paricCheda 1 - prathama mithyAtva vichAra: (part 1)

In the previous section, we examined the paksha in the mithyAtva anumAna. Now we will take up an enquiry into the sAdhya, mithyAtva. What does mithyA mean? Various thinkers in the advaita tradition have defined mithyA in different terms, covering various aspects of the concept. The nyAyAmritakAra takes up five definitions of mithyAtva and argues that there are several logical inconsistencies within them. The siddhikAra refutes these arguments.

The first definition of mithyAtva is sadasat vilakshaNatvam, that which is different from sat and asat, as posited by PadmapAda, the author of the panchapAdikA. In the adhyAsa bhAShya of Adi Shankara BhagavatpAda, the term mithyA is used in two different senses. In the beginning of the adhyAsa bhAShya, there is a usage "अध्यासो मिथ्येति भवितुं युक्तम्" and immediately thereafter, "मिथ्याज्ञाननिमित्तः". There is a difference in the meaning of the word mithyA in these two places. In अध्यासो मिथ्येति भवितुं युक्तम्, the word mithyA means that which is not existent. That adhyAsa is not possible at all is the prima facie view of the pUrvapakshi, and it is in this sense that the word mithyA is first used. In reply, ShankarAchArya says despite adhyAsa appearing to be an impossibility, मिथ्याज्ञाननिमित्तः as a result of mithyA jnAna, that such an adhyAsa is the natural state of world affairs is self evident. Explaining the word mithyA here, the panchapAdikAkAra says मिथ्याशब्दो अनिर्वचनीयतावचन: - the word mithyA (here) means anirvachanIyam. anirvachanIyam is सदसत्विलक्षणं - it is neither sat, nor asat. It is different from both.

The nyAyAmritakAra takes this definition of mithyAtva up for refutation. He asks:
ननु - किमिदं मिथ्यात्वं साध्यते, न तावत् 'मिथ्याशब्दो अनिर्वचनीयतावचन' इति पञ्चापादिकावचनात् सदसदत्वानधिकरणत्वरूपमनिर्वाच्यत्वं. As long as mithyAtva is defined, in the words of the panchapAdika, as "mithyA is that which is anirvachanIyam", and anirvachanIyatva as not being the locus of sat or asat - how is such a mithyAtva possible?

Why is mithyAtva as being different from sat and asat untenable?
तद्धि किं असत्त्वविशिष्टसत्त्वाभाव: उत सत्त्वात्यन्ताभावासत्त्वात्यन्ताभावरूपम् धर्मद्वयं, आहोस्वित् सत्त्वात्यन्ताभाववत्त्वे सति असत्त्वात्यन्ताभावरूपं विशिष्टं?
Does sadasat vilakshaNatva mean
1) The absence of : sat endowed with asat, or
2) The two properties being the absence of sat and the absence of asat, or
3) While the absolute absence of sat is present, the absolute absence of asat also is present.

Let us look at an example to understand how these are different. When we say daNDi puruSha:, we are referring to a person with a stick. This could mean
1) A person with a stick
2) A person and a stick.
While these two appear to be the same, there is a subtle difference between the two which can be understood when we look at the absence, or abhAva of daNDi puruSha. When we say daNDI puruSha: nAsti, we could either mean
1) the person is there, but the stick is not there.
2) the stick is there, but the person is not there.
3) both the person and the stick are not there.
The pratiyogi of the daNDi puruSha abhAva is the puruSha only (not daNDa), whereas the pratiyogi of daNDa and puruSha abhAva is daNda and puruSha. Thus the expression "man with stick" is different from the expression "man and stick".

Similarly, the nyAyAmritakAra wants to know whether the mithyAtva of the world means that the world
1) has the absence of sat endowed with asat.
2) has the absence of sat and absence of asat.
3) has satvAbhAva present along with asatvAbhAva

According to him, there are problems in each of these alternatives.

नाद्य:, सत्त्वमात्राधारे जगत्यसत्त्वविशिष्टसत्त्वानभ्युपगमात्, विशिष्टाभावसाधने सिद्धसाधनात् | The first alternative is untenable, as the dvaitin holds the world is
endowed with reality. He is not claiming that the world is sat endowed with asat. Therefore, in proving that the world is mithyA, ie it is not sat endowed with asat, the advaitin is proving something that the dvaitin already accepts. Thus it is a case of siddha sAdhAna. He might as well save his breath.

A second objection possible is that a thing such as sat mixed with asat is impossible, therefore denying it is impossible too. However, while the dvaitin does not make such a claim, it is possible for the naiyyAyika to do so. The reason is because dvaita and nyAyA treat asat differently.

In nyAya, if there is absence, abhAvam, it must have a counter-positive, pratiyogi. A pot must be present somewhere for it to be absent. A thing never present anywhere cannot be said to be absent. The dvaitin does not require that abhAva, as a rule, must have a pratiyogi.

