[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?
mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Mon Mar 14 14:25:11 CST 2005
Jaldhar, from your writing it is clear that you are an Advaitin to the
core! And a proud one at that! But forgive my saying this but you are
on what I would say an "Advaitic High". I was that way once - the
philosophy is so elevating, so logical, so mentally rewarding that one
could almost be forgiven for claiming it is the sine-qua-non of
reality! But every teacher who ever reached the highest pinnacle on
this path has put humility as a high prerequisite when treading this
Below, I would hold opposing views to many expressed by you but rest
assured, though my mind seems contrary to your thoughts, my heart is
with you since I know where you are coming from!
>>...is a non-sequiter. What Advaita Vedanta describes as jnana is not any
>> special mystical kind of knowledge but the same kind of knowledge as 2+2.
Brahman is as logical as 2+2? Do you mean you can capture the essence
of reality with words?
Consider (just one of the many references replete elsewhere ) - Katha
Upanishad III, 12
"The Self [Brahman] is beyond speech and thought; the eyes [and other
organs] cannot perceive it…"
If you think you can understand Brahman by your thinking, that is
misplaced arrogance! It is common knowledge that the understander is
greater than the understood (which explains the position of humans in
the world). The logical extension of this assertion means if you had
an ego and said "I know Brahman", you should be able to do all that
Brahman can do - i.e. create the world!!
You also say:
>> I don't see why not. Samadhi is just an intermediate stage albeit
a superior one to the confusion of the
>> everyday world
And continuing my last thought, if words and thoughts cannot capture
or understand this reality then only experience can. For example, take
the word 'Love'. A million words cannot capture what a single feeling
can. And therefore the only way you can understand Brahman is through
experience which is in Samadhi! Infact, Sri Ramakrishna has even said
only a person with direct experience is in reality qualified to teach
this great subject!
>> If they are not willing to say, we don't know if such direct experiencers
>> even exist. If they make statements about Brahman, we can evaluate them
>> with our rational faculties, same as any other statement on any other
As far as I know, nobody says "this is Brahman"! It is all "Neti,
Neti! It is "not this, not this"!
>> Bhakti can belong to karma or jnana. As karma it is faith that following
>> dharma is pleasing to Bhagavan. Impelled by the thought "how can I serve
>> Bhagavan the best?," the bhakta proceeds to ask "Who is Bhagavan?" And
>> eventually he realizes "Bhagavan pervades all this and my very self" Thus
>> Jnana is the highest form of bhakti.
If Jnana was the highest form of Bhakti, then the esteemed Narada
would be proven wrong as he says in the "Narada Bhakti Sutras", verse
25: "Bhakti is greater than Karma, greater than Jnana, greater than
Yoga (Raja Yoga)". It may be an opinion only, I agree, but when coming
for a soul like Narada, one should not scoff at it. You say that "A
bhakta asks "Who is Bhagwan"?" But, in the same Sutras, Narada
mentions in verses 20, 21: "Expressions exist of such perfect examples
of love (bhakti)", "As the Gopis of Vraja had it". Mere shepherd girls
aspiring to Jnana?
Finally, you say:
>>The idea that there are different "yogas" is a peculiar invention of
>>Vivekananda. It has no basis in Advaita Vedanta.
I am not completely sure if this is Swamiji's invention (the above
Narada Bhakti Sutra verse talks of it). And even if were, it is not an
invention but a mere categorization of paths. It doesn't diminish or
enhance anything in the pristine world of Advaita - only serves to
make it easier to understand.
With love and regards, Mahesh
On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 10:31:14 -0500 (EST), Jaldhar H. Vyas
<jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 10 Mar 2005, Mahesh Ursekar wrote:
> > 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.
> If they are not willing to say, we don't know if such direct experiencers
> even exist. If they make statements about Brahman, we can evaluate them
> with our rational faculties, same as any other statement on any other
> > That said the above is also true. Knowledge of Brahman without Jnana
> ...is a non-sequiter. What Advaita Vedanta describes as jnana is not any
> special mystical kind of knowlege but the same kind of knowledge as 2+2.
> > 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?
> Biology is no less Brahman than spirituality.
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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