Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Panchadasi-Chapter 1-Verses 49, 50, 51 and 52

Hari Aum

Prostrations to my Guru. Prostrations to All.


savikalpasya lakshyatve lakshyasya syaad avastutaa .
nirvikalpasya lakshyatva.n na dR^ishhTa.n na cha sambhavii .. 49..

(Objection :) If the denoted object (of ‘That Thou Art’ i.e. Brahman) is with attributes, then it becomes unreal. Secondly, an object without attributes is neither seen nor is possible to conceive


vikalpo nirvikalpasya savikalpasya vaa bhavet.h .
aadye vyaahatir anyatra anavasth aatm aashray aadayaH .. 50..

(Answer :) Does the objection you have raised relate to entity without attributes or with attributes? If the first, you are caught in your own trap; if the second, it involves logical fallacies of infinite regress, resting on oneself, etc.


ida.n guNa kriyaa jaati dravya sambandha vastushhu .
sama.n tena svaruupasya sarvam etad itiishhyataam.h .. 51..

The same logical fallacies may be shown in any object having substance, species, quality, action, or relationship. So accept all these attributes as existing (superimposed on) by the very nature of things.


vikalpa tad abhaavaabhyaam asa.nspR^ishhTaatmaa vastuni .
vikalpitatva lakshyatva sambandhaadyaas tu kalpitaaH .. 52..

The Self is untouched by doubts about the presence or absence of associates, connotations and other adventitious relationships, because they are superimposed on it phenomenally.

In the previous sloka, Vidyaranya told that Brahman is indivisible and is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss and it is the Ultimate goal.

Now a question comes whether that Brahman, which is the goal of a seeker, is with attributes or without attributes. If it is with attributes then it is not real as according to Advaita anything with attributes is only an illusion and hence not real. If Brahman is without attributes then it is neither found anywhere and nor it is possible to be found anywhere. Thus the question is about the attributes of Brahman.

For such a question, Vidyaranya asks the counter question. Since the question is on the attributes, does the objection mean the Brahman with attributes or without attributes?

If the Brahman that is meant in the question is without attributes then it is a contradiction as the question is about the attributes of the attributeless. If the Brahman that is meant is with attributes then it leads to 4 logical fallacies. The 4 logical fallacies are Anavastha or infinite regress, chakraka or circular reasoning, Atmasraya or Self dependence and anyoyasrya or mutual dependence.

Let us take that the Brahman that is meant is Brahman with attributes. So the question is about attributes of the one with attributes. Let us name the attribute of Brahman as attribute2. So, we have attribute1 depends on Brahman with attribute2. Attribute2 might depend on another entity with attribute3 which in turn might depend on another with attribute4. Thus it might go like infinite regression hence causing Anavastha dhosham.

If the attribute3 on which attribute2 depends is same as attribute1 then we are in a situation wherein attribute1 depends on attribute2 which in turn depends on attribute3 which in turn is same as attribute1 which means attribute1 depends on attribute2, and attribute2 depends on attribute1 thus causing anyoyasrya dhosham or error of mutual dependence.

If attribute3 is same as attribute2, then there is an error in which the attribute depends on itself thus causing Atmasraya dhosham or error of self dependence.

If attribute1 depends on Brahman with attribute2 and if attribute2 depends on Brahman with attribute3 which in turn depends on attribute1, then it causes chakraka dhosham or error of circular reasoning.

The same logical errors will be there for any object having substance, species, quality, action or relationship. So how are these answered? Vidyaranya says, that these attributes that seem to exist are the very nature of the object itself. But it doesn’t mean that these are real. All the vikalpams that seem to exist doesn’t touch the Self at all, doesn’t have any relation with the Self at all. These attributes are only imagination of the mind which are superimposed on the Self. These vikalpams doesn’t really exist but only seems to exist in the Reality. What really exist is the Self, which exists as the witness when the vikalpams seems to exist untouched by the vikalpams and which alone exists even when there are no vikalpams like in deep sleep.

Prostrations to all

Hari Aum



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