If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall

M Suresh 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
> unchanging
> >   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
> experienced.
> >
> >   But the Brahman (=atman) of advaita is beyond all knowledge and
> experience
> >   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
> bheda.

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
> only
> >   valid means of knowledge. I remember someone ( Ramakrishnan most likely
> I
> >   think ) said that Shankaracharya considered that though advaita is what
> >   that is taught in the shruti it could be arrived at independently by
> logic
> >   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
> senses.

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
> Animal
> >   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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