Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 16 14:01:32 CST 2000

On Tue, 15 Feb 2000 18:44:19 -0600, Ravi <msr at COMCO.COM> wrote:

>The silver-nacre example leads to prove that the world is real. I
>am able to appreciate the point of view of nyayika-s (post
>8).  In that example, both silver and nacre are real by
>themselves. The problem is of mis-perception or
>mis-conception.  Post 8 says that this example should not be
>extended to world-brahman. Even if it has to be argued at each
>entity level in the world, ultimately, one will have wrong
>relation formed between two relata-s (A and B). Like A is silver
>and B nacre, or A snake and B rope. This argument will end up
>proving only world is indeed real. Of course, one can cleverly
>define mithyatva, but does that solve the fundamental
>problem? Can you explain? It is like saying world is mithya
>according to my definition of mithyatva.
>I have a more fundamental question. Is world mithya is a matter
>of faith or logic. If is purely a rational thing, I donot think
>nyayika-s or dvaitins are so intellectually challenged not to
>appreciate it.

 The very basic tenets of advaita are nicely captured in this verse
 from the VedAnta-DiNDima:

  brahma satyaM jaganmithyA jIvo brahmaiva nAparaH |
  jIvanmuktastu tadvidvAn.h iti vedAnta-DiNDimaH   ||

 Brahman is real, the world is unreal, and the jIva is Brahman alone,
 not anything else. And one who knows this is a jIvanmukta (liberated
 while living).
 **This is the proclamation (literally drum-beat) of VedAnta.**

 The words "iti vedAnta-DiNDImaH", the proclamation of VedAnta, are
 very important here. Whatever tenet of advaita there is, it *has* to
 follow from VedAnta.

 Accepting the Brahman as satya and the world as mithyA are NEITHER
 based on logic alone NOR on faith alone. They are proclaimed loudly
 by numerous shruti texts. Now, when we accept shruti texts coming
 from a Guru, there is a certain amount of faith involved. But it is
 not just faith alone. We have to convince ourselves that what we are
 accepting on faith is NOT illogical or absurd. There is thus a need
 for some inquiry into what we accept on faith. At the same time,
 we have to be careful not to carry logic too far so that it
 challenges the validity of shruti. This would be resorting to "kutarka"
 or bad logic. And the reason why logic has to yield to shruti is
 because in matters concerning Brahman (and dharma as well) the shruti
 is the highest authority. So using logic so that we arrive at conclusions
 in accordance with shruti is to be encouraged while using logic to arrive
 at conclusions opposed to shruti is a waste of time, at best.

>I do believe that world is not what we think it is. Everything is
>permeated with God. It is God alone. Of course this is faith. I
>understand/justify my misperception of the world like this.
>Take a solid steel plate. At the level of our eye resolution and
>our scale it is a solid chunk. We make structures out of it. But
>if I become a being of the size of say electron, then to me it
>will be 80% or more empty space. As every atom but for the
>concentrated nucleus is just an empty space. May be if I look at
>it as a field, it may be a type of energy field. So depending on
>the scale and level of resolution, I see different things. Like
>wise, an ignorant being like Ravi sees the world at level where
>every thing is solid and real and Ravi does not see it as
>brahman. OTOH a jnAni like Ramana sees it as brahman only. Again
>it is ravi's perception or understanding of Ramana's perception.
>What is mithya here? At every level, what one sees is
>real. Except at the level of jnani, were he resolves the whole
>stuff and sees it as brahman.

 As per shruti texts such as "neha nAnAsti kiJNchana", any manifold-
 ness or variety is being denied reality. And this manifold-ness is
 exactly mithyA. No amount of logic can negate what the shruti says
 just as even a hundred shruti statements cannot make a fire cold.
 Each pramANa, be it inference, perception, or shruti, has its own
 sphere where it dominates over other pramANas. Just as no amount
 of logical inference can make us accept fire as being cold, and we
 accept perception in this case, we have to accept the shruti when
 it denies reality to manifoldness.

