Agony of the soul (?) etc

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sun Jan 12 14:33:00 CST 1997

On Sat, 11 Jan 1997, Swami Vishvarupananda wrote:

> What I meant to say is, there are certain experiences you cannot gain by
> reading and thinking about them,

We are not talking about the experience but the description of the
experience.  If it isn't possible to describe what meditaion is we will
never know with certainty whether we are experiencing it or not.

> You have experienced it and it happens to be a universal experience. But
> in case there was some being who does not know sleep, could he take your
> word for it and know whether you were not just drunk? He has to experience
> it himself to know what it is.

Right, so experience is sufficient in the case of sleep because sleep is
universal.  If it weren't than experience would be not be adequate proof.
Meditation is not a universal experience so additional proof is needed.

> Meditation may be described as a state of concentration, or better
> one-pointedness, that with growing depth grows in
> calmness of the brain.  The crisscrossing thoughts are calmed down, as in
> intellectual concentration, but meditation goes further in that it does not
> remain  an intellectual dwelling on a subject but becomes a silent
> observation,  which,
> with enough practise, results in what we call samadhi, a state where
> brain-activity comes to a rest, but consciousness is not lost. On the
> contrary, it is freed from the limitations of mediate experience and
> released
> into immediate perception of what has been its object of meditation, but
> which now is one with the subject: The Subject, the object and meditation
> grow one.

Aha! so meditaion can be described.  This was the entire point of
contention.  I should point out I didn't require anything beyond my
intellect to understand your definition.  I certainly didn't require any


> As you can see from the above, I don't think Brahman is ungraspable either.
> I only deny that the _intellect_ can grasp it.

Remember Vedanta following Purva Mimamsa also accepts abhava or negative
inference as a pramana.  We can understand Brahman by understanding all
the things which are not Brahman.  This enables us to make statements
about Brahman (that it is Satya etc.)

> object and experience, which is possible only by a contemplation that goes
> beyond the limits of intellect. Of course initial contemplation by the
> intellect is a great help to enter such a state, but can you tell me, where
> the scriptures say, it cannot be entered by contemplation through e.g.
> bhakti?

Bhakti involves attachment to the saguna Brahman and throughout his works
Shankaracharya teaches that this is ultimately illusionary too.

> One thing more. You lay great importance on emphasizing, that nobody's word
> can be taken for anything, nor an inner experience that cannot be tangibly
> proved to everyone as genuine (which is impossible).


>I wonder what has led
> you to the unshakable conviction that the Vedas, Shrutis and Shastras, etc.
> are to be taken for their word? Seeing your all exclusive need for a
> concrete proof I sometimes wonder, what makes you so sure. These scriptures
> have been handed down to us over the centuries and it is believed they were
> given on orally through many generations before they were written down. So
> we do not have a proof -- the kind you demand -- that they have ever been
> genuine, or if they were, that they have not been meddled with several
> times over. Moreover these texts are not written in terms that are immune
> to misinterpretation, as is clearly seen from the contradictions between
> several great thinkers and scholars.

The shastras are valid because they are based on the Vedas.  Indeed the
measure of a shastra is the degree to which it is in concordance with the
Vedas.  So the question is reduced to what makes the Vedas valid?  This is
a topic which the Purva Mimamsakas have considered at length (in a
rational manner I might add.) They base the validity of the Vedas on it
being nitya (eternal, unchanging) and apaurusheya (unauthored by any being
mortal or divine.)

The very multiplicity of interpretations you note proves that the Vedas
have not been tampered with.  Given the raging controversy between the
various darshans, wouldn't it have been tempting to just excise any parts
which didn't agree with the trend of the day?  There is no evidence anyone
ever did this because loyalty to the Vedas outweighs loyalty to any
ideology.   The Vedas aren't important because they teach Advaita.
Advaita is important because it is taught by the Vedas.

> To me things work just in the opposite way. It is the practical life and
> the radiance, the divinity of a living realized soul, the impact of even a
> small saint,

You are entitled to your view, you are not entitled to call it Vedanta.

> Therefore I am really curious what, that could satisfy your demands, has
> convinced you of their truth? If it is logic, then how can you know whether
> tomorrow that logic may not proof false?

I demand the same proof as for any other subject in the world.  Logic is
a reliable means for determining the truth.  I don't believe you or anyone
else actually believes for a minute that logic will prove false overnight.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
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