[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?
mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Thu Mar 10 11:02:09 CST 2005
>> 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
I respect and realize the fact that are more well read and
knowledgable than me with regard to Advaita since most of the above
names I have come across only on the Advaita Vedanta site. However,
maybe I can clarify what I meant. In philosophy as you are well aware,
for each question there are thousands of answers, each one quite
convincing in its own right and hard to refute. Philosophy, by nature,
is not like science which most of the time has only one definite
answer which can be verified by one and all. So, the Theravada
Buddhist, for example, does not need Brahman to arrive at a satisfying
and complete philosophy. Nor does Western philosophy find the need for
In one of your later posts you mention Sat-cit-ananda as being the
substratum of all attributes. I agree and believe that. But that is as
per Vedanta. But consider the core attribute of Brahman cit. It is
shrouded in mystery. Some scientists attribute it to the product of
the brain and not being present anywhere else. Some thinkers even
attribute cit as being an illusion (refer "The User Illusion" by Tor
Norrentranders). Others say it is the product of the soul which is
different from cit.
The whole point of the above is to emphaize that without direct
experience wherein one can say that Brahman is what it is said to be,
words can and will be debated all the time. But when one has tasted
the mango, there is no need to discuss its taste. One knows it so one
can keep quiet and enjoy the others debating.
>> 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.
That said the above is also true. Knowledge of Brahman without Jnana
leads to utter confusion and sometimes can be fatal. The book "Living
with Kundalini" by the Kashmiri pandit Gopi Krishna brings this out
very well. His Kundalini was raised but he was not aware of its
significance till much later. So is the case with Sri Ramana Maharshi
who realized first and then understood much later in life.
Which opens up a pandora's box which has been nagging me also: If as
per the shastras, on the realization of Brahman, one is freed from the
cylce of brith and death, then is it true for one whose Kundalini is
raised but who does not understand it's significance? And so if you
wish to carry this to an extreme, can the Kundanlini be just a product
of not-yet-understood biology and has nothing to do with spirituality?
On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 09:33:22 -0500 (EST), Jaldhar H. Vyas
<jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
> 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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