[Advaita-l] Pramanas - Sruti vs. Anubhava

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 28 06:33:52 CDT 2007

----- Original Message ----
From: sreenivasa murthy narayana145 at yahoo.co.in

From: H.N.Sreenivasa Murthy
Pranams to all.
        This is my first posting to this group. Any lapses from my end may please be pardoned by the learned members.

* Welcome, Sir!

Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com> wrote:
Dear Sri Siva Senani Nori,
        I would like to draw your attention to Mantra 2-5-19 of Brihadaranyaka Upanidhad:
       ayamAtmA brahma sarvAnUBUrityanuSAsanam ||
 The mantra uses the word " sarva  anuBUh ". It is this "sarva anuBUh "  that is being  called as "anuBava " by HH SSS. The term "anuBava" has been very clearly defined by HH SSS in his magnum opus 'Mandukya rahasya vivrittiH' which is in Sanskrit. There is one  section the heading being "anuBavasya prAmuKyam " [introduction page 95]. HH SSS has used the terms Brahman,Atman, anuBava  to mean the same. If you study that section in depth you will clearly understand the true and correct import of the word "anuBava' .
* I will skip the analysis of the mantra for the time being and take what you have said at face value: For His Holiness, anubhava is the same as Brahman / Atman, and only in that sense is anubhava the kingpin amongst pramANas.
              Secondly what is the source of Sruti itself? Is it not Brahman itself ?
then which is the kingpin of pramanas?  aja itself is the pramana to realize/know  aja. Mandukya karika says "ajEna ajaM vibudhyatE" .Brahman or anuBava is the sole pramana to know Brahman/Atman. Other laukika pramAnas have no place in realizing one's TRUE NATURE. 
* And I will further go with you in assuming that Brahman = Sruti (though I am not sure it is so). Thus, we have anubhava = Brahman = Sruti. So anubhava and Sruti are not two different pramANas as per His Holiness, and Sruti after all is the kingpin of pramANas. If that is the case, I would have no issue except the doubt as to what is achieved by changing the established - rUdhi - meanings of technical terms like anubhava and Sruti. For a thousand years and more anubhava was understood to mean something distinct from Sruti.
              Sruti does not mean the mere assemblage of words in a book. It is what is beyond the words. It is para-vidya itself. 
* I couldn't agree more with you.
Best regards
with respectful regards,
Sreenivasa Murthy
namaskAra bhAskarji

You had asked:

"dont you think shankara himself clarified his position with regard to
this?? In the sUtra bhAshya shankara clearly says shruti is NOT the only
pramANa in brahma jignAsa but shruti etc. intuition etc (anubhavavasAnatvAt
bhUtavastuvishayatvaccha etc....). are the valid pramANa. Ofcourse in the
dharma jignAsa shaastra is the ONLY pramANa..."

I think bhagavatpAda has definitely made it clear that Sruti is not the only pramANa, but intuition and inference are also pramANas. The point is different. According to Sri Ramakrishnan's paper, SSS considers anubhava the "kingpin" among pramANas. I will not follow the tradition of literary crticism of analysing the word "kingpin", but it is reasonable to conclude that SSS attaches the highest level of importance to anubhava. The position of the bhagavatpAda is actually different with Sruti occupying the highest level of authority.

The hierarchy among pramANas is not pedantic, though to my knowledge an explicit hierarchy has not been stated in the basic texts. Some people like Sri Guy Werlings and Sri Aditya Varun Chaddha, giving lesser or no importance to Sruti, arrive at conclusions quite different from orthodox positions. Where Sri Werlings would call it "religion" if something propounded by Sruti, say Brahman, is not experienced, Sri Chaddha is comfortable if something called "Chunky" takes the place of Brahman, with absolutely no reference to Sruti. 

I get the impression that SSS's conclusion are not dramatically removed form orthodox positions, but the assumption that anubhava is the kingpin among pramANas must lead to that. Hence, my request on how SSS reconciles the kingpin status of anubhava with the principle that Sruti reveals something not experienced.

In other words, to put it bluntly and without any scope for mis-understanding, since SSS indeed considers anubhava to be the kingpin among pramANas, there being only three pramANas (or at best six), it follows that anubhava is a better pramANa than Sruti. Such a position is at odds with the teachings of the Acharyas since Sri Sankara himself unambiguously states that one does not declare the existence of Brahman just because one is forever experiencing Brahman, but does so on the strength of Sruti.

Since the above is the only instance where SankarAchArya explicitly states that he experiences Brahman, I hope you do not need the references.


Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
Check out new cars at Yahoo! Autos.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

SHOUT IT OUT! Tell everyone, from anywhere, that you're online on Yahoo! Messenger

Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
Check out new cars at Yahoo! Autos.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list