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An Advaita Point and its refutation

From: M.S.HARI (Madabhushi Sarangarajan Hari) (mshari_at_usa.net)
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 02:34:42 PDT

Dear Bhaagavatas,

Namaskaram. While I was talking with one of my friend who is a follower
of Advaita school of philosophical thought, raised an objection against
Visistaadvaita and I refuted it. I thought I could share it with you all
and that is why I am posting this mail. It is as follows: 

My friend said "See this Hari! An authority (Pramaana) has value only
when it imparts knowledge about a thing which cannot be known by any
other authority. Veda says "Agnihi Himasya Bheshajam" meaning "Fire
is the destroyer of ice". Though it is in the Veda, even a common
man who has not read the Veda, knows it by Pratyaksha Pramaana itself -
that he can get to know this using his sense organs itself. Therefore
"Agnihi Himasya Bheshjam" is least important authority as a Vedic verse
as other pramaanas are exisiting in this case. Similarly, the "Bheda"
(differences between individuals)is percieved by pratyaksha pramaana 
itself. It is therefore not necessary for you Visistaadvaitins to
ascertain "Bheda" from the Veda. "Abheda" is not percieved by 
pratyaksha. It is told only by Veda. Therefore Abheda sruthi is 
more of authority and importance and Bheda sruthi is of least
importance and can be ignored - Thus Advaita is proclimed in the Veda".

On hearing this argument, I refuted it like this. "See my friend!
We Visistaadvitins do not classify the vedic verses as important and
least important and we take the entire veda as authority. We synchornize
the abheda and bheda sruthis using the gataka sruthi and say that
the Brahman qualified by chit and achit entities as its body is without
a second entity - Brahman has infinite divine qualities and is untouched
by all impurities of chit and achit as Brahman is the soul. We therefore
neither say that bheda sruthi is important nor abheda sruthi is 
important. All the Veda convey only one meaning without contradiction.
Let me accept your argument also for your satisfaction. According to you
the authority must say something which is not known by any other
authority so that it is called authority (source of knowledge). Even then
this body-soul relationship between the chit/achit and the Brahman is
not known by any pramaana other than the Veda. Therefore it can be
argued from your point itself that the Veda proclaims Visistaadvaita.
You cannot say that it proclaims only Advaita because it also talks
more about Dvaita. Your usage of Apacheda nyaaya is incorrect also."
My friend accepted my point and told that he will get back to me
for more clarifications on Visistaadvaita.

Readers, I thank you for reading this. Please send your comments.

Thanks & Regards
M.S.HARI Raamaanuja Daasan.

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