PANCHADASI---5

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34. (The Buddhists retort): (According to you Vedantins) The names and forms of Akasa and other elements are conjured up by Maya in (or on) Sat, the existence or Reality. Similarly (according to us) they (names and forms) are illusively produced by Maya in (or on) non-existence, Asat. (Reply): Our answer is, ‘May you live long’, i.e. you have fallen into a logical trap.
35. If you affirm that name and form attributed to an existing thing: are both creations of Maya (an illusory principle), then tell us what is the substratum upon which Maya creates names and forms; for illusion without a substratum, is never seen.
36. (The opponent says): In the Vedic text ‘Existence was (sat asit)’ if the two words mean differently then two separate things come in. If the words refer to the same thing, then there is tautology. (The Vedantins replies): Not that, i.e., the two terms certainly refer to the same thing, but identical statements like this are seen in usage.
37. We all use the expressions, ‘What has to be done has been done’, ‘speech is spoken’, and ‘A burden is borne’. The Vedic text ‘Existence was’ is meant for those whose minds are accustomed to such expressions.
38. Such text as ‘Before creation’ spoken in reference to Brahman who is timeless, are meant for beginners who are used to the idea of time. They do not imply the existence of duality.
39. Objections are raised and answered from the point of view of duality. From the stand point of pure non-duality neither questions nor answers are possible.
40. What remains after dissolution is an unmoving and ungraspable, unnamed and unnamable, unmanifest, indefinite something, beyond light and darkness, and all-pervading.
41. (Objection): When the molecules of the four elements earth, water, fire and air are dissolved, we may have an idea of the dissolution of those elements; but how can our intellect grasp the dissolution of ak which is not composed of molecules ? Hence Akasa is eternal.
42. (Reply): If your mind can conceive of the existence of Akasa in the total absence of the (atomic) world (of names, forms and motions) why could we not conceive of Sat without Akasa ?
43. If the opponent holds that Akasa can be perceived in the absence of the rest of the world, we may ask: Where can it be seen except as light and darkness ? (i.e. what you seem to perceive is not Akasa but light and darkness). Besides, according to the opponent’s view Akasa cannot be perceived by the senses.
44. Brahman the pure existence (without any reference to the world) can be experienced without an iota of doubt, when all mentations cease. And what we experience is not nothing, for we are not conscious of the perception of nothing.
45. (Objection): The idea of existence is also absent in the state of quiescence. (reply): It does not matter. Brahman is self-revealing and the witness of the tranquil mind. It can be easily perceived by men inasmuch as it is the witness of the cessation of all mentations.
46. When the mind is void of all mentations we experience the witness or obscuring consciousness (in its purity) as calm and unagitated. Similarly prior to the functioning of Maya the existence, Sat, remained (in its purity) as quiescence, calm and unruffled.
47. As the power to burn exists in fire, so the power Maya, which has no existence independent of Brahman and which is inferred by its effect, exists in Brahman. Before the effect appears, the power behind the effect is not directly experienced by anyone anywhere.
48. The power of a substance is not the substance itself, as for instance, the power to burn is not the fire itself. (Similarly, Maya, which is the power of Brahman, is not Brahman). If Power is something other than Brahman, then define its nature.
49. (If you say the nature of) Maya is ‘nothingness’ (then you contradict yourself inasmuch as in verse 34) you said that ‘nothing’ is an effect of Maya (and an effect of a thing cannot be its nature, an effect being poterior to the thing). (So you will have to admit that) Maya is neither sunyam, non-existence nor Sat, existence, but it is as it is (i.e. something undefinable by the two terms).
50. This peculiar nature of Maya is corroborated by the Vedic text which purports, there was neither non-existence nor existence then (i.e., before creation) but there was darkness (by which is meant Maya). This attribution of existence to darkness (or Maya) is due to its association with existence, not by virtue of itself, in as much as it (existence) is denied to it (in the just mentioned Vedic passage).
51. Hence like nothingness, Maya also cannot be a distinct entity in its own right. In the world too, an able man and his ability are not considered two but one.
52. If it is argued that increase in one’s power leads to the prolongation of his life (we counter it by saying that) the prolongation is not the result of power but the effects thereof, such as war, agriculture, etc.
53. Power is now here considered to be independent of its substratum. Before creation no effects of power existed. What grounds are there for assuming a duality ?
54. Power does not operate in the whole of Brahman but only in a part of it. Earth’s power of producing pots is not seen in all earth but in a portion or mode of earth only, viz., in clay, i.e., earth mixed with water.
55. The Shruti says: ‘Creation is only a quarter of Brahman, the other three quarters are self-revealing’ (i.e., not dependent on Maya’s effects for its revelation). Thus does the Shruti say Maya covers but a part of Brahman.