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From: Venkat Nagarajan (NAGARAVE_at_fin.gov.on.ca)
Date: Tue Aug 03 1999 - 14:59:38 PDT
Dear Bhagavatas, NamO nArAyaNA. This post is an element of a continuing series of posts on classification of reals. The material to be presented is based on Sri. S.M.S. Chari's, Fundamentals of Vis'istAdvaita. Please note what follows is not verbatim, but is in accordance with the material presented in the book. Please note the following: 1. The required background material from previous posts has been attached at the bottom of the post. 2. This material cannot be digested properly by cursory reading; it must be studied in a thorough manner. 3. Any errors are mine alone. "SrimAn VenkatanAthArya: kavithArkika kEsarI! VedAnthAchArya varyO mE sannidhatthAM sadhA hrudhi"!! In previous posts, the concept of attributes was discussed, but only at a level of detail that was required to define and outline the axioms related to substance and non substance. This post deals exclusively with attributes; for, without a thorough understanding of the concept of attributes it is not possible to, grasp, fully, the immutable character of the jiva. An attribute can be thought of as a property or quality associated with a real. The key thing to note is that under this definition an attribute can be either substance or non substance. Attributes have been classified into two broad categories; mainly essential attributes and secondary attributes. Definition 5. Essential Attributes (svarUpa-nirUpaka-dharma): Attributes that are integrally related to a real and as a result form the basis for differentiation (of that real from other classes of reals) are denoted as essential attributes. Definition 6. Secondary Attributes (nirUpita-svarUpa-Vis'esana): Externally related attributes, which only become manifest after the essential attributes are fully understood, are denoted secondary attributes. Classifying Attributes- An Illustration: 1. Both Jiva and Brahman are self luminous. Since self luminosity differentiates jiva and Brahman from substances that are not sentient, it is an essential attribute. 2. Jiva is Anu or infinitesimal (another essential attribute of jiva. ) Note, both jiva and Brahman fall in the class of sentient substance, but while jiva is Anu, Brahman is vibhu. In this case the essential attribute serves as a basis of differentiation within a class of substances. Several illustrations of both types of attributes to follow in the next post. The Concept of Substance Existing Within Another Substance As An Attribute: Using Agama as a PramAna we obtain the following. 1.Jiva is a sentient real 2.Knowledge is a non-sentient real that inheres the jiva, as an essential attribute 3. Knowledge is subject to avastha (a special type of modification, refer to background definitions) due to the influence of an external real, karma. Based on the 3 rd point, the Vis'istAdvaitan concludes that attributive knowledge (dharma-bhuta-jnana, knowledge relating to reals other than jiva) is substance. Moreover, since dharma-bhuta-jnana exists within the jiva as an essential attribute, it follows that change in dharma-bhuta-jnana, (contraction/expansion) is inseparably related to jiva. Thus, jiva is also substance (please refer to definition of substance in background section if unable to follow the reasoning.) Since both jiva and dharma-bhuta-jnana, are beyond the realm of perception, the following illustrative example, which is within the realm of perception, may be helpful. Example: Ocean is a real which is recognized by perception. A wave is also a real recognized by perception. The wave is integrally related to the ocean and is a basis of differentiation (i.e., based on the attribute of waves, the ocean can be differentiated from other reals such as pond, lake and so on.) A wave is subject to change in height; this change is inseparably related to the wave and is brought about by the influence of external factors (one factor being the lunar cycle.) Thus, the wave is substance. However, the wave exists within the ocean as an essential Attribute; thus, it follows that the change in the Wave (height) is inseparably related to the ocean. Hence, ocean is also a substance. The ocean is a substratum for the wave and the wave a substratum for the wave height. The concept of substrate is abstract (i.e., the substratum cannot be seen.) Even though substrate and attribute are distinct, we only perceive substance (substrate as qualified by attribute.) The concept of a substrate is much like that of number. A number cannot be seen, but it can be processed by the mind. In the next post, there will be several illustrations of both types of attributes. The post will also discuss the immutable character of the jiva. KavitArkika simhAya kalyAna guna s'aline| S'rimate VenkatesAya VedAnta Gurave' Namaha| adiyEn ramanuja dasan, Venkat krishNArpaNam -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Summary of Required Background Material ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Definition: A real is that which is not negated by any of the three valid means of acquiring knowledge. Axiom1. All reals are composed only of substrate and attributes. The reals (tattvas) have been classified into two broad categories: 1. Substance (dravya) 2. Non-Substance (adravya) Definition 1: A real that under the influence of an external real is subject to a change which is inseparably related to the real (avastha), as recognised by the valid means of acquiring knowledge, is denoted a substance. Axiom 2 a) A substance is composed of a substratum (foundational layer to which the name refers) and attribute (s). The attribute (attributes) is within (are within) the substratum. Although distinct from the substratum, an attribute is inseparably related to it (an attribute can only exist within some substratum.) Axiom 2 b) A substance is always cognized as a substratum qualified by an attribute. Definition 2: A modification (avasthA) in the substratum, which is influenced by an external substance (that is by a substance not within the substance under consideration), is an attribute of the substance. Axiom 3: Every substrate is subject to avastha. Definition 3: Non-substance (adravya) is that which is not substance. Axiom 4: A non-substance cannot exist independent of a substance. ***Combining definition 1 and axiom 4, we can conclude that a catalyst (the real that brings about the change) must also be a substance. Special cases: 1. A substance can be within another substance as an attribute. For example, Jnana (Knowledge) is a substance, but it is within another substance Jiva (roughly individual soul) as an attribute. 2. A modification (avastha) is an attribute, but an attribute may not be a modification. For instance, cowness (the consolidated attribute) is an attribute that is inseparable from cow, but this attribute is not effected by external substances; thus, it is not a modification. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Terminology: Definition, Axiom, Dogma and Premise: A definition outlines certain properties and specifies a label to be assigned to the reals (substances and non substances) that satisfy these properties. An axiom is a declaration of a statement of fact that must be accepted as such without proof. The statement of fact is based on support from one or more of the sources of valid information outlined earlier. If an axiom is based solely on perception, it cannot be disputed without a valid counter example!