If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall
msuresh at INDIA.TI.COM
Thu Jan 9 02:33:10 CST 1997
On Wed, 8 Jan 1997, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> > From: M Suresh <msuresh at INDIA.TI.COM>
> > You have mentioned Vedanta in general. In advaita vedanta the
> > reality is non-dual i.e it cannot be known or experienced. One can only
> > be that.
> > Such a reality may well be called non-existence since when a reality is
> > spoken of it is spoken of in the sense that it can be known or
> > But the Brahman (=atman) of advaita is beyond all knowledge and
> > and may well be considered to be non-existent.
> Of course Brahman can be known and experienced. Even in Advaita. It is
> known through the Vedas which assign it qualities such as satya. It is
> experienced in the state of Samadhi. You seem to think that any kind of
> description is evidence of duality. If that were so then you would be
> correct that Brahman is unknowable and thus for practical purposes
> non-existent. However one can affirm the astitva of brahman for instance
> without causing any duality. Phrases of Shruti though ultimately
> illusionary themselves can give indirect indication which point the way to
> positive descriptions of Brahman. This also does not involve any kind of
As I said earlier ( also in my response to Anand Hudli on the same
subject) Brahman is beyond knowledge, experience and description.
So it can be considered non-existent.
I believe all descriptions of Brahman would really only apply to
Ishwara who falls in the realm of duality.
Thus if Ishwara were considered to be a Vyaavahaarika Sathya then
possibly the word Brahman may be a better description of the
ultimate truth rather than emptiness. But still both point to the
same truth which transcends all duality.
I do not think I will have anything more to add on the equivalence
of Buddhist emptiness and advaitic Brahman.
> > However I am not sure if Shankaracharya considered shastras to be the
> > valid means of knowledge. I remember someone ( Ramakrishnan most likely
> > think ) said that Shankaracharya considered that though advaita is what
> > that is taught in the shruti it could be arrived at independently by
> > alone.
> I should clarify that the shastras are the only valid means of knowledge of
> Brahman not knowledge in general. I'm in favor of giving a prominent place
> to the pramana of Inference but the presence of Brahman cannot be inferred
> independently as it is not not something that can be apprehended by the
In that case the realization of Brahman by persons like Ramakrishna
Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharishi, Mirabai etc., will have to be denied.
Also access to Brahma vidya will have to be restricted to persons of
a geographical region. Persons like Jesus christ will be out.
Also Brahma vidya would have been unknown in the pre-vedic era if
the eternity of vedas is not admitted.
Therefore IMHO while the study and knowledge of shastras is very
important for realization of Brahman because they echo the ultimate
truth of Brahman the best, so are practical methods like devotion,
meditation and contemplation. The study of shastras cannot be
considered indispensible for all persons because the truth though
beyond the senses and the mind is within oneself and what one
eternally is. Therefore no external aid should be considered
> > Yes it depends on what level you compare them. Both belong to the
> > kingdom for example, hence both are identical.
> Equivalence of a part does not mean equivalence of the whole. This is
> basic logic.
I was not talking about the equivalence of the whole of Buddhism and
advaita. I was only saying that the highest teachings of buddhism
and advaita, namely emptiness and Brahman are equivalent.
> Jaldhar H. Vyas
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