[Advaita-l] The essence of advaita

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 26 00:01:09 CDT 2007

--- Ravisankar Mayavaram <abhayambika at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 9/24/07, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > --- S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Prabha,
> > >
> > > Your question(s) can be rephrased as: "If the Supreme Self is
> of
> > > the
> > > very nature of Itself, how can it come under Ignorance? If not
> the
> > > Self, who or what is the locus of Ignorance?"
> > >
> >
> > The above should read:
> >
> > "If the Supreme Self is of the very nature of the **Knowledge
> of**
> > Itself, how can it come under Ignorance? If not the Self, who or
> what
> > is the locus of Ignorance?"
> >
> As you pointed out in your previous message, Sureshvara gives a
> brilliant argument that if one looks for a locus it has to be Self
> only as there is nothing else. 

Ramana Maharshi has also clearly explained this in the very first
book he ever wrote, called "Self-enquiry" or "VichAra-sangraham". The
book is in form of questions from a disciple, and answers from the


D: If the jiva is by nature identical with the Self, what is it
that prevents the jiva from realizing its true nature?

M: It is forgetfulness of the jiva’s true nature; this is known
as the power of veiling.

D: If it is true that the jiva has forgotten itself, how does
the 'I-experience' arise for all?

M: The veil does not completely hide the jiva [*]; it only
hides the Self-nature of 'I' and projects the 'I am the body'
notion; but it does not hide the Self’s existence which is 'I',
and which is real and eternal.

[*] Footnote by editor: Ignorance cannot hide the basic 'I', but it
hides the specific truth that the jiva is the Supreme (Self) —
Kaivalya Navaneetha.

The question asked by Prabha has been dealt with by Bhagavan Himself.
Therefore, I consider the question to be valid and legitimate, and
provided the appropriate answer as given by Bhagavan.

> But the bottom line is this
> question
> can drive one nuts, sooner one abandons it better off he/she is.

It is not correct to say that a question answered by Ramana Maharshi
(as also Sureshvara as you've noted) should be "abandoned" or can
"drive one nuts". The answer given should be considered satisfactory,
and one should simply move on with one's studies.

> A simpler approach is trust in shruti.

It depends on what you mean by "trust".

Typically, you've claimed that "faith" is an important part of
VedAnta. "Faith" is an English word that roughly means "belief
without proof", that I feel has no connection to VedAnta. So I must
tell you this:




There is a GULF of a difference between saying that one has faith in
something and one KNOWS something. The former is the
Western/Christian way, the latter is the VedAntic way.

Here's Subhanu Saxena's take on "faith" that you had previously
forwarded to the list:


"The form of faith recommended by Shastra is not blind, but leads to
a truth (which is the anubhava of point 1 above)

The very word SraddhA, which is poorly translated as faith, can be
constructed from 'srat dadhAti', or 'that faith which leads to truth
or reality'. Faith in the Western context is a faith in something
that will happen after we are gone that must be followed without
question. I hate translating SraddhA as faith. I always just use the
Sanskrit word.  The simple analogy here is that SraddhA is the same
SraddhA we have in, say, a physics teacher.  When he /she explains
how an electric motor works, we don't accept it blindly and move on
(accept for f grade students!), we go out and perform the experiment
and have an experience of what it is.  We have faith that the
teaching will lead to some practical truth that we can experience,
that is all."

> shruti states that ultimate
> reality is non-dual brahman, but on a practical level we see
> duality
> which is caused by so called avidya/mAyA.  shruti also affirms
> there
> is a way out of it.  When try to explain and understand how this
> non-dual brahman became all this dual stuff, we seem to get stuck.
> If
> this non-dual brahman is beyond the grasp of one's mind, why should
> we
> assume that somehow we will grasp how "that" became "this"?

Whoever said one is trying to "grasp" HOW "that" became "this"? A
question was raised in the list as an ***OBJECTION*** to the effect
that "that" CANNOT "become this". Hence, the objection was replied to
from Bhagavan's teachings.

Example: I don't know how exactly milk becomes curd, but if someone
says that milk CANNOT become curd, I can provide him with
experimental proof as to why s/he is wrong.

> The
> explanation that ties the ultimate non-duality to perceived duality
> too is beyond the grasp of mind. Ultimately we progress only by
> shraddha and it better not to get trapped in this.

Ramana Maharshi, the Kaivalya Navaneetha, Sureshvara, and several
Sringeri Acharyas have answered questions very much like what Prabha
had asked. Can we say that they were trying to "trap" us?


> shraddhaavan
> labhate jnAnam.
> Ravi
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