message to my friends

Prashant Sharma psharma at BUPHY.BU.EDU
Fri Aug 14 14:45:50 CDT 1998

On Fri, 14 Aug 1998, Greg Goode wrote:

> At 01:24 PM 8/14/98 -0400, Prashant Sharma wrote:
> >On Fri, 14 Aug 1998, Greg Goode wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Jumping in here.  Picking up on your ideas that only one philosophy can get
> >> you "there," and that another philosophy will take you somewhere else.  One
> >> of the things that all non-dual philosophies are in agreement about (though
> >> with different words) is this: there are no two "theres" for there to be.
> >> So how can any of these philosophies take you to any *other* place?
> >>
> >> --Greg
> >>
> >        This is true only of the non-dual philosophies though. But even
> >here there are differences in the description of the final state. If you
> >insist that the final state is undescribable hence the difference in
> >words used to talk about it, then isn't there as much justification in
> >calling the state as unique and different as there is of calling it the
> same for
> >everyone?
> >
> >Prashant.
> I see better now what you mean by the relationship between the words and
> the state, the possiblility that different non-dual philosophies are
> talking about really different things.
> But that which is the subject of non-dual philosophies is not a state...

        That is largely true, as you say further on in your mail (some
excellent stuff, that I have deleted from this posting).
However, the statement that I was questioning (in Frank Maiello's posting)
was related to advaita vedAnta being viewed as a strategic philosophy
that endeavours to take the jIva out of the present state of ajnAna. The
idea being (or atleast that is how I understand it) that such an
approach leads us to jnAna (referred to as the final state or simply
"there") and that the crutch (or the raft) can then be thrown away. The
implicit reasoning being that since many such crutches are available and
they all lead to the same state, they should all be equivalent.  Since
they are manifestly not, they should have nothing to do with the final
state at all -- hence to be treated as discardable.  My objection to this
statement is that it is based on premises that are unproven (either
empirically or logically). Therefore the only strategy that seems
foolproof is to follow a school of thought completely to wherever it leads
, while believing that it describes the truth as completely as it claims
to. The reality that it describes then remains true throughout, what
changes is the doubting nature of the mind.

> Now the above applies mostly to what is the *main subject* of the non-dual
> philosophies.  But then they also talk about the relative level, and often
> descend to the everyday, in order to discuss the characteristics of a
> person who has achieved/attained/realized the Reality.  HERE is where I've
> seen a lot of disagreement.  Various philosophies emphasize various kinds
> of samadhi, siddhis, lack/disregard of siddhis, love, service, seeing the
> world, not seeing any objects at all, performing only ethical conduct,
> being beyond doing/nondoing, etc. etc. etc.
> --Greg


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