[Advaita-l] On rationality; was "Vedas are not apauresheya according to the Vedas ?"
rkmurthy at gmail.com
Mon Jan 21 02:52:19 CST 2013
Namaste Sri Siva Senani Nori,
Your response appears somewhat tangential to my initial post. Anyway,
let me clarify the post a little.
The point about any logical system needing at least one axiom was a
general statement about the nature of logic and reasoning. It was not
specific to advaita-vedAnta.
More generally, any specific knowledge or any specific
assertion/thesis (even something as basic as "there is a table in
front of me") requires apriori axioms in the form of the validity of
one or more pramANa-s. This point of course can be easily appreciated
by advaitins but is not so easy to appreciate for most others.
As far as advaita-vedAnta is concerned, its ultimate purport lies in
mokSha through what may be termed a "deconditioning therapy" whereby
one transcends the need to objectify oneself (as in notions such as "I
am the body" or "I am a human" etc). The crux here is that Atman alone
is svataHsiddha and abAdhya (uncontradictable) whereas any objective
reality is not svataHsiddha and therefore bAdhya and mithyA. Even the
notion "I am a pramAtA" is bAdhya.
That brahman is known through the shruti is a general stand taken by
all varieties of vedAnta. However, the precise meaning of this varies
across the different schools of vedAnta. In advaita-vedAnta, a seeker
may start off with a search for the cause of the universe (janmAdyasya
yataH) where there is an implicit assumption of an objective reality.
But as the deconditioning therapy proceeds, one realizes that the
brahman one seeks is not an objective reality but the svataHsiddha
Sri Siva Senani Nori wrote:
<<Regarding the Advaitin's thesis - the three main points are well
known. a) Brahman is Absolutely Real, b) The World is neither
absolutely Real, nor absolutely Unreal (in other words, mithya) and c)
Atman and Brahman are the same.>>
To clarify, I am not at all denying the above "three main points".
What I am denying is that these points constitute a thesis.
These "three main points" are not distinct standalone points but only
an elaboration of the basic point of the svataHsiddha Atman alone
being abAdhya (and hence satya since satya is defined as that which is
brahman is absolutely real (satya) precisely because it is none other
than the svataHsiddha and abAdhya Atman. If brahman were
pramANasiddha, it would be bAdhya and not absolutely real. In other
words, if brahman were an objective reality, it would be bAdhya.
Likewise, the world is mithyA (i.e. bAdhya) simply because it is not
svataHsiddha. This statement cannot be called a thesis. Rather it is
an "anti-thesis" because it negates all theses as bAdhya (and hence
mithyA). All theses are bAdhya because they depend on axioms that are
not svataHsiddha. If your "three main points" were simply yet another
thesis, they would be bAdhya and pretty useless for mokSha.
In the final analysis, the mukta requires no theses because he accepts
nothing but the svataHsiddha Atman. Even his prAmAtRtvam his
transcended, so other axioms and theses which pre-suppose pramAtRtvam
are not even in the picture.
Sri Siva Senani Nori wrote:
<<Sankaracharya does not attempt to prove the theses (listed above) of
Advaita independently of Sruti. The thesis is established by
interpreting Sruti - that is, Brahman is Absolutely Real because Sruti
says so, and so on.>>
As explained above, the "three main points" do not constitute a thesis
in the first place. The role of the shruti is only to serve as a
deconditioning therapy, to remind us that even our pramAtRtvam is
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