[Advaita-l] Fw: How shruti is antya pramANa in advaita, vEdAnta??

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sat Jun 9 09:46:01 CDT 2007

Dear Sri Manian,

I am still catching up on responding to list postings, so pardon the delay 
in my responses.

>I have faith and belief in Sruti. I have read and understood "aham
>brahmAsmi", but I still see duality.
>Why is that? I am still doing mediatation to internalize the Sruti vAkya
>hoping this will end the duality.
>So can you please be kind enough to explain how Sruti and anubhava are
>one and the same?

The situation is like this. I don't claim that Sruti and anubhava are the 
same, but that they will culminate in the same thing, when it comes to 

There is one kind of person (very rare, of course), who immediately 
understands, knows, realizes and is brahman, as soon as the Sruti is taught 
to him. For this person, nothing else is necessary; no meditation, no pUjA, 
no karma-yoga, no formal initiation into the rank of a monk (sannyAsin).

There is another kind of person, who understands the Sruti at an 
intellectual level only. There are multiple ways to go from this stage. For 
example, if this person has no faith that the Sruti is indicating a deep 
truth, he will ignore it or ridicule it and go about his life in other ways. 
If this person has faith, he can still cling to his experience of duality 
and interpret the Sruti in accordance with that and deny the non-dual import 
of Sruti. Or if he has faith, or even just a curiosity to find out what 
Sruti is talking about, he can go through the time-honored and time-tested 
regimen of karma-yoga, nishkAmya karma, etc. leading to formal renunciation, 
dhyAna yoga and finally to jnAna.

There is the third kind of person, and the vast majority of us fall in this 
category, who simply refuses to think about what Sruti is saying, even after 
hearing it.

For the purposes of this discussion, we are not much concerned with the 
third kind, but we have to grant the possibility of the existence of a human 
being who belongs to the first kind, at least at a theoretical level. 
Clearly, for this person, there is no gap between SravaNa and bramAnubhava.

What happens to the one of the middle kind, who attempts to understand and 
internalize the Sruti teaching? Say he or she spends a lot of effort towards 
it and finally has the brahmAnubhava. At a personal level, there may be a 
sense of satisfaction, happiness, bliss etc. But does this mean we can say 
that this experience is necessary to verify the truth of Sruti? We cannot, 
because the truth of Sruti is independent of any one person's experience of 
the teaching of Sruti. For the same reason, we cannot say that the 
discipline followed by this person is the cause of brahman experience.

What is the path to be followed by such a person? Is he or she supposed to 
sit and chant "I am brahman" repeatedly, the way one chants some mantra? Or 
is he supposed to ritually consecrate brahman in himself, the way we invoke 
a divine presence in an image (AvAhana)? Will such exercises make brahman 
manifest in this person's experience? The answer to all of this is no. What 
is needed is to prepare oneself through mental discipline (e.g. through 
yoga), which helps enormously towards developing the qualities necessary to 
really comprehend and realize brahman.

Yet, in the final analysis, all the disciplines followed by such a person 
help only to remove the many layers of ignorance so that at the end, the 
true reality of brahman shines forth. It does not make a previously 
non-existent thing to come into being or some completely unknown thing into 
the realm of the known. Every single thing in this universe is in essence 
brahman. Inasmuch as our own self is never completely unknown to us, but the 
essential identity of the self is brahman, every one of us is also never 
completely unaware of brahman. Sruti teaches this truth and a person's 
brahmAnubhava is an instance of experiencing this truth. The disciplines 
assist in leading to this instance, but they are not the direct cause of 
brahman experience.

I hope I have not confused you further. Please feel free to ask further 
clarifications from the list, as there are many here who will be able to 
answer better.

Best regards,

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