Agony of the soul (?) etc

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Jan 8 22:14:37 CST 1997

> From: Swami Vishvarupananda <omkar at GIASDL01.VSNL.NET.IN>
> To: Multiple recipients of list ADVAITA-L <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Agony of the soul (?) etc
> Date: Wednesday, January 08, 1997 2:52 AM
> In that the material sciences are outer formulae which can be grasped by
> any intelligent mind with enough of brain cell gymnastics. Its
> understanding has to be merely intellectual. Vedanta on the other hand,
> it is not to be a futile exercise in self-deception, has to be entered by
> meditation, experienced within and finally one has to merge in it
> _become_ Brahman.

What is the nature of meditation?  You say it involves something more than
intellect.  On what basis do you make that claim?  I think it is pretty
obvious Shankaracharya does not regard yogic insight as a valid pramana.
He prescribes the understanding of vakyas such as tattvamasi and reflection
upon them.  This reflection is what is meant by meditation and I don't see
why anything more than ordinary intellect is needed to practice it.

> A study of the scriptures in the way chemistry and
> physics are studied is useful only if it leads to an inner contemplation
> that is very different from contemplation on chemistry and physics. No
> chemist or physicist I know of -- not even Einstein or Hawking --
> physics by his studies. :-)
> The study of physics and chemistry is concluded by a doctorate. Well,
> there are doctorates in scriptural studies too, but they don't certify
> anyone's true study of Reality. To know that Reality is to BE that

One minor point.  In most disciplines, a doctorate is the beginning of
serious research.  Still your point is taken.  The inner contemplation you
mention is not something that is immediately achievable and even when
acheived is not always sustainable.  The benefit of the study of shastras
is the strengthening and purification of the mind without which the
discipline of contemplation is impossible.  This too is not different from
any other discipline.  The Physicist or chemist who does not open a book
after research will lose his skills and knowledge over time or find they
have become obsolete.

> As far as Buddhism is concerned I would like to add here, that there are
> various schools of Buddhism, and nihilism is not an element in all of
> Mahayana Buddhism for e.g. is very much opposed to it and warns of
> prey to the shunya heaven of the nihilists". The Void is not defined as
> nothingness here.

Nevertheless even Mahayana espouses momentariness.  And as far as Advaita
is concerned, what is impermanant is illusionary.  If the Mahayanists are
saying all is impermanent, they are saying all is illusion and that is

> I mention this just to say, that generalizations are very dangerous, and
> that to judge a philosophy just on the basis of some scholar's
> of that school, without our personal study, is at the least very

I freely concede to being one-sided.  There is so much to learn in Vedanta
without wasting time with superfluous distractions.  The only aspects of
these other philosophies that interest me are the ones that impact on my
own studies.  Still if you have some new insight I'd be happy to hear (and
evaluate) it.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list