Tuesday, September 25"Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara" - Taittiriya Upanishad

‘Is Sankara Vedanta Scientific?’ — A debate between Shri Chidanandapuri Swamigal and Shri C Ravichandran. (Part-4, with English Subtitle)

Source: – Source: – @KolathurAshram Twitter Handle.

To Read and watch the Third Part of the Debate, Please Click Here.

Next is C Ravichandran, who will speak for 40 mins.

There is a question if there is something called as Sankara’s Vedanta. He explained his point. I will say that there definitely is such a Vedanta. The reason I say this is because if there is a stream of thought which says that Vedanta is the end of the Vedas, then to claim that Dvaita and Advaita is one, is very difficult. Advaita is the straight opposite of Dvaita. When both these are also Vedanta, then it is is important to raise Sankara’s Vedanta as a separate stream. Because more than 20 pandits who wrote commentaries for the Brahmasutra, never found in it the kind of things that Gaudapada and Sankara found. Therefore, to understand properly, it is absolutely necessary to brand the type of Vedanta properly and then only proceed.

Then, he spoke of another issue, that one has the curiosity to understand the universe and its secrets. Now, we all know that science is a very structured system of questioning and it is continuing to question. Science has its own current understanding of how the universe works. How the universe functions is a question for which we are slowly and systematically collecting the answers. But there are some people for whom all this is irrelevant. They are people who claim to know everything already. But science is not like that. They have answers to every question. They have the answers to the question “From where did we come”. They also have answers to the question of where we are going. They have some fantastic answers for the origin of the universe. Having answers in this manner is a very ridiculous thing. Its easy to pronounce answers. False answers can be distributed very easily. Just because of such easy answers, we cannot get rid of the question itself. These kind of false answers are the kind that religions or religious thinkers have been peddling for a long time now.

Sankara Vedanta is also one of the similar kind of false answers. In my introduction, I had mentioned “no” thrice to state that Sankara Vedanta was not scientific. I will now elaborate.

Firstly, when we say scientific, it means we are dealing with science, modern science. Science has a methodology, parameters, a mandate and tools. If we measure Sankara Vedanta, a fairy tale with these markers, it collapses completely. It has no foundations at all. Therefore, based on these markers, it is not scientific.

Second, when we say sastra, it has another meaning too. ‘What was ordered’ is sastram (science) is yet another meaning. For example, even if the collector doesn’t give permission, if our ancients say it is OK to have fireworks contest (in Kerala temples, contest between two teams during temple festivals) with the help of police, that is sastram. Or, if you go and take a bath in the Muthalakkulam (crocodile infested pond/lake), especially if you bath in the Muthalakkulam just before your wedding, you will give birth to an intelligent son. If some ancients or elders have said this to you, then they are giving you sastram.

Like pakshi sastram (bird astrology) , gowli sastram (lizard astrology) and similar such sastras, if you look at Sankara Vedanta from this angle, is it a sastram? Yes, it is a sastra from that point of view. But even if you view it from that sense, there is another problem. The community that claims Sankara Vedanta is the Brahmin community of yore and the people who have revived what they call Hinduism in the last 100 years. These are the denominations claiming it. So it has the Hindu streams of thought is the claim.

So, they have a lot of books that they call sastra. They have the Vedas, Upanishads, Dharmasastras, even Puranas. Maybe Puranas they wont accept since they are only stories. But they have many books (sastras) and claim that these books support scientific thinking. Note the point. If you ask whether Sankara Vedanta has the backing of these books (sastras). I have to say that it is an emphatic “NO”. That is, if you ask me whether Sankara Vedanta has the backing of scriptures belonging to the various Hindu darsanas, my answer will be “no”. Sankara Vedanta gets its backing from Buddhism. There are many essays which claim that Sankara being called a “prachanna Buddha” (Buddha in disguise) is very wrong. But we have to really prove here that it is wrong. Sankara Vedanta’s foundation lies in Buddhism. If you accept Buddhism and Jainism as scientific religions, then Sankara Vedanta is scientific. If not, it is not.

