Divine Contemplation

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Mar 12 08:51:00 CST 1998

On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> 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!).

Not true.  There are various controversies over the interpretation of the
constitution but the statement "U.S. laws are based upon the constitution"
is nevertheless true.  The various schools of Vedanta have many
differences but they can agree on a lot of things too.

> 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

That's because it is!

> 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?

Do we "understand" why the interior angles of a triangle add up to 180
degrees?  It is actually a matter of convention and logically consistent
non-Euclidean geometries are possible.  Does this make everyday geometry

The Vedas only claim to deal with two subjects.  Dharma in the
case of the Karmakanda, and Brahman in the case of the Jnanakanda.  These
are not subjects which can be learnt from any other source.  The words of
Shruti are the "first principles" from which Purva and Uttara Mimamsakas
derive the rest of their philosophy.  For Samkhya-Yoga on the other hand
true knowledge can be gained through Yogic insight and the Vedas are only
important because they are the record of great yogis.  They avoid the
problem of faith in Shruti but they have a new problem:  Why should anyone
believe a Yogi?  So it boils down to whether you have faith in words or
people.  It's still "irrational" faith.

> 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?

What if you tried to learn geometry by swallowing a textbook?  That would
be counter-productive too I think :-)  It wouldn't affect the validity of
geometry any though.  In the same way the Vedas cannot be blamed for their

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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