[Advaita-l] Pramanas - Sruti vs. Anubhava

savithri devaraj savithri_devaraj at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 28 15:57:30 CDT 2007

Namaste ji,

--- Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com> wrote:

> * Indeed if you know that fire is hot, there is no
> need for Sruti. That is the whole thrust of Sri
> Sankara's teaching on how to interpret Sruti. The
> word of Sruti is final, when it reveals something
> apUrva, not known before, that is something not
> experienced. Say, I do not know the conditions on
> the planet Venus, I refer to the encyclopedia, and
> know stuff; here the encyclopedia is the pramANa.
> Similarly I want to know about God, and the
> Taittiriya Yajurveda tells me it is
> satyam-j~nAnam-anantam. Which is the better pramANa?
> Clearly, the reference book / Sruti is. Or consider
> a bunch of school kids who go to a hill-top, drop
> some stones, time them with stop watches, measure
> the drop by tying a thread to one of the stones
> dropped, and arrive at 'g' as 6.7 metres per square
> second. Their 'anubhava' says 'g' is 6.7, but the
> SAstra is very clear: it is 9.81 m/s^2. The
> difference is the wind resistance, as their guru
> would let them know. If the anubhava is of something
>  contradicting SAstras, such an anubhava is not the
> right knowledge; that is the order of validation.
> What is the authority of a pramANa, whose very
> applicability is apriori decided by a higher source?
> Definitely an inferior one. 

We have to be a little careful here, we could be
talking at different levels. 

Without going into too much details, reality has to be
attested by Sruti, yukti and sArvatrika anubhava, not
vaiyuktika anubhava (individual, empirical experiences
like samAdhi, trance, etc), but sArvatrika anubhava
that is unsublatable, and available to all(common
universal experience like sushupti). 

Note that anubhava is also used as vedantic intuition.
Sruti is the final/absolute pramANa (antya pramANa)in
the sense that it dawns the final knowledge on the
pramAtru that "he is not a pramAtru, neither is sruti
a pramANa, nor is atmajnAna an object of knowledge,
but that he is indeed jnAna or brahman itself". All
transactions of pramANas, pramAtru and prameya are in
the realm of ignorance.

> * Indeed, the knowledge imparted by Sruti has to be
> validated by anubhava; but anubhava of anything
> contradicted by Sruti is not valid. If Sruti says
> That is thou, and aj~nAnis like me cannot experience
> that, it is I who needs to improve; my anubhava of
> 'That is parama and thou is not so' does not triumph
> Sruti and make my anubhava valid. This makes Sruti
> the higher pramANa, not anubhava.

Again, the key is sArvatrika anubhava that is
available to all, not personal empirical experiences.

Hope this helps,

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