[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Mar 10 08:33:22 CST 2005

On Thu, 10 Mar 2005, Mahesh Ursekar wrote:

> I suppose by normal state I meant the state is which one returns after
> coming down from the exalted state of Samadhi. It is not normal in the
> sense of being similar to what is experienced by the average
> individual but normal in the sense that one is aware of world as seen
> by average individuals.

I would advise you to spend more time on the primary texts and teachers of
Advaita Vedanta as somewhere along the line you have been seriously misled
as to its methods and goals.

> How can Samadhi be a lower goal?

What is Samadhi?  It is defined as the state of balance of the three gunas
that occurs when the turmoil of the mind has ceased.  For Samkhya/Yoga
that is tantamount to liberation becuase it is a dualistic system.  An
eternal, inert, merely witnessing Purush is "stuck in the mud" of an
eternal, chaotic, completely dynamic Prakrti.  Samadhi is the seperation
of the two.

But in Advaita Vedanta both the Atma and the three gunas are of the nature
of Brahman though they are under the erroneous notion that they are
seperate entities.  How would Samadhi, even Nirvikalpa Samadhi,  help
remove that false notion?  It couldn't.  Only knowledge could.  At best,
Nirvikalpa Samadhi provides a stable platform from which Jnana can be
pursued without distraction but it only represents a status quo.

> Without Samadhi all jnana is merely
> an intellectual pursuit. Like Sri Ramakrisha said, the empty vessel (a
> jnani) makes a lot of noise but once it is full (has experience of
> Samadhi), it is silent. Another way of looking at it is that if
> Brahman cannot be described in words or experienced by the senses, how
> will mere intellectual knowldege of get you close to understanding it?

The opposite of intellect isn't mysticism, it's stupidity. Again please
read the works of Shankaracharya or Swami Vidyaranya or Swami Madhusudan
Saraswati etc. to see how they use "mere" intellect to reach the highest

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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