There are proofs (pramanas) that are different from religious texts or scientific texts. That is, it is common sense knowledge. For example there are many things which are secular knowledge. When we hear something, we naturally say, “hey that is very scientific”. That is, the proposition will have logic, rhyme, reason and evidence. But there wont be any science in that. It wont have the markers that delineate science as a subject. However, it will somewhat look like common sense science. There is a science like that. Is it that kind of science? If you consider it as such a science, then what does it need? It needs rhyme, it needs logic between the different arguments. It needs evidence, possible evidence, logic. Does Sankara Vedanta have all this?

If one questions in this third dimension, again, it would have to be said that Sankara Vedanta is absolutely not scientific. So, in all the three dimensions I just enunciated, Sankara Vedanta is simply not scientific. On the basis of science it is not, based on Hindu scriptural support it is not and neither is it a common sense or working methodological science.

Let us now look at the first one in detail. The various methodologies of science I have spoken about elsewhere too. It should be a falsifiable claim. Only if it is a falsifiable claim can we call it scientific. What is falsifiability? If we propose a certain argument, we should be able to prove it as true or false. Those which cannot be classified as true or false cannot be considered as science. For example, if one claims that something called Brahman exists, how can this be proved as true or false? What is the evidence for either? It cannot be proved scientifically. One can neither prove nor disprove it. It is not falsifiable. Therefore it is not science but pseudo science.

Second, Sankara Vedanta or Advaita Vedanta or Mayavada are individual experiences. They are anecdotes. The experience of one person cannot be applied to the public at large. This is called anecdotal fallacy. For instance, Sobhan Sarkar, a sanyasi and resident of Unnao, UP, had a dream about 2 years ago. He saw a dream that about 2500 tonnes of gold were buried under the palace of Ram Baksh Singh, about 180 years old. That was in his realized state. Now whether it was in the Turiya state or Sushupti state I dont know. So, what did he do? He made his dream public. He said that 2500 tonnes were hidden under the palace. Following this our very logically thinking Central govt body ASI came with JCBs, cameras and other equipment to dig up the place which he had pointed to. Channels began to broadcast the proceedings live. It was his revelation after all. And this man was smoking the hookah and saying. Many were bowing to him and he was talking to them. As the dig progressed, more people gathered. And then just as they came, they began to go away like evaporating water.

After 3-4 days, the site began to resemble the ground in the aftermath of a temple festival. They dug and dug and reached very deep. People began to ask him why they were not getting to the treasure despite digging so deep. Was it a fraud? So he said, “No that was the problem with your dig. You didn’t do it properly”. It is said that there is no true Scotsman. “This is not the way to dig”. These are generally the excuses trotted out by religions. If someone is indulging in terrorism, then you will hasten to add that the person is not a true believer of the religion. In the same way, the swami said that the problem was with the dig not with his claim.

They dug further and then finally picked up everything and went back to show it the central cabinet I suppose. That is when he said, “You dont need to worry”. Very close by, about 250 km from here in a different city, I dreamt that there is 25000 tonnes of gold hidden there. Please go and dig there. Dr. Manmohan Singh was the PM at the time and he did not agree to any further expeditions. This may have however deprived the nation of 25000 tonnes of gold! This is what happens when we try to impose a particular individual’s experience on the public at large. It is not science at all.

Another criteria is repeatability. It is not enough if a person has an experience only on one day. If you have a stomach ache, perhaps you have an ulcer and therefore the ache. If you dont have stomach ache all the time, then no one considers you as a patient with a stomach ache disease. Science is not like that. If we find a parameter or discover an equation, you should be able to approximately prove it at all places and at all times. I am not saying absolutely prove it, but approximately prove it. Then there is repeatability, falsifiability and independent of individual experience which is not scientific. So, if Newton dies, his laws do not die with him. Laws are not Newton’s experiences or revelations or dreams. So in that sense also it is not science.

