Philosophical Views and Certain Knowledge

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 22 14:08:35 CDT 1999

>How does the assurance develop? If we take as a given that
>may not come in this lifetime, then how is assurance developed short

If that's your attitude why would you ever engage in philosophy? But
that can never be the attitude. Human nature being what it is, hope
springs eternal. Even if all is lost, there's still the little ray of
hope, which suggests otherwise. You'll struggle to realize yourself
and as you progress assurance will develop. It's like walking on a
dark path, hesitant and not sure whether it leads home. But
suddenly when you locate a familiar pointer, before you know it, your
assurance returns and you surge forward. Knowledge of Self is like
that. It's only you - how can you not know yourself?

>This may seem like a pointless academic question, but to me it's
>vital. I'm awash in philosophical doubts and questions as always, and
>I'm having problems understanding how I can suspend judgment and
>on faith for, in all probability, the entire remainder of my life.

Who asked you to suspend judgement? Use as much reason as you can. Ask
as many questions as you want. True sAdhana includes that. Vidhya -
knowledge - to know.

Why should we learn Advaitam? The general reason given in Indian
philosophy is that since life is suffering, we seek an answer to that.
Even if you do not feel so, you cannot deny that in the absolute
sense, empirical life is devoid of meaning. Death mocks at any notion
of permanence in empirical life. And everybody dies one day or
another. So it's only logical to seek meaning in this life, which
doesn't seem to have any in the ultimate sense.

All life is becoming. Things keep changing every instant. You thought
of this minute is not the same as that of the last minute or going to
be the same the next minute. Man is born, he lives for a while and
dies.  So in this life of becoming where's meaning?

The ancient sages say that the answer lies in Being - that which
doesn't change. But as said before, there's nothing that we know that
doesn't change. All life is becoming. So the sages say, search in your
heart to find the bond between being and becoming.

Why should there be so much doubt and confusion about this?

>So if
>there are some grounds for assurance prior to full realization, but
>consisting of more than just being convinced by intellectual
>then I would very much like to know what they are.

By this you imply that you'll progress to realization from ignorance.
If one can progress from ignorance to realization, one can fall down
back from realization to ignorance too. Being is eternal. It cannot
progress from becoming to being. It always is. And you're that. The
Gita says : "The unreal never is and the Real never isn't."

And you want prior assurance? What kind of assurance do you want? Do
you want God to appear before you? Even if he does, of what use is it
to you? Sure, he's eternal, but how would that matter to you? You
would only be the ever changing entity.

If you accept Self Realization as the means to liberation, then again
how can somebody else show you to yourself? And how is it you don't
know yourself?

Accept your ignorance, tread the path and experience it yourself. And
it's not something, which is newly acquired. It's only you as you are,
minus the ignorance. Complement your intellectual effort with the
practical effort of meditation, virtue, compassion and control, for
knowledge to dawn.

The problem is that consciousness being what it is, it needs a subject
- object relation. That's the reason -you - the subject - are always
"searching" for the truth - the object. Practically, can you sit in a
place for a few minutes without doing anything? Without thinking
anything? No! Non-action is an impossibility for a non realized being.
Watch the people on the street or anywhere - look at their eyes - half
closed - always immersed in some thought or the other - always
thinking about something - even you, at this point in time pondering
over this mail. Always the subject thinking about the object, and
never being aware of itself. No - There's never any Self

The world is the object - that what you see and ultimately what you
think it is. All your conceptions of yourself  - the subject  - is
only in relation to the world - the object - which includes your body
too. And that's the reason for all the misconceptions about yourself
- which in truth is no conception at all.

The trick is to turn the consciousness into itself - to merge the
object into the subject - pure consciousness - the true I - the Self.

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