>Depending on what we assume, we can prove or disprove
>something. Having undergone tortorous proofs in functional
>analysis and differential geometry, I will safely say, one can
>easily make a circular argument. That is assume something, and
>after hunder steps prove the same thing in disguise.
>I am sorry if I have offended the sentiments of some. At this
>level, I see that  brahma satyam and jagan mithya as an element
>of faith.

 It could be taken as based on faith but that is not where the shruti
 wants us to stop. We should make sure what we accept from the shruti
 is inquired into and contemplated upon. After all, the upanishhad says:
 "AtmA vA are drashhTavyaH shrotavyo mantavyo nididhyAsitavyo" and
"Atmano vA are darshanena shravaNena matyA viGYAnenedaM sarvaM viditam.h"


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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>From  Wed Feb 16 16:28:34 2000
Message-Id: <WED.16.FEB.2000.162834.0600.>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 16:28:34 -0600
Reply-To: miinalochanii at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: Ravi Mayavaram <miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM>
Subject: [Fwd: tarka, faith etc]
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subhanu saxena wrote:

> I came across a thread of discussion on the list archives regarding tarka vs
> faith, role of tarka during manana etc, and thought the following
> clarifications would be helpful:
> 1) Advaita according to Shankara is based on experience, not faith or logic
> Shankara tells us in no uncertain terms that the culimnation is experience
> here and now, without the need for faith in something in the hereafter:
> AnubhavArUDham to gyAnaphalam; ?yat sAXAdaparoXAd brahma vA ? (Br 3-4-1) iti
> Sruteh, ?tattwamasi? (Ch 6-8-7) iti siddhavadupadeshAt.  Na hi ?tattwamasi?
> ityasya vAkyasya arthah ?tat twam mrto bhaviSyasi? ityevam pariNetum sakyah.
> The fruit of vedantic knoweldge is directly experienced. For , the Sruti
> text says ?that  (is) the immediately perceptible brahman? and ?that thou
> art?, taught as  an ever-existing fact.  It is not possible to construe the
> sentence ?that thou art? to mean ?thou shalt become after death?
> SB 3-3-32
> This last sentence is worth reflecting on time and again
> And:
> AnubhavAvasAnatwAt bhUtavastuviSayatwAt cha brahmagyAnasya
> The knowledge of brahman culminates in experience relating to an ever
> existing entity
> SB 1-2-2
> We also have the famous ?ayamAtmA brahma sarvAnubhuh ityanushAsanam?, or
> ?this atman is brahman, the universal experience of all? (Br U 2-5-19)
> 2) Therefore, the role of tarka or logic has a precisely defined field of
> operation
> Tarka never ever means dry logic in Shankara?s system.  He time and again
> asserts that dry logic alone is the the realm of the speculators which can
> give rise to as many points of view as there are speculators:
> Evam bahavo vipratipannA yuktivAkyatadAbhAsasamAshrayAh santah.
> TatrAvichArya yatkinchit pratipadyamAno nihshreyasAt pratihanyeta anartham
> cha IyAt.
> Thus there are many speculators who differ from one and other on this
> subject, some of them depending upon sound arguments and genuine texts, and
> some on those of seeming validity. One who accepts any of these arguments
> without careful consideration is not only prevented forom attaining the
> highest good, but even run the risk of becoming prey to evil consequences
> Quite a warning there from bhagavAn bhASyakArah.  So, if Shankara has no
> truck for dry logic, what form of tarka does he endorse? Witness the
> following:
> Yadapi shravaNavyatirekeNa mananam vidadhat shabda eva tarkamapyAdartavyam
> darshatIti ayuktam.. nAnena miSeNa sushkatarkasya atra AtmalAbhah
> sambhavati. SrutyanugrhIta eva hi atra tarkah anubhavAngatwena AshrIyate
> As for the other argument that the Sruti itself enjoining reflection in
> addition to hearing or study of Sruti shows that reason also is to be
> respected we reply that this is not the case: Dry reasoning can find no
> admittance here on the strength of this plea for attaining atman.  For