There is also the question of how far they were able to make their claims work in their personal lives. There is something called as the Manisha Panchakam. At the beginning of Manisha Panchakam itself it says “Annamayaad annamayam”, or Chaitanyameva chaitanya, doorikartum vaanchasi. There is a question “kim bruhi gaccha gaccheti”

Here, a chandala is asking Sankaracharya and his disciples whether they are trying to separate annamaya from itself or chaitanya from itself. He asks them what they separating and from what? This chandala was then turned into Shiva and the problem was solved. In puranas this is an easy method to solve problems. Chandalas are turned into Shiva or Rama and the problem vanishes. It is a nice and simple way to sidestep the issue altogether

But what is Sankaracharya’s response to this question? Sankaracharya’s response is given as 5 slokas. In these 5 slokas he says one thing He talks of brahman, jivatman and parabrahman and their relationships. The person who has the brahmagyan that jivatman and paramatman are one and the same whether he is a chandala or brahmin, he is a guru to me. What does this mean? He admits that there is a class called the chandalas and a class called the brahmins. And that he also believes in them. He is not saying that it does not matter what sort of a human being the person is…

He makes the categories of chandala and brahmins. We know very well that he has supported many of the principles in the manusmriti. In the commentary of the Brahmasutra itself, he proclaims that shudras do not have the competence to study the Vedas. This person, who believed in Advaita, that there is no duality, could not even practice his oneness in his personal life.

Second, we have to see if it has the support of Hindu darsanas (schools of thought). The word Brahman occurs from the Vedas itself. In the Rig Veda itself there is the word Maya and the word Maya bheda. The word brahman occurs continuously. What is the meaning of the word brahman? In the early periods, we know that this word was never used in the way that it was used by Sankara. It has the meaning aakash, manas, prana, buddhi, prithvi, also Uddalaka Aruni says that prithvi is the atman and that is the deepest essence. Searching for this deepest essence is something that is seen in all the upanishads. Searching for the essence really means searching for that cause of Oneness. This is also unscientific. In this universe, there is no foundation for a single causal onenness. We cannot tie anything to one single cause. All causes are inter-dependent If one cause depends on another, that cause in turn becomes the effect of another. That is to say that this universe consists of a continuous chain of cause and effect. However, if you try to isolate one cause with an effect, then the question is where will you anchor the resulting effect. It is a philosophical regression. If you look for… the one single root cause underlying everything Or like he said… the controlling force of everything… this is a defective argument. What we get here is regression. It is an endless movement backward. If that force is the supreme controlling one, If you say that Ishwara is the force driving the universe or that it is another force…

Then it naturally begs the question as to who is the force behind this force. Who operates this force and so on… Then they would say that that force created itself and operates by itself. Then we will need to ask whether the universe can create itself and operate by itself too. Therefore this single cause argument is a very defective and false argument. We are not seeing such a single cause anywhere. I hope my opponent will show me one such instance at least.

Now I said that the word brahman has many different meanings in the vedas. We all know that the vedas are a celebration of life itself. It is not about the sufferings of life as Sankara puts it. These are worshipful songs for animals, for women, for food, for clothing, for rain, for propitiating all the natural forces, sung by a tribal people in the Rig Veda. Rig Veda is the real veda. The remaining Vedas can only be called as the accessories of this veda. There are people who say there are 3 vedas, 4 vedas and even 5 vedas (by dividing the yajur veda into two.) There are various viewpoints, and I am not going to get into that.

But brahman or life has never been portrayed in the negative light as Sankara did, in the time of the Rig Veda, or the vedic period. Even if you take the upanishads….for example if you take the concept of neti neti, Yajnavalkya is saying this in the Brihadaranyaka. He says neti neti… “not that”. Many people have misunderstood this to mean that he is saying brahman or paramatman is “not that”. But if you read it carefully, you will understand that he is saying that this atman is “not that”. He is very clearly talking about the jivatman, your atman, here. Advaita Vedantis operate considering this neti neti concept as a mahavakya.

