paricCheda 1 - mithyAtva mithyAtva nirUpaNam

After having discussed the five definitions of mithyAtva, the next topic to be taken up is whether mithyAtva itself is mithyA or satya. The nyAyAmritakAra argues that there is a problem with either alternative.

He says:
ननु उक्तमिथ्यात्वस्य मिथ्यात्वे प्रपञ्चस्य सत्यत्वापत्तिः, If mithyAtva as described is mithyA, then the world's reality is established. How so?

एकस्मिन् धर्मिणि प्रसक्तयोः विरुद्धधर्मयोः एकमिथ्यात्वे अपरसत्यत्वनियमात् , If any object appears to have two contradictory attributes, then, as a rule, one of them must be real, and the other, unreal.
If there is an object in front, and one person claims that it is silver, and the other that it is not silver, only one of them can be true, the other must automatically be false. Similarly, the world - the dharmi, the substratum - is said to contain two contradictory attributes. The world is said to be unreal (mithyA) according to the advaitin's inference (anumAna), and is real (satya), according to direct perception (pratyaksha). It cannot be both real and unreal, therefore if any one is present, the other must not be present. pratyaksha cannot be wrong, therefore the world's reality must be true. If satyatva is present in the world, mithyAtva must necessarily be absent.

Let us consider two possibilities - mithyAtva itself is real and mithyAtva itself is mithyA.

मिथ्यात्वसत्यत्वे च तद्वदेव प्रपञ्चस्यसत्यत्वापत्तेः, If mithyAtva is real, then this implies the world's reality. Why? The hetu, or the cause used in the inference to prove the world's reality is drishyatvam, or knowability. The world is knowable, and therefore is mithyA according to the advaitin. This inference of mithyAtva itself is known, and thus is driShya itself. This raises a conundrum.

Whatever is driShya is mithyA. mithyAtva anumAna is drishya. However, we are now assuming that mithyAtva anumAna is real. Therefore even though it is drishya, mithyAtva anumAna is not mithyA, but satya. Thus the vyApti, or invariable concomitance, between drishyatvam and mithyAtvam is broken. 

If the vyApti is broken, then jagat mithyAtva anumAna (the inference of the world's unreality) which is based on the vyApti of drishyatvam and mithyAtvam, is broken. Thus the world is real as a result.

If, on the other hand, if mithyAtvam is mithyA itself, then the unreality of the world is unreal. Therefore the world must be real, after all (like the negative of a negative being a positive).

उभयथाप्यद्वैत व्याघात - in either case, the philosophy of advaita stands refuted.

To this, the siddhikAra replies:

इति चेन्न;  if this is the contention, no.

मिथ्यात्वमिथ्यात्वेऽपि प्रपञ्चसत्यत्वानुपपत्ते: | there is no rule that if mithyAtva is mithyA, the world's reality is established.

Let us consider the example of a person who looks at an object and calls it a horse, and another looks at the same object and calls it a cow. Cow-ness and horse-ness are contradictory attributes. Where there is horse-ness, there is no cow-ness. Where there is cow-ness, there is no horse-ness. However, the absence of cow-ness does not automatically imply the presence of horse-ness, nor does the absence of horse-ness invariably imply the presence of cow-ness. The object simply could be some other animal, like an elephant, which is neither a horse, nor a cow. Here, even though both options (it is a horse, it is a cow) are wrong - the wrongness of one option does not imply the rightness of the other. Therefore the rule should be refined to say - where two contradictory attributes can be simultaneously negated, the negation of one attribute does not imply the presence of the other attribute.

pratyaksha is proving the reality of the world. anumAna is proving mithyAtva of the world. "mithyAtva and satyatva are contradictory. If one of the two is wrong, then the other becomes true" - these were the pUrvapakshi's contentions. Both these views will be disproved later. Firstly, the presence of mithyAtva does not rule out a satyatva known by pratyaksha, and vice versa. Secondly, it is possible to negate both simultaneously. advaita holds that the reality of the world that is experienced (drishya) through pratyaksha and world's mithyAtva that is known (driShya) through anumAna are both mithyA.