> reason in consonance with Sruti, and AS REFLECTED IN EXPERIENCE is what is
> meant here.
> SB 2-1-6
> (here reference is made to the famous AtmA vA are draStvyah?. From Br Up.
> Elsewhere, Shankara tells us that this is not really an injunction, but a
> ?pay attention? wake up call to divert the mind inwards)
> So dry reasoning is out, only reasoning that is confirmed by sArvatrika
> anubhava, or our universal experience is to be admitted. No other form of
> logic is admitted here. Shankara confirms this in S B 2-1-10 where he points
> out that a surmise cannot be checked against anything.  We all remember the
> Upanishad ?naiSa tarkeNa matirApaneyA?
> As an aside, some commentators post shankara have not paid close heed to the
> above warning, and have let nyAya overpower all else. They may have taken
> too literally the statement in the panchapAdikA, where the possibility (not
> supported by Shankara) is raised that, on the rise of knowledge, a doubt may
> arise, so tarka may be required to convince the seeker:
> SamyaggyAnam  api swaviSaye apratiSThitam anavAptam iva bhavati. Tena tat
> swarUpapratiSThAyai tarkam sahAyIkaroti (panchapAdikA)
> (Note Shankara is very clear on this in many places:When brahmavidyA arises,
> there is no doubt, no need for further logic, no going back)
> Training in nyAya has its place in our sampradAya, but not at the exclusion
> of the practical path to realisation.
> We have a good modern day analogy here of the validity and sphere of logic.
> The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell and his friend the mathematician
> Whitehead were convinced they could deduce all of mathematics from pure
> logic.  They set about writing the magnum opus Principia Mathematica. It
> took them 42 pages to get to the point they could prove 1+1=2.
> Unfortunately, they were stopped in their tracks by Godel?s incompleteness
> theorem that , in simple terms, states that, in any axiomatic system of
> mathematics, you can always construct a proposition that cannot be proved or
> disproved by that self same system. Logic has its limits. This applies to
> maths and to brahmavidyA
> 3) The form of faith recommended by Shastra is not blind, but leads to a
> truth (which is the anubhava of point 1 above)
> The very word SraddhA, which is poorly translated as faith, can be
> constructed from ?srat dadhAti?, or ?that faith which leads to truth or
> reality?. Faith in the Western context is a faith in something that will
> happen after we are gone that must be followed without question. I hate
> translating SraddhA as faith. I always just use the Sanskrit word.  The
> simple analogy here is that SraddhA is the same SraddhA we have in, say, a
> physics teacher.  When he /she explains how an electric motor works, we
> don?t accept it blindly and move on (accept for f grade students!), we go
> out and perform the experiment and have an experience of what it is.  We
> have faith that the teaching will lead to some practical truth that we can
> experience, that is all.
> It can unfortunately be frustrating for earnest seekers to discuss the above
> through remote email posts, as it can smack of the same dry logic chopping.
> It is impossible to answer questions such as ?what does logic in accordance
> with experience mean? except through one?s experience!  All I would
> recommend is  that fellow seekers (also with the guidance of a competent
> Guru where possible) use this and other posts to help turn the mind inwards
> and be lead by one?s Inner Experiencer which, when shorn of external
> attributes and the distinctions of pramANa-prameya will allow the truth to
> reveal itself through experience not words.
> Hopefully the above clarifies some points.  Many of the members of the list
> (including Anand Hudli, who has been posting an excellent series on advaita
> siddhi, and others) are already well versed in the above. For the others I
> hope it helps
> Regards
> Subhanu
> Tamevam vidvAn amrita iha bhavati
> ______________________________________________________
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