[Advaita-l] Pramanas - Sruti vs. Anubhava

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Tue May 1 11:25:19 CDT 2007

Dear Siva Senani

Actually I went through the paper again yesterday and realized that
there is some scope for misinterpretation still. My apologies. A few
things contribute

1) my writing style can improve.
2) More importantly, I am trying my best to make the paper generally
accessible to anyone, meaning that they need not have studied works of
SSS. The goal is to see whether I can achieve enough clarity of
thought to write on some important general principles of advaita.
Obviously I can't reproduce entire books of SSS in one paper! I knew
people would allege that I am selectively quoting, etc. That's the
easiest way to try to pull the wool over other peoples eyes.

In any case, in the first version I had not included a quote from SSS
where it is clear he understands what shrutyaadayaH mean. As I was
watching people respond to you, it seemed *even some of his own
followers* do not know what the heck he was talking about. So, I
included one more quote in the foot-note.

When I first read shrutyaadayaH in the the bhaaShya, I thought why
could it not mean shruti, smR^iti, puraaNa, etc.? Of course, first
thing is that both Padamapaada and SSS don't interpret it that way,
and the meaning is only clear when the whole bhAShya to the sUtra is
read carefully. Also in certain other places, Sankara uses
shrutyaadayaH to mean exegetical techniques very clearly (not
mentioned in the paper now). That passage is just too subtle to
understand the first time.

Note that the point is that SSS ***indeed understands that shruti is
the ultimate pramaaNa***, but ****repeatedly**** compares anubhava
which is an exegetical technique, with pratyakSha and anumaana, in
many publications, which is a confused presentation at best. Note that
in one book he makes clear what shrutyaadayaH is, and in another just
glosses over it, and then actually compares it with pratyakSha and
anumaana! It's like someone saying I like the sound of
M.S.Subbulakshmis singing, and someone else comparing it with Raja
Ravi Vermas paintbrush, and saying that the paint-brush is superior to
the music created by M.S.Subbulakshmi. If you note, the analogy is
quite apt.

Not only that, he talks about anubhava, as if no one else understood
this. The later advaitins were very much aware of this technique (see
just for examples any of Vidyaranyas books or the Vedanta Siddhaanta
Muktavali of Prakashananda), and note again that anubhava is just
*one* of the **many** *exegetical* techniques useful for
brahma-j~naana. Harping on anubhava alone, and repeatedly saying that
it is the greatest thing since sliced-bread, and then comparing it
with pratyakSha, etc., is philosophical confusion at best - and that
is the most charitable interpretation of the state of things (and
which I have adopted).

I'll send a copy of my latest version by email.


On 5/1/07, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Dear Sri Kathirasan
> Per Sri Ramakrishnan's mail, the anubhava which has been conferred the 'kingpin' status by Swamiji is a means of understanding vedas, and is not the general pramANa, pratyaksha. That clears the whole issue.
> And, to correct my earlier statement, it is not so much that Sri Ramakrishnan had incorrectly presented Swamiji's views as I had incorrectly understood Sri Ramakrishnan's presentation.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list