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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Anirvacyavada and the Vedanta Dialectic


phenomenal movements can only manifest itself through these which hide it, when corresponding states arise in the anta@hkara@na, and the light of the real shines forth through these states. The anta@hkara@na of which aha@mkara is a moment, is itself a beginningless system of ajnana-phenomena containing within it the associations and impressions of past phenomena as merit, demerit, instincts, etc. from a beginningless time when the jiva or individual soul began his career.

Anirvacyavada and the Vedanta Dialectic.

We have already seen that the indefinite ajnana could be experienced in direct perception and according to Vedanta there are only two categories. The category of the real, the self-luminous Brahman, and the category of the indefinite. The latter has for its ground the world-appearance, and is the principle by which the one unchangeable Brahman is falsely manifested in all the diversity of the manifold world. But this indefinite which is different from the category of the positive and the negative, has only a relative existence and will ultimately vanish, when the true knowledge of the Brahman dawns. Nothing however can be known about the nature of this indefinite except its character as indefinite. That all the phenomena of the world, the fixed order of events, the infinite variety of world-forms and names, all these are originated by this avidya, ajnana or maya is indeed hardly comprehensible. If it

is indefinite nescience, how can all these well-defined forms of world-existence come out of it? It is said to exist only relatively, and to have only a temporary existence beside the permanent infinite reality. To take such a principle and to derive from it the mind, matter, and indeed everything else except the pure self-luminous Brahman, would hardly appeal to our reason. If this system of world-order were only seeming appearance, with no other element of truth in it except pure being, then it would be indefensible in the light of reason. It has been proved that whatever notions we have about the objective world are all self-contradictory, and thus groundless and false. If they have all proceeded from the indefinite they must show this character when exposed to discerning criticism. All categories have to be shown to be so hopelessly confused and to be without any conceivable notion that though apparent before us yet they crumble into indefiniteness as soon as they are


examined, and one cannot make such assertion about them as that they are or that they are not. Such negative criticisms of our fundamental notions about the world-order were undertaken by S'rihar@sa and his commentator and follower Citsukha. It is impossible within the limits of this chapter, to give a complete account of their criticisms of our various notions of reality. I shall give here, only one example.

Let us take the examination of the notion of difference (_bheda_)from _Kha@n@danakha@n@dakhadya_. Four explanations are possible about the notion of difference: (1) the difference may be perceived as appearing

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