From where does the argument of Maya come in? What is Maya? This world is nothing but Maya, Or it is something which is not. It is there because there is a superimposition of Maya on it. You are superimposing Brahman on the world and thus seeing it. It is because of avidya. So the world is non-existent. The argument that the world is non existent does not appear in the upanishads anywhere, its not found in the vedas or even the Brahmasutras. This is coming from Buddhists, I told you If Buddhism is scientific then this is also a science. Which Buddhists? We all know that after the Buddha, his disciples and followers went along many different paths. We know Theravada, that Ashoka creates a consensus at a gathering in Pataliputra. Then we have the tripitaka, the sutta pitaka, the vinaya pitaka and the abhidharma pitaka. Then after 300-400 years there is Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism.

Hinayana was initially the important one, but it is said that Mahayana Buddhism later caught up with it. Even in Mahayana, they had Vaibhashikas, Sautrantikas. These two were sarvastivadis. They argued that everything had astitvam (existence). At the same time, there were Vijnanavadis. They say that in reality there are no objects. They posited that there are no objects at all in the world and that it is only the knowledge of the same in your mind that is real. The object is not knowledge. Vijnanavadis were pushed aside by the Madhyamika or the Shunyavada Buddhists. They posited that there exists no object nor the thought about the object. Everything is shunya. When they say shunya, it doesnt mean nothingness or voidism. This shunya of the Madhyamikas is the same as the brahman posited by Sankara.

Now let us look at the relation between the Madhyamikas or shunyavadis and Gaudapada. Gaudapada is the… of Nagarjuna, the most famous disciple of Buddha. He is the most famous person who wrote about the shunya in his work called the Madhyamika Karika. In this Karika, he says that any object in this universe is not real. Its not just that the object is not real, our impression of it is also not real. This is because if there is no beginning or end to something, then it cannot have a middle either. There are many words from the Madhyamika Karika that Gaudapada copies. He has outright copied the word Gandharvanagari from the Madhyamika Karika. Gandharvanagari… is a word that permeates Mahayana Buddhist literature. He has borrowed this outright… To demonstrate that what we are seeing is a Maya darsana…

There is also the borrowing of the illusory or the magical elephant. These two concepts are completely lifted from Mahayana Buddhism. Gaudapada is also outright appropriating lines of the famous Mahayana thinker Dharmakriti in his Mandukya Karika. The title of the third chapter in Mandukya Karika is called Agnichakra. Agnichakra is a concept in the Pratitya Samutpada of Buddha which is a Kshanikavada. It describes how a lighted stick when swung in a circular motion converts the fire at the end of the stick into a circle of fire (Agnichakra). That word, and that name itself has been taken by Gaudapada. Similarly Gaudapada propagates Ajativada i.e no birth/timelessness to this universe. But Ajativada was first accepted and presented by the Mahayana Buddhists and Nagarjuna and so on. That Gaudapada accepts Ajativada is also stated by Sankara

Now, Sankara, in his accusations against Buddhism goes on to cruelly attack Buddha. He attacks Buddha in two ways… he calls him delirious. He says he talks incoherent gibberish. Either he talks of mutually opposing ideas, this knowledge of existence, existence of the universe, shunyata, 3 such contradictory arguments. Sankara says that when he presents of all these together, Buddha is either revealing that he has lost his senses or that he is an enemy of human beings. Why is Sankara so vehemently against Buddha? It is very clear…because when you borrow something in toto, you have to establish that the person you borrowed it from is completely illegitimate. And that is why Sankara opposes him. Else there is no need to attack Buddha. So personally Gaudapada, even after borrowing heavily from Mahayana Buddhism does not have the courtesy to acknowledge the debt he owes to that stream. Even when we know that Gaudapada has not acknowledged his indebtedness, Sankara clearly states that Gaudapada borrowed concepts like Ajativada from Mahayana Buddhism.

So we shall now see what are the links between the principles of Buddhism and Mayavada. Firstly, two truths… that there are 2 truths and 2 realities was first stated by Nagarjuna. They are Samvriti Truth and the Paramarthika Truth. In Pali language they are called Samvriti Satta and Paramarthika Satta or Sutta. It was for the first time that reality was given two fathers.

