[Advaita-l] Real vs. Unreal

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Dec 14 05:50:41 CST 2013

> You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you are not satisfied with
> merely better or more knowledge and have to suppose omniscience, then you
> have to repose the requisite level of faith in the omniscience of
> teacher/SAstra-s.
RV: My faith or otherwise is merely my mental state. It cannot take away
omniscience or otherwise of the teacher or the sastras. Can it? We are only
concerned with what is the truth.

The question of not blindly accepting SAstra does not arise. If a SAstra
vAkya conflicts with pratyaksha, such as fire being cold, then we don't
blindly reject it either. We say that it has to have a hidden meaning
behind the surface meaning that causes such a conflict. We set aside the
literal meaning in favor of a secondary meaning. We take up that secondary
meaning as a way to resolve the apparent conflict, but we don't sacrifice
the authority of SAstra and we certainly don't accept it piecemeal.

RV: If I evaluate sabda pramana vis a vis pratyakshAdi pramanas, it does
not mean I am blinding rejecting the authority of one or the other. These
pramanas give us knowledge and we are resolving the contradictions to
arrive at the truth. Christian and Muslims try their best to establish the
fallacies in their scriptures and suppress opposing views
(helio-centricity, evolution etc.). When evidence in support of truth
overwhelms them, they re-interpret their scriptures to suit evidence
(intelligent design :)). They are not considered truthful but called
apologetics. We cannot afford to let Christian meme infect our thinking. On
the contrary, our acharyas have been more concerned with truth than
defending the indefensible of belief systems. From  "Yoga, Enlightenment
and Perfection" page #6, Sri Bharati Teertha Swamigal says this about Sri
Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal, "He was not in the least dogmatic. The
ancients held that the earth is fixed while the modern scientists aver that
it moves. 'All that is ancient is not good nor is a work censurable because
it is modern. The wise accept an alternative after examination; the unwise
are guided by the beliefs of others.' In keeping with this statement of the
pre-eminent poet Kalidasa, His Holiness subscribed only to the position
that the earth moves. He ignored, in this manner, the distinction of
ancient and modern in numerous matters and and gave weight only to that
which was reasonable and accorded with evidence. Boradminded such as His
was difficult to come by in anyone else".  I asked Sri Mani Dravid
Sastrigal after he answered all my questions in a a 6 hour session, "If it
is clearly shown through philology, linguistic, genetics and logic that
apaurusheyatva is not true, then will the traditional scholars reject it?".
He answered, "Yes. We are pramanikas and whatever is established through
valid pramanas we accept. If you see any arguments that counter
apaurusheyatva, let us analyse it to see if it is valid or not".

So, when it comes to the advaita SAstra about the reality or otherwise of
the world, you cannot keep harping on pratyaksha and insist that the world
has to be real. You have to be prepared to understand what mithyAtva means,
as has been explained numerous times by numerous people on this list and
not get hung up on a binary view of reality vs. unreality. If you move on
from this kind of logic, then the problem of being forced to accept the
absolute reality of jagat as long as we see it just ceases to be a problem.

RV: The seen world is in the realm of pratyaksha, anumana and also sabda.
There is a convergence in their views and also contradiction. Both coverge
in that pot is made of elements and energy. Both contradict in that sabda
holds pot to be unreal. I say that the statements of the sastras with
regard to dharma, devas and ishwara are verifiable through pratyakshAdi
pramanas but the unreality of the world (non-existence) is not experienced
even on the rise of jnAnA.

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