THE ADVAITA PHILOSOPHY.*
[* A lecture delivered by Mudaliyar S. Sabaratnam before the Vivekananda Society, Colombo, on the 2nd December 1911. – Ed. S. D.]
The universe or the Jagat, as we may call it in the Vedantic parlance, has been the subject of very serious thought among the philosophers of various nations from a hoary antiquity – What is it? Whence is it? Who produced it? These are questions that engaged the keen attention of ancient philosophers; and these philosophers have bequeathed to us the result of their researches. Their researches led them to the conclusion, in the first place, that there is an Absolute, Infinite, Omnipotent Spirit that governs the universe; and this conclusion led them again to trace the relationship that exists between that Spirit and the Jagat. I will not go into the question whether any knowledge on the subject was revealed to them by that Spirit, - which I will hereafter call God – or whether such knowledge was acquired by them through their own endeavors. It is sufficient for me that they traced the relation between God and Jagat, one way or the other; but in course o time owing to the diversity of human intelligence, there seem to have been different ideas on this subject, and, as a consequence, there were ushered into the world various religions and dogmas. These different religions explain the relation between God and Jagat in different ways, and the ancient Hindu Philosophers themselves, had their own way of explaining this relation. There is, however, ample reason to believe that the philosophy of the Hindus was the earliest among the existing ones; and it is evident that in solving this great problem, they had for their guidance the Vedic revelations, which they considered eternal, in that they embodied the eternal laws of nature.
THE SIX SCHOOLS OF INDAN PHILOSOPHY.
It cannot, however, be said that the Hindus were all agreed in their view on this subject. They were themselves divided in their opinion on this great question, and their thoughts on the subject took six different channels which are now known as the Six Schools of Shad-Darsana of the Hindu philosophy. They are: -
1. Vedanta by Vyasa
2. Purvamimamsa by Jaimini.
3. Sankhya by Kapila
4. Yoga by Patanjali
5. Vaiseshika by Kanada and
6. Nyaya by Gautama.
There is some difference in the list of these schools as given by the South Indian Savants, which, however, is not of much concern for my present purpose.
Although these schools differ from each other in a great many material points, it is the opinion of several scholars of Aryan philosophy, such as Vijnana Bikshu and others, that all these schools are but gradatory steps to the ultimate truth. And Svami Vivekananda expresses himself strongly on this point. This is what he says: - "My mission in life is to shew that the Vedantic schools are not contradictory, that they all necessitate each other, all fulfil each other, and one, as it were, is the stepping stone to the other until the goal, the Advaita, the Tattvamasi is reached."
It will indeed be highly interesting to have some ideas of the theories propounded by these various schools; but I am afraid that it will be out of my province on the present occasion to enter into their teachings. I will confine my remarks to the first in the list, viz., Vedanta which is identical with the subject of my discourse this evening – the Advaita philosophy.
Vedanta literally means the end or pinnacle of Veda; and the Upanishads, of which there are not less than 108 in number, are popularly known as the Vedanta. All the six schools of Indian philosophy accept invariably the authority of the Upanishads, but they put different constructions on the meaning of these Upanishads to suit their own line of thought. Although all the six schools were founded on the Upanishads, the school founded by Vyasa is particularly known as Vedanta, and his philosophy is laid down in his immortal work called Vedanta Sutram or Vyasa Sutram – the aphorisms of Vyasa. He quotes passages from the Vedas and Upanishads and enunciates his theory which is known as Vedanta. This philosophy is greatly admired and appreciated by Western scholars, and it will be interesting to quote here what the German philosopher Schopenhauer says of it. He says: -
"There is no study more beneficial and elevating to mankind than the study of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, it will be the solace of my death".
And Prof. Max Muller is not less jubilant over it. He says:
If philosophy is meant to be a preparation for a happy death, I know of no better preparation for it than the Vedanta philosophy. It is the most sublime of philosophies and the most comforting of religions".
I will give another quotation from an eminent French philosopher – Victor Cousin: -
"When we read the poetical and philosophical monuments of the East – above all those of India – which are beginning to spread in Europe – we discover many a truth – and truths so profound, and which make such a contract with the meanness of the results at which European genius has sometimes stopped, that we are constrained to bend the knee before the philosophy of the East and to see in this cradle of the human race the native land of the highest philosophy".
Such is the estimation of the Vedanta philosophy by Western scholars whose opinion is entitled to great weight owing to their deep researches into Oriental literature.