तत्र हि विरुद्धयोर्धर्मयोरेकमिथ्यात्वे अपरसत्वं, यत्र  मिथ्यात्वावच्छेदकमुभयवृत्ति न भवेत्, The mithyAtva of one of two contradictory attributes implies the reality of the other attribute only when mithyAtva is not the attribute limitor (avacChedaka dharma) of both attributes - ie both attributes can be mithyA. 

यथा परस्परविरहरूपयो रजतत्वतदभावयो: शुक्तौ, for example, where the presence of each attribute is of the nature of the absence of the other, like between the presence or absence of silver-ness in the shell. Where silver is present, its absence cannot be simultaneously present, and vice versa.

यथा वा परस्परविरहव्यापकयो रजतभिन्नत्वरजतत्वयो: तत्रैव; alternatively, where the absence of one implies the presence of the other, like between silver and non-silver. The absence of silver implies the presence of non-silver, and the absence of non-silver, implies the presence of silver.

तत्र निषेध्यतावच्छेदकभेदनियमात्, There (in each of the two alternatives above) the niShedhyatA avacChedaka dharma (the basis of negation) of the two contradictory attributes is different. Therefore, they are not negated simultaneously by one negation.

प्रकृते तु निषेध्यतावच्छेदकमेकमेव दृश्यत्वादि, however, in the current context (ie the world and its mithyAtva) the negation of the world and its mithyAtva is on the common basis of drishyatvam, knowability. The world is mithyA because it is drishya. mithyAtva is mithyA because it too is drishya - it is known by the mithyAtva anumAna. As both are simultaneously negated by the one negation of everything drishya, the mithyAtvam of the world's mithyAtva does not result in the reality of the world.

यथा गोत्वाश्वत्वयोरेकस्मिन् गजे निषेधे गजत्वात्यन्ताभावव्याप्यत्वं निषेध्यतावच्छेदकमुभयोस्तुल्यमिति नैकतरनिषेधे अन्यत्रसत्त्वं तद्वत् | In the case of an elephant, both cow-ness and horse-ness are simultaneously negated on the common basis of gajatva atyantAbhAva vyApyatva - they imply the absolute absence of elephant-ness. If gajatva atyantAbhAva is absent, then all attributes that imply it are automatically absent. gajatva atyantAbhAva is absent in an elephant (an elephant will not have the absence of elephant-ness), thus all the impliers of the absence of elephant-ness are rendered absent.

To explain - where cow-ness is present, the absolute absence of elephant-ness would be present. Similarly, where horse-ness is present, the absolute absence of elephant-ness would also be present. Both cow-ness and horse-ness individually imply the absence of elephant-ness, i.e. they have gajatva atyantAbhAva vyApyatva. In logic, if A implies B (A->B), then not B implies not A (B!->A!).

Therefore, by saying that the 'absolute absence of elephant-ness' is absent in the elephant, every attribute that implied that absolute absence, is automatically negated. Therefore, cow-ness, horse-ness, etc, are automatically negated once the absolute absence of elephant-ness is absent.

Therefore, the contention that the absence of one contradictory attribute necessarily implies the presence of the other contradictory attribute, is not true.

To this, the pUrva pakshi's contention is that the example given by the siddhikAra is not appropriate because cow-ness and horse-ness are both attributes of existence (bhAva rUpa dharma), as opposed to satyatva and mithyAtva. Here, the former (satyatva) is bhAva rUpa and the latter (mithyAtva) is an attribute of non-existence (abhAva rUpa dharma).

To this, the siddhikAra says that satyatva and mithyAtva are not pratiyogi and abhAva.
यथाच सत्यत्वमिथ्यात्वयोर्न परस्परविरहरूपत्वम्, नवा परस्परविरहव्यापकत्वम्, तथोपपादितमधस्तात् | satya and mithyA are not the mutual absence of each other, nor does the absence of one imply the presence of the other. This was said in the first definition of mithyAtvam. There, it was argued that sat and asat are not pratiyogi and abhAva. Similarly, sat and mithyA are not pratiyogi and abhAva.

