[Advaita-l] 'End' not 'Means'

Aditya Varun Chadha adichad at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 02:01:00 CDT 2006

On 4/27/06, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
> If one accepts shruti as pramana for ethics then its words should be enough.

Let us say that by pramANa, we mean "proof". Any claimed proof can be
accepted to start with and then subjected to scrutiny for consistency
both internally and against pratyakSa (if possible). Ethics, as I have
tried to argue before, ARE subject to pratyakSa. One doesn't not steal
because one remembers some Sruti Sloka, one practices restraint
because of the possible consequences (pratyakSa).

In matters of metaphysics (toutological, unfalsifiable statements, for
example the claim of the existence of nirguNa brahman (or ISvara, or
indra) is an UNFALSIFIABLE claim), where pratyakSa has no jurisdiction
or influence, the Srutis can be accepted without questioning.

Wherever Sruti makes a claim that is even in theory falsifiable
through pratyakSa, attempts to falsify (through observation and logic
- pratyakSa) are worthwhile, because they either strengthen the basis
of Sruti in pratyakSa, or simply render Sruti as contextual (to give
the benefit of doubt), thus giving us motive to ammend our viewpoint.

> If one doesn't then why does it matter if one can study it or not?

Before studying the Srutis one does not (atleast should not) hold the
bias of whether one accepts them or not. We don't study Sruti because
we accept it. We accept (or reject) it because we study it. I hoped
you'd say something more nuanced than that.

> Also how can we discuss "why"?  Science deals with phenomena not
> motives.  Any other mode of interpretation would be just as subjective as
> the present one.

By "why" I mean to enquire upon the basis (in pratyakSa) of what Sruti
is saying in this case. I can rightly seek this basis because as
explained above, the claim made by Sruti is falsifiable against
pratyakSa. Falsifiable means having the non-zero potential of being
either falsified or confirmed through experiment. To prove that
something is falsifiable, one has to show the existence of an
ambivalent experiment, which I have done above for the issue in
Saying that nirguNa brahman exists because Sruti says so and that's
that, is fine because the claim of existence is UNFALSIFIABLE.

Saying that women are not fit to study the vedas because Sruti says so
and that's that, is NOT fine because the claim is in theory
falsifiable through pratyakSa. The experiment: let several (enough to
form a statistical sample space) women study the vedas, and see the
effect on them. If the effect is on average negetive on society as a
whole, Sruti is upheld, else it is falsified.

All this is based on the assumptions that
* ethics are evolutionary in nature (CAN be developed from pratyakSa,
as conscientious nAstik philosophers might do). i.e. ethics are
subject to pratyakSa
* "Sruti is a fully correct depiction of (spiritual/esoteric/evident)
reality" is a theory (is falsifiable)

Aditya Varun Chadha | http://www.adichad.com | +91 9840076411 (M)
Room#1024, Cauvery Hostel | IIT Madras | Chennai - 600036 | India

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list