I must, however, tell you that the Vedanta Sutras which form the basic foundation of the Vedanta philosophy are themselves interpreted in different lights. There are four commentaries on these sutras – the earliest of them being by Sri Nilakantha Sivacharyar who was a Saiva Siddhanta of great eminence.
The second one is by Sri Sankaracharya which is generally known as Mayavada; the third is by Sri Ramanuja who agrees in the main with Sri Nilakanta, but holds that Lord Vishnu is the supreme Deity and the fourth is by Sri Madhvacharya whose commentary is adhered to by the sect known as or Madvas.
So that it is quite apparent that when we speak of Vedanta it covers all these four lines of thought, although at present, it is to a great extent mistaken for the Mayavada of Sri Sankara – You see what Svami Vivekananda says on this point. He says: -
"This is what I mean by the word 'Vedanta' – that it covers the ground of Dualism, of qualified Monism and Advaitism in India".
PURE VEDANTA IS SIDDHANTA.
And you could clearly see that Vedanta is not an exclusive property of the Mayavadins, but it is claimed alike by Siddhantains, Mayavadins, Vaishnavites and Madvas. Vedanta is not at all opposed to Siddhanta, but in fact it is in itself a summary of Siddhanta. Says a Siddhanta saint:
and our Lord Tayumanavar says:
and the great Tirumular says:
and our Kumarakuru puts it beautifully:
It must be understood that the Saiva Siddhanta is founded on the 28 Divya Agamas which are considered in the light of special revelations of the Saivite Creed. It is indeed a great pity that the mine of this religious literature has not yet been explored by Western Savants. It is the religious philosophy propounded by these Agamas that is known as Siddhantam or Suddhadvika Saiva Siddhantam to qualify it from the philosophy of the Mayavadins generally known as Advaita.
If the word Advaita is analyzed and scrutinized, it will be clearly seen that the philosophy known by that name is purely Siddhantic and not in any way Mayavadic in its import.
The Mayavada interpretation of this philosophy is nothing short of Pantheism, pure and simple, in that it asserts that all Jagat is God. If that be so – if everything is God – where is the necessity for the word Advaita to represent that philosophy? Advaita means not two; but if the whole Jagat is God, why feel diffident to call the God and Jagat one and the same – Ekam? The very word Advaita is a strong proof that the philosophy is purely Siddhantic in form, and that the Mayavadic interpretation is thrusted on it quite inappropriately. According to the Siddhanta philosophy, the relation between God and Jagat (including the Jivas or souls) is so close and so very minutely intimate that it is not possible to separate the one from the other. That is to say, that God is the only absolute being and that all the rest are wholly dependent on Him. The dependence is in no way a partial dependence, or a dependence to any limited extent; but a dependence wholly and fully merging the one into the other. God is the life of the Jagat, and if not for this life, not a particle of this Jagat will be able to show itself. God is the only source and only support of the whole universe, and if not for this primordial basis, if not for this grand granary of the whole material and spiritual world, if not for this storehouse of all forces, if not for the strong support of this unsupported vitality, the existence of Jagat cannot be predicted, nor could that existence be ever possible. God is both in and out of the Jagat, or as it were the life and body of the Jagat, and any form the Jagat assumes, or any movement that is observed in it is all in God – all within his sphere, and all within his sole influence. And we may say that the whole Jagat and Jivas are all comprised in the all-absorbing form or God. However close and intimate the connection between God and Jagat may be, however dependent may be the latter on the former, and however absorbing the influence of God on Jagat – still they are distinct entities and can never be called one and the same, Ekam.
It is this intimate union of God and Jagat, and particularly, of God and soul, that is known as Advaita relation. The meaning of the word Advaita is not two. A means not and dvita means two. That is to say that the God and the souls are not two independent facts, but factors closely united to each other, the one being wholly dependent on the other, so much so, that the existence of the souls cannot be predicted separately. The Siddhanta School calls this relation இரண்டன்மை and it strongly emphasizes that it should not be mistaken for இரண்டின்மை. There is a word of difference between the words அன்மை and இன்மை in the Tamil language, and the difference is indeed so subtle and fine that I find it very difficult to express it adequately in English. I may say roughly that the one is the negation of form and the other is the negation of existence. So that God and soul are not two objects in form, but they are two distinct real entities. The gist of Siddhanta philosophy is that soul does not exist apart from God, but that it is fully dependent on God and that the dependence is so full and complete that if you take away God, there would be no souls. This dependence cannot be taken to mean that God and souls are but one and the same.