That there are two realities was stated for the first time ever in Bharatiya thought by Nagarjuna. This is not found in the upanishads or vedas or sruti or smriti. The same thing, that there are two truths is the claim of Sankara too Samvriti Satta and Paramarthika Satta are transformed into Vyavaharika Reality and Paramarthika Reality when it comes to Sankara. And then a third one too, Pratibhashika Reality. That actually doesn’t come in this. There are two realities. There are two truths… a post modernism. There are two versions of two truths said Nagarjuna and Gaudapada copies it in toto. There is no other argument like this in India or in the upanishads. If you could show it in the upanishads, I could accept. If you show it to me anywhere else, I will not accept.

Now another thing, the non existence of the world. That is. that this world, this real world is unreal, is not stated anywhere in the vedas or upanishads or sruti or smriti. Nagarjuna has said it. Shunyavadis from the Madhyamika tradition said that this world is unreal. The impressions about this world are also unreal. It is all shunya, they said. This person called it avidya… When Sankara said that avidya is the cause of our illusion (Maya), Nagarjuna used the word Samvriti for the same thing. We can see a relationship between these two also.

Now the other thing that is there is ignorance… avidya. Why do we not feel that this world is shunya? Why is it that we do not feel that this world is an illusion? That it is because of our ignorance say both the Buddhists and Sankara. Nobody else has stated this before them. That is… the world that you think is real, the reason for the impression that its there… is because of your own ignorance. This is an argument proposed by Nagarjuna, other Madhyamika Buddhists as well as Sankara.

Similarly, we can say that in the case of practices (sadhanas) too, Sankara’s Vedanta and the Madhyamika principles are the same. Now coming to moksha (liberation)… Sankara’s theory of moksha and the theory of Nirvana of the Madhyamika Buddhists are the same. That shunya will be realized is what Madhyamika Buddhists say whereas Sankara says Brahman will be realised. There is no world (jagath) and brahman is what is realised. This jagath is not real and it is Shunya that is realized. This is what Nagarjuna said. This is what Sankara is also saying. What is the difference between these two? What is the difference? We know that Mandukya Karika called Madhyama Karika, has a commentary by Sankara. He has written a commentary for both Mandukya as well as for the Mandukya Karika. The arguments used by Gaudapada in the Mandukya Karika… it is said that Gaudapada was a Madhyamika philosopher.

There are arguments that he was a Buddhist. In the 9th century itself Bhaskara has claimed that Gaudapada was not a Hindu or Vedic person, but a Buddhist. Another thing is the shunya of Madhyamikas. Similarly the brahman of these people. What is the difference? When we talk of Madhyamikas’ shunya… many of you here will say, Oh…it is shunyavada. On the other hand, when it comes to Sankara, he says that he will not speak a word about this. He says that it is not worth any kind of reference. Why is that so? Why is it that he says that it is not worth reference when he himself has copied it almost fully? Because he has nothing to say. If he has anything to say, let him say it. The stories told about Sankara are that he went to many places, conducted debates with people and brought them all to their knees, thereby finally attaining the seat of omniscience. Great stories. Fantastic stories. Aren’t stories the oxygen of religion?

And then he says that these people are all saying that everything is shunya. Shunyavadis talked about shunya. It is not just a simplistic shunya that they posit. It is not the void that you think. It is actually about realising… bliss… or sat… chit… ananda, which is the foundation of Vedanta. This is the same thing in Shunyavada. That is bliss… realising bliss… But there is a problem with Vedanta. Do you know what it is? In Advaita Vedanta, you are blissfully ending up becoming brahman. When someone becomes brahman, how can s/he become blissful?

How can salt know the taste of itself? Often we say that Vedanta’s foundation is that the consciousness of the ego is preventing one from knowing the knowledge of the paramarthika. That is, Advaita’s foundation rests on two types of consciousness. Calling this Advaita is itself wrong is another argument I am positing. What Sankara came up with was not Advaita at all, it was Dvaita itself. How is that? Sankara created two atmans and then made them one. But what is more interesting is not that. It is that both the atmans are equally valid There are differences between their gunas. How can a jivatman and paramatman… For jivatman he said… I will state it simply… for example, the light of the sun. He said that the sun has the proper light. This light is hitting the moon. The moon has no light of its own but it looks as if there is light on the moon. The moon is the world and the sun is the parabrahman. That moonlight is falling in our courtyard. We do our work in this moonlight. Our sensory organs apply themselves and work. So, according to Sankara’s argument, a paramarthika consciousness, pure consciousness…. what that is… don’t know is there within us as a karma sakshi or witness to our actions. Apart from this there is a reflected consciousness

