The Relevance of Kant’s Transcendental Idealism to Advaita Vedanta, Part I

This the first of a three-part series discussing the relevance of Kant’s philosophy to Advaita. Kant-CPR

Immanuel Kant published the first edition of The Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, with an extensively rewritten second edition appearing in 1787. Between those editions he also published a shorter “easier” introduction to his philosophy, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783). With the later appearance of The Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and The Critique of Judgement (1790), Kant had articulated a complete system of philosophy of incredible depth and complexity, wholly original and unique in its solution to the age-old problems of reason, ethics, and logic. So great was the importance of this Prussian professor, we may justifiably think in terms of pre-Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy. Many have disagreed with his conclusions and offered refutations on one level or another, but all who have come after Kant have been required to address him. Continue reading

Dream Space, Awake Space and Mind-Space

[This short extract, in addition to providing the answers, also serves as an example of the incisive logic and inductive and deductive approach taken by Sage Vasishta in explicating the nature of the world to Rama in the well-known Advaitic scripture, Yogavasishta. The present material is from Chapter 2: mumukshu vyavahAra prakaraNa (The Conduct and Behavior of a committed Seeker), Original text: Shri K. V. Krishna Murthy; English translation: Ramesam Vemuri]

Where do the brahmANDa-s (multiverses) of the present time exist? They are in space.  What is space exactly?

One definition for space is that because of which it is possible for two objects to exist separated from one another.  We can also define it in another way. Space is that in which all the known objects are located.  But your dream world is also known to you! Can you say where do the rivers, mountains and all the other things of your dream world are located in the present awake world space?  Continue reading

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 18

क्वभातिदिक्कालकथाविनाऽस्मान्

दिक्काललीलेहवपुर्वयम्चेत्।

नक्वापिभामोनकदापिभामो

वयम्तुसर्वत्रसदाचभामः॥१८

Kva bhAti dikkAla kathA vinAsmAn

dikkAla lIleha vapurvayam chet

na kvApi bhAmaH na kadApi bhamaH

vayam tu sarvatra sadA cha bhAmaH —18

 

asmAn vinA dikkAla kathA Kva bhAti = without us where does the saga of space-time shine?edikkAla lIleha vapuH vayam chet = when we identify with the body, the play of space-time begins; na kvApi bhAmaH na kadApi bhamaH = we do not exist in a place; we do not exist at a time; vayam tu sarvatra sadA cha bhAmaH = we exist everywhere at all times.

 

Where does the saga of space-time shine without us? When we identify with the body, the play of space-time begins. We do not exist in a place, we do not exist at a time. We exist everywhere at all times.

Atma is not localized at a place or time. Space and time are appearances in the self. Yet, due to ignorance we find ourselves localized in the space time framework. On gaining knowledge we know that it is only the body which is limited by space and time. The self is limitless spatially and temporally. Continue reading

Who Slept Well – part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the second of a four-part article by Acharya Sadananda of Chinmaya Mission Washington (edited by myself) clarifying the nature of the deep-sleep state and addressing a number of problems which frequently cause confusion in seekers.

When I enter into a pitch dark room I cannot see the presence of any object there as it is too dark. I need a light to illumine the objects. In a pitch dark room, the existence or non-existence of any object cannot be established; they may be there or they may not. In essence, their existence becomes indeterminate or anirvachanIyam. On the other hand, I can see that the room is pitch dark and understand that it is because of this that I do not see the presence or absence of any object. Darkness envelops both the known and the unknown.  However, I do not need a light to see the darkness.  In addition, I know that I am there even when the room is pitch dark.  I do not need a light to know that I am there. I am a self existent entity and therefore a self revealing entity, and hence I do not need any pramANa to know that I am present in the dark room. It is similar to saying that I do not need a light in order to see another light.  Being a conscious-existent entity, I am also a self-revealing entity or self-luminous entity or I am aprameyam, not an object of knowledge for which a pramANa is required. In addition, my presence as a self-luminous or self-conscious entity is required to illumine any other object – tasya bhAsA sarvam idam vibhUti; it is by that light of consciousness alone that all objects get revealed. Therefore, the light of consciousness that I am can illumine the darkness as well as the light that opposes the darkness.  Thus I am the light of lights, since I light the lights and darkness too – jyotir jyotiH. Therefore, I say that I see it is pitch dark which is covering the existence as well the absence of all objects. Continue reading

Invisible Energy In Empty Space

The Universe is overwhelmingly empty!

Up in the heavens, galaxies are interspersed by huge empty spaces. Matter constitutes less than one percent of the universe – about one atom in ten cubic meters of space.  structure of the universe (Planck 2013)Within an atom too, there is more empty space than substance.  If the atom is magnified to the size of a football stadium, matter (nucleus) in it will be no bigger than a golf ball, the remaining space being just emptiness.  However, many ancient Indian scriptures hold that there is energy aplenty in space.  Physicists unhesitatingly agree.  Evidence for energy in empty space comes both from Cosmology that deals with the astronomical objects of huge proportions and Quantum Physics which studies atomic- and subatomic-sized particles.

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A Question On Causality, Purpose And Suffering In Non-Duality

[As students of Non-duality, we often come aross situations that apparently seem to be at variance with the  Non-dual teachings. Here is such a Question raised by a friend of mine and felt that it would be interesting to share our exchange with a wider audience for possibe further discussion — ramesam.]

Questioner:  How could there be no cause and effect? How can things happen randomly with no purpose?  I just can’t accept that meeting you was random, or that I found nonduality, and fell in love with it. It seems to appear everywhere. Jesus said seek and ye shall find. There is no randomness in that. We set goals, work hard, then accomplish them. Some people live for fun, engage in risky behavior, then get in trouble, how could it be completely random that some people are in the wrong place at the wrong time, then others are in the right place at the right time. Then there are the people who seem to do everything “right”, then some horrible fate befalls them. Have you ever read anything by Malcolm Gladwell? He wrote The Tipping Point, Outliers, and some other books. His research into why some people are successful and others are not is fascinating.

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