Final posting on Vedanta and Samkhya

Vivekananda Centre vivekananda at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon Feb 15 08:29:48 CST 1999

I am still waiting for definitions of the terms Maya and Shruti.
This is not nit-picking but a serious exploration to the similarities between Samkhya and Vedanta. We have had digressions but they are unimportant. My plan was as follows:

(1) The varifications acceptable in spiritual matters are not only Shruti but also Yukti and Anubhuti. Some list members are overly keen to fall back on Shruti and also Shruti as interpreted by Sri Shankara only. I have noticed serious resistance to the second and third forms of proof acceptable by some of the list members. Yukti requires a rational approach. An approach which we can digest today and in the light of findings of modern science. This approach seems to generate a lot of antagonism.  (I have already been told to get on a roller coaster or read book by this or that English author to get my thrills!  - all this I can take with a :-)  there will always be resistance to anything that stirs up the grey matter). The third varification we require is the most important one. It is Anubhuti - first hand experience of spirituality. Without this all attempts with the Shruti and even Yukti (rational process) are worth a big zero. Repetitions of this or that verse - quoting this or that authority or doing all manner of mental gymnastics are really all worth very little. We have to accept that it is here that we hope to get a real handle on true understanding. We should have the humility to pay homage to the ancient seers like Kapila who laid the foundation of philosophic method of investigation. Even more importantly we should have the capacity to take on the teachings of the recent 'seers' like Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Ramana and many others. Why this resistance to re-interpretation of the teachings of Vedanta? Are we frightened that all that we had charished will go to pieces? Have faith in the teachings of Shankara - the teachings he has given are superb - they can withstand any logical exploration. Using the techings of others like Vivekananda is an indirect homage to Shankara too.  (What quip Shankara made about Kapila or what quip Vivekananda passed about Shankara are not for us to emulate).

The basis of my exploration on the concept of Maya would have gone as follows: -

The examples given by Shankara of snake in the rope or 'illusion' have served their purpose.
The example given by Vivekananda is continuation of the same process but has the added capacity of taking on and relating to the findings of modern science (QM) hence this matter should be explored. (this explanation requires going back to first principals - teachings of Kapila) hence I was keen to develop this discussion further - but I am meeting lot of resistance.  This is not the place for that serious discussion - hence this last posting on this subject.

Vivekananda Centre London 
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