the necessity of shruti pramANa(was Re: [Advaita-l] advaitaanubhuti and aparokshanubhuti)
aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Wed Mar 15 09:56:38 CST 2006
dear shrI kRShNa chaitanya,
--- King Krsna <krsnachaitanya_at_yahoo.co.in> wrote:
> Can you please explain about the basic tenets of
> advaita that you are talking about here.
for the purposes of the present discussion, the
following definitions can be made:
AtmA := the essence of our existence or equivalently,
the notion of 'i'.
brahman := the source of the world that is perceived.
the existence of brahman can at best be hypothesised
through logic, but cannot be rigorously established.
on the other hand, since all of us know that we exist,
the existence of the AtmA is self-evident and is
presupposed in all our activities. the real problem
here is the nature of the AtmA. normally, we identify
the AtmA with a body and a mind.
vedAnta in general asserts the following:
1. the AtmA is neither the mind nor the body.
2. brahman exists.
neither of these can be logically established. the
reason why we cannot infer 1 is that logic presupposes
the identity of the AtmA with the mind and the body
and hence, any conclusion that says otherwise would
contradict it's own premisses. the reason why we
cannot infer 2 is that there is no sufficient evidence
for that inference.
so much about vedAnta in general. advaita vedAnta in
particular asserts the following:
3. AtmA is brahman.
4. vyavahAra (our daily life) is due to avidyA.
5. avidyA is neither existent nor non-existent and
cannot be defined.
it is possible to remain as the pure self (i.e.
without superimposing any false attribute on the self)
during asaMpraj~nAta samAdhi. even for such a person,
Atmabrahmaikya j~nAna (3) can arise only because of
vedAnta shravaNa. history tells us that there have
been many yogi-s who had attained asaMpraj~nAta
samAdhi but were not Atmabrahmaikya vAdin-s. thus,
shruti is the only source for Atmabrahmaikya j~nAna.
since 3 can arise only because of shruti pramANa, it
is cannot be logically inferred.
4 is a 'working' postulate of advaita vedAnta. the
necessity for this postulate can be inferred if we
accept 1, 2 and 3 as true. but 4 itself cannot be
derived from 1,2 and 3 since to do that, avidyA has to
be defined and the impossibility of this is stated as
a separate postulate (5).
5 is a logician's nightmare for obvious reasons :-)
avidyA is probably the only concept in advaita vedAnta
that can drive us nuts. turning it around, a
significant fraction of the arguments directed against
advaita are based on this 'illogical' treatment of
avidyA within advaita vedAnta.
thus, logic alone will not lead us anywhere. however,
if we accept the basic postulates of advaita as true
based on faith, we can logically establish everything
else. it is for this reason that bhagavatpAda says in
His sAdhanA pa~ncakam 'dustarkAt suviramyatAm' and
after this, 'shrutimatastarko.anusandhIyatAm'.
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