Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Vedanta - Part 37

VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem
D. Venugopal

D. Venugopal is a student of Swami Paramarthananda and a direct disciple of Pujya Swami Dayananda. He has successfully completed the long-term residential course in Vedanta and Sanskrit conducted from May 2002 to July 2005 at the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti.




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VIII - The three states of the manifestation

The manifestation can also be divided into the causal, the subtle and the gross. Causal is the invisible seed state of manifestation in which every detail is only in a potential state and is undifferentiated [257]. Subtle is the invisible state in which differentiation has begun to manifest but not become fully developed. Gross state is the fully differentiated state of manifestation, which is visible [258].


There is a correspondence between the five koças and these three states. The causal correlates with the änandamaya, the subtle with the vijaïänamaya, manomaya and präëamaya and the gross with the annamaya.


The states of experience of the jéva are also related to the different states of the manifestation. During the deep sleep, the jéva functions in the causal state; during the dream, it functions in the causal and subtle states; and during the waking state, it functions in the causal, subtle and gross states.




We now have the basic information necessary for further discussion of the subject and it follows.



I - The differences between the cause and the effect


We may now analyze the cause and the effect to know the implications of the manifestation being the effect of Brahman. For this purpose, we may take the example of clay as the cause (käraëa) and the pot as the effect (kärya).


Clay, the material cause, is one. From clay, many pots are made as also other products like pan, cups, lids, lamps and art objects. If we count the objects made of clay, we can count many. However, if we count clay, it is only one even though there are many objects of clay. Clay is one; but the clay products are many. Käraëa is one or ekam but käryas are many or anekam.


When clay is shaped into a pot, the pot weighs the same as the clay from which it is made. The weight of the pot is the weight of clay. If clay were removed from the pot, the pot would cease to exist. So, the pot is completely dependent upon clay for its existence. The effect (kärya) can never be separate from cause (käraëa), as it is sustained by it. Therefore, the effect cannot exist at any time without the cause. Thus, while käraëa is substantial or säram, kärya is unsubstantial or asäram.


The cause, clay exists even before the manifestation as the pot. Clay continues to exist when manifest as the pot. Clay will continue to exist even when the pot is broken into pieces. Clay is thus present during all the three periods of time, the past, the present and the future. What exists in this manner is called nitya or permanent. Clay as käraëa is nitya. As regards the pot, the kärya, it comes into manifestation at particular point of time and was not there before that time. Later, at another point of time, when it is broken, the pot will cease to be. It has a beginning and an end and is not present in all the three periods of time. Pot is thus temporary or anityam. Thus, while käraëam is nityam, kärya is anityam.


II - Satyam and mithyA

Clay can exist on its own at all points of time. It can be a mere clod of clay; or, it may be the pot, the lid or any other product of clay. Its existence is not dependent on anything else. However, in the case of the effect, the pot, the position is not the same. It can never exist without being dependent on its cause. The pot will cease to exist the moment it severs its connection with clay. Since the effect does not have its own basis for its existence, it is not considered as satyam or real.


‘Not real’ does not mean that it does not exist. It very much exists and has a particular name, form and function. However, it is not considered real since it is not independent but is entirely dependent on clay for its existence. The pot is therefore not satyam. That is, the truth of the pot is not the pot but is clay. At the same time, the pot cannot be considered as unreal (tuccham), since it not only exists but also is available for transactions. Tuccham, on the other hand, is that which does not exist at any point of time.


The traditional examples of tuccham have been italicized in the following sentence: “Having bathed in the water of the mirage, having put a crown of sky-flowers on his head, there goes the son of a barren woman, armed with a bow made of hare’s horn”. The present-day example is the square-circle. Unlike these, which can never be in existence, the pot has a dependent existence. Since it is neither real (as it has no existence of its own), nor unreal (as it does exist as form and function), its reality status is logically uncategorizable and hence indescribable. Indescribable is called anirvacanéya.


That which does not admit of categorization either as real or as unreal is called sad-asad-vilakñaëéya. It is otherwise called mithyä. Thus, we arrive at the position that while the cause (käraëa) is satyam, the effect (kärya) is mithyä. In the case of the pot made of clay, clay is the substance and is satyam; pot, which is not a substance but is only a form (rüpa), which is called by the name (näma) 'pot', is mithyä. Square-circle, which does not exist at any point of time, is tuccham.


Mithyä is not name and form (näma-rüpa). It is a word revealing our understanding of the reality status of the object. A pot is mithyä. Nevertheless, we can use the mithyä pot. But, mithyä cannot be used as it expresses only the reality status of the object. Another important thing to be noted is that only when clay is appreciated as the truth of the pot or as satyam, the pot, which is made of clay, can be considered as mithyä. So, without knowing satyam, figuring out mithyä is not possible.


257. Avyäkta.
258. Vyakta.

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