[Advaita-l] Real vs. Unreal

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 12 21:04:22 CST 2013

> > You know that you exist, but how do you know that you are not what you
> > appear to be to yourself, except through SAstra? The function of SAstra is
> > not to merely confirm the bare fact of your existence but to reveal your
> > true nature to yourself.
> >
> > RV: To accept that sastras provide the correct view of reality, I must
> suppose that they are omniscient. The flaws of Buddhists who suppose that
> Buddha is omniscient will apply to my conviction too. Is it not? I have to
> anyway qualify sastras when they contradict pratyaksha (cold fire, chandra
> farther than surya etc.). On the other hand, self examination should lead
> to correct conclusion just as we study a pot if we want to know the pot and
> we study our self to know our self. Is it not?

You do not necessarily have to suppose omniscience for anything or anybody. All
you need to do is to accept that it or they know more/better than you do. That
will do, for an initial entry into the study and for quite a while as you progress.


You can also study a pot all you want, but unless you apply the SAstra that says
that all matter is ultimately energy, you will never reach the conclusion that the
pot is also ultimately energy. Similarly, you can study your self all you want, but
unless you apply the SAstra that pertains to AtmavidyA, you will never be free
of the adhyAsa that again and again conjures up a not-self as your Self.


> RV: I agree that my analogy is flawed but my question is not. The
> non-existent world is perceived due to ajnAna. Why do I perceive it after
> dawn of knowledge?

Extend this desert analogy a bit further. In ignorance, you see only the desert
and are looking for water. You are shown an oasis, are told that the oasis is far
away, but also right here, within you, and also everywhere around. And you are
taught the means to realize the truth of this statement. So, what is the problem
with the perception of the desert? The teacher and the SAstra that bring this
knowledge to you also tell you that the desert is seen, but is not real, because 
all around you and in you is the water that you are so desperately looking for.
So long as the problem is your thirst, you might as well try and implement the
means that are being taught to you to find this water, rather than focusing your
energies on the paradoxical perception of the desert on the part of the teacher
and/or the SAstra. Unless the teacher and the SAstra refer to the desert that so
fully occupies the range of your perception, they cannot teach you the means to
the water. Rejecting this teaching because you assume that the teacher should
not even talk of the desert is but folly.

prArabdha karmA, avidyA-leSa, the remnant vAsana or saMskAra, all these are
explanations being provided for the curiousity of ignorance. They disappear in the
light of knowledge. The answer to your question will become self-evident to you if
that knowledge has already dawned for you. Till then, all this is just an exercise in
semantics. If you choose to disregard the means being taught, because you think
that the person bringing it to you should not be able to perceive you or the desert
you are in, then you lose the precious opportunity to find the water in the desert. 




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