It is from this reflected consciousness that the mind is accepting the light. The mind is accepting the light from the reflected consciousness and then giving orders to the sensory organs. And that is how the sensory organs are functioning. So, when this reflected consciousness gets removed is when we realise paramarthika consciousness is what he says. It is this… where I interjected with a question… if you know it how can you experience bliss or… if you become brahman then how will you know. To know, one needs the ego consciousness, one needs the ego itself. If we destroy this ego only, can we reach the paramarthika knowledge. When you reach paramarthika knowledge how can experience bliss… that is a very disputable falsehood. Even in shunyavada the same thing is said. You realise shunya, and you will know peace and bliss is what Nagarjuna said. Therefore, if you consider Buddhist sources as scientific then yes, Sankara Vedanta can also be called as scientific. Else, in the second dimension also, Sankara Vedanta is not scientifc. Now, the third, we consider Sankara Vedanta as a common sense science… We will see if we can consider it as a common sense science The world (jagath), the one in which we are sustained Parabrahman, Ultimate Reality, a story. It is the reflection of… that is… rope and snake. Rope and snake are actually very weak examples. Else, a spider and its web… an even weaker example…

The world is the web of the spider… The world is the web spun from the spider threads… spider, brahman and when we use such arguments. Another thing about Sankara Vedanta is that brahman is presented as being nirguna (without properties/attributes). That brahman gets manifested as the world is the argument even in the upanishads. But what the upanishads say is not a consideration for Sankara. So something that is evolving or manifesting in different forms is called inactive and nirguna. How are they defending calling it nirguna? They say that nirguna contains within itself sattva, rajas and tamas, the three gunas. It is like saying that when you mix three colours, you get colourless Some people… a person once told me, when you mix the seven colours, does it not become white? But isn’t white a colour? White colour is of course a colour Brahman which contains within it the trigunas, 3 gunas, is called as nirguna! Why are they saying nirguna… because of shunyavada. If they have to be in alignment with shunyavada, they have to make it nirguna. Otherwise, if they made it saguna (with properties/attributes) and not ignore the reality of the physical world, they would be like all the Dvaitas and Sankara Vedanta could be taken as one of those. But because they are so indebted to shunyavada, both Sankara and Gaudapada had to negate the world. That became the problem.

Now,… cause of jagath. What is the cause of this world? What can we call as the cause of this world? Avidya. We call it as a result of avidya (ignorance) And that is why it creates Maya (illusion). That is why we see a snake in a rope. But when we say we see a snake in a rope, it does not mean that the two dont exist. Both rope and snake exist. Seeing rope as a snake is a kind of confusion. It is an error of judgement and it is momentary. How did Sankara and Gaudapada call this world as unreal? Its very interesting… Gaudapada and Sankara… that is… In the upanishad, the word Maya appears… when the word appears in the Brahmasutra, When that word appears, I forgot to give another example in between… This dream state and the world… and wakefulness, and the link between the two, to help describe the secret of the universe was first postulated by the Shunyavadis. Taking into account the difference between the dream state and wakefulness, and constructing the secrets of the universe or its principles was first done by Nagarjuna and his peers. Sankara has only repeated it later.

What did Sankara say? You know what it says in the Brahmasutra? The word Maya is used in the Brahmasutra… the experience during wakefulness and that during dream state are two different things. It is Maya in the dream state… it is an illusory experience, isn’t it. It is to say that. It is to differentiate between the dream state and the wakefulness state that the word Maya is used in the Brahmasutra. But Sankara takes this same thing to say that what you experience in the dream state is the same as what you experience in the wakefulness state. Many of his… Advaita Vedantis talk about shukla skalanam. In your wakefulness… that is in your dream… if you have swapna skalanam (ejaculation in dream) it means that in reality there is ejaculation. So, let me ask that if you pick up an axe and drop it on your foot in a dream, will your foot be cut? In a dream if an elephant comes to maul you, does it mean that in reality you are mauled? What is the difference between mithya (illusion) and tathya (reality)?

