Nature of Consciousness

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sun Jul 25 09:19:59 CDT 1999

Vaidya Sundaram <Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM> wrote:

>    In spite of my clarification above, I must admit that, to say  -
Vedas are
> correct only when you talk about AtmavidyA and perhaps not
otherwise -  does not

SureshvarAchArya very clearly says that each pramANa holds supreme in
its own sphere. If you search through the archives you'll find a
reference to Sa.mkara's gItAbhAshhya where he says that hundreds of
shruti vAkya-s cannot make fire cold. This is not any contribution of
sha.nkara, it was standard in vedic exegesis even in those days.
Similarly when shruti declares the unity of brahman it does not
contradict any other pramANa because brahman is beyond the range of
the other pramANa-s.

Another important point. shruti holds supreme whenever some subject is
beyond the range of the other means of knowing, and not just with
respect to Atman. The standard example given is the injunction
svargakAmo yajeta or one who desires heaven should sacrifice. The
presence of heaven and the means to it, i.e., sacrifice are to be
known by the veda only.

> go well with me. It is probably because of my belief in the
infallibility and
> omniscience of Sruit. While it is true that I do not try to learn
supply chain
> planning from any vedic shakA, I would certainly buy (and read) any
book if the
> author claims that supply chain planning is elaborated in a shakA
:)!! my faith
> Sir, is blind!

Taking a literal approach to "revealed" texts is a Western concept. Of
course, if ones faith is already completely established, there is
probably no need to go into mImA.nsA and so on. However, if some
seemingly contradictory statements appear in the veda, it would be
difficult to explain them without mImA.nsA  (we can only wish them
away!). For example other schools like vishishhTAdvaita have not
offered a good explanation for the wildly different theories of
creation in different upanishhads. This is because they are grounded
in the pA.ncarAtra rather than veda and the mImA.nsA. On the other
hand, gauDapAda and sha.nkara give consistent explanations.


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