[Advaita-l] Re: logic and shastra

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Thu Jun 16 21:08:27 CDT 2005

namo nArAyaNAya !

dear SrI mahesh ursekar and list members,

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:

> While I can 
> accept that such a reality can exist, I, as of now,
> fail to see why this 
> need have the essence of sat-cit-ananda. Can you
> help?

first, the existence of brahman cannot be known by any
inference (anumAna) whatsoever, for any inference
relating to brahman can be done only after a direct
perception (pratyaksha) of it and since anumAna is
dependent on pratyaksha for its validity. since
brahman is not pratyaksha, [i'm assuming u'r not a
j~nAni :-), i'm definitely not. if u r, then my
assumption shudn't bother u!] it is clear that anumAna
can never be used in any issue regarding brahman
(directly). hence, in any form of anumAna wherein the
existence of brahman is inferred from the nature of
the world, some sort of a groundless extension of the
law of causality ["every effect has a cause"] is
involved. since the law of causality is not known to
be true a priori, the argument, though valid, is not
sound. [a sound argument is one that is valid AND one
for which all its premisses are true. in the above
argument, since the premiss which asserts the law of
causality to be true is not true, the argument is not

if it is argued (as was done earlier) that "every
effect in the world has an intelligent cause (human
will) and that human beings know themselves to be
intelligent, and hence this shows that the world
itself has an intelligent cause and hence brahman
exists" (i guess this was the essence of ur earlier
argument), then this argument is fallacious since
there is no ground to identify the intelligent cause
thus inferred with brahman, which is known (only) from
Sruti, as that from which the world originates, that
in which it resides, and that unto which it finally
merges. again, there is no ground to assert that the
intelligent cause identified with brahman satisfies
the remaining two properties of brahman (that the
world resides in brahman and it merges in brahman)
since these are by no means implied by the argument. 

second, if the reality of brahman alone is accepted,
the other aspects of brahman as chit and Ananda can
never be inferred by logical analysis. this is for the
following reasons : as mentioned in my previous post,
chit and Ananda are undefined terms. now, assume that
a logical proof exists, which proves that the brahman
which is assumed to exist, is chit and Ananda. to
prove that brahman is chit and Ananda, the bare
minimum required is the existence of two properties,
call them A and B, such that A implies brahman is
chit, and B implies brahman is Ananda. the fact that
chit and Ananda are undefined terms implies the
non-existence of any such properties A and B, whence,
the initial assumption that a logical proof exists
leads to a contradiction - reductio ad absurdum. this
is a proof that such a proof cannot exist. 

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:

>  I have grave reservations in your use of the
> "scientific" method.

it is precisely for the reason that the usage is
unconventional that i enclosed the word scientific
within quotation. what i intended to convey was that
the method used is similar to the axiomatic approach
used in pure mathematics. 

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote: 

>  Two reasons:
>    1. An axiom by it's very nature is "simple" and
> intuitive. For 
>    example, the shortest distance between two points
> is a straight line in 
>    Euclidean space. It cannot be proved but neither
> does it require a huge 
>    intellectual leap to agree with it. In fact
> science (and mathematics in 
>    particular) starts with "simple" axioms and
> builds on more complex theorems.

very true. the essence of any process of abstraction
and axiomatization is this : if a number of similar
systems exist, abstraction removes all redundant
information and retains only those that would be
sufficient for the similarity to exist between members
of the given class of systems. axiomatization defines
the rules that govern the interaction of the various
properties thus abstracted, so that the theory
constructed from such an axiomatization is consistent
(i'm deliberately making this look simple, it is not;
but that's what is required here). now, in the domain
where vedAnta operates, the class of systems is the
class of various notions of an ultimate cause, besides
other issues. some say it doesn't exist (SUnyavAda),
some say an intelligent exists, some say karma alone
is the cause, some say a god exists who is the initial
cause etc. in fact, the very reason why the brahma
sUtra came into existence was a necessity to abstract
and axiomatize, from the various philosophies then
existent, in order to arrive at a view that is
consistent with the Sruti. with respect to these
philosophies, the axioms are "simple". but is true
that they are not intuitive since they are not
pratyaksha for us. on a lighter note, if notions of an
Atman or chit or Ananda were simple and intuitive, we
wouldn't be arguing in the first place, we would have
long back realized ourselves!
--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:

>    However, you seem to start in the reverse -
> "Reality is Brahman" and then 
>    arrive at the relatively mundane. I think the
> Buddhist do better with the 
>    four noble truths (axioms?) - "Life is
> suffering", "There is a cause for 
>    suffering", "Suffering can be removed", "There
> exist a path for removal of 
>    suffering". Even an uneducated person can
> identify with this.

that the existence of brahman cannot be proved solely
based on such assumptions was shown earlier. besides,
the above noble truths in buddhism are not something
which is non-existent in our vaidika dharma. for
instance, in SrImadbhagavadgItA, SrI kR^ishNa condemns
this human life as "anityam asukham", "duHkhAlayam
aSAsvatam" etc. 

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
>    2. Ok, let us assume that axiom is for the more
> cultured and refined. 
>    But then what does it explain? 

if the world can be explained completely without any
reference to brahman, then there is no need to worry
about what the SAstra-s say. if it cannot be explained
thus, the necessity of SAstra-s is clear. it is
however  incorrect to say that the SAstra-s have no
say in practical life. in fact, SrI Sa~NkarAchArya
makes it very clear that human life is a
"Sokamohamahodadhau" in His introduction to
SrImadbhagavadgItA. the purpose of all this
axiomatization is to provide a logically consistent
scheme to convince us that this mahodadhi of Soka and
moha which inevitaby traps us, can be overcome by

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sankara has, by
> some Western thinkers, been 
>    accused of "explaining away the world" rather
> than explaining it! So, the 
>    only useful thing this axiom achieves is explain
> in a consistent and 
>    stupendous manner the shastras. Outside of that
> the axiom's use is minimal!

if the pramANatva of the SAstra-s is not accepted, it
is pointless to worry about such claims about SrI
Sa~NkarAchArya and it is of no consequence to one who
accepts the pramANatva of the SAstra-s. if the
pramANatva of the SAstra-s is accepted, then the above
claim that bhagavatpAdAchArya has "explained away the
world" is again of no consequence since in His own
words, "brahmaj~nAnamapi vastutantrameva,
purushatantram na". as far as He (SrI Sa~NkarAchArya)
is concerned, He didn't explain the world simply
because it is not existent in the absolute sense
independent of brahman. He states what the truth is
and not what we want it to be. either way, it doesn't
matter if people criticize Him. 

from another viewpoint, the criticism on
bhagavadpAdAchArya that He's just doing some
theoretical jugglery which is without any practical
consequence holds no ground and arises solely due to
an ignorance of His works. as mentioned earlier, all
His works were only to help us attain Atmaj~nAna,
which removes all the dualities and the consequent
miseries, which r the pressing concerns for all of us.

regarding ur second objection, the axioms of any
subject are useful only within that subject. that it's
use is minimal outside its subject is not a negative
aspect of the axioms themselves. 
--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote: 

>  That is what we are all doing - introspection in
> some sense here. All we 
> write and discuss is the flow of what is going on
> inside us. The compelling 
> are intense need to know. 

what i meant by self-introspection was not any
argumentation like this, but an effort to still the
mind and search sincerely if a source within really
exists. in self introspection, silence and keen
awareness are what are required. this is what even a
true sceptic would do.  

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote: 

> But how many on this list
> can claim to be an iota 
> close to really understanding the vakyas? 

i don't know how many people understand the Sruti
vAkya-s, but i know i don't understand, since if i
did,  i have to be a j~nAni which i know i'm not. LOL

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote: 

> And by understanding here I mean 
> living the meaning because you may understand but
> yet not know! IMHO, you 
> are missing a very very important link here to
> establish the truth


to live by the vedAnta is possible only for a j~nAni.
for mumukshu-s, some assumption or the other is
inevitable. thus a sAdhaka has to be entirely a
sceptic and make sincere efforts to know if a brahman
really exists by self-introspection or he should
believe in the axioms of the vedAnta and proceed by
whichever path that is agreeable to him. the sAdhaka
has to make that choice and proceed without mixing up

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
4th year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Department of Aerospace Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

Too much spam in your inbox? Yahoo! Mail gives you the best spam protection for FREE! http://in.mail.yahoo.com

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list