According to the Siddhanta philosophy God is the essence or Vitality of souls and this is why, in certain places, the Advaita relation is compared to that between body and soul. Surely without soul, there cannot be any action to the body, and in the living state, it is not possible to separate the one from the other. It is this relation that we have to realize for our final beatitude, and this realization is the indescribable bliss we are all expected to enjoy in Heaven. It will be preposterous on my part to attempt at any description of the liberated state, but I will touch one the main outline in which it is foreshadowed simply with the object of showing the incongruity of the Mayavada theory. In that state, we are expected to realize God in ourselves, to lose ourselves and to merge in the spirit of God. It is not expected that we have to realize that we are God literally. Certainly not. In that case it will be a blasphemy. We cannot for a moment conceive the idea that God as we are, we have been up to the time of liberation, subject to the myriads of worldly infirmities, imperfections and illusions. And, again, if in that liberated state we realize that we have become God, there is something that realizes that state, and we could clearly see there the existence of the soul. But, if no part of our consciousness is to enter into that region, it is no realization at all, but it would amount to the Buddhist theory of annihilation of which I shall speak something later on. So that, Gentlemen, when we test our theory of final beatitude, we could clearly see that that beatitude is the passive realization of our dependence on God by losing our I' ness and My' ness into His Sublime grandeur our existence however not being affected thereby. In the Mukti itself, we are there, in Advaita union. Otherwise there would be no Mukti because there is no one to enjoy it. The Mahatmas who attained that state, or who were about to attain that state, sang in their ecstasy that, they did not find themselves, that they saw only God, and that they were merged in his spirit. This seems to have been greatly misunderstood, while in fact they only gave expression to the non-dual relation which they were realizing. It is this relation of close union with God that the Siddhanta School inculcates under the name of Advaita.
This relation of Advaita is expounded at length in the Upanishads, but their arguments have been misconstrued by the Mayavadins and misinterpreted by them. Instead of following the arguments from beginning to end in the light in which they were used, they have detached certain portions of those arguments from the main line of reasoning and made use of them in support of a theory quite antagonistic to the spirit of the Upanishads; and in order to maintain their pet theory the Mayavadins find out some plausible reasons and satisfy their own fancy.
The main contention of the Mayavadins is that God being omnipresent there cannot be any other object but God, as in that case, it will not be possible for God to occupy the space occupied by that object. This is absurd. This question of space occupation is only applicable to material objects that have dimensions, such as length, breadth and thickness, and not to spiritual objects like God or soul who have no dimensions of any kind. Any number of these spirits can occupy any space, and their Vyapti or pervasion will not be affected thereby. It is still a greater absurdity to limit the great God to space, while in fact, He is beyond time, space and causation – Dasa-Kala-Nimittam.
If again all the souls and all the phenomena of the universe are but God Himself, we will have to attribute to Him all the inequalities, impurities and imperfections that we find there. This will be a further absurdity.
I know that when pressed to a corner by the force of such arguments, the Mayavadins try to take shelter under the theory of illusion, by saying that these phenomena are only illusions and not realities. I will be able to shew presently that this theory of illusion is in itself an illusion; but before doing so, I must point out that if the Jagat is only an illusion and not a reality, the argument that everything is God must be dropped altogether, as God is surely a solid reality and not an illusion in any sense of the word. No illusion can ever be said to be a reality, and it is an idle talk to call the illusory Jagat as the real God.
THE THEORY OF ILLUSION.
Now to come to the question of illusion: - In the case of any illusion, three factors are essential. In the first place the object seen, secondly the illusory form in which it is seen and thirdly a sentient being who so sees it. Now, in the case of the Jagat, it is said that God is the object seen, and that the Jagat and the souls in it are the illusory forms in which God is so seen – and now comes the third question – which is the sentient being who so sees? That is to say which is the object illuded? Is it God Himself? Surely He cannot be said to be subject to any illusion, and besides, He is said to be the object seen. Then who is it that is to illuded? Is it the souls? That will be inconsistent. Souls are one of the illusory forms in which God is seen. So that there must be some other object so to see it. A seer and a thing seen are quite different and distinct objects, and I am sure there need not be any difficulty in understanding this. Suppose that a piece of rope is mistaken for a snake; who is it that commits the mistake? Is it the snake itself – the illusory form in which the rope is seen? This is absurd! – and this is the argument put forward by our Mayavada friends! No illusion is possible without some one to be illuded, and to say that illusion itself is the object of that illusion is a contradiction in terms. Because, an illusion forebodes an object to be illuded which should necessarily be something other than the illusory form; and in the absence of such an object, there could be no illusion. We know that illusion is caused by the defective intelligence of the object illuded, and if the illusion in this case is said to be the cause of the object illuded, - including its defective intelligence, - we will have to argue that a cause is produced by its effect! A more absurd theory you cannot imagine!
