[Advaita-l] Pramanas - Sruti vs. Anubhava

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Fri May 4 09:20:37 CDT 2007

Dear Sri Bhaskar

----- Original Message ----
From: "bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com" <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com>

The correct understanding of SSS's position, then is: anubhava is the
kingpin amongst all the means of understanding / interpreting / knowing
Sruti and that Sri SankarAchArya interprets Sruti in such a way that it is
consistent with anubhava, which is the correct way to interpret.

praNAms Sri Siva Senani Nori prabhuji
Hare Krishna

I dont know what exactly is the problem with above stand...Anubhava is not
the separate pramANa to establish brahma jnAna..sArvatrika pUrNAnubhava
(universal experience) go hand in hand with shruti-s' purport...what shruti
taught us is not beyond our anubhava..So it is not fair to put anubhava &
shruti in two different compartments
* You are absolutely right till here, Sir. Whatever Sruti teaches about Brahman, is indeed possible to be realised in the realm of anubhava, but please note that the absence of such a realisation does not negate Sruti. When SSS holds that the bhagavatpAda interprets Sruti in a way consistent with anuvhava, the implied meaning is that whenver Sruti means something not consistent with anubhava, such a reading is not favoured by the bhagavatpAda or is ignored. Such an understanding is held to be incorrect. Sri Sankara interprets Sruti correctly, period. anubhava is always consistent with Sruti, but at no point is there a requirement to re-examine Sruti because somehow anuvhava differs.
..For that matter even shAstra shows
its inability to describe brahman...yato vAcho nivartante aprApya manasa
saha, shAstra repeatedly says that which speech cannot express, but which
itself expresses speech, that which mind cannot think of but which itself
thinks of the mind etc..How can even shAstra reveal us the true nature of
brahman/our svarUpa??  How are the sacred scriptures ( upanishads) to be
considered as a valid antya pramANa when scriptures themselves expressing
their inability to show us the true nature of ours?? 
* So, strictly based on the above, are you willing to say Sruti is useless for brahmajij~nAsA? The correct meaning of yato vaco... is that words cannot described, not that Sruti does not reveal Brahman. Sruti indeed reveals Brahman, and it indeed is the way of knowing Brahman. As the introductory slokas of VivekachUDAmaNi put, the knowledge revealed by Sruti can be firmly established after anubhava reinforces that knowledge.
Are they the source
of knowledge with regard to svarUpa jnAna, in the same way that the vEda-s
are with regard to lOkAntara, janmAntara, kAlAntara jnAna/phala like
saayujya, sArOpya mukti & enjoyment in heaven etc.??  Yes,  it is an axiom
in hindu tradition that *shAstra is the ONLY means to dharma/karma jignAsa
& resultant phala..coz. results we are going to gain in these actions is
not immediate/spontaneous...With regard to  svarga (heaven) naraka (hell),
celestial beings & abode etc. etc. whose existence (astitva) is to be taken
for granted on the exclusive authority of the vEda-s & performer has to
follow certain rituals / injuctions meticulously to know/experience these
supernatural states and enjoyments.  Whereas in svarUpa jignAsa it is not
that we are going to gain knowledge of our true nature after the death of
our physical body & after leaving this planet earth...it is immediate
intuition & can be realized here and NOW...Hence shankara says in sUtra
bhAshya *shrtyAdayOnubhAdaya.... yathAsaMbhavamiha pramANaM...giving equal
importance to both shruti as well as intuitive experience since both these
go hand in hand in determining svarUpa siddhAnta.  Shankara goes further to
clarify that : dharma jignAsa is purusha tantra and brahma jignAsa is vastu
tantra..With regard to a religious duty there being no need of any
intuition and Hence shruti alone can be accepted as valid means but an
existent thing cannot in this manner be conceived alternatively coz. the
truth of a thing does not depend upon the will of a person (not purusha
tantra) but depends entirely upon the nature of the thing...
* As Sri Ramakrishnan showed in his Paper, the correct interpretation of the above quoation of the bhAshya is that SrutyAdayah and anubhavAdayah are techniques of interpreting the vedas. Whereas only the former set is useful for dharma jij~nAsA, the latter set is * also * useful in brahmajij~nAsA; for the simple reason that whatever Sruti teaches is also reinforced by anubhava.

But what is the nature of brahman?? here shruti itself declares that it is
neither gross nor subtle, neither short nor long, without taste, smell, no
organs, no attributes, no mind, no light, no prANa, nothing inside nothing
outside etc. etc..how shruti then describe this brahman with words??
shankara while answering an objection clarifies it and says : the shAstra-s
purport is just there to erase the distinctions superimposed on non dual
brahman ....Infact shAstra-s donot indeed propose to teach brahman as such
and such a thing...but it teaches brahman is no object at all.  No pramANa
can establish brahman since Atman as is well-known, self-evident (svayaM
siddha) and it no adventitious thing.

Shankara points out this clearly that there being no need for any means to
establish the existence of brahman which is our ever existing self.  The
shAstra-s are called pramANa by courtesy coz. they remove the distincitions
superimposed upon brahman by avidyA.  jnApakaM hi shAstraM na
kArakaM....after the dawn of knowledge even vEdA-s are no vEda admits
shruti itself in bruhadAraNyaka ....

* I think the above passage truly reflects your attitude towards Sruti - a courtesy, but nothing more. The orthodox, including the bhavatpAda (who if you step back and consider, did not propose an independent world-view, but explained what the Sruti says by writing commentaries on Sruti, smriti and on a set of aphorisms referring to SrutivAkyas, and referred only to Sruti and smriti in his prakaraNa granthas as well) confer considerably more importance on Sruti, and consider Sruti central for brahmavidyA. Of course, this view suffers from the point that it is valid only for aj~nAnis, and that (aj~nAni) is a lable I will readily accept. Even a true j~nAni like Sankara bhagavatpAda wrote for the benefit of aj~nAnis not for his fellow j~nAnis, it might be noted.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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