Knowledge, Experience and fear
sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Mon Nov 11 14:13:47 CST 1996
>Sada returned back safely after a month long pilgrimage to India.
Nagy -Welcome back. Happy Diipaavali to you too. Sriram told me about your
trip to India. Looks like working today as a sincere Govt. worker!
>Your posting is excellent. Thank you for sharing. Now I have a qestion on
>the same subject. Please respond.
>Is your posting based on Knowledge acquired thru past and present teachers OR
>Experience (Direct Experience)
In my posting I just differentiated experience from knowledge.
Now if you what go more deeper:
Knowledge itself is of two types - pratyaksha and paroksha - direct and
indirect knowledge. What we are all doing in this advaita list is
essentially a paroksha- indirect knowledge - intellectual knowledge. You
are that consciousness - that sat chit ananda etc. - All scriptural
knowledge - Mundaka Upanishad talks about the same as apara and para- all
objective knowledge including the Vedas come under the para or indirect
knowledge - They provide the pointers - the pointers are different from the
In the seat of meditation, when the mind rejected all that that can be
seen, heard, thought off etc. ( neti - neti - neti ) that what remains is
nothing but that self in whose light even the rejection of neti neti was
taking place. The indirect knowledge acquired up to that time will be
helpful for the Bhuddhi in "a away to recognize that true experience" - "I
am" is that universal existence that I am. That the indirect knowledge
that we are gathering, that I am Brahman, etc., becomes confirmed with the
experience of that I alone which is -ekameeva advitiiyam (all alone,
non-duel) that I am. It becomes a direct realization.
Suppose you have described a strange animal that you have seen in your
recent trip to India and from your description based on your experience, I
gather indirect knowledge. If I have no more doubts left after hearing
your description, I will have clear picture of what it is, yet I have no
direct knowledge of it. When I go to the same forest and see that animal
that paroksha or indirect knowledge becomes pratyaksha direct knowledge. I
donot need you there, the information you have given me is sufficient for
me to recognize that it is the same animal that you talked about.
More direct example in advaita vedanta is " you are that 10th man - who
was missing" That 10th man exists was an indirect knowledge that is JNaanam
In fact there is intense experience of the 10th along with the notion that
the 10th man is missing. - and when you discovered that the missing 10th
man is you yourself - that became a direct knowledge - viJNaanam. You have
been experiencing your presence even when there was a notion that the 10th
man was missing. Hence experience was there but no knowledge that the
missing 10th man is nothing but you. From then on no more search for the
Hence Bhagavaan Ramana in Upadesha saara says:
bhavanaabhidaa paavanii mataa||
He says in my opinion in the intense meditation even on this indirect
knowledge of advaita ( abhidhaa bhaavana - with saH - aham iti - He is I
- is more sacred than the bhedabhaavana - He is the Lord and I am jeeva )
Stripped out of all veshas - the costumes that we are all wearing - the
pancha koshas etc. - by neti neti - what remains is the essence which is
not different from the essence of the Lord, when stripped out all
superficial costumes of the Lord, eeswaratwam etc. He is sat chit ananda
and I am sat chit ananda and there cannot be two of that type! - Soham
becomes a knowledge.
My post was based on the indirect knowledge and not direct. When I gain
that direct knowledge, you wont be there to question nor for me to tell!
So ask all the questions right now! - just kidding!
>Another thing. We all talk about MAYA so much and attribute all limitations
>Can you please define Maya and tell me briefly all about it. I imagine
>somebody coined this word to explain the non-explainable.
Maya is talked about in scriptures exhaustively. All schools of thought
consider Maya - since Bhagavan Krishna talks about it.
" diavii hyeshaa guna mayii mama maaya duratyayaa"
maamevaye prapadyante mayaa metam tarantite||
"This Maya of mine is of the divine attributes and it is difficult to cross,
By surrendering to me alone my mayaa can be crossed"
This sloka is quoted extensively by the dvaitins and particularly
vaishnavaites that only surrendering to Lord Krishna that one can cross
this Maya - otherwise it is impossible. - Krishna says so. From advaitic
point, if you identify Krishna as the total consciousness then the truth
becomes self evident.
You asked me to define maaya - Krishna himself has defined.
Mayantu prakritim viddi - know that maaya is (also called) as Prakriti.
