Philosophical Views and Certain Knowledge

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon May 3 10:52:44 CDT 1999

On Wed, 21 Apr 1999, Parisi & Watson wrote:

> How does the assurance develop?

I was having a devil of a time configuring the listserv software.  I
followed all the instructions to the letter yet still it would
mysteriously segfault on startup.  stack traces, questions to tech
support, perusal of many web pages, nothing proved fruitful.  As the day
we had appointed to announce the move drew to a close with no results, I
grew so frustrated I was ready to apologzie to Ravi and admit defeat.
Instead I decided to stop there, and try again some other time.  The next
day, out of the blue when I was doing something completely unrelated to
computers, it struck me what the problem was.  I leapt to the computer and
sure enough, I was able to make things work.

Now, how do I account for this flash of inspiration?  It cannot have come
completely out of the blue.  It must have been due to my extensive
knowledge of the Unix, programming etc.  However when I was forcefully
trying to apply that knowledge, nothing happened.

I believe that is how faith works. By diligently practicing the tenets of
the shastras which are appropriate for us, we can set up the conditions
where an encounter with the divine is possible.  Not guaranteed but
possible.  Remember as far as Advaita Vedanta is concerned even God and
the Vedas are ultimately mithya. Yet they are the instrumental cause of
moksha even though they cannot guarantee it.

>If we take as a given that realization
> may not come in this lifetime, then how is assurance developed short of
> that?

As other posts have said, why treat it as a given?  Even if it is? :-)

> This may seem like a pointless academic question, but to me it's
> vital. I'm awash in philosophical doubts and questions as always, and
> I'm having problems understanding how I can suspend judgment and proceed
> on faith for, in all probability, the entire remainder of my life. So if
> there are some grounds for assurance prior to full realization, but
> consisting of more than just being convinced by intellectual arguments,
> then I would very much like to know what they are.

I don't think you should suspend your judgement but rather refine it even
further.  You say you feel some inclination towards Vedanta.  The more you
study the doctrines (not to mention the historical, sociological etc.
aspects) of Advaita Vedanta, the more information you will have to
determine whether these inclinatations are on the money
 or not.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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