[Advaita-l] Logic and shastra

Mahesh Ursekar mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Wed Oct 19 01:07:41 CDT 2005

 While you cannot effectively describe how a gulabjamun tastes, the idea is
that one can infer from science that the certain chemical constituents of
the sweet cause the sweet taste. In fact, one could, in a laboratory,
breakdown the 'taste' portion of the sweet only and give it to a person and
say that due to this chemical, you get the said taste.
 My whole point in relation to science and shastras is that can we infer
that consciousness is the reality that talked of in the shastras through a
scientific approach. We might now realize it but can it be inferred?
 Humble pranams, Mahesh

 On 10/18/05, solai at ihb.net <solai at ihb.net> wrote:
> Dear Members,
> I was busy with my works and I didn't read the old mails then and I just
> read my archived mails. Mr.Amuthan's mail given at the bottom was
> fantastic. So, I want to add something here. Though the thread had ended
> long back, the subject is ever living.
> No logic or no science can explain how sweet tastes. We have to
> experience it by ourselves. Anuman takes closer to the reality. Suppose,
> if a person asks how Gulabjaman tastes, we will tell it is sweaty and we
> will quote any similar sweet tasted by that person. But, we cannot
> explain logically in anyway to that person, how exactly the Gulabjaman
> tastes.
> When we explain something similar to what we had already experienced, it
> is somehow easier.
> But, what Sruti tries to do is: it tries to explain colours to a blind
> person, who knows only sounds. Colours are brahmangyana state, blind
> persons are us, sounds are the maya world. Whatever we try to explain to
> the blind person he cannot see the colours. That is what happening to us
> also. A blind person may discard the explanations for colour based on
> his own logics. But, it does not mean that there is no colour exists.
> So, unless we remove his blindness and show him the colours he cannot
> understand the colours. To remove the blindness is what Mr.Amuthan
> suggested Shri Ramanamahrishi's Self enquiry.
> We should use science and logics to understand the Sruti in a better
> way. As we are blind persons we have to accept whatever Sruti says until
> we experience it.
> Sruti also is a signboard, it shows the way, if we sit on the signboard,
> sign board will not take us to the destination. Our own Self enquiry is
> the vehicle.
> Thanks
> Solaikannan
> Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 23:20:19 +0100 (BST)
> From: Amuthan Arunkumar R <aparyap at yahoo.co.in>
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] logic and shastra
> To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
> <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Message-ID: <20050615222019.51052.qmail at web8405.mail.in.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> namo nArAyaNAya !
> dear SrI mahesh ursekhar and list members,
> before expressing my views, just for clarity, i'd like
> to sum up the main developments in this thread so far.
> the very first post on this thread (logic and shastra)
> by SrI jaldhar vyAs succintly addresses the
> limitations of science as a pramANa, the
> non-redundancy of Sruti as a pramANa and the secondary
> role of logic in analysing the Sruti; and to me, the
> thread ends there :-)
> the confusion that arose due to the ambiguous use of
> the word 'consciousness' for 'chit' was addressed
> adequately both by SrI sa~njay Srivastava and SrI
> vidyASa~nkar sundaresan and need no further
> clarification.
> now, to my (rather redundant) views...
> ( begin quote )
> --- Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
> > It would be better to say that I would consider the
> > 5 (pratyaksha, anuman,
> > upamana, arthapatti and anupalabdi) more important
> > that sruti. Only the
> > first 5 can establish or disprove the claims of the
> > sixth. And if they show
> > the last praman to be invalid, I would not hesitate
> > to throw it out of the
> > window.
> ---
> ( end of quote )
> first, a small digression. i'd like to point out the
> essence of an axiomatic development of any subject.
> Each subject has its own undefined terms (i.e.
> undefined terms are terms that cannot be defined based
> on something more fundamental than themselves). using
> these undefined terms, the axioms of the subject are
> stated. then, using methods of logical analysis, the
> various conclusions of the subject are deduced from
> the axioms. the 'saneness' of the axioms are checked
> by testing one or several of the deduced results,
> provided they permit such a testing using valid means.
> only the axioms can be tested (indirectly). but the
> undefined terms, by their very nature, cannot be
> understood by this analysis for obvious reasons.
> now, applying the above "scientific" method to the
> vedAnta, it is enough to note that the undefined terms
> here, however greatly we may delude ourselves to the
> contrary, are "Atman", "brahman", "chit", "mAyA" etc.
> (i have not really attempted a formal axiomatic
> construction of vedAnta and hence i don't claim
> completeness in the above list. nevertheless, the
> terms above which are stated as undefined seem correct
> to me.) the axioms of vedAnta are the Sruti vAkya-s.
> the logical analysis of the Sruti uses the 5 pramANa-s
> that have been mentioned by SrI mahesh ursekar (and
> quoted above). given this, the last sentence of the
> previous paragraph, the impossiblity of understanding
> the undefined terms like "Atman" etc. through such a
> method of logical analysis, is clear. this should be
> a sufficient response to SrI mahesh's view (quoted
> above)
> the undefined terms like "Atman" and "brahman" can be
> *known* only by direct realization (Atma sAkshAtkAra
> or aparokshAnubhUti) and not by any amount of logical gymnastics. (of
> course, the above statement is made based on a basic faith in vedAnta.)
> even if the very necessity of a belief in the Sruti is questioned, for
> sincere and well-intentioned reasons as was done by SrI mahesh, i would
> like to point out that logical analysis is not the most efficient way
> out. this is because of the following reason : nobody can exist without
> some blind belief or the other (like the universal *BLIND FAITH* that
> the world exists; this can never be proved on any grounds, from a
> strictly logical viewpoint). the use of logic, which is fundamentally
> based on such basic beliefs, will thus be of no great help in
> *establishing* the ultimate truth.
> for all the sceptics (i'm not pointing at anyone; in
> any case, i'm one :-) ), the method of least
> assumptions, using which the "undefined" terms of
> vedAnta, mentioned above, can be directly known, seems
> to be self-introspection of the form "nAn yAr?" ("who
> am i?" or "ko'ham?") as taught by SrI ramaNa maharshi.
> of course, this is a very personal view and opinions
> can be widely different.
> other than this method, i don't see any other way
> other than a strong belief (SraddhA) in the Sruti
> vAkya-s. either way, logical reasoning plays only a
> secondary role.
> to conclude, the best method(-this is again a personal
> view) to test the Sruti vAkya-s to check if it can be
> "thrown out of the window" is by direct experience
> through self-introspection (Atma vichAra) and not the
> use of logical analysis alone, though the latter can
> be used as a tool to convince (or more precisely, to
> delude :-) ) oneself in the process.
> hope this clarifies...
> thanx for patiently reading.
> vAsudevaH sarvaM,
> aparyAptAmR^itaH.
> Amuthan Arunkumar R,
> 4th year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
> Department of Aerospace Engineering,
> Indian Institute of Technology Madras.
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