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

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 13 09:03:03 CDT 2011

Ramesh ji wrote :
>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.

Nicely put. I too understand things similarly . Yet there does arise a
conflict between current science and vedanta in both the horizontal
and vertical causation ideas , as you put it, because of
1. science's insistence on absence of "depth" to this jagat. There is
no way to do pravilApanaM , i.e., horizontally resolve a material
object to its non-inert substratum which is Saguna Brahman without
positing intermediate subtle material realities which are being denied
by science. (Here, to start with, we should be somewhat careful to
distinguish the pramA from the prameya (the external object),
otherwise we may slip into subjective-
idealism-based-resolution-of-the-mind-vRtti and mistake it for the
2. science's insistence on an inert singularity as being the
chronological originator of jagat. So even "vertically" there is a
conflict with Vedanta's IShvara.

>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.

I have indicated above that even the horizontal non-anthropomorphic
teaching/unfoldment of Brahman runs foul of science. Although I agree
that the conflict is more stark with the vertical anthropomorphic
(IShvara with attributes chronologically manifesting jagat.) And ,
yes, on the strength of the Veda pramANa, I do hold that this
vertical, anthropomorphic idea of IShvara is an empirically real idea
with vyAvahArika sattA.  Even if one valid prakriyA- employed by
Vedanta uses this vertical idea, the fact remains that there is a
conflict between the Vedic postulates and science. However, I agree
with you that we can still arrive in an intellectually honest way at
the subtle antaH-karaNa-vRtti-s necessary for appreciating Vedanta
through a shuddha-antaH-karaNam even without bothering to answer all
questions in all the other different prakriyA-s.

I also agree with what you wrote that much of the problems with the
word "consciousness" are to do with the problem-definition stage
itself. But this particular idea needs much more groundwork and

Regarding the words like manas, indriya etc., the problem is that the
scientific reductionist tendency is to explain away everything in
terms of gross physical processes *alone* and then take objection to
the Vedic contention that indriya, manas etc are subtle albeit
material realities, by saying that such postulates violate Occam's
razor. I don't think this particular problem/conflict can be resolved
by only choosing another prakriyA.  Thsi problem can be addressed by
taking the pain of showing the internal fallacies and incompleteness
in the purely gross physical explanations proferred by Science. For
example, there are some efforts by Roger Penrose etc who indicate that
a purely computational model is fundamanetally inadequate to capture
the workings of the human brain. Such efforts are a small effort in
the right direction. This does not directly prove anything but the
internal problems in science come out clearly, paving the way for
Vedic postulates of manas etc to be shown as irrefutable.  I have seen
some writings of Ken Wilber who has atleast tried to address this
issue to some extent. But then he is not a mainstream scientist.

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