Divine Contemplation

Chandran, Nanda (NBC) Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Mon Mar 9 11:50:49 CST 1998

Shankara in Vivekachoodamani states that moksha cannot be attained by
birth or reasoning or progeny or rituals or breathing exercises etc
(thereby refuting all the other schools), but by divine contemplation.

So what is divine contemplation?

1. With our analysis on the three states, reason shows us that there's
an entity, which is the underlying seer and with which we have little
link with and which is constantly dominated by our senses and ego and
mind. So for those who seek the Truth and desire to see Reality, this is
definitely a great lead to pursue. On this account, the scriptures aids
us in stating that we can access this entity by controlling our mind and
senses and ego. Thus meditation plays a vital role towards this end and
in the pursuit of our goal.

So far so good. We understand what we're doing and there's reason behind
our actions.

2. On the meta physical front the shruti expounds certain concepts. The
three main Vedantic schools interpret these concepts differently - I
needn't explain the Advaitic position on the unreality of the empirical
world, the underlying substratum in all things - living and matter and
the single identity of the Atman and Brahman. The VishistAdvaita school
expounds the reality of the empirical world and that both the empirical
world and the Atman are but part of Brahman. The Dvaita school takes the
dualistic stance and states that all the three entities are separate.
However sound and foolproof these theories might be, there're but
theories and not subject to reason.

The Vedantic author of the Brahma Sutras defending his schools stance
against the Samkhyas, then considered nastika, on quite a few occasions
takes refuge in the shruti against arguments backed by reason, stating
that Brahman is not subject to mere reason, as reason can be overcome by
a greater intellect and that only the shruti is the basis for all views
on the subject (It's ironical that even these theories have various
interpretations in the form of Advaita, VishistAdvaita and Dvaita!).
Though the shruti is considered infallible, the logical mind can't but
suppress the feeling that it's but an older text compared to the Vedanta
Sutras and whether the author of the Vedanta Sutras is justified in his
arguments by basing it on the shruti. For if we need faith in the
shruti, is it truly jnana yoga? Then we may as well  go all the way and
have faith in the form of Bhakthi. And what we don't truly understand,
can it really contribute to our progress?

And the question whether point 2 even fits in the category of divine
contemplation. Sure, it's a stimulating intellectual exercise, but
whether in anyway it contributes to moksha is definitely arguable. Again
what if it's counter productive?

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