Philsophical Views and Certain Knowledge

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon May 3 10:54:32 CDT 1999

On Wed, 28 Apr 1999, Parisi & Watson wrote:

> You have just outlined what bothers me. In fact I can draw conclusions
> about myself and my attributes (or lack of them) that are mistaken. I
> can have an experience that I describe as feeling one with an infinite
> ocean of bliss, and yet still not be infinite. I am inevitably the best
> expert on what my experience felt like, but that does not necessarily
> qualify me to interpret it or describe its significance.

That's why Advaita Vedanta also places importance on the Guru and
parampara.  Not only your interpretations but the interpretations of those
who have gone before you are also available to you in order to make sense
of your experiences.

>I can
> potentially have a near death experience and believe that it informs me
> about life after death, but this interpretation can also be mistaken.
> Mystics down through the ages have had remarkably similar and ineffable
> experiences, which they have done their best to describe to us. But does
> this fact necessarily mean that their philosophical or religious
> understanding of those experiences is correct? Could the experiences
> perhaps have a mundane neurological explanation? If we can't rule out
> this possibility, then drawing conclusions about the ultimate nature of
> ourselves and reality seems premature.

I'm 100% sure they did have neurological explanations.  It's interesting
that you consider neurological explanations 'mundane'.  'mundane',
'religious', 'philosophical', how is a conglomeration of carbon, hydrogen,
and oxygen atoms with trace impurities (To use the mundane biochemical
explanation :-) able to use these terms?  Human beings are conscious, they
are self-aware, everything else proceeds from that.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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