ADVAITA-L Digest - 4 Aug 2001 to 5 Aug 2001 (#2001-23)

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 6 07:37:02 CDT 2001

>Could anyone elaborate the logic behind the declaration that existence and
>awareness are one and the same thing? Supposing they are not the same, what
>will be the logical conclusions?

What's the basis of existence as we know it? It is awareness. If somebody
asked you whether you exist when you were in deep sleep or unconscious or
dead - would you be able to affirm your existence? Even in deep sleep it is
only in the ultimate sense you exist - but in the conventional sense you
don't because you've no awareness of yourself/your existence in that state.
Simply put we know we exist only because we are aware of it. So
awareness/existence - implicitly affirm each other's validity - without one
the other doesn't exist.

Also when you try to understand such concepts do not merely analyze them
objectively - then it'll merely be concepts building on concepts. Weigh it
against your own self/experience - you exist and you're aware, are you not?
So understand these concepts from your own experience. Then philosophy has

>When we say that Brahman is existence-awareness does it not mean that we
>are giving attributes to the attributeless?

All perception/expression is only of attributes - the substance/true nature
of anything is beyond knowledge. But again when the say "praajnaanam brahma"
- they mean brahman is consciousness as the thing in itself. But
consciousness without the subject or object isn't consciousness anymore.
Still they have to define it so, as they have to link reality with what it
is in the phenomenal sense. For it is only from the phenoemnal that we rise
to the absolute.

Also most of these definitions have to be given so that reality doesn't get
misinterpreted. Else people will unduly get scared thinking it is
nihilism/non-existence etc Note Gaudapaada who says the wise are not scared
of the unborn or Shankara saying only those who're dull in intellect will
interpret nirguna brahman as nihilism.

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