Phenomena, Noumena, Ideal truth and mAyA

Hemant reachhemant at ETH.NET
Thu Jan 10 09:42:46 CST 2002

>Nanda Chandran made the following observations:
 Hemant2 "The philosophies which recognize mind alone as the creator of = 
>the worlds or accept an original principle with Mind as only the = 
>mediator between it and the forms of the universe, may be divided into = 
>the purely noumenal and the idealistic. The purely noumenal recognize in = 
>the cosmos only the work of Mind, Thought, Idea: but idea may be purely = 
>arbitrary and have no essential relation to any real Truth of existence; = 
>or such Truth, if it exists, may be regarded as a mere Absolute aloof = 
>from all relations and irreconcilable with a world of relations. The = 
>idealistic interpretation supposes a relation between the Truth behind 
  and the conceptive phenomenon in front, a relation which is not merely = that of antinomy and opposition. 
NC The true relevance of epistemology is yet to be fully understood. No school in Indian philosophy says that the world is "created" by the mind in the physical sense. The world is only what we know of it - every object that we perceive is a conditioned concept based on its attributes and its utility to us - so the meaning that an object has for us is based on the concept created by the mind. It is only in this sense that it is said that the "mind creates the world".
 If any school taught that the mind created the world in the physical sense and only the mind/subject is real, then salvation would have meaning only for the person who conceived of such a theory and since all external objects including persons are unreal to him, there would be no purpose in him teaching such a doctrine to others.
>The view that I am presenting goes further in idealism; it sees the creative idea as the Real-Idea, that is to say, a power of Conscious Force expressive of real being, born out  of real being and partaking of its nature and neither a child of the Void nor a weaver of fictions."  Sri Aurobindo (The Life Divine) 
NCBut which is the truth - creator or created? If we were satisfied with the created itself we would not be seeking nirvaana. So if the creator is the truth then the created automatically would be false for that's the reason we are aspiring for the truth in the first place.
NC  Shunyavaada and Advaita doesn't merely teach only of the paramaartha. There's the samvritti/vyavahaara aspect as well - the relative/phenomenal truth. It is from samvritti/vyavahaara that we "ascend" to paramaartha. And all teaching/philosophy/spiritual practice are only meaningful in samvritti/vyavahaara. So samsaara is accorded some reality. Though it is not the absolute truth, still it is the relative/phenomenal truth - a lower level of reality than brahman which is the absolute. 
So the ultimate difference between the systems is only a shift in emphasis.
Earlier JHVyas had written(correspondence on Maya)
Advaita Vedanta s not idealistic in the philosophical sense, i.e. it does
not argue that the phenemenal world is "all in your head."  The world is
real, the world _appearence_ is misunderstood due to ignorance.

Hemant 10.1.02
 Re JHVyas on Idealism: If Idealism is merely what you say, ie the world being all in one's head, I am a dead duck. That sort of  Immaterialistic Idealism one associates with with Berkeley or YogachAra(Buddhism). It is quite possible to be metaphysically idealistic while remaining epistemologically real. This was the position I tried to present through the quotation of Sri Aurobindo.

Clarifications regarding Mind creating the universe.(Nanda Chandran)

The qoutation The purely noumenal recognize in the cosmos only the work of Mind, Thought, Idea etc has mind in the upper case and it does not refer to the individual mind but to the cosmic Mind-principle (In Sankara it is ISvara) SAnkara  advaita avoids Solipsism by accepting a pleurality of selves (i.e. empirical selves). How the one Self assumes plurality is again by the indescribable process of Maya. Consider the following example from PancadaSi . A father may think that his son who has gone away from home to a distant place is alive while as a matter of fact he is no more. In the father's world however he continues to live. Such a world is termed as jIva sRshta as opposed to the world as it is. This world is designated Isvara sRshta. But the Iavara's world exists not outside of him but within him even as a dream exists within a person's private consciousness and has no other reality. The sAdhaka of advaita has to go beyond this dream/fiction of the Mind. Thus the need for an utter sannyAsa. Karma SannyAsa in advaita is not a method of sAdhanA but an end in itself. The sAdhaka gives up all action. The body is maintained by prArabdha karma until the aspirant realizes the paramArthika sattA. The sAdhaka has to interpret the vyavahArika in the light of the paramArtha. Only a true sannyAsI is morally fit to assert jaganmithyA.
               From this solution there is no escape until there be an intermediate link between the unity of the SatccidAnanda on the one hand and the divided mentality one the other hand, which can explain them to each other and establish between them such a relation as will make it possible for us to realize the one Existance, Conciousness, Delight in the mould of the mind, life and body, ihaiva to use the phrase of the katha upaniSad and not only acosmically. The idealistic position (see quotation) asserts that such a link exists. The process of sAdhanA of   such a purNa advaita   may be obtained from the writings of Sri Aurobindo. 

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