that everything is illusory. It is simply an imaginative meaning produced out of the mind.
Further in this exposition or thesis of unreality – the mithhyAvAda quoting this illustration of the lump of clay is not feasible at all. A happening in the worldly practice only can be shown as an illustration. The people are considering that lump of clay as well as the pots and pans to be real only. They do not consider them to be an illusion like in the dreams. How can you quote that as an illustration to prove the theory of illusion? Apart from that, in your system everything other than Brahman is illusion only; and in such a situation, how can the lump of clay be shown as an illustration? It is not the real entity like Brahman according to your postulations. You may like to coin that as something which is true only for transaction – vyAvahArika sathyam, and justify the illustration. But even in those pots and pans are transactional truths only! They are not objects which appear to be true like the cord appearing to be a snake! Thus when there is no real trueness in the lump of clay compared to the only apparent transactional trueness present in the pots and pans, how can it become an example of the real true Brahman? Is it justified to tell one type of meaning for the word sathyam – true object in the example and tell a different meaning for the same word in explaining the exemplified object?
There is another fault in your exposition. Yours is vivarthavAda – the theory of transformation, isn’t it? “Becoming a different object having the same characteristics and belonging to the same class – jAthi, of causative object is called a change and becoming an object totally different than the causative object is called vivartham – transformation” as per your definition. In case of the lump of clay and the pots and pans, the common characteristics are because of the earthiness, being inanimate etc. found in the objects. In cases of the cord and snake; or the universe and the Brahman; there is difference because of the inanimate and animate characteristics. You are establishing that the universe is imaginary transformation in the Brahman due to the ignorance about the Brahman – the intelligence. At the same time you show the unreal snake or the crack in the surface of the earth etc. as the examples of unreal objects apparently seen in a true cord. In such a case, by knowing the cord only, the snake or the crack in the surface of the earth etc are not being made known. Similarly by knowing the shell, one does not know the silver! Similarly, by knowing the Brahman the intelligence, it is not possible to know an entirely different illusory inanimate universe! Hence in your system the s’ruthi VAkya eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAnam is not applicable and feasible at all.
To be continued…
Courtesy Srinivasa Ramanuja DAsan.