john grimes grimesj at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu May 7 00:56:57 CDT 1998

>On Tue, 5 May 1998, Parisi & Watson wrote:
>> I tried to make clear from the beginning that I cannot approach Vedanta
>> with the attitude that "This is The Truth... how can I best understand
>> it?" And what's more, I don't think such an approach is even desirable,
>> at least for me. My primary commitment is and has to be to a careful and
>> painstaking search for the truth, wherever that search may lead. It has
>> led me to Vedanta, but it could also lead me away from it again. In the
>> West, and particularly in the US, we have all too many people who have
>> put their commitment to doctrine above honesty and integrity, and the
>> distressing results are plain for the whole world to see. I must avoid
>> at all costs falling into a more sophisticated and educated version of
>> the same stance.
>Vedanta is a system based on textual exegesis not experience so in that
>way it is not any different from the scholasticism of Christianity,
>Judaism, or Islam.   I don't think that's a bad thing but there is no
>reason to think it couldn't  have been used or misused.  Indians are no
>beter or worse than anyone else.
>Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

To give but one more perspective on this matter, Vedantins oft-quote the
verse, "Sruti, Yukti, Anubhava" = first one hears the liberating truth;
then one reflects upon it; finally one experiences it." Always, always, the
final word in Vedanta is personal experience. As a philosophical system
Vedanta may be concerned with textual exegesis. As a description of
what-is, it is an experience. To reveal the Self is the be-all and end-all
of Advaita. This experience, Advaita further claims, is within the reach of
all. The same method does not suit everyone. The average person can have no
knowledge of the particular combination of factors that is necessary to
bring to completion the hitherto neglected factors of one's being. Thus, it
is not really theory that Advaita advocates, so much as experience.
"Philosophy is not his (Shankara's) aim but is rather a vital weapon with
which to fulfill this aim, which is to rescue people out of transmigratory

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