[Advaita-l] Permanence of the self

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 17 13:22:33 CST 2015

> 2) His second point was that if something did have true independent
> existence, it would be impossible to cognize it. That is, the very act
> of knowledge implies an observer and the observed, and then it no
> longer is a non-dual system. Without being able to cognise that
> existence, it would be as good as it not existing at all.

Yes, truly speaking, it is impossible to cognize Atman/brahman. Which is
why the upanishat asks, vijnAtAram are kena vijAnIyAt? However, it is an
unwarranted prejudgment, to say that without being able to cognize it, it
is as good as non-existent, and also to say, at the same time, that if some
thing has true independent existence, it would be quite impossible to
cognize it.
By this logic, non-cognizability is posited as a necessary attribute of true
independent existence and then the same non-cognizability is used to
argue for non-existence. One is left with a position that true independent
existence is therefore equal  to or is as good as non-existence. Which is an
unwarranted restatement of the presumption as if it were a conclusion.
One can simply talk of the logical problem with this argument, without
bringing in any of brahman, Atman, anAtman, moksha, nirvANa, saMvRti,
vyavahAra or paramArtha into the discussion.
Good luck with the discussion!
Best regards,Vidyasankar 		 	   		  

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