Reason and Experience
kviswanathan at ECCUBED.COM
Tue Apr 21 09:48:34 CDT 1998
Parisi & Watson wrote:
I have been very impressed with the high quality and helpful nature of
the responses that have been offered to my questions, but I confess to
being a little confused on one point. Almost everyone has reminded me
that an understanding of the ultimate nature of things cannot be had
from reasoning or the intellect alone, and yet I have been given a long
list of Advaita texts to read. Is there not a discrepancy here? Could I
not spend, say, the next ten years learning Sanskrit and studying
Shankara and the Upanishads, only to remain in the end as divided and
confused as I am now?
I do understand the importance of having a correct foundation from which
to proceed, and so would never question the value of learning and study
in general. But as I stated before, I have come, perhaps mistakenly, to
think of Advaita Vedanta as being at once a startlingly simple and
profoundly radical idea, which is both timeless and totally universal..
Beyond conveying the basic concept, how much can academic study really
add? And can we not, like the medieval Christian Scholastics, spend our
whole life energy on scholarship without ever reaching a truly deeper
I suppose in a sense I'm repeating the same question as before, except
from the opposite side now (which reflects my ambivalence). Earlier I
asked how the intuitive or xxperience related aspects of Vedanta could
be reconciled with intellectual doubts. Now I'm asking how the intellect
can ever take us to anything of real and lasting significance, and
whether we should spend much time on it. I don't know where the best
balance is between the two, but I do feel fairly sure that the deep
inner thirst for understanding and fulfillment can never be quenched
primarily by study and thinking, because ideas that are arrived at by
this sort of effort can and will eventually be displaced by a
continuation of the same process..
So maybe my best course for now is to stop asking questions, and focus
more on meditation. If the process of laying the groundwork doesn't stop
at some point, then it becomes just digging up the foundation and
relaying it endlessly, often with a new design. Actual practice may be
agonizingly slow and without apparent result, but if it's the only well
that potentially has water, then the most effort should probably be
You have decided to search for something very important in your life. You
are trying to solve the mystery of your birth.
One cannot simply start meditating on something - you need preparation.
Knowledge - without this you have to start from the beginning. Our
forefathers have laid a ground work for us (Vedas) to make our journey
Patience - without this you wont be able to achieve any of your goals.
Discipline - you have to discipline your body and mind through yoga.
Source for the above said is a GURU. It is always good that you have a
proper GURU so that you will be guided properly.
Anything in life however simple or hard they might appear should not be
Dont think that you dont have enough time to do all these things. Clock in
your world will stop ticking when you are prepared.
The whole world will disappear and that is the point where you start your
real journey. By sitting in one place and meditating without proper
preparation will be
of no use.
I request someone in the List to validate what I have said. I dont have
enough experience to solve such problems but I am in the same boat as
Parisi @ Watson. I thought these
are the starting points for me. Correct me if I am wrong.
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