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

Aditya Varun Chadha adichad at gmail.com
Fri Apr 28 10:02:25 CDT 2006

On 4/28/06, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> As a matter of fact, the final conclusion as to
> whether or not an action is dhArmic cannot be derived by any amount
> of pratyaksha or anumAna.

ofcourse the dhArmic standing of an action cannot be derived from
pratyakSa because dharma is defined by the scriptural canon. But this
dharma itself is open to questioning, that is where pratyakSa comes
in. Where did the scriptures come from?

> However, supposing the murderer's identity has been determined, the
> question, "What should be done with the murderer after he is caught?"
> can NOT be answered by any amount of scientific enquiry. For all its
> explanatory prowess, science cannot tell us which of these actions
> the society ought to take:

I shall attempt to show you how the scientific method can be (and is)
applied to come up with appropriate action-reaction schema.

> Possibility A: "The murderer should be rewarded with a large sum of
> money."
> Possibility B: "The murderer should be punished with prison time."
> Neither possibility could be derived by any amount of scientific
> analysis. Science can help us understand what has happened, what is
> happening, and what will happen if certain conditions are met, but
> cannot answer what SHOULD be done in the situation described above.
> On matters pertaining to justice most societies have judges and
> juries that can examine the evidence and counsel on the right course.

Do a thought experiment. You reward the murderer with money. Put
yourself in the murderer's situation. A large sum of money would do
you good. so you extrapolate that the large sum of money would do the
murderer good, and so the murderer would be motivated to commit the
crime again. But letting and encouraging a murderer to commit murder
isn't really good because he could in principle some day kill you. so
you decide on option B instead, which through a similar thought
experiment is shown to discourages the crime. So through thought
experiment you have reduced the problem of what should be done in the
above case to what should be done to ensure basic self-preservation
for yourself and others. Self preservation is something ingrained
through evolution, not through scriptures alone (although they do
encode this pratyakSa knowledge).

> It is a pity that most Western-educated Indians don't know even the
> basics of the scope of science and scope of other fields of enquiry,
> whereas a traditionally trained VedAnta scholar will pick out these
> errors in a fraction of a second.

Aum :-)

> You're saying that scepticism SHOULD be used? You're actually making
> a moral judgment there :-)

yes I am, and I never said making a moral judgement is wrong. But the
basis of morality (pertaining to AcharaN) is ultimately based in
pratyakSa (which happens to be encoded in the scriptures also).

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

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