Friday, January 19, 2024

Gaudapada Suffers No Fools

In his Karika (gloss) to the Mandukya Upanishad, Gaudapada suffers no fools when it comes to the suffering entailed by mistaking the waking dream as real. Or realizing non-duality as truth.

Take K2.4 for example: “Different objects cognised in dream are illusory because they are being perceived to exist. For the same reason the objects seen in the waking state are also to be considered as illusory. Just as in the waking state, so also in the dream, the nature of objects remains the same. The only difference is the limitation of space in the case of dream objects, they being seen in the within.” ~Gaudapada K2.4 (tr-Chinmayananda)

In other words, during a dream, space and time is a creation of the mind. Such perception is unreal of course. But perception in the waking state is no different, is it? If In a dream, seeing is not to be believed, why should seeing ever be believed? That is the question.

Then there’s this slap: “All aggregates are produced by Atman’s maya, as in a dream. No rational argument can be given to establish their reality, whether they are of equal status or whether some are superior.” ~Gaudapada K3.10 (tr-Nikhilananda)

In other words, the burden of proof is on the dreamer to prove its dream is something other than a dream. Don’t hold your breath.

Lastly for this thread, there’s K3.18: Since Non-duality is Ultimate Reality, duality is said to be Its effect. The dualist sees duality in both the Absolute and the relative. Therefore the non-dualist position does not conflict with the dualist position. (tr-Nikhilananda)

Nikhilananda comments on K3.18 thusly: “The non-dualist does not deny the fact of duality during the state of ignorance; but he denies that it is ultimately real. Consequently, from the standpoint of Reality, the non-dualist does not contradict duality, since the latter is really non-existent.”

Shankara laughs out loud: “It is like the case of a man on a spirited elephant, who knows that none can oppose him, but who yet does not drive his beast upon a lunatic who though standing on the ground, shouts at the former, ‘I am also on an elephant, drive your beast on me.’ ”

To summarize, seeing may be believing but it’s not the way of truth; in fact, the very act of perception is what reveals the waking state as dream and therefore false. Thus, it is not up to the truth-teller to disprove the waking dream, but the impossible task of the dreamer. And last, but not least, there is no need to argue with duality for duality is actually non-existent. Lord, what fools these mortals be.

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