[Advaita-l] Pramanas - Sruti vs. Anubhava

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 29 13:29:19 CDT 2007



You are saying that the examples quoted by me relate to individual experience and not a universal phenomenon, sArvatrika anubhava. You are indeed right. Even if I were to extend these examples to an universal sample, you would say they are still empirical experiences. You cited sushupti as a sArvartika experience - but that is still empirical, is it not? (I mean with jagat being mithyA, nothing Brahman being real etc.) On the other hand, if the examples quoted by me are valid if they were universal experiences, as opposed to a trance of say, an Alice Auma, then I will show how these (measurement of g, quest regarding the nature of God, interpretation of tattvamasi) are indeed universal experiences and my position stands.

Looking at it from a different angle, pramANas etc. are valid only in the empirical world; as you yourself pointed out. How can we then say that empirical experiences are not meant by the pramANa called anubhava?

I understand that anubhava means vedatic intuition, and that till such an intuition arises, the knowledge gained from Sruti cannot be taken as fully established. In a chronological sequence, anubhava indeed comes after study of Sruti. However, any anubhava / intuition or whatever contradicting Sruti is not a valid pramANa. Or to put it differently, who is to decide what is a sArvartika anubhava, and whether it can be taken as a pramANa? Can that be deduced with reasoning alone? I reckon it depends on Sruti for validation. (To analyse the example of sushupti, the universality of sushupti can be deduced from reasoning and with the mANDUkya even analysing Sruti we know it is not contradicted by Sruti and so using sushupti we can understand the concept of sAkshin better. On the other hand, multiplicity of the empirical world is an universal experience; it can be deduced with reasoning; but since it contradicts Sruti, we do not use it as a pramANa.) 

That being so, I would like to know: "How did His Holiness SSS reconcile the limitations imposed by Sruti on the validity of an anubhava (sArvartika, intuition or whatever) as a pramANa with the statement that anubhava is the kingpin amongst pramANas which presumably include Sruti itself?"


----- Original Message ----
From: savithri devaraj <savithri_devaraj at yahoo.com>
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2007 2:27:30 AM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Pramanas - Sruti vs. Anubhava

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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