Later, in the advaita siddhi, it will be proven that reality of the world seen through pratyaksha and mithyAtva of the world proven by anumAna, are not mutually contradictory attributes at all. Therefore the basic contention that the mithyAtva anumAna is contradicted by pratyaksha will be challenged.

Even if, for the sake of argument, they are assumed to be mutually contradictory, because both are negated simultaneously, by negating one, the other is not proved.  

In addition, the class of argument offered by the nyAyAmritakAra is disallowed in nyAya shAstra. What he has in effect done is called a nitya samA jAti, a category of argumentation deemed futile in nyAya shAstra. A futile argument, or jAti, is one where the refutation is merely sophistical. To give an example, let us take the classic anumAna - parvato vahnimAn, dhUmatvAt, mahAnasavat. The mountain is on fire, because of smoke, like in the case of a kitchen. Let us assume that the opponent objects to this anumAna by splitting up the sAdhya (fire) into two categories - mountainous fire (parvatIya vahni) and non-mountainous fire (parvata-bhinna agni).

If the fire is parvatIya vahni, there is no vyApti (invariable concomitance), because the mountainous fire cannot be present in the kitchen. Thus the vyApti between smoke and mountain-fire is not present in the example itself.

If parvata-bhinna agni, it would be illogical to try and prove that the mountain contains non-mountain fire. Thus, whichever position one takes, there is a logical fallacy.

To disallow such frivolous arguments, nyAya shAstra forbids such class of arguments, termed nitya samA jAti. The opponent is dividing the sAdhya into two vikalpas or options, and each vikalpa is proved to be an impossibility. The way to refute such an opponent is to say that the objective of the anumAna is neither to prove that the mountain has parvatIya vahni nor aparvatIya vahni, but that it has sAmAnya vahni - a generic fire, not a fire specific to a particular locus at all. There is a sloka in nyAya which defines nityasamA jAti: धर्मस्य तदसद्रूपविकल्पान् उपपत्तित: धर्मिण: तद्विशिष्टत्वभङ्गो नित्यसमो भवेत् |

The nyAyAmritakAra's approach in this chapter is also a case of nitya samA jAti. The anumAna of mithyAtva was taken and it was split into vikalpas and argued that irrespective of whether mithyAtvam is satya or mithyA, the world is proven to be real. 

In reply to the charge of nitya samA jAti, various dvaitins argue that the arguments offered by teachers within the advaita tradition suffer from the same defect as well.For example, in the khanDanakhanDakhAdya, Sri Harsha asks - is difference different from the object, or identical with it? If it is different from the object, then it leads to infinite regress (is that second difference different from the first difference?, and so on). If difference is identical with the object, then it would be contradictory (how can an object be different from itself?). The nyAyAmritakAra argues that this is also an example of nitya samA jAti.

The advaita siddhikAra does not reply to this charge, but his commentator, brahmAnanda, does so. His argument is that the khanDanakAra intended for the khaNDanakhaNDakhAdya to be a vitaNDa work - that is, he does not seek to prove anything, he only wishes to disprove his opponent. The reason the nityasamA jAti argument cannot be used in a debate is because it can just as easily be turned around against the arguer. This is not a problem for the khaNDanakAra because he does not seek to prove or establish anything. Neither difference nor identity is desirable, because he wants to refute all vikalpas simultaneously. The opponent can use the khaNDanakAra's arguments against him, but it does him no harm, because all the opponent is refuting is a prakriyA, a teaching methodology. The khaNDanakAra's ultimate refuge is Brahman, which is irrefutable.

