Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

bAdha - part 4

Definition - S. N. Sastri

'bAdha' is a technical term in advaita vedAnta which is used in a specific sense by all writers on advaita from Sri Shankara onwards. The actual definition of this term is given in vedAntaparibhAshA, which is the authoritative work on such matters. The following is the definition:--

The destruction of an effect is of two kinds. In one the destruction is together with that of the material cause, and in the other the material cause remains intact. The first is bAdha or ‘sublation’, and the second is nivRtti or ‘cessation’. The cause of the first is the realisation of the truth of the substratum, brahman, for without that, Nescience which is the material cause is not removed. The cause of the second is the rise of a contrary mental modification, or the removal of defects, like the cessation of a pot by the blow of a club, in which case the material cause of the pot, namely clay, still remains. Another example is, when a person first sees a snake in a rope and subsequently thinks that it is not a snake but a crooked stick. In this case also the material cause, ignorance of the rope, remains and so there is only nivRtti or cessation of the illusion of a snake, and not bAdha. If he realizes that it is only a rope, then there is bAdha because the ignorance of the substratum, rope, has also been removed.

The same definition has also been given in vivaraNa of prakASAtman and in vivaraNaprameyasangraha of svAmI vidyAraNya. The definition is:

ajnAnasya svakAryeNa saha tattvajnAnena nivRttiH bAdhaH-

This has been translated by G.Thibaut as follows:--

"Sublation (bAdha) is the termination, by means of the cognition of truth, of Nescience together with its effects".

It follows from the above that when brahman is realized there is bAdha or sublation of Nescience along with its effect, the world.

advaita vedAnta has, like any other science, its own terminology and consequently its own technical terms. The meaning of such technical terms has to be understood by seeing in what sense writers in Sanskrit on advaita have used them. Other such technical terms are upAdhi, prAj~na, etc. The term 'upAdhi' has a totally different meaning in nyAya philosophy from that given to it in advaita. The word 'prAj~na' has a meaning in mANDUkya upaniShad which is quite different from the dictionary meaning. All this is already known to most members, but I am stating this only for the information of beginners in advaita.

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012