We will consider another aspect of this illusion. Illusion is only a mistaken view. Can this view be said to possess any rationality in itself? An illusory form is in fact a nothing – a zero – it has no real existence. It is only a mistaken view of a weak-minded or a defective being. Can this nothing be said to possess intelligence and commit mistakes, as the illusory souls are explained to do? Surely this is beyond comprehension.
It may be argued that the intelligence itself is an illusion; but that there is an illusion is a fact, and I am only speaking of this fact. A fact can only be realized by a factor, and not by an illusory or imaginary form. Which is that factor that experiences this illusion? If it is the illusion itself, I say that it is only not a factor, but, as an illusion, it cannot be expected to have intelligence.
Now let us go further and consider another aspect of this illusion theory. If all the phenomena are illusion, and not real, in any sense, why should we trouble ourselves for liberation or Mukti? What is liberation? Liberation of whom? Liberation of phantoms? Why should we break our head for phantoms that have no existence in reality? Will it not be madness to arrange a campaign for the salvation of phantoms and illusory phenomena? It may be said that the campaign is to remove the illusion; but in whose interests I ask? Is it in the interest of any real entity? If it be in the interests of phantoms, will it not be the height of folly to attempt at seeking relief for such phantoms? And who is it on the removal of the illusion that will be benefited by the removal? None. There will be no one left. Why then break our head and fight with shadows?
It may perhaps be said that though phantoms we are, we are subject to the miseries of the world by our mistaking the same for reality, and that it is to remove this state of things, the removal of illusion is sought. I will come presently to the question whether the removal of this illusion or its continuance is better. But if we are phantoms, if all our sufferings are illusions and whatever we may think of it is all an illusion, what real benefit will accrue by the removal of the illusory sufferings and illusory thoughts of phantoms? It may be that we do not realize that we are phantoms. But what of that? We are phantoms in reality; and what is the use of any realization by phantoms? And if God or His sublime presence His gracious influence is supposed to help us in expelling this illusion, He may be charged with doing or causing to be done a perfectly useless act – and this would be blasphemy again!
Our Mayavada friends might perhaps say that the souls ought not to be considered in the light of phantoms, but that they are little sparks of God that have been affected by this illusion owing to the influence of Maya over them. But I am sure that they will not press this argument, with any amount of seriousness about them. Would they dare contend that any spark of God, however small it may be, will be affected by any amount of Maya or any amount of illusion? It will be an unpardonable blasphemy to say so, and I do not think that they will blaspheme the great God in order to maintain their pet theory.
I know that in their anxiety to maintain their slippery ground, the Mayavadins hop up from one argument to another, but could not find a firm footing anywhere. When they find it impossible to reconcile their pantheistic doctrine with their illusion theory, they come out with another story that what is deluded is only the Jivatma behind which is the Paramatma unaffected by any illusion. This is only a repetition of the same thing in another form. What is Jivatma? I ask, is it a reality or a phantom? If it is a reality, then, there is no doubt, that there are two entities – God and Soul. If it is a phantom, why trouble about phantoms, I ask?
There is another aspect of this theory of illusion, which, if carried to its legitimate end will fall nothing short of the Buddhist theory of annihilation. The Mayavadins say that all our woes and throes are the result of this illusion, and that unless this illusion is removed there will be no end of those woes and throes. Although the souls themselves are the result of this illusion, according to their doctrine, yet, so long as this illusion continues, the illusory souls will be subject to the illusory woes and throes, and when the illusion is removed and the truth realized, all miseries will come to an end, and along with them, the illusory souls too. That is to say, when the truth is realized, there will not be any illusory form of any kind, much less any illusory soul. Well, gentlemen, apart from the absurdity of the theory of illusion in its other aspects, I will ask you to consider it in a utilitarian point of view, whether the removal of such an illusion, if it is actually an illusion, is desirable at all, I will ask you yo consider which is better – whether to lead a life mixed up with pain and pleasure, as we do in this world, or to be swept out of existence altogether? Would you not think, that the souls, though phantoms they may be, would do well to continue their existence in this illusion, rather than become extinct altogether by the removal of that illusion? I think as men of common sense, you would certainly prefer life to death.
