[Advaita-l] Advaitic experience

Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Sat Aug 9 13:22:09 CDT 2014

On Tue, 5 Aug 2014, D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ via Advaita-l wrote:

> I think that we should not think that hindus or hinduism have a copyright
> On advaita
> experience.

You are not framing the problem properly which is leading you to erroneous 
conclusions.  First ask yourself; what is Hinduism?  what is "advaita 

> There has been an article in Newyork Times "What would Krishna Do? Or
> Shiva? Or Vishnu?" yestere day in the Opinion section. One of the reader
> has described his experience thus.
> gem PA 16 hours ago 
> <http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/what-would-krishna-do-or-shiva-or-vishnu/#permid=12463427:12464277>
> *From a religious experience I had following 3 years in a concentration
> camp I came away with the understanding we all, each one of us, was part of
> All and All was love. There is no separation between me and you and us and
> the flames of stars. We are All. Then from that I understood, if I hurt
> you, I hurt me as we are part of each other. I understood this into and
> from the core of my being. Surely we All understand this? It seems we
> mostly do not or we would cherish one another.*

Interestingly I was just reading about a psychological study wherein some 
10% of atheists reported having a "religious" experience including 
feelings of oneness and bliss.  If you accept the dogma that "All is 
pervaded by Brahman." then why would that be surprising?  Even rocks, and 
plants and animals have "advaita experiences" but because they do not have 
chetana and viveka it is meaningless for them.  Similarly, I noticed that 
while some participants in that study reevaluated their beliefs after 
their experience, others were insistent that it did not change their 
worldview at all.  Then what good is an "advaita experience."?  There have 
been mystics in other religions too.  But when a loyal follower of the 
Abrahamic God reads in the bible "You cannot see My face, for no man can 
see Me and live!" (Exodus 10:33) they will not have the conceptual 
framework to understand their experiences in an advaitic way.  (The same, 
btw, applies to "Hindu" theists.)

> This shows that advaitic experience is not confined to only hindus. People
> other than hindus can have it. More important coclusion is Hindu
> ritualistic practice is not a prerequisite for advaitic experience.

"advaita experience" is not enough because experiences can be fleeting. 
This is the Vedantic argument against e.g. yoga whose goal is samadhi. 
When samadhi or "advaita experience" or whatever you want to call it is 
stable and continuous then and only then is it jnana.  Only this jnana 
leads to moksha which is the goal of Advaitins.  This is where the 
ritualistic practice (karma and upasana) come in.  In a narrow sense you 
are correct that they are not prerequisites.  But as a practical matter it 
is through karma and upasana one develops the competency to make ones 
"experiences" into jnana.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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