[Advaita-l] Acceptance of the validity of shruti is only *faith*

savithri devaraj savithri_devaraj at yahoo.com
Thu May 17 09:39:44 CDT 2007


Some excellent points raised here...

I know Bhaskar has provided some excellent
explanations too, but please permit me to add a
slightly different perspective here.

--- Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>

> Finally, when we maintain that the tattva explained
> in Sruti is capable of 
> being experienced here and now, do we include the
> tattva "ahaM brahmAsmi" in 
> this?

Yes, this is a valid question, and in the right
context. And this is where the beauty of
avasthA-traya-viveka and sArvatrika anubhava comes to
the rescue.
As already mentioned, Sruti statements are pramANa,
and like the question above, when they seem
inconsistent with ordinary experience, we have to
reconcile it with yukti and sArvatrika anubhava. 
The avasthas are universal experience - all beings
undergo these states voluntarily/involuntarily. The
substratum of these states, it can be intellectually
deduced, is pure consciousness that manifests itself
as the waking self, dream self, etc. (prajna,
taijasa,..). The avastha-traya prakriye demands that
the space-time-witness be taken in total as a complete
state. By this, there is no relationship between the
states, and they are not juxtaposed in any sequence
(there is no time "common" to the 3 states). Pure
Consciousness of sleep state diversifies itself as the
subject-object of the dream and waking states. The "I
didn't observe anything" experience of deep sleep is
sArvatrika anubhava, remembered after the fact from a
waking self's perspective. Now, remembering that that
which is real can never be sublated, and that which is
sublatable has never been, we can see that our
seeking/learning nature of the waking and dream states
must be fleeting, and that our true nature must be
pure consciousness /pure knowledge (in-keeping with
the sruti vAkya). This is still paroksha jnAna,
indirect knowledge, not aparoksha or direct knowledge,
as it is not easy for one steeped in ignorance to
speak from the Pure Consciousness point of view. From
here (ignorance), it looks like personality
rehabilitation - shift from egohood to brahmanhood,
but in reality it is personality annhilation. There is
nothing but paramArtha in reality.

>From this prakriye, it is possible to understand "ahaM
brahmAsmi" here and now, albeit indirectly using yukti
and anubhava (srutyAdi, anubhavAdi...). However for an
eligible seeker who has gotten rid of all the dross,
this veda-vAkya will confer that immediate/direct
knowledge as clearly as in the missing tenth man
story, but for us middling intellects (speaking for
myself), it is only indirect knowledge. (Hence the
need for sAdana-catushtaya sampattih).

> If yes, without my having  intuitively experienced
> it myself, how can I 
> claim that the tattva taught in Sruti is capable of
> being experienced? 
> Furthermore, wouldn't that experience itself be a
> vaiyaktika anubhava only 
> and not sArvatrika lokAnubhava? Also, if I haven't
> intuitively experienced 
> it myself, and hold that such and such a teacher
> said this, am I not merely 
> taking on faith the claim that it can be
> experienced? In other words, faith 
> in Sruti is transferred to faith in the potential
> experience of someone 
> else, no?

I wouldn't call it experience. I would still maintain
it is knowledge/intuition. There is no new experience
to be had, it is swata-siddhah, it is our very nature,
how can we call this experience? An experience
requires an experiencer, doesn't it? So, technically
we are all brahman, right now, right here!

So, the bottom line is - sArvatrika anubhava is used
as a pramANa to reconcile "seeming" sruti
inconsistencies, to understand intellectually who we
are, not for attaining brahmanhood. Yes, faith in
sruti and achArya-upadesha is an absolute requirement
for eligibility to brahmanjignAsa, but
sruti/acharya-upadesha is the only way to brahman.

> Best regards,
> Vidyasankar

My 2 cents,


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