But I know that our Mayavada friends will not admit the fallacy of their doctrine even in the face of such arguments. I have had some experience of their mode of reasoning, and they are no doubt experts in confusing the mass. They may now come out with the same story again and say "No, no, we do not say that the souls will be annihilated; but what we say is that their illusion will be removed and that they will be able to realize that they are God Himself". This is treading the same ground over again. If they are God, there is the formidable objection "How could God be subject to illusion"? If they are souls, then the existence of souls must be admitted. If they say that the souls are not realities but phantoms, then we have come to the same ground again, the fallacy of which I have already exposed.
These incongruities will clearly show that the real truth expounded by our ancient philosophy is not that we are illusory forms nor are we God, but that we are real entities in non-dual relation with the great God, and that, when we realize the truth, we will lose all our individuality – all our I'ness and My'ness – and merge into the sublime grandeur of the Divine Spirit. This was what Buddha meant by Nirvana, and this was what Vyasa meant by advaita in his Vedanta Philosophy. Of course in course of time, their real meanings were distorted and presented in a form entirely different from what was originally intended. That the Mayavadins themselves realized the necessity of admitting the existence of souls would be quite apparent from the numerous references made to those souls in the Sastras of that school, where they are clearly defined as immortal and eternal and as subjects of true realization. It is therefore absurd on their own saying to call these souls either as God or as phantoms. I must not pass over another attempt of theirs at reconciliation. Surely they cannot withstand the force of the arguments used against them, nor are they willing to admit their fallacy. They therefore try various excuses one after the other, but they fail miserably in each and every one of them.
When they find that their illusory souls are no good, they say that the illusion does not create souls, but that owing to the illusion of Maya the unchangeable God appears as many souls. This is the same repetition again! To whom does He appear so is my question? Is it to Himself? No, certainly not. Is it them to the souls? This can neither be; because there are no souls. Then to whom? It must be to the illusory souls of whose fate I need not say any more.
Now gentlemen, I will point out to you another glaring absurdity in this connection. The theory is that God and Maya are the material causes of the illusion. If that be so, so long as these causes continue, the illusion also must continue as a matter of course; and I fail to see any use in our endeavor to get over this illusion. The souls do not contribute any quota to the cause of this illusion, because they are only the result of that illusion; and how could this illusion be removed, while its two material causes are there permanently? There is an object, and in its presence there is a mirror, and there should necessarily be a reflection. How is it possible to do away with the reflection without removing the one or the other cause? It may perhaps be said that by getting over the influence of Maya, we could get over this illusion. But now is this possible? We, the souls are the effect of Maya, and how could an effect get over the influence of its cause? How could a shade get over the influence of the tree?
Now let us for a moment consider the purpose of this illusion. It is contended that God is the only Being, and that there is no other being but God. It would certainly be a pertinent and rational question then to ask, why should God produce this illusion? We know that illusion is something contrary to truth, and it will be wrong to say that it is a sort of deception. And are we to say that God practices this deception as a pastime, because, mind you, there is no one but God to be benefitted or affected by this illusion? Can we say, with any sense of consistency in us that the great God, the fountain-head of perfect goodness, unfathomable wisdom and absorbing love, produces this illusion for his own amusement?
It may be said that God is not responsible for this illusion but it is only the imperfection of the souls that causes this illusion. But have we not been told that the souls themselves are the effect of this illusion? And my question is, why should this illusion be caused whereby the souls are produced and made to suffer by that illusion? Surely a Being that is the source of all these illusion and the innumerable evils and miseries that are consequent thereon cannot be said to be infinitely good. It may be that these evils and miseries are only illusions and not realities, but then the fact remains that there are evils and miseries in an illusory form, and this cannot be denied.
I know that the responsibility of this illusion is at times thrown on Maya. But what is Maya? It is only a non-intelligent object whose nature God known well, and which is fully under the control of God. And such a Maya cannot be expected to produce anything without the will of God. And why did God produce this illusion? Is the question before us. I will come to the question of Maya shortly, but I must tell you here that according to the Mayavada doctrine, there should be no other object than God, and the responsibility of illusion must therefore be fully thrown on God, and I do not think that it will be possible with any one to explain this anomaly.