The experience of illusion has 8 parameters I will talk of 4 of them briefly. An illusory experience is a personal one. In such an experience… it will be obscure. Its beginning, middle and end will be obscure. It will be avisamvada (non-contradiction). Avisamvada means that it will be cancelled with the experience coming after How do the experiences of a dream get cancelled? Through wakefulness When you wake up you suddenly realise “Oh that was a dream”. There is never a link between dreams and reality. And if there is a link, it is in opposition. We can push away dream state by waking. There is no doubt about that. We can easily establish that it is an illusion If we need to establish something as illusory, we need something that is not illusory. When we establish that dreams are illusory, there arises the situation that we can know something is not illusory only through something illusory. There is definitely something that is not illusory and that is wakefulness. That is what we see… In the nasadiya sutra it is asked…”What do we have other than this world?” There are so many compositions in the vedas that are so positively inclined towards life. Disregarding all this and looking at things very negatively, they said that the experience of both dreams and reality are the same. We can ignore dreams… with the world… we can call them illusory. How will you ignore the world? To negate the world, they say that this is the divine experience of realised spiritual masters. They are the Brahmajnanis… Who are they? I don’t know.

Those realised spiritual masters (siddhars) who are Brahmajnanis, in their divine experiences have seen that wakefulness is an illusion. Let’s leave that aside… So when do they have these experiences? They have these experiences only at certain times. When do they stop having these experiences? This happens when they move into wakefulness. Isn’t it? Anyway, these maharishis don’t wallow in their divine states all 24 hours of the day, do they? Or even Rishis for that matter? You are giving them a faculty they don’t have. But what is the big problem here? You brought a whole set of maharishis to state that in the turiya state (realised) they are able to discover the secrets of the universe.

I will bring another set of maharishis. Our charvakas… na swargo na apwargo va na aiv aatma par lokika, na aiv varn aashram aadinam kriyashch phaldayika, pushochey nihata swargam jyotish tomay gameshyte, swpita yajmaanain tatr kasmaan na hinsyatay; We will bring a fantastic set of charvakas. We will ask them, “Do you have these other worldly experiences?” They say…”No no”. Didn’t they just discard the notion?

If you bring one set of people, say that they have divine ability and establish some leaky, unstable theory, others also can bring other different types of people and have your theory discarded. Then when there is no validity of practice, no documentary value, with just myths one cannot establish things. The way wakefulness pushes ways dreams, wakefulness cannot be pushed away with just claims of divine knowledge which has no proof. Even if you take divine knowledge alone, you can prove that it is illusory. It is because it has all the qualities to classify it as an illusion. Because what have maharishis said in their divine knowledge/experience? They have said neti-neti. They don’t know what is. They only keep saying “It is not that, it is not that, it is not that” Its very obscure… when it is obscure… that is the first property of an illusion. There is avisamvadam… that is the breaking off or interruption. It gets interrupted by the next experience. Even if someone can get into the divine realm for some time, The way a dream gets interrupted, in the same way, in the same way, your divine experience not only gets interrupted. It can also be countered by bringing another 10 people who have had similar divine experiences.

Now… thank you Its very hot… What is the cause of the world? Sankara has said that the cause for the world is avidya. If Sankara says its avidya is there any use? Let us see how people coming after Sankara viewed this. Prominent thinkers in the Vedantic lineage, when they talk about what is the cause of the world… Some said brahman is the cause some people said… it is called Abhasavada… for example Sureshwara and Mahajnanamuni. These are the two people who advocate Abhasavada, that is that brahman is the cause. Vachaspati Misra, Padmapada… he is Sankaracharya’s most favourite disciple. When he walked… when he used to walk from the pond, everything turned to lotus flowers is the legend. Vachaspati Misra and Padmapada said that avidya and brahman are the cause Avicchinnavada.

