Vedas – A body of knowledge or belief?

Vedas are primary/independent pramāṇa (means of knowledge) as regards the truth of oneself, for, all other means of knowledge are about the object, and not the subject. Holding it as such with an open-mind, pending discovery/assimilation of its revelation, is called śraddhā, loosely translated as belief.

A relevant xtract from Swami Paramarthananda lectures…

“We continue to accept the validity of the eyes inspite of occasional optical illusions. Similarly we have to accept the validity of the Veda, in-spite of certain seeming aberrations in certain portions of the Veda. If we reject the eyes because of occasional optical illusions, we are the losers. Similarly, if we reject the Veda because of certain seeming aberrations, we are the losers”.

Topic of the Month – Belief

The topic for Aug 2014 is belief.

People believe all sorts of things. Over time, these may prove to be true but all too frequently are found to be false. Are we ever ‘justified’ in believing? There is clearly some overlap with the Advaitin’s concept of shraddhA, faith, here!

Here is a quote I used in ‘Book of One’: A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind. Robert Bolton

Please submit your quotes, short extracts or personal blogs on this topic!

Pramāṇam – 2

A quick recap of keys points from the previous article.

1. pramāṇam the word means, “Means of Knowledge”; it should be anadhigata – non-contradictible, abhādita – non-negatable and hitārtha bodhakam – says what is good for the Humans.

veda2. pramāṇam is of 2 types – pratyakṣam – direct, obtained by using the 5 senses; anumānādi – indirect, based on the direct but using reason. Both these pramāṇams are nitya parokṣa, and operate on everything other than the subject.

3. Knowledge is vastutantram – as the Object, so the Knowledge; and Knowledge will take place even if there is no intention on the part of the Knower since there is no will involved.

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Śraddhā – being open minded

सदेव सौम्येदमग्र आसीदेकमेवाद्वितीयं ब्रह्म – तत् सत्यं – स आत्मा – तत्वमसि श्वेतकेतोः।

sadeva saumyedamagre āsītdekamevādvitīyaṁ brahma – tat satyaṁ sa ātmā – tatvamasi śvetaketoḥ

This, is an extract from chāndogya upaniṣad. It declares, in effect, that you are the cause of the universe; you and iśvara are one and the same. Before we analyze, have a doubt-free understanding and assimilate this teaching, it is worthwhile observing that it is only the Advaita tradition that makes such a monumental empowering declaration.

Supposing this (the teaching) was true, we would have gained everything that is to be gained in this life and hereafter; and supposing if this wasn’t true, what are our choices?  Every other religion, philosophy or cult propounds a theory that appeals to your sense of belief, separates you from God, postpones the knowledge about the truth until after your death, and enslaves you for exploitation. Not a very attractive proposition, is it? So why don’t we have śraddha (meaning, being open minded, and not faith or belief as is commonly mistakenly translated), and give the possibility of the teaching being true a chance, and allow it to operate without prejudice. Please, for God’s sake, and your own. Continue reading