Krishna says: mayaadhyakshena prakritiH suyate sacharaacharam|
Under my governer-ship the prakriti projects the whole universe of movable
and immovable. So maaya can be cause for the creation - a material cause.
In principle everybody is a maayavaadin - including the Hare Krishna's who
accuse the advaitins as maaya vaadins! Only difference is they consider
maaya is the power of the Lord ( locus is Iswara) while maaya is identified
with avidya in advaita.
Who or what is the locus of avidya is a very interesting and exhaustively
discussed topic with intricate logic. Bhagavaan Raamaanju in his Sri
Bhaashya discusses exhaustively the fallacy of the advaitic concept of
avidya and maaya. One should read this to know at least what are the
objections to this concept of maaya as avidyaa. There are seven major
objections he presents against advaitic interpretations. One interesting
question is who has the avidya - Jeeva or Bhagavaan - If Bhagavaan has it,
he is no more Bhagavaan! If we say Jeeva has it, then jeeva was there
before avidya to have avidya! - you are trapped!
Hence after vidya, Jeeva will still be there as Jeeva! now this jeeva is
better educated since he has not more avidya - gets trapped into dvaita
theology! You cannot say Jeeva came first then avidya -or avidya came
first then jeeva! - Problem either way.
Hence advaitins find a easy way out - it is anirvachaniiyam - maaya cannot
be described - it is anaadi - it is beginning-less. No more questions other
Shankara says about maaya in the VivEkachuuDaamaNi:
avyakta naamnii paramesha shakti
anaadyavidyaa trigunaatimikaa paraa|
kaaryaanumeyaa sudhiyaiva maayaa
yayaa jagatsarvamidam prasuuyate||
sannapyasannapi ubhayaatmakaa no
mahadbhuutaa anirvachaniiya ruupa||
It is of nature of unmanifested as the power of the Lord,
beginning-less avidya its nature is beyond the three gunaas
this maaya can be inferred only by the wise by its effects
it is by which the whole world of plurality is projected
Thus it covers what all Krishna described also:
One can not say it is there nor it is not there nor both
one cannot say it is different from Brahman nor of the same type as Brahman
one cannot say it has parts or no parts or both
wonder of wonder it is - it is of the form inexplainable.||
One can go into exhaustive details about this maya and end up no where!
because all the discussions will be taking place in maaya!. The whole
discussion becomes maaya!
It is like asking details about the snake-
But what we need to be know is that 1. It is begining-less - yet it has an
end. and if you ask more I have an easy escape -and 2. It is
Actually advaita has very sound logical reasons to say all this.
About the question of jeeva first or avidya - it is indescribable - why -
Both are mutually dependent. annyonya aashraya - mutually interdependent.
If I ask you is egg is first or chicken is first - only logical answer you
can give is it is anirvachaniiyam!
Now about the anaadi - If it begining-less how can it end! is one of the
criticisms against advaita's avidya. Actually before the dvaitins asked
Bhagavaan Shankara himself raised this question through the mouth of a
student and answered exhaustively in VivekachuuDaamani.
Logically all ignorance's are anaadi - If I ask you when did my ignorance
of Chemistry started - it is anaadi - if it has a beginning then before it
began I was knowledgeable of chemistry but that is ridiculous. Hence all
ignorances (I donot know if it is plural!) are anaadi - yet if you teach
me chemistry - my begining-less ignorance ends.
How did that sat chit ananda get deluded into jeeva notion and undergoing
suffering! - This is one of the famous question!
This is the wonder of all wonders - wonder is that which an intellect
cannot comprehend then it we say it is a wonder. - Krishna also says :
aaScharyavat kaschit pasyateena ... etc.
Next, limited intellect one cannot see the truth as the truth - one need to
transcend the intellect using the intellect like a pole Walt to go beyond
the intellect. Once crossed there is neither jeeva, nor iswara nor maaya
nor avidya - all are intellectual concepts -paraavidya - scriptures
provide logically to a logical mind but the truth is beyond the logic since
logic has its locus - human intellect!
Sorry for the lengthy reply - not intended but could not stop - acquired
Hari Om! and Greetings to every one, although the truth is no is out there!
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
What you have is His gift to you and what you do with what you have is your
gift to Him: Swami Chinmayananda
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