Then there is Pratibimba veekshana vada. Prakashananda, Mandana Misra kind of famous Sankaracharya’s disciples have proposed this. So, Sankaracharya’s disciples themselves have expressed 3 opinions on the cause of the world. One set said, its brahman, the cause of the world is brahman. So, there is no doubt at all. Some said its avidya alone and the third set said its brahman and avidya. If brahman is the cause of the world, what is the quality of brahman, it is essence this sat (essence)… asat (non essence) is an idea of shunyavadis. That and Maya are almost the same. I missed saying this before. What was called as asat by the shunyavadis became Maya in Sankara Vedanta. If brahman is the cause of the world then brahman is not an illusion. Something that is not illusory… listen carefully. How can something that is not illusory give birth to something that is?

These people talk about something called the karya-kaarana (cause-effect) relationship. That is, the gunas or properties that are there in the cause should be reflected in the effect. If it is not reflected… we… science does not accept that… totally…. because you cant see it. There is something called as emergent properties. Fallacy of composition, fallacy of division; there are these two things. I will elaborate…

So, the properties of the cause should be reflected in the effect. If it doesn’t reflect, that is if we keep aside the emergent properties, at the least, something opposite to the properties of the cause should not be there in the effect. Brahman, satya (truth), tathya (reality)… How can the world caused by brahman be an illusion? That is the first question. Now, if brahman and avidya are the causes, then everything is lost there. There are two things there. Its not just brahman, its also avidya. Only if there are brahman and avidya, can you feel this world. Now is avidya alone is the cause, it is a much bigger foolishness what is that… what is avidya? It is ignorance. You are recognising an illusion in ignorance. Ignorance is a negative quality. It is almost the same as an illusion. With illusion or something that behaves like an illusion, can you support illusion?

If you want to recognise an illusion, you should compare it with something real. If avidya is the cause, it is lawfully and logically untenable. So, in all these 3 ways, whether it is Abhasavada or Avichinnavada or Pratibimba Veekshanavada… these are all said by Advaitins. This is not said by Ravichandran I have other things to say. I will say those later… Accoring to Advaitins itself, the 3 different types of causes…

Now Maya, Maya… from where does Maya come? It has to come from somewhere, isn’t it? It is coming from avidya. If Maya is coming from avidya, how can it be believed? How can you believe something that comes from avidya? Isn’t that a question? What is avidya? Ignorance. Maya comes from ignorance. Then doesn’t Maya also have the same properties? So, actually isn’t it you who went wrong? Its a very obvious thing.

Now, let us talk about the inactivity of brahman. Brahman is evolving, as it evolves, it manifests… like for instance gold and bangle… and ear rings etc gold… many unchallenging examples… I say that not one of these examples have any validity. The funny part here is that brahman is a non-universal concept. Dravya is a past concept. I am an Advaitin ok? I am a pucca Advaitin. Sankara is a Dvaitin, not an Advaitin.

My Advaita says Aham Dravyasmi, Tatvamasi. If a star breaks up or a galaxy breaks up, from its constituent particles, this universe and this earth got their forms from them. Not this universe, but this earth… All the elements contained within me… whatever has created the stars, the same elements have created me. There is no difference between me and the star. I am a star is my Advaitic belief. Atheism or Nastikata is the only true Advaita. Everything else is so much blabber.

That is my Advaita vada. What is called Sankara’s Advaita vada is because he tried to unite things. Actually, as I said, he has posited two atmans There is a question as to how an inactive brahman can evolve. Recently, I had an interview with C Radhakrishnan. That is there in this book I asked him, “It is said that brahman evolves. Then isn’t it active?” He said that it is changing only in its appearance. Then I asked him whether a change itself is not an activity. Yes… that is an activity. Then isn’t it active? Yes, it is active. Then I asked him, how an active thing can become inactive. He then answered that activity gives rise to inactivity. The video is there on youtube.

This Vedanta is something that is vague and mixed up. It is going round and round and completely destroying the nerves and neurons in the body. These are all terminology exercises, worldly antics, defective reasonings. These are the only things that are there in this. More arguments regarding this will be presented depending on my respected opponent debater’s propositions in the next round.

Thank you for listening.

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