[Advaita-l] logic and Shastra

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Sun Jun 19 03:03:37 CDT 2005

namo nArAyaNAya !

dear SrI mahesh ursekar and list members,

i guess we have different ways of thinking on this
issue and further argumentation will not help. anyway,
i'll reply to this message and summarize my views on
this topic. and this will be my last post on this
thread. given all this, i sincerely appreciate and
respect ur enthusiasm in trying to establish the
reality of brahman on rational grounds, though i
personally don't see any possibility for it.   

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

> ...the 
> whole purpose of this thread was with a view of
> trying (however naively) to 
> establish Brahman in my mind on more rational terms
> than with dependence on 
> Sruti alone. In this, I am not alone since the great
> Sankaracharya (as has 
> been mentioned before) has also seen the importance
> of this. 

let me put it like this (i'm sorry to repeat it again
and again, but that's the best reply i can give u):
from whatever little i understand about vedAnta, it
seems clear that to convince oneself of the reality of
brahman, either the upanishads have to be taken for
granted or the reality of brahman has to be verified
directly by oneself. there is no intermediate
way.(this does not imply that one who takes the
upanishads on faith cannot know the brahman directly) 

but logical reasoning can be used effectively to
arrive at the necessity of vairAgya, to develop
viveka, the six-fold guNa-s (Sama, dama, etc.). this,
along with an intense desire to know the ultimate
truth will equip one with all the prerequisites for
knowing brahman directly. thus, although the reality
of brahman cannot be established logically, the
prerequisites (sAdhana chatushTayam) can be
established on a purely rational basis (they can also
be established on the basis of the upanishads). but
the reality of brahman itself can be known only by
direct realization. so, even if one is not able to
find a rational basis for the reality of brahman, one
can rationally arrive at the necessity of
self-introspection. maybe this could help...

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
> the above argument is not valid. If anuman
> required pratyaksha, the blind 
> would be incapable of anuman but we know when a
> blind person bumps against 
> something, he infers it is an obstrution to be
> avoided. Or, when the wind 
> blows against your face, you infer that there must
> be a high pressure-low 
> pressure system in the atmosphere. In the same way,
> I need pratyaksha to 
> define Brahman is someway (sat-cit-ananda) but by
> anuman, I can establish 
> that something like this aught to exist. 

i don't see how the examples u have given imply that
anumAna does not depend on pratyaksha for its
validity. anyway, i'll give a general proof that
anumAna depends on pratyaksha for its validity. the
fallacies in the examples u have given can be easily
shown as special cases of the general proof. 

let us recall the definitions. anything that is
directly experienced by us is pratyaksha [note that
this definition includes (objects of) sight, touch,
smell etc. under pratyaksha]. anumAna is the process
of inference where the existence of a cause for an
event that is perceived is inferred. (after the
process of inference, the perceived event is
identified with the effect of the inferred cause.) the
law of causality which links causes and effect is
"every effect has a cause". with these definitions,
the proof is quite straightforward. i'll formally show
it below.

claim : anumAna depends on pratyaksha for its
proof : by using anumAna, a cause for any perceived
event can be inferred, if, and only if the law of
causality is true. thus, for an anumAna to be valid,
the law of causality should be known to be true (for
the observed effect) *a priori*. the truth of the law
of causality (for a particular pair of events) is
known only by an earlier (earlier to the anumAna)
observation (of the relation between the two events),
which falls under pratyaksha. the claim follows.    

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
>  I never tried to infer this with Braham itself but
> with the necessity of a 
> "creator". Subsequent arguments went on to show that
> this "creator" needed 
> to be above time, space, causation. My simple minded
> and Sankara 
> philosophical arguments were provided for this. 

brahman viewed from the vyAvahArika satya is the
creator. the same argument holds. 
--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote: 
>  I am sorry I fail to understand your meaning of
> "undefined". Maybe if you 
> explained this I could try to follow your proof. The
> way I see it, your 
> using both words in a sentence seems to indicate you
> have an idea of what 
> they mean. On the other hand, if you mean that words
> and symbols cannot 
> grasp their true essence, that is a different matter
> with which all my 
> earlier posts concur. 

a word of a language is undefined if it cannot be
defined based on other words of the language.

whether words and symbols capture the true essence of
the thing they describe is an entirely different
question. i didn't mean that in my arguments.   

--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:  
>  Again, I am sorry but don't buy this as a basis for
> you "axioms". In that 
> case there would be no need for religious discourse
> - each religion could be 
> proved to be a self consistent whole without any
> rationality. The Christian 
> would start his or her argument with - assume a old
> man who is the creator 
> of the world, the Muslim with Allah, and so on. This
> ends up as requiring 
> more faith than reason. (I don't wish to downplay
> faith but maybe what I 
> mean is dogmatic faith). 

my reply is the same - either faith or direct
verification. if faith, that which appeals.
--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
>  What is your opinion? Can the world be explained
> without the shastras? 

events happening in the world can (and should) be
explained by science. SAstra-s are not required for
that. but the fundamental questions related to the
world like : what is a world? what is matter? what is
time? what is space? are all these real? - these can
be known only from the SAstra-s since these questions
are outside the domain of science. 
--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:

>  But, dear sir, a self-consistent axiomatic system
> is provided by the Jaina 
> and the Buddhist too. Why is Vedanta so special?

if someone is not inclined to find the ultimate truth
by direct experience without any assumptions, he/she
is free to choose any self-consistent system that
appeals to him/her. 
--- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:

>  Ah, then unto what purpose all this discussion and
> debate? Are we aspiring 
> to become pundits or Jnanis? As Swami
> Ranganathananda (the late President of 
> the Ramakrishan Math) used to say (my words) "Try,
> try to implement even a 
> little of the truth. Take the attitude that one day
> you will get there, 
> however long it takes" or the lion Swami
> Vivekananda's saying (from memory) 
> "Why wait for another life time. Be free, be free
> even in this life!" 

i don't see any portion of my earlier response which
asks one to just be a puNDita and not try to become a
j~nAni. either u misunderstood what i said or i didn't
express myself clearly. what i wanted to say was this
: we *try* to live by the vedAnta, a j~nAni lives by
the vedAnta (rather, we learn vedAnta by seeing his
life). we have to force ourselves to live by the
vedAnta. for a j~nAni, it is natural. a j~nAni is one
who has no assumptions whatsoever. he doesn't
*believe* in anything. he *knows*. belief or disbelief
are only for things that have not been verified. a
sAdhaka is by definition not a j~nani. hence he has to
have some assumptions. hope i'm clearly understood.

let me conclude my posting on this thread with this :
it would be far more valuable to try our best to empty
our mind of its contents (thoughts) than to use
thougts to know that which cannot be known by

vAsudevaH sarvaM,


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


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