According to dvaita, asat can be the object of verbal expression, ie it can said to be non existent. In nyAya, asat cannot even be spoken as non-existent, as it is not available for any verbal expression, including as "nAsti", non-existence.

The naiyyAyika differentiates atyantAbhAvam from asat - that which is present in one thing, but completely absent in all three periods of time in other things is atyantAbhAvam for him. In wind, vAyu, rUpa or form has atyantAbhAvam, because rUpa is present elsewhere. If form was not present anywhere, it cannot be said to be absent either.

So, if something is said to be non-existent, that non-existence can only refer to atyantAbhAvam, not asat. asat cannot even be said to not exist. 

Therefore, while the dvaitin can point out the logical fallacies in the absence of sat endowed with asat, the naiyyAyika can add another objection that such a thing as sat mixed with asat itself is an impossibility, and thus to deny it is also an impossibility.

न द्वितीयः, सत्त्वासत्त्वयोरेकाभावे अपरसत्त्वाश्यकत्वेन व्याघातात्, निर्धर्मकब्रह्मवत्सत्त्वासत्त्वराहित्ये अपि सद्रूपत्वेन अमिथ्यात्वोपपत्त्या अर्थान्तराच्च, शुक्तिरूप्ये अबाध्यत्वरूपसत्त्वव्यतिरेकस्य सत्त्वेन बाध्यत्वरूप असत्त्वस्य व्यतिरेक असिद्ध्या साद्धयवैकल्याच्च।

The second option is "where satyatva and asatyatva both are not present" is mithyA. The nyAyAmritakAra objects to this for three reasons -
सत्त्वासत्त्वयोरेकाभावे अपरसत्त्वाश्यकत्वेन व्याघातात्,
a) If sattva (existence) is not present in a substratum, asattva (non-existence) must automatically be present, and vice versa. Thus to say that both are not present in a place is an impossibility.

निर्धर्मकब्रह्मवत्सत्त्वासत्त्वराहित्ये अपि सद्रूपत्वेन अमिथ्यात्वोपपत्त्या अर्थान्तराच्च
b) The advaitin says that Brahman is nirdharmakam, it has no attributes. Thus Brahman too is free from the attributes of existence and non existence. Hence, Brahman too is a substratum where the attributes of sattva and  asattva are absent. Brahman too is sadasat vilakshaNam, but brahman is not mithyA. Therefore the world, which according to the advaitin is sadasat vilakshaNam, is just like Brahman, which is sat.  The world ends up being sat, not mithyA. Therefore, this sAdhya leads to the defect of arthAntara, or proving something other than what is desired.
arthAntara is of two kinds -  अभिमतार्थ असिद्धिः  अनभिमतार्थ सिद्धि: - not proving what one wants to prove, or proving something other than what you want to prove. This is a case of the latter.

c) शुक्तिरूप्ये अबाध्यत्वरूपसत्त्वव्यतिरेकस्य सत्त्वेन बाध्यत्वरूप असत्त्वस्य व्यतिरेक असिद्ध्या साद्धयवैकल्याच्च। The third defect is related to the example given for mithyA, the illusion of the shell-silver. The illusion of silver seen in the shell is sublated when the shell is seen. Thus sat, which is of the nature of unsublatability, is absent in shell-silver.  The absence of asat, of the nature of sublatability, is also not proven, as shell-silver is sublated. Thus while sat is absent, asat is not. Therefore, sadasatvilakshaNatva, the sAdhya, does not exist in shell silver.

It is necessary for the sAdhya and hetu to be present in the drishTAnta, as this allows the perceiver to conclude a vyApti, or invariable concomitance between the hetu and sAdhya based on their co-presence in the example. That is, if he cannot conclude that wherever the hetu is present, the sAdhya must be necessarily present, he cannot use this rule to infer the presence of the sAdhya in the paksha, by perceiving the presence of the hetu in the paksha.

The absence of sAdhya from the drishTAnta is a defect called sAdhyavaikalya.
अत एव न तृतीय:, पूर्ववत्व्याघात्, अर्थान्तरात्साध्यवैकल्याच्च thus the third option - where sattva abhAva is present together with asattva abhAva - is not possible. Like the option before, it suffers from  a) vyAghAta - the issue of impossibility, b) arthAntaram - the flaw of proving the reality of the world and c) sAdhya vaikalya - the defect of the example not having the sAdhya of mithyAtva.

Until now, we have looked at the arguments of the nyAyAmritakAra. How will the siddhikAra respond? We will consider this in the next post.

To be continued.

The previous topic of pakshatAvacChedaka vichAra is available at:

(Originally posted on 9th September, 2017.)