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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Is alone the true reality paramarthika Footnote ref 1


according to S'a@nkara is "the cause from which (proceeds) the origin or subsistence and dissolution of this world which is extended in names and forms, which includes many


agents and enjoyers, which contains the fruit of works specially determined according to space, time, and cause, a world which is formed after an arrangement inconceivable even by the (imagination of the) mind [Footnote ref 1]." The reasons that S'a@nkara adduces for the existence of Brahman may be considered to be threefold: (1) The world must have been produced as the modification of something, but in the Upani@sads all other things have been spoken of as having been originated from something other than Brahman, so Brahman is the cause from which the world has sprung into being, but we could not think that Brahman itself originated from something else, for then we should have a _regressus ad infinitum_ (_anavastha_). (2) The world is so orderly that it could not have come forth from a non-intelligent source. The intelligent source then from which this world has come into being is Brahman. (3) This Brahman is the immediate consciousness (_sak@si_) which shines as the self, as well as through the objects of cognition which the self knows. It is thus the essence of us all, the self, and hence it remains undenied even when one tries to deny it, for even in the denial it shows itself forth. It is the self of us all and is hence ever present

to us in all our cognitions.

Brahman according to S'a@nkara is the identity of pure intelligence, pure being, and pure blessedness. Brahman is the self of us all. So long as we are in our ordinary waking life, we are identifying the self with thousands of illusory things, with all that we call "I" or mine, but when in dreamless sleep we are absolutely without any touch of these phenomenal notions the nature of our true state as pure blessedness is partially realized. The individual self as it appears is but an appearance only, while the real truth is the true self which is one for all, as pure intelligence, pure blessedness, and pure being.

All creation is illusory maya. But accepting it as maya, it may be conceived that God (Is'vara) created the world as a mere sport; from the true point of view there is no Is'vara who creates the world, but in the sense in which the world exists, and we all exist as separate individuals, we can affirm the existence of Is'vara, as engaged in creating and maintaining the world. In reality all creation is illusory and so the creator also is illusory. Brahman, the self, is at once the material cause (upadana-kara@na) as well as the efficient cause (nimitta-kara@na) of the world.


[Footnote 1: S'a@nkara's commentary, I.i. 2. See also Deussen's _System of the Vedanta_.]


There is no difference between the cause and the effect, and the effect is but an illusory imposition on the cause--a mere illusion of name and form. We may mould clay into plates and jugs and call them by so many different names, but it cannot be admitted that they are by that fact anything more than clay; their transformations as plates and jugs are only appearances of name and form (_namarupa_). This world, inasmuch as it is but an effect imposed upon the Brahman, is only phenomenally existent (_vyavaharika_) as mere objects of name and form (_namarupa_), but the cause, the Brahman, is alone the true reality(_paramarthika_) [Footnote ref 1].

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