Coming back to the theme of the chapter, it was earlier argued by the nyAyAmritakAra that when there are two contradictory attributes ( e.g. abhAva and bhAva) in the same locus, the attribute which is false must have a lower sattA, order of reality than the attribute which is true.

brahmAnanda argues that this rule should refined by adding that while one of the two must have a lower sattA, it is not necessary for the false attribute to have a lower sattA than the true attribute. In the case of shell-silver, the silver is prAtibhAsika, whereas its absence is vyAvahArika. Now, when the absence of silver is also later known to be mithyA by anumAna or shruti, the pratiyogi of the abhAva, the silver, does not become pAramArthika as a result. Therefore, it is not necessary for a mithyA attribute to have a lower order than its contradictory attribute. All that is required is that the two attributes have different orders of reality.

However, even this refined rule is only applicable when one of the two attributes are being negated, not when both are being negated together. The siddhAnta is that both the world and its mithyAtva are mithyA.

Our contention is that satyatva of the world and its mithyAtva are not mutually exclusive.
परस्पररुपत्वेऽपि विषमसत्ताकयोरविरोधात् however, even if we were to accept, for the sake of argument, that they were mutually exclusive, both can be non-contradictory (ie co-exist) if they have different orders of reality.

व्यावहारिकमिथ्यात्वेन व्यावहारिकसत्यत्वापहारेऽपि काल्पिनकसत्यत्वानपहारात्,  If mithyAtva is taken as vyAvahArika, while a vyAvahArika realty for the world would not be possible (if satyatva and mithyAtva were mutually exclusive), a prAtibhAsika reality would be possible. Here, kAlpanika means prAtibhAsika.

तार्किकमतसम्योगतदभाववत् सत्यत्वमिथ्यात्वयो: समुच्चयाभ्युपगमाच्च | In any case, it is possible for a pratiyogi and its abhAva to exist within in the same locus - the naiyyAyikas accept that samyoga and its abhAva can exist in the same locus (the monkey's contact with one part of the tree but the absence of such contact in another part, which was discussed in an earlier post). Similarly, satyatva and mithyAtva are possible in the same place.

What does the contradiction of satyatva and mithyAtva mean? Not that it is impossible for both to coexist in one place, but that when one is seen, the other is not. Therefore the contradiction is not of existence, but in its comprehension. It is jnAnata: virodha.

Now the siddhikAra presents some general rules for when two contradictory attributes can have the same orders of reality, and when they can have different orders of reality. He says:

एकस्य साधकेन अपरस्य बाध्यत्वं विषमसत्ताकत्वे प्रयोजकम् , यथा शुक्तिरूप्यतदभावयो: |
When the same pramANa can prove one object's existence while sublating the other, the two contradictory objects will have different orders of reality. For example, pratyaksha sublates the rajata, silver, while proving rajatAbhAva, the absence of silver.

एकबाधकबाध्यत्वं च समसत्ताकत्वे प्रयोजकम्, यथा  शुक्तिरूप्यशुक्तिभिन्नत्वयो: |
When the same pramANa sublates both contradicting objects, the two objects must have the same order of reality. The knowledge of the shell sublates both shell-silver and the illusion that the object is different from shell. Here both shuktirUpya (shell-silver) and shukti bhinnatvam (difference from shell) have equal orders of reality.

अस्ति च प्रपञ्चतन्मिथ्यात्वयोरेकब्रह्मज्ञानबाध्यत्वम् |
In the same way, the world and its mithyAtva are sublated by the one brahma jnAna.

अत: समसत्ताकत्वान्मिथ्यात्वबाधकेन प्रपञ्चस्यापि बाधान्नाद्वैतक्षतिरीति कृतमधिकेन |   Therefore, as this implies an equal order of reality for the world and its mithyAtva, the sublation of mithyAtva with brahmajnAna does not result in the establishment of pluralism. Enough has been said on this topic, says the siddhikAra. 

With that, we conclude the chapter on the mithyAtva of mithyAtva itself.

I wish all readers a very happy new year. 

Originally posted on 30th December 2017.