I know that when this strong argument is raised against the theory of illusion, the Mayavadins resort to a very lame excuse and say that conditioned as we are cannot question the action of the unconditioned God. With all deference to the memory of the late Svami Vivekananda whose name your society bears, I must say that he was himself of this opinion. He says: -
"The very question is impossible. You have no right to this question. Why? What is perfection? That which is beyond time, space and causation. That is perfect. Then you ask how the perfect became imperfect. In logical language the question may be put in this form. How that which is beyond causation became caused? You contradict yourself. You first admit that it is beyond causation and then ask what caused it. It will be nonsense to ask it, because the question is illogical."
No doubt Svami Vivekananda was a great Sannyasin, and I may say, a great scholar too. So I may say of Sri Sankaracharya also, whom I may even call a much greater man than Svami Vivekananda. But truth is truth and facts are stubborn, and, I should bot feel nervous to speak out what I think to be the truth.
This line of argument followed by the Mayavadins in support of their illusion theory is more or less on the same line with the Christian sophistry that we should not question the action of God, which they generally come out with, when confronted with some sound arguments which they cannot possibly meet. It is true that we are conditioned in our present state, and we do not go beyond this conditioned sphere of ours when we put the question, nor do we attempt at having any survey of the Beyond. No, not at all. We confine ourselves to our own sphere, and say boldly that conditioned as it is, this illusion cannot be ascribed to the non-conditioned and infinite God. It is inconsistent to call this conditioned illusion to be the effect of the non-conditioned God. That is our argument, and our argument cannot be rebutted by the empty rebuke, "You dare not ask that question." We say that if this illusion is attributed to God, He cannot be called infinite; but the Mayavadins say that because He is infinite, we cannot ask that question. This is begging the question. If objectives are to be shelved into the convenient corner of the limited nature of our knowledge, surely there can be no means of finding out the truth.
There is still another point which I think will go a long way to convince you of the futility of the Mayavada theory. If there is no other object but God, how could we maintain that God is good, that God is love, and that He is beneficent? Whom does He do good? Whom does He love? Whom does His goodness benefit? Can we say that His goodness benefits the illusory forms for which He is Himself responsible? A benefit to illusory forms is no benefit at all, and even if it be a benefit, it cannot be said to His credit that they were all produced by His own action. God can only be supposed to do good, if His goodness will benefit beings for whose existence He is not responsible. So you will see that God cannot be called good or beneficent under the circumstances; but on the contrary He will have to be considered the source of evil, if the Mayavada theory is to be maintained. For, all the miseries of this wretched world owe their origin to His reflection on Maya as this reflection produces an illusion under which innumerable souls are produced and made to suffer for an indefinite period. And if such thing is to continue eternally, - so long as God and Maya exist – the malignity of the evil can be better imagined than described.
I will not say a few words on Maya. This is a factor which the Mayavadins find it altogether impossible to swallow. They cannot dispense with its existence, because they want it indispensably for the reflection of God and for the production of their illusion; and again on the other hand, they cannot accept its existence; for if they accept it, they will have to cut the ground under their own feet, and admit that there are entities other than God. Their position is indeed pitiable! They cannot make the two ends meet. But they know how to confuse people and they must be given credit for that. They call Maya அநிர்வசனியம் indescribable. It is neither an entity, nor a non-entity. This they think will help them out of the difficulty. But will it stand a critical test? I will ask them in plain words, what is Maya? Is there such a thing as Maya or is there not? They must either say Yes or No. It is no use playing in words. They must either say that there is such a thing as Maya or that there is no such object in existence. They cannot say that it exists, and at the same breath that it does not. They cannot say that it is something which is nothing. Such a statement will be the height of absurdity. They are bound to accept that it is something on which God reflects and produces the Jagat, and there cannot be any loophole for them to escape after accepting this statement. There cannot be the least doubt that it is something, however subtle or however indescribable it may be. The indescribability is nothing but the extremely subtle nature of that entity and at the same time the Advaita relation which it bears to the Great God, and on account of which it is called His "Parikkinakasakti".
THE TRUE END.
