[Advaita-l] Advaita and modern science

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Jun 23 23:43:35 CDT 2011

Unfortunately I've been too busy to participate much of late and I have 
many posts to respond to but I'm taking the time to respond to this one as 
it has been a long time since we've seen such errant nonsense on 

First of all, lets understand what is really going on here.  Underneath 
all the verbiage, Shri Moharirs complaint boils down to the old and tired 
canard of the Hindu right wing that blames Hinduisms or Indias problems 
(real or imagined) on "other-worldliness."  If only we would stop gazing 
at our navels, we could be flying in rocket cars by now!

On Thu, 23 Jun 2011, Dr. Yadu Moharir wrote:

> IMO - The real problem with "Vedaanti" is that they keep on using 
> "brahman" concept that is anirvacaniiya and completely rely on 
> "anumaana" rather than "pratyaksha".  My concern is with vedaanti having 
> no desire to practice the knowledge (pratyaksha), even if one accepts 
> that they are realized.

I will proudly proclaim that Vedanta is "useless."  The knowledge 
which it provides, the knowledge that an advaitin is asked to practice is 
that this entire construct of notions built around the idea of "use" is 
bogus.  No matter how much you try and chase them, these ideas do not 
fulfill.  Only a true understanding of the truth beyond the illusion leads 
to complete freedom from suffering.

Pratyaksha is perception not practice.  Anumana is logical inference not 
theory.  Brahman is called anirvachaniya as it is beyond the grasp of both 
(and other pramanas)

>  What is the use oif that knowledge for the 
> individual or for the society he/she lives in?

None, a little or a lot.  How could a scientist hope to get an answer to 
such a vague and ill-defined question?

Take the canonical example of a "useful" person.  Arjuna is certainly not 
told by Bhagavan to be "otherworldly"  but were his actions "useful" for 
the society he lived in.  You could certainly make a case that they were 
not as the battle of Kurukshetra led to the almost complete destruction of 
his family and the deaths of millions of others.  Yet he had faith in the 
guidance of Bhagavan that it was actually the right thing to do.  No 
amount of pratyaksha or anumana can give a definitive answer to this 

> It is easy to talk about brahman because one can easily put-down the 
> other as being the dunse, who does not understand.

I won't comment on whether or not you are a dunce but you definitely 
misunderstand what Advaita Vedanta is try to tell you.  Or you find that 
message to be unpalatable.  That's ok, Vedanta is not looking for 
converts.  But I'm afraid it is going to continue to look down on the 

> I am not aware of any living "videhamukta" individual who practices
> advaita, including the any of the living Shnakaraachary's of any Matha?

Thank God!  What you are suggesting is the opposite of advaitic practice.

> Let us take the practical example from vedic literature about "malaria" 
> (known as takman).

First of all I should note that this and a lot of the other "Vedic 
interpretations" are very contentious and based on dubious evidence.  But 
let us assume that this is a sukta that deals with malaria.  (You didn't 
say which one but I'm assuming you meant Atharvaveda 5.22)  Why are you 
assuming without any evidence that 1.  This sukta deals with malaria (not 
just fever in general, 2. It is actual physical fever that is meant, 3. 
recital of the sukta was the sum total of therapy for fever?


> It is the scientist who
> recognized that Chinsona bark contains Quinine.

Actually other suktas in the atharvaveda related to takman do mention 
medicinal plants.  If we are just going to be making wild guesses anyway, 
why is it not plausible to assume that Rshis knew about medicines with 
fever reducing properties?

> which literally means avoiding the misery that has not yet manifested. 
> Is that not what Acharya also advocates to become ONE with the outside
> knowledge. yaH saakshata kurute porabodha samaye svaatmaana mevo dvayam ?

No what he is saying is that special knowledge of Brahmans equivalency to 
ones own atma should not be construed as deny that Brahman is also present 
everywhere else.

> All problems exists because of our ignorance, only if they are 
> acknowledged and possible solution implemented toward making life little 
> bit more bearable !?  Knowledge needs to advance for the continuous 
> perpetual refinement. vij~naanam yaj~nam tnute karmaaNi tan'ute pi ca || 
> taittariiya ||

The vakya you quote has nothing to do advancement or refinement of 
knowledge it merely states that karma cannot be done properly without 
understanding it first.  The understanding of right action comes from 
shruti, smrti, and shistachara not science.

> My question is whether Vedanta helped our country in any shape or manner
> except for gloating with ahaMkaara that I have understood Vedaanta !? 

Our country?  You mean the USA? (where I live, vote, and pay taxes.)  Or 
perhaps you meant the Chola empire (where Shankaracharya probably lived.) 
Or perhaps you meant Vijayanagara which despite being founded with the 
help of an otherworldly Advaitin held off the Muslim advance into South 
India and attracted the envy of European travellers for its wealth.

On Thu, 23 Jun 2011, Dr. Yadu Moharir wrote:

> This "sanyaasa" model is probably the root cause of total "satyaanaasa"
> , as Indians gave-up their identity.  and at the same time elevated
> British to the level of Gods.  Lord Mackule, Lord Curzon, Lord
> Mpountbatten .... etc. and refer to vedick divinities as "Lord" as well 
> (Lord ViShNu", Lord shiiva .... etc).

The colonialists are gone and the sannyasis remain.  It is only the 
Hindutva brigade that obsesses about dead Englishmen, most Indians, most 
people everywhere really couldn't care less.  Perhaps you should meet some 
of todays English people instead?  They are quite nice.

> The point I am trying to make is that Veda has some observational
> knowledge that is applicable to the present.  Our sages made lot of
> effort preserve the text through oral traditions (ghana paaTha,
> jaTaapaaTha, pdapaaTha, rathapaaTha, rekhipaaTha ... etc) but there is
> not effort to understand what they may have done so and what was that
> knowledge can come of it be useful to make our lives better?

The Vedas have been preserved and formed the basis of the lives of 
millions of people for thousands of years.  How many medical textbooks do 
you have which are even 20 years old?  The Vedas remain because they 
already contain the knowledge that can make our lives better.

> If you say the vedanta is not science then please read Dr. Sadananda's post

Yes please read it carefully.  He is not talking about malaria remedies.

On Thu, 23 Jun 2011, Dr. Yadu Moharir wrote:

> Why traditionalists fear science per say has always puzzled me.  Only
> think I have been able to asses is that most of them have not studied
> science and thus refuse to accept in the fear that their view point may
> get shaken.

Uh which traditionalists fear science?  You are attacking a straw man 
here.  For the record, I like science.  I make my living with it.  It has 
nothing to do with Vedanta.

As for the rest of your post all I can say is that if leaps of logic were 
an Olympic sport, you'd be a gold medalist.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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