[Advaita-l] Logic and shastra

praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com
Wed Oct 19 08:46:24 CDT 2005

praNAm all,

Mahesh-ji wrote:
> I don't mean to have a "short and concise" answer to my question but have
you been able to justify to yourself the 
> conclusion of Advaita? If so, I would be curious to know how?

(Mahesh-ji, from my earlier correspondence with you, I've found you to be
pretty open-minded and would only hope that you'll read the following too
without taking it as a personal assault. If it sounds blunt at places, for
lack of my clarity of expression, my advance apologies. Also please excuse
for stressing on points known to you or redundant fallbacks.

In absence of such justification, faith is the answer. In absence of faith,
try justifying faith :) 

Jokes apart, I'd say then it has to be to the best of one's understanding
and inclination. What tattva seems justifiable to you will always be the
best to follow. You agree that science isn't there yet! Sw. Vivekananda is
termed as the father of physics in the vedaantic world because he's the one
who's gone on record to say that science will end in vedaanta. In any case,
what I understand from biology & my biomedical background is unconvincing in
terms of consciousness. Even if one talks of life due to heart's beating,
there's got to be someone making it tick right upto the sino-atrial node,
purkinje network and brains afferent nerves' controlling. All the things
experienced (and even not experienced, as in dreams) can be gathered from
memory and lived through like the waking state (be it in day-dreaming or
madness, per se). So one can actually agree that the
sleeping/dreaming/waking states could be a combination. The very experience
of dream being as real as the waking state tells me that neither is true. It
also does quite justify that the experiencer of all this is
something/someone else. So, on my part, I'm thoroughly convinced that my
*consciousness* of *not* actually *feeling* these states to be true is
sufficient enough for me to trust advaita. I use the same reasoning to
justify all our sixth sense kind of behaviour, where you *feel* people's
thoughts or our intuition, deja-vu, and such. As another example, in math,
how does one justify the square-root of -1? You've got to take it on face
value as an imaginary number.

All I'm saying is that one will sooner or later agree that s/he's reached
the limitation of whatever knowledge one can gain on this front, through any
agreeable means available. Thats when one needs to try other means to
justify it (or maybe delve deeper as science does). You may call it
anything, but since you're aware of the search, aware of all thats happening
or you're witnessing, why not agree (be it without provable logic) that its
consciousness. If one gives up by saying one is not justified, he's back to
thinking about the problem, not finding a solution. Its akin to asking
justification for the house being on fire and not extinguishing the fire.
Even when the house is on fire, one needs to put the fire off before finding
out who lit it in the first place. These are the times when the logic
reverses from the first cause to be found the last, not the first. :)

I say this because you ask how I justify myself of the conclusion of advaita
as all that there is being one. Although you seem to be a science-person,
I'm going to risk it and say that its equivalent to my asking you to justify
Bohr's atom, for instance. One can go about all the nucleus, electrons and
stuff and still I may remain lay. That is, its the *faith* in physics thats
been brought about by a science student's pattern of study. A similar set of
rules that you'd use to justify an atom -- even so with electrical examples
to justify electrons, semiconductor behavior, etc, or be it a microscopic
view, -- can't be used to express to one who doesn't agree to it! So the
pattern of vedaantic study is a set of shruti vaakya-s by a non-physics
professor called the guru, referring one to faith & logic shruti-shravaNa,
who needs us to have practicals in manana-nidhidhyaasana labs and then one
can use one's own experience as a microscope to justify consciousness. Now
if its easy to agree that atoms and sub-atomic particles fixed up in some
way or other can build any matter, or with Einstein voicing that matter and
energy are interchangeable and even so, the G-force and what not of quantum
phsics, why not just leave it so: when all that there is can be called as
*atom* or the minutest sub-atomic *whole* that physics has reached today, it
could also be called as consciousness that pervades everything.

I'm sorry, I don't think I'm capable enough to justify my stand right away,
but all I know is that I'm convinced enough to quit my job in a few months
without having any plans or means of survival in the immediate future to
follow the so-called search based on advaita! This is because I *feel* it so
and no amount of justification either way will help me or anyone else :)

shivam shaantam advaitam.

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