It is the truth of this Advaita relation which the sublime Siddhanta philosophy has established beyond all manner of doubt. It clearly lays out the existence of three Padarthaas – Pati, Pasu, and Pasam – and traces out in a wonderfully subtle and methodical manner the relation that exists between Pati and the other two entities. God is the mainstay and repository of Pasu and Pasam, and in the case of the rational Pasu, He is the soul of their souls and the body of their bodies. He is all in all, and without Him there can be no soul, no Jagat and nothing whatever. It is not possible to separate any of these factors form God – and it is this relation of non-dual union with God that is called Advaita Sambantham. This relation is clearly and distinctly exhibited in the Muktinilai or the liberated state of the souls, and it is the realization of this Advaita relation that is known as Sayujjya or oneness in Heaven with God. When the soul realizes his true position and finds himself merged into the grandeur of the Divine Spiritual blaze and looses his I'ness and My'ness when he sees the true form of God all over and every where embodying, as it does, anything and everything; when in fact, he sees God in everything, and nothing but the divine form presents Its view to his sight in whatever direction he may look, - that is true liberation and that is Mukti. In our present state of பெத்தநிலைor bondage, God is immanent in everything and is not visible to our view, but in the முத்திநிலை or liberated state, everything is hidden in Him, and He appears as one glow of grandeur. This Mukti does not mean that everything is God, nor that any of them is an illusion, as the Mayavadins would say. Such a contention cannot be maintained to and extent, and such a contention is against the spirit of all our srutis and revelations.
It is noteworthy to observe in this connection that the Mayavadins themselves are sensible to the truth of the Siddhanta doctrine, and this is why they would not call themselves Monists, Pantheists or Idealists. If they really think that there is only God and nothing else, they should not hesitate to call themselves Monists. If they maintain that every phenomenon of the Jagat is God, then they should call themselves Pantheists. If they seriously think that everything that we see is an illusion, not like to go under any of these names; they want to claim all these absurdities put together and call themselves by a different name. They seem to have been enamored by the specious arguments and sophistries of these different schools, and at the same time they seem to realize the intrinsic value of the Siddhanta doctrine. So they want to have a conglomeration of the views of all these schools and go under the name of Mayavada.
I must however tell you that the arguments used by the Mayavada School are not altogether rejected by the Siddhanta School. These arguments may be found referred to in the Sastras of that School, and the object of such reference would be found fully explained there. But these arguments, when used in the Vedic Srutis, are only referred to in a general way and are therefore greatly misunderstood and misconstrued – and hence the springing up of the different schools of philosophy. There are of course passages in the Vedas which declare that God is one – "Ekam Evadvitiyam". This is only intended to show that there is only one God and not more. This cannot be distorted to mean that there is nothing but God. There are passages in the Vedas which say that everything is God. This is intended to show that God is the source and support of everything and that He pervades in all of them, both in and out. That is to say that He is the be-all and end-all of every entity, and that the existence and movements of all entities are in Him. The illusion theory itself is referred to therein. This is only intended to show the fleeting and transient character of the Jagat and its deceptive nature in enticing souls as something those passages would be quite apparent from the numerous other passages in the vedas which clearly indicate the Siddhanta doctrine.
The Siddhanta doctrine accepts all the theories put forward by the Mayavadins school and explains their true meaning, maintaining at the same time the existence of the three entities God, Soul and Pasa both in the Vyavahara and Paramartha condition, or as we would put in, the Petta tasai and mukti tasai; and they propound elaborately and exquisitely the relation that exists between god and the other entities, perfectly to consonance with the attributes of God.
I am afraid that I have kept you long, but I must tell you that the Siddhanta philosophy is the only philosophy that will recommend itself to every earnest thinker and that there and here alone you will find the intricate questions in the field of religion systematically and satisfactorily solved and the truth explained and established.
I must also tell you in this connection that we Tamils, more than any other race in India, have been particularly interested in this philosophy from a long time back, and it is believed in certain quarters that it is a product of the Dravidian intellect. I cannot enter into the question here whether there was any wide gulf between the Aryans and the Dravidians in their religious views, although at present, the Siddhanta philosophy is very little known in North India, where quite a mistaken notion obtains about the Tantras or Agamas. I will however make bold to say that the Siddhanta philosophy is in perfect consonance with the Vedas, and that it is the true end to which the Vedas lead. I think it therefore highly essential, that we, especially the Tamils, should make a careful study of that philosophy, and not only study, but try to realize its truth, by practical results. Such results would fully convince us one for all that God is our life, God is our body, God is our support and God is our everything. Such is our relation with God – and this is our Advaita union.