Antiquity of Advaita Vedanta (was Re: An Open Letter to All)
S. V. Subrahmanian
svs_shankara at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 13 22:40:31 CDT 2000
> > I
> > never believed that any of the spiritual discussions can lead to a
> > conclusion. It can only give some idea and provide a background for
> > spiritual progress.
>Progress towards what? If there is no conclusion, if it just a way of
>passing the time, I'd rather watch TV instead. :-)
Please pardon me for writing a long reply ( I have to hone my skills on
precise writing, I guess ).
Every thought is an Avarana over the Truth, the substratum(call it whatever
you want) from which thoughts rise. Mind which is nothing but a bundle of
thoughts is the biggest hurdle to realization of that Truth. But it can be
used profitably to end itself. (Mana eva manushyanam kAranam bandha
mokshayoho). Mind is annihilated by either enquiry into itself or by
absolute surrender to a higher power. This is the summum bonum of
philosophy/sadhana. For this part, one need not look into scriptures or run
after temples, it can be known by one's own self.
When I said spiritual discussions cannot reach any conclusion, I meant that
as long as reasoning is active, the mind is active and as long as the
thought of whatever it might be, however sublime still belongs to the realm
of the mind and hence is not the Truth. Many spiritual masters have time
and again put down reason as an instrument to know the Truth. "yatho vAcho
nivarthante aprapya manasa saha"
By spiritual progress I mean the cessation of desires and quietening of the
mind. This is where the strong logical thought process of Advaita can be
employed profitably to convince the mind to look inward ie., into its own
source and hence end itself. Hence these discussions give the mind a valid
reason and hence the needed resolve to look inward. That's about it. You
have look inward, the discussions can only convince you to do it, but you
have to do it.
Which is the reason why I said that there cannot be a conclusion (in the
sense of finding the Truth). Yes there could be a rational conclusion as to
which argument is correct. But that is not the Truth, for the conclusion
belongs to the realm of the mind. And when the mind is only an "Adheya" how
can it find the "AdhAra" the Atman. The mind cannot see its own source,
just as the eye cannot see itself. The only way to know the source is for
the mind to terminate its thought generating habit, which is to end itself.
You can watch TV, no problem. But if you get addicted to the
ever-new-thought(desire)-generating-habit, then you get enslaved. But in a
spiritual discussion it gives you a reason for getting away from such a
habit ie., reasoning that we have get beyond reason !!!
>One of the basic assumptions of Advaita Vedanta is that Moksha is
>something which is knowable and possible to achieve. One doesn't have > to
>accept that assumption but then one isn't dealing with Advaita Vedanta.
I can understand Moksha being achievable, but I cannot understand Moksha
being knowable. If knowable by whom ? The knower is the object to be known
by a process of knowledge which is also the knower. All the 3 are the same.
Moksha is achievable is implied in the term Moksha itself, which is Mohaha
Kshyam iti Moksham. When the bundle of desires are destroyed (ie., mind is
destroyed) what remains is Moksha.
A simple explanation of Moksha: Look at the statement "I want liberation".
Remove the I, the individual ego, remove the want, the desires, what remains
is liberation ie., Moksha.
So, the achievement of Moksha is not an assumption, but a definite end
result that can be logically deduced but cannot be experienced with the
mind. Vedanta give assertive proof of the process of attaining this state.
Thoughts, discussion, mind, intellect etc can only lead one the Truth, but
none of them are useful in experiencing the Truth.
I hope I have explained myself.
S. V. Subrahmanian
svs_shankara at hotmail.com
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