[Advaita-l] Scholarly Article on Why Vedas are Valid

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 23:31:45 CDT 2011

Namaste Raghav-ji,

The aim of advaita-vedAnta is complete duHkha nivRtti. Most statements that
are made as part of the teaching process (involving adhyAropa-apavAda) are
made in a pragmatic fashion, with the final goal of cessation of duHkha in
mind. In general, there is no insistence that only a particular prakriyA
should be followed. One radical example of this is dRShTi sRShTi vAda which
frees the seeker from a plethora of assumptions and conceptual constructs,
including perhaps most of what you wrote in your recent posts. The very fact
that both dRShTi sRShTi and sRShTi dRShTi vAda-s are accepted is a clear
indicator of the extremely high flexibility inherent in the advaita
methodology to accommodate different views, temperaments and attitudes.

Just because certain adhyAropa-s are more commonly used (because most
seekers find them useful) does not mean that an advaitin should constantly
lose sleep over defending them, just so that the subsequent apavAda may
become meaningful. This does not mean indifference; it only means that the
defence, if any, should also be purely pragmatic. As it is a multi-step
process, if the seeker can avoid a particular step and its negation, it is
only to the seeker's benefit. All this has nothing to do with whether it is
a verbal trick or not but whether it is necessary to have any particular
causation theory for the purpose of duHkha nivRtti. If there are two
competing theories, either may be used so long as it is logical and serves
the purpose. This does not make it a verbal trick.

Alternatively, one could straight away dismiss all of causation as a verbal
trick !! The chAndogya does just that.

As regards the particular idea of abhinna-nimitta-upAdana-kAraNa, there are
different ways of expressing it. But to cut the long story short, it may be
useful if you could think of it as causation in horizontal rather than
vertical terms. It is a certain philosophical outlook that is quite
orthogonal to present-day science, and in that sense, there is no conflict.
In fact, I am sure many scientists would find it interesting. On this forum
itself, there are quite a few with advanced scientific degrees (PhDs from
the best universities and all) and they are committed advaitins too. The
matter is purely one of how one understands a particular concept. I suggest
that it is the sense in which you understand this concept (perhaps vertical
and maybe with anthropomorphic superimpositions) that makes you feel there
is a conflict.

Lastly, on the issue of consciousness:

On 11 October 2011 18:41, Raghav Kumar <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com> wrote:

> << Regarding the notion of manas, antaH-karaNam, there are no equivalent
> concepts corresponding to them in modern neuro-science or physics. Some
> scientists may informally use these terms in paperbacks. but not in
> formal papers.>>

I am not suggesting that there are any equivalent concepts as such. After
all, science has different objectives. All I am saying is that
"consciousness" is a term whose usage (by science) is quite contextual and
even ambiguous, and that most of these usages are captured (by vedAnta)
within the broad categories of manas, indriya, etc (all of which are
objectifiable) rather than Atman. In other words, most theories of
consciousness are actually off the mark at the problem definition stage

There is a contemporary thinker named David Chalmers who has at least
attempted a better problem definition, by making a distinction between the
"hard and easy problems" of consciousness.

See: <http://www.imprint.co.uk/chalmers.html>

As you can see, theories on consciousness by various kinds of scientists
pertain to what he calls the easy problems of consciousness. I have not
studied Chalmers in detail, but one of our members, Kartik, apparently has.
He had earlier indicated that he would put up a detailed article on this

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