[Advaita-l] Defintion of anubhava

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 5 08:36:24 EDT 2017

Leaving aside laukika anubhava, we may equate brahmajnAna and
brahmAnubhava. Unlike in laukika spheres, a brahmajnAnin must necessarily
have had the anubhava of Brahman. However, there could be differences in
the way he gets to that anubhava. Says the Vivarana: evaM cha taM
aupaniShadamiti taddhitapratyayena brahmaavagatihetutvaM shabdasya
darshitam upapannaM bhavati aparokShaavagatereva samyagavagatitvaaditi. By
the VedAnta text,  aupaniShadaM puruShaM pRcchAmi, the taddhita affix
applied to upanishad indicates that shabda (upanishad) is the cause of
Brahman realization and that realization is direct (not indirect), since
only direct realization can be true realization. The BhAmatI holds that
shabda can only give us indirect realization.

tadeva vAkyamAtrasyArthe .api na drAgityeva pratyaya ityuktam. Therefore,
it is said that one cannot immediately grasp the meaning of a text.
According to vAcaspati, it is difficult to understand the meaning of the
words and the sentence in the case of texts such as "tattvamasi". In fact,
it takes a long time to do so. (vilambena).

And tatkiM iyameva vAkyajanitA pratItirAtmani tathA cha na
 sAkShAtpratItirAtmani? ... vAkyArthapratItiH sAkShAtkArasya pUrvarUpam -
bhAmatI . Why (stop) at the idea generated by the (vedAnta) text, which is
not a direct realization of the Self? This idea (generated by) the meaning
of the (vedAnta) text is a preliminary form of (or a precursor to) direct
realization. So then how does one directly realize the Self? After hearing
and reflecting on the meaning of the text, meditating on it for a long
time, without interruption, and with attention, one directly realizes
Brahman.  vAkyArthashravaNamananottarakAlA visheShaNatrayavatI bhAvanA
brahmasAkShAtkArAya kalpate iti.

It is in this context that one must understand Shankara BhagavatpAda's use
of the word "anubhava", which is made clearer in his statement, bhavet
AvRtti AnarthakyaM taM prati yaH tattvamasi iti sakRt uktameva
brahmAtmatvaM *anubhavituM* shaknuyAt. (B.S.B. 4.1.2).

Coming back to laukika fields, it is possible for a person to have
"theoretical" or "bookish" knowledge without "practical" experience. This
notion has, unfortunately, spilled over to Vedanta study. There is really
no such parallel in traditional Vedanta, although modern day students
taking Vedanta courses, including online courses, may be considered to have
this kind of "theoretical" knowledge.


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