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

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 13 07:28:40 CDT 2011

Namaste Ramesh ji

Thank you for your well-written post.
I understand you to be saying that "although sRShti-dRShti-vAda faces
some rather aggressive questions from the over-reach of modern
mainstream science today; still we can pragmatically adopt other
prakriyA-s like dRShTi-sRShT-vAda  (or ekajIva-vAda) and bypass having
to answer such involved questions regarding say prANa, manas etc., and
other such Vedic sUkShma material realities"  - since we only want
Atyantika duHkha-nivRtti. We don;t really care which color the cat is,
as long as it catches mice.

I appreciate that -
We have the well-known shloka from SrI sureShvarAcArya's vArttikA  -
yayA yayA bhavet-pumsAm vyutpattiH pratyagAtmani
sA sA prakriyA sAdhu-syAt sA tu anavasthithA

(By whatever valid method - sAdhu prakriyA -  a person arrives at the
the truth of the Self, all such methods are acceptable; thsere is no
limit to the number of such methods)

I have already stated in my previous post that this current inability
of the Vedantic tradition to answer questions being raised by science
on the existence of subtler material realities like prANa etc.,
(clearly evident with respect to the sRShTi-dRShti-prakriyA) is a
longer term problem for the tradition as a whole, and this does not
much affect everyone of us at an individual level we need not worry
and can get by without looking at such areas of conflict with science
; for example, we do not all have to understand the buddhist
pUrva-pakSha-s compulsorily.

It is quite true that there need not be insistence on a particular
prakriyA alone ; for that matter an uttamAdhikArI just needs to hear
the mahAvAkya and does not even need any elaborate prakriyA, not even
a detailed exposition of dRShti-sRShTi-vAda for j~nAna is required.
But that does not absolve us of the need to "own up" concepts like
prANa, cidAbhAsaH etc.

But for most madhyama-adhikArIs,  I am suggesting that although at
first glance it might seem like ekajIvavAda and dRSTi-sRShTi-vAda can
avoid answering some of the inconvenient questions (from science etc)
which are more evident in sRShTi-dRShti-vAda, this is not really so;
upon closer analysis. we see that the positing of successively subtler
material realities is there in all sAdhu-prakriyAs, not just in
sRShti-dRShTi-vAda based prakriyA-s. So there is no escape from the
questioning of science against subtler material realities.For example,
science is aggressively denying the phenomenological dimension to the
human experience - even dRShti-sRShti-vAda is unfortunately being
denied by science by giving various reasons like "emergent" processes
to explain away human experience as just a neuronal process etc.

I am suggesting therefore that the same type of conflict with
scienctific over-reach which intrudes into sRShTi-dRShTi-vAda also
holds for the other vAda-s too ; although at first glance; it might
seem an intellectually easier and expedient position to take to hold
on to ekajIva-vAda or dRShti-sRShTi-vAda in the face of the obvious
greater difficulties in sRShTi-dRShti-vAda. But to show such conflict
with science in the case of the other vAda-s would take us away from
the overall topic of this thread - so, for now, I just state that the
problem of conflict with scientific over-reach is definitely something
all vaidika-s should not be indifferent towards.

 I had read Chalmers' article sometime back. Its a good one ; it maybe
a good starting point for answering scientific pUrva-pakSha-s. But
much more homework needs to be done.And this is not for one person to
do; maybe a lot of years of effort of many people. We cannot be either
indifferent or smug when an important prakriyA like
sRShTi-dRShTi-based prakriyA is being assailed.

 For 99% of adhikArIs, there is no way to jump, from the antaH-karaNa
vRttis corresponding to the gross jagat which are common to all human
beings; directly to the brahmAkAra-vRtti which destroys avidyA,
without positing and having the antaH-karaNa-vRttis corresponding to
some or the other intermediate sUkShma realities, samaShTi-prANa or
Ishvara etc - no matter which prakriyA is followed.  In each prakriyA,
some or the other such intermediate realities are posited and
rescinded. When such sUkShma realities are talked of or taught as part
of the teaching, be it even dRShti-sRShTi-vAda or any other
sAdhu-prakriyA ; in that intermediate phase, science etc. will stand
up and raise its questions and will still be a problem since it is
logically and vehemently trying to deny all such subtler entities and
only accepts gross material realities. So we cannot really avoid
countering the questions from science; a small example of which I gave
in my earlier post by taking the test case of "prANa".

I submit that the above shloka from SrI Sureshvara's should not be
taken as a licence to mean that no defence of important Vedic
postulates like prANa, manas, buddhi etc is necessary even when
aggressive and incorrect ideas negating them are coming up from the
abhinava-lokAyAta-s (just my humorous name for modern science.) Does a
Vedantin have no interest in defending Vedic ideas in general which
are important for other prakriyA-s? Will he be content that "my
prakriyA is immune to any questions; and as for the
sRShTi-dRShTi-vAda-based prakriyA-s ; let them face the music?" :-)

The topic of this thread being the questioning/conflct between
scientific postulates and certain of the Vedic postulates ; I maintain
that there is some definite conflict which we should not gloss over.

In sRShti-dRShti-vAda, there is much less tendency to bypass IShvara.
This is my "pragmatic" observation.

I also observe that modern particularly western advaitic teachers who
follow the "direct path" method to jump to advaita j~nAnam by "Who am
I?" type of enquiry do not usually bother about prANa, manas, IShvara
, Saguna brahman etc and even more successfully bypass having to
answer questions from science. There is a danger of slipping in to
subjective idealism (vij~nAna-vAda) in such methods unless we are
careful. This is just an observation.

Thank you once again for your inputs
Hari Om

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