[Advaita-l] Re: Self-knowledge

Satyan Chidambaran satyan_c at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 30 14:41:05 CST 2006

Dear Sanjayji!
  >> I am fine with your conclusion about self knowledge being intellectual
  >> however I have doubts about the reasoning in the link provided by you:
  The thoughts expressed in the article aren't mine and yet they are  mine! In fact, I just merely compiled and stated some thoughts after  listening to the topics from my teachers and the sources listed in the  references. Also, since I was convinced of its validity, those thoughts  are also mine!! If there has been any error in presenting  or  understanding their views, it would be entirely mine, of course. 
  Sanjayji, I do see what you are saying and sympathize with the point  because in a loose sense of usage or "popular usage", yes, people are  used to talking about other forms of understanding. In fact, that has  partly contributed to the reason why "intellectual understanding" is  looked down upon by certain circles because it is believed that there  are "deeper" forms of understanding (bordering on experience) which are  superior and merely intellectual understanding doesn't suffice. I think  that the statement was meant to shake such views that try to bypass the  intellect (whatever that means!) to some superior form of  understanding/experience. In fact, as you know very well, in  traditional vedAnta, an intellect  that has been trained to inclucate the vision of the sruti, an  intellect that sees through the eyes of the sruti, is something to be  sought  after and cultivated by the sishya.
  More specifically, or rather technically, intellect is used here in the  sense of the buddhi, the seat where all firm conclusions about the  World (e.g about your friend who will not help OR even about the taste  of mangoes), God (exists or doesn't exist, what is His nature) and Self  (who am I? this is specifically in the sUkshma buddhi) reside. It is  specifically different from manas, where emotions such as love,  jealousy, hatred etc occur. In fact, the conclusions in the buddhi  about myself, God and world determine the response to the world and  also determine the nature of emotions in the manas.
  Hence, if you were to equate
  intellect = buddhi
  and restrict the sense of understanding = firm conclusive knowledge  about the nature of things (whether they are right or wrong is a  different matter e.g conclusions about friends and mangoes)
  then, perhaps, this will help see that understanding (= a firm  conclusion or determination) of any form has to happen in the intellect  because by definition the buddhi, specifically, is the seat of "firm  conclusions"!
  Sanjayji, I know your views and background and I feel like I am  preaching to the choir at this point :). However, I just responded to  the point in detail and must have mentioned some redundant things (from  your  perspective)  for others who may be interested in this  thread also. If you are interested, this  line of reasoning  (cranial/dental etc) was directly out of pUjya Swami Dayananda-ji's  cassettes on pramAna prameya vichAra.
  >> If I am not mistaken this is the idea Amuthan is trying to convey.
  I did not get the impression that Amuthan is using the "non  intellectual" knowledge in the loose/popular/non-technical sense as you  did (which I think is understandable). Amuthan is using it in a  specific technical sense that svarUpa j~nAna (which is really beyond  the intellect) is required to remove avidyA.
  warm regards,

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