[Advaita-l] Real vs. Unreal

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Dec 14 02:10:31 CST 2013

> 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.
> RV: Vedanta means that the conclusion s a synthesis of all knowledge. We
have to suppose omniscience with respect to the teacher, sastras or
Ishwara. Teachers don't claim omniscience (leave alone the yogic state that
Madhusudana refers to).  Ishwara is known only through sastras. Sastras are
not inerrant (e.g. chandra farther than surya). In my understanding,
sampradaya accepts sastras as omniscient but does not treat sabda pramana
as inerrant as Christians or Muslims treat bible or quran. We treat sabda
as the authority with respect to unseen (result of dharma, devas, Ishwara
etc.) but don't blindly accept when it contradicts pratyaksha or anumana.
If sastras say fire is cold, we won't conclude that it is so and touch it
as pratyaksha pramana tells us otherwise. In relation to the current
topic, though sastras say that the world is unreal, we are forced to accept
its reality as long as we see it.

> 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: If sastras are established as the authority with respect to atma
vidya, yes but self is self-evident unlike devas, dharma etc. that can only
be known through sastras. sastras or logic can only challenge
my mis-conceptions of my self. They cannot illumine what is already known -
the self-  as it lead to the fallacy of teaching the obvious. I may
incorrectly conclude that I'm happy or sad but sastras (or logic) can tell
me that these are characteristics of my mind not my self. Imay say that I'm
transient but sastras (or logic)can tell me I'm eternal. They can only
remove misconceptions about my self by challenging the conclusions drawn by
the mind.

> >
> >
> > 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?
> >T
> 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.
> RV: I understand the practical need for sastras and teacher but question
> the logical possibility of these. prArabdha karmA, avidyA-leSa, the
> remnant vAsana or saMskAra or IshwarAnugraha are all only possible in the
> realm of avidyA. I ask how they can exist in the absence of avidyA.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list