Fundamental Problem ( was RE: [Advaita-l] RE: Bhagavan Ramanuja ...)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at
Sun Feb 6 14:07:44 CST 2005

--- Sanjay Srivastava <sksrivastava68 at> wrote:

> Sri Hari wrote:
> "The basic objection in the form of a question against
> AdhvaithA is; Why 
> should the Brahman get obstructed/covered by AvidhyA?"
> The answer to this question depends upon whether you consider
> Advaita a 
> philosophical system or a moksha-shastra. If you take advaita
> as a 
> philosophical system you will find several perplexing
> questions including 
> the above and an exhaustive list of others put forth by great
> acharyas of 
> other systems. Every single one of these objections has been
> replied 
> cogently and has been met with equally cogent
> counter-objections from rival 
> systems. Issues have been discussed to death and the debate
> continues till 
> date without coming to a conclusion. 

The fundamental problem of all philosophical thought concerning
the Self is this question:

*** What is the relationship between the conscious (Self) and
the unconscious (body)? ***

This has perplexed serious thinkers in every land. In the West,
this is called the "mind-body problem" [1], and book after book
(enough to fill libraries) has been written purporting to
explain this relationship, but without any progress worth
talking about.

According to advaita -- the relationship is through ignorance
(avidyA). Although there are no doubt problems with this
explanation, there is no better explanation to be found



mind-body problem

"Most generally, the problem of describing the relationship
between the mind and body (or brain)...Perhaps the oldest
problem in the philosophy of mind, the mind-body problem dates
back at least to Plato. By some counts, Plato was the first
dualist, with the first materialist, Aristotle, close at hand.
Plato contends that the soul is distinct from the body and is
capable of maintaining a separate existence from it. Aristotle,
in contrast, feels that body and soul are two aspects of the
same underlying substance (form and matter). It should be noted
that it is by no means unanimous that Aristotle was not a
dualist...Partially due to the influence of Descartes, the
dualist position has reigned supreme. However, by espousing a
distinct type of substance for the mind, dualists invite the
question: What is it that makes it possible for two contraries
(one spatially existing and the other not) to interact as our
minds seem to with our brains?
In attempting to answer this question, Descartes claimed that
the pineal gland was the interface between the mind and the rest
of the brain; he considered it the seat of the soul."

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