Translate to your language

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Son of a barren woman!

Quite an oxymoron, isn’t it? If a woman is barren, how come she has a son? And if she has a son then she cannot be barren!

The great Indian philosopher Šankara (7th century A.D.) well renowned for his Advaita philosophy gives this simile to ridicule his Buddhist opponents. 

There was a sect of Buddhist philosophers called Vijñänavädis who claimed that the world around us does not actually exist. It exists only in our minds and not in reality. 

Šankara asks them “if the world does not exist, how come your mind imagined something that it has never seen or perceived before? To perceive something, it should have existed. It is like saying that a barren woman has a son”.

Probably Šankara forgot that his own grand teacher Gaudapäda supported almost the view of Vijñänavädis. Through a long list of arguments (refer to my book “Important missing dimensions in our current understanding of the mind”), Gaudapäda ‘almost’ proved the nonexistence of the world.

Even though Šankara explained it as above, many of his followers (Advaitis) even today stick to the line of Gaudapäda and say that world does not exist. That made Šankara the target of criticism from his opponents in his own Vedic fold, who branded his as a ‘Buddhist in disguise’!

I have mentioned one case of this misunderstood Advaita in my blog posts on Ramana Mahashi – ‘the who am I swami’. Ramana often said that the world is only the creation of the mind and it does not exist as such. In that post, I have pointed out the fallacy of this argument.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You can add anonymous comments. You can also input just your name with or without URL
Avoid any personal details. Such details will be removed when comments are published.