Shruti and logic
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Mar 4 08:07:53 CST 2002
On Mon, 4 Mar 2002, D.V.N.Sarma wrote:
> I would like to point out that in the order in which pramANAs
> are mentioned in logic anumAna (inference) is the second
> and Agama (scripture) is the third. This indicates the order of their
It is not possible to make sweeping statements about the superiority of
one pramana over the other. Rather we have to look at specific instances.
Take the case of this email list. All I see in front of me is an
inanimate screen. But I infer there are people at the other end who can
read my words and understand them. For understanding this particular
prameya, inference trumps perception don't you think?
> What we are dealing with here is shruti mediated perception.
> So it is the perception of the nonduality of atman that is
> responsible for liberation. Everybody that hears nondual
> shrutis does not automatically percieve the nonduality of atman.
> It is only those who are ripe for it. This ripening is due to the
> experiences the person undergoes. Thus we see that even for
> people who accept shruti as pramANa it is not effective for
We should note here that all experiences even non-dual ones are not
created equal. If for example one drinks alcohol to the point of
senselessness, that's an experience of non-duality! But it won't cause
the ripening of understanding needed for mukti. Experience and
understanding have to go together. Where does that understanding come
> Secondly, for those people who do not accept hindu shruti
> should we say that nonduality of atman is not valid or
> this perception is not possible? I do not think that we can assert
> any such thing. For them the perception of nonduality of atman
> must be by some other means than the hindu shrutis.
Take the statement "I don't like rice." If one doesn't know what rice is,
one can still make that statement but what does it mean? for such a
person "rice" is devoid of content, it is just a sound like "awaawabawa"
You will find rice in a dictionary but not awaawabawa precisely because
the former has meaning to people and the other does not. It is on the
basis of understanding the concept of rice that people can make meaningful
statements about whether they like it or not.
Now you say some people do not accept Shruti? Do those people think it is
just noise or it has meaning? If the latter, then they have already
accepted the Shruti whether they admit it or not. In order to understand
the concepts therein such as atman or advaita to the point where they can
accept them or not, they have had to learn and understand their meanings
and it is from this understanding however faint or tentative or erroneous
at first jnana will eventually arise.
What about other cultures which have similiar concepts but are ignorant of
the shastras? Again how do you know they are similiar? similiarity
requires prior knowledge of the lakshanas of the things being compared.
If I say "In my country there is a type of grain which when cooked becomes
a tasty food," the reaction "ah you are talking about rice" cannot happen
unless you know the qualities of "rice"-ness.
> That pramANa which caters to wider audience is superior to the
> one that caters to a limited audience.
The number of people who truly understand advanced quantum physics could
probably fit into my apartment. Should their understanding of physics be
considered inferior to the six billion other people on the planet just
because they are numerically fewer?
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/
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