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Re: On the nature of Maya and existence

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Thu Jul 08 1999 - 09:06:48 PDT

Dear Sri. Venu
NamO nArAyaNA.
I am not sure if I am interpreting your questions clearly, 
but I think you 
are asking the following
1. what is existence ?
2. In what sense does karma exist?

Glad you asked the question, trying to answer 
your question helps me as well as others
augment our understanding.

Answer 1. That which is not  negated by any of the valid
means of acquiring knowledge exists (i.e., it is a real.) 


What is Vis'istadvaita Vedanta?

It is a detailed explanation of the nature of reality(i.e., nature of 
all things that exist), based on three independent, valid means 
of acquiring knowledge (PramAnas.)  The independent, 
pramAnas are perception (pratyaksa), inference (anumAna) 
and S'abda (verbal testimony.)  Now we can define a real
as that which is not negated by any of the valid means of 
acquiring knowledge.

The classification of reals is very important to understand, 
for it is the foundational layer of Vis'istAdvaita Vednata.  
The starting point of Vis'istAdvaita Vedanta is reals.  
Reals are composed only of substrate and attributes.  
Reals can be classified into two broad categories 
substance and non-substance.  Substance is composed 
of substrate and attributes and is always cognized as 
a substrate qualified by some attribute.  Non-substance is a 
real that does not meet the criteria outlined in the 
definition of substance.  Further, a non-substance 
is an attribute, but an attribute need not be a 
non-substance (as a substance can exist within another 
substance as an attribute. )  A non-substance cannot 
exist independent of substance.

Answer 2. Karma is a real (it satisfies the requirements of 
the definition)  I think it can be classified as substance.

 Karma satisfies the following definition:

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. 

I haven't seen karma being explicitly classified in 
Fundamentals of Vis'istAdvaita (I will scan thoroughly 
and report back.)

For More detailed discussion on classification of reals 
look at archives 
for June (should be up soon)  
1.Re: Post 3d) Classification of relas
2.Re: Post 3e) Classification of reals

Source for information:
The source for following is *Fundamentals of Vis*istAdvaita
VedAnata: A study based on Vedanta Des*ika*s:
Tattva-MuktA-KalApa*, by Sri. S.M.S. Chari.  The material 
above is not verbatim, but is in accordance with the material 
presented in the book.  Copies are available,  if interested 
please e-mail me.

adiyEn ramanuja dasan,