[Advaita-l] Concept of soul

Ramanathan P p_ramanathan at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 26 07:45:37 CDT 2007


The way this thread ended for Mahesh-ji appeared
amazing but I had not read through the conversations
carefully enough to see what all the talk was about.
But in this email, it seems more in line with what I
imagined.


--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:

> Pranams Vidyasankar-ji:
> My personal view is that Vedantic concepts need to
> be re-examined in the
> light of current scientific findings. In my opinion,
> as secular knowledge
> advances, spiritual concepts need a fresh look.
> 

The domains of science and religion are not the same.
In Vedanta, the primary conclusion of Advaita is what
sustains its proposed spiritual concepts regarding the
nature of gross and subtle realms. So Vedanta's
consideration of the gross is not for its own purpose
but to show the path to Brahma-jnana. This latter
point is what Sri Ramakrishna is also emphasizing. If
this is really understood, then it will be clear that
Vedanta has always a candid look at its own
gross-world descriptions. At one point, they may be
emphasized and finally they may be called eulogy. For
they deal with maya.

Given the intent of Vedanta, it has its own way of
going beyond the gross realm, and that again is
reflected in Sri Ramakrishna's example. If the
scripture says 100000 leaves, the emphasis ('fresh
look') of it being 100001 in truth is irrelevant;
accept either if you feel it necessary, then go beyond
the counting. Such concepts are maya/superimposition
to begin with, and to argue over the dream is due to
ignorance. That is why Bhagavatpada's vision
accomodates for the dualist and the ritualist and the
scientist, giving each person's beliefs full validity
(for that practisioner) at the relative level but
emphasizing their non-validity from the absolute
standpoint. He does not care to get each fighting with
the other; rather do your counting and get beyond.

Ramanathan


> Maybe this was why Sri Ramakrishna was always
> against his disciples engaging
> in scientific or spiritual debates. He explains it
> using a nice story - if
> you want to know the number of trees (words of the
> scriptures) in a mango
> orchard (the world), just ask the owner (God) of the
> orchard, why spend your
> time counting the trees (conceptualy understanding
> the scriptures)? However,
> bound as we are by our vasanas, we prefer to count
> the trees ourselves!
> 
> Thanks, Mahesh
> 
> 
> 
> On 8/26/07, Vidyasankar Sundaresan
> <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I believe it would help this discussion if we
> clarified our basic
> > assumptions first. First, there are many theories
> of what the soul is and
> > what happens to it in birth and death of a
> physical body. A number of
> > these
> > theories can be compatible with advaita vedAnta,
> while others may not be.
> > Secondly, it seems to me that we are talking quite
> loosely of life and
> > mixing it up with the soul. A number of the
> existing ideas about the soul
> > may also be compatible with the possibility of
> creating artificial life in
> > a
> > laboratory, while others may not.
> >
> > Finally, it seems to me that while we are all
> talking of life and soul and
> > science, we are really talking of consciousness
> and its relation to
> > matter.
> > The root question is this - is consciousness an
> entity independent of
> > matter
> > or is it a consequence of particular arrangements
> of matter? One's
> > thoughts
> > about this basic issue will determine to a large
> extent what we think
> > about
> > all other issues.
> >
> > Regards,
> > Vidyasankar
> >
> >
>
_________________________________________________________________
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> >
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