Sankaran Jayanarayanan sjayana at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon May 11 22:55:11 CDT 1998

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM> wrote:

>Sankaran Jayanarayanan wrote:
>> Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I was busy and unable to check my email at this account. Hence the
>> in my reply.
>> >Parisi & Watson wrote:
>> >
>> >> My reservations about Advaita begin here, for the simple reason
>> all
>> >> of the above remains equally true even if we assume for the sake
>> >> argument that the Western view is correct, and consciousness is a
>> >> biological function of the physical organism. Descartes pointed
>> >> three hundred years ago that only 'I am' or 'I exist' is certain,
>> >
>> >No!!! Descartes said "I think, therefore I am". In imprecise terms
>> >advaita says "I am, therefore there is thought, this thought has
>> >empirical reality only, but is actually an illusion". These two are
>> >_far_ from being equivalent.
>> >
>> When Descartes said,"I think, therefore I am," he didnot mean that
>> thoughts caused the self. He logically concluded that the Self exists
>> since the statement "I doubt" itself cannot be doubted. For if it is
>> doubted, the statement still remains.
>I never said that Descartes said thoughts caused the self. And you are
>reading advaita into Descartes.

No. Not by any flight of imagination :-) I was only pointing out that
according to the philosophy of Descartes, the self cannot be an illusion
(since it is beyond all doubt), and the derivation of this fact is, of
course, is non-advaitic.

> Descartes' philosophy is hardly monistic
>by any stretch of imagination. Even interpreted as you say, it's not
>view of advaita. Atman is self-established and requires NO proof.

I believe the word is "svayaMjyoti"

>is the view of advaita. The anvaya-vyatireka is to deny only external
>objects. The continuous existence of a "seer" is a concept which
> itself
>arises in avidyA and helpful in illustrating the existence of Atman.

This is not correct, IMHO. Why would the existence of tha Atman need
illustration, if it is already self-revealed? There would be no reason
to point out the existence of an object already known.

IMHO, the existence of the Atman is known, but the *nature* of the Atman
is unknown.

>This point is made clear by shrI sureshvara.
>> The best book on advaita is undoubtedly Shankara's commentary on the
>> Brahma Sutras. It can be said without any hesitation whatsoever that
>> this is THE book for learning about advaita. It is virtually
>> to find a book of greater clarity in exposition. Last but certainly
>> the least, the importance of this work has been stressed by one of
>> greatest pontiffs of Sringeri: Vidyaranya himself, who declares that
>> this is the greatest book ever written!
>Different teachers suggest different texts. shruti itself says
>mANDUkyamekam kevalam. The text depends on the student also, there is
>one glove fits all in this situation. I have posted HH abhinava
>vidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaLs expression of this before.
>Further the BSB is to be studied _only_ under a guru (as per HH).
>should read prakaraNa grantha-s if studying by oneself.

And there are rules about learning the Upanishads *only* by oral
instruction (hence the name "shruti," that which is heard). I myself
have observed several members quoting vedic mantras directly from books.
In this light, I don't think it necessary to place the restriction on
the BSB (on this list), though I fully believe it to be true.



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