And so it goes on, in a sense, throughout the book. Is this confusing? At first it may seem so, but by really reading what the teacher says, really understanding what the meaning of the distinction is, and what is true in the ultimate sense (which means not being able to separate anymore because the ‘substance’ that makes up the objects being noticed as such), you will be able to see the value of this dance. If you never have noticed consciousness itself (often rightly capitalized as ‘Consciousness’) because it is never an object, it is very useful that you are being pointed out that consciousness itself can indeed be recognized and realized. Without being pointed out, it is possible that you keep looking over consciousness itself because of your habituation to objects. Atmananda himself says the following about the apparent two approaches:
During the period of preliminary investigations in the study of Vedanta, you are asked to try to separate body and mind from the ‘I’-Principle. It is only to make you understand the relative values of the terms. Such a separation is not really possible; because, separated from the ‘I’-Principle, the other two do not exist at all. Therefore they are really nothing but the ‘I’-Principle. Vedanta asks you only to recognize this Truth.
From the position of Consciousness one can say that everything else is not. But from no position can you say that Consciousness is not. Because one has to be conscious of the Truth of that very statement before making it. Therefore Consciousness stands as the background of even that statement.
Hence even the statement that ‘Consciousness is not’ only proves that Consciousness IS. Therefore Consciousness is self-luminous and permanent.8
‘In truth, Anubhava [Intuition, Intuitive experience] alone is the fountainhead or substrate for all Pramana Vyavahara – transactions involving valid means of knowledge… pursuit of the Absolute Reality, Self-knowledge… culminates in Anubhava, Intuitive experience… the substratum for everything’. (It is the same as saying that Pure Consciousness is behind the apparent individual mind). – From ‘The Basic Tenets of Shankara Vedanta’, transl. from Kannada’s SSSS by D.B. Gangolli, pp. 51,55.
In Advaita Vedanta Vedantic (or higher) reasoning is distinguished from independent reasoning or speculation, which invariably is in conflict with that of other individuals and schools of thought – ‘Speculation is unbridled… It is impossible to expect finality from it, for men’s minds are diversely inclined’ (SBh 2-1-11). The former, higher reasoning, is, or must be, in agreement with scripture (Upanishads, etc. called shruti) and is never in conflict with universal experience. There is some syllogistic deduction (‘there is fire on that mountain for we see smoke there’), but it is not prominent in AV.
‘For the truth relating to this Reality conducive to final release is too deep even for a conjuncture without revelation (SBh 2-1-11). Here ‘revelation’ means the ‘deep intuitions arrived at by the sages of old (rishis)’ and compiled in three main bodies of works (chiefly the Upanishads), so you can disregard that word and substitute ‘self-realization’ for it.
But even scriptures are not sufficient to get at the truth: a prepared, mature mind is a requisite, which usually takes years if not lifetimes. After that long preparation, preferably with the help of a qualified teacher, a final intuition (anubhava or brahmavidya) may occur. I won’t talk about the method or methods used or about the qualifications of the student, not a small matter.
Question 3:The body that (notionally) housed previously a seeker….
Please Sir, body does not really house Consciousness. Not even the so-called limited consciousness. But it is Consciousness in which body appears just like any other object – and this is easily graspable even to the so-called limited consciousness, with a bit of subtle and impartial observation.
Question 3 (Contd.):… who is now liberated, (the body) is just a part of the ‘world’ which only exists as an “appearance” in the perception of the ‘ignoramuses.’ That body is now ‘without’ anyone as a claimant of ‘ownership’ to it. …
Let it be so. What is the problem if there is no claimant of ownership to a body?, I ask the ignoramuses. Continue reading →
[‘jIvanmukti’ as per Advaita Vedanta shAstra has been explained by Shri Prasanth Neti Ji in a profound and refreshing way (not usually available) at a Social Networking site. I have taken the liberty to post a slightly edited version, as it may interest many Readers here.]
What Vedanta (or Acharya) refers to as adhyAsa or avidyA is only a label used for the sake of instruction while imparting the Non-dual (Advaita) message. Shankaracharya never meant that an entity called avidyA/adhyAsa ever really exists.
And this labelling is made taking into account the already *observable and existing* human behavior. That is why we do not explain avidyA/adhyAsa as anything other than (or beyond) the very natural human behavior based on the fundamental notions — ‘I am this’ and ‘this is mine.’ This is a very very important point to be always kept in mind, in my opinion. Continue reading →
Q: What does this mean: You can’t experience brahman, but everything you experience is brahman?
A (ChatGPT): This statement is an expression of the non-dual nature of reality as understood in Hindu philosophy, particularly in the Advaita Vedanta tradition.
According to this view, Brahman is the ultimate reality that underlies all existence. It is an unchanging, infinite and eternal principle that is beyond all concepts and categories. However, because of the limitations of our minds and senses, we cannot directly experience Brahman as an object or as a concept.
Despite this, everything we experience is seen as an expression or manifestation of Brahman. In other words, all the objects and phenomena we encounter in the world around us are ultimately a reflection of the underlying reality of Brahman. In this sense, everything we experience can be seen as a kind of pointer or signpost that can lead us towards a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.
Thus, the statement “You can’t experience Brahman, but everything you experience is Brahman” is a way of expressing the non-dual nature of reality, in which the ultimate reality is both beyond all experience and yet present in everything we experience. It suggests that while we may not be able to directly experience Brahman as an object, we can still recognize its presence in the world around us and use that recognition as a means of coming to a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.
Q: In your comment on the article by Arun Kumar, I was confused but intrigued that you define Mithya as something that simply explains the fundamental nature of the Brahman in life and its objects. I have not so far found any dictionary that defines mithya as anything other than false or illusory nor discovered any major scholar-philosopher who thought that Shankara viewed this world as a reality – as real as the ornament in your metaphor. You say that Shankara himself by discriminating between the waking and dream states suggests that novel meaning of Mithya. Is this your own interpretation or does Shankara himself link the ability to differentiate between those states to explain mithya?
You raise the example of how jumping into the middle of traffic would help one realize why this world is NOT an illusion… but it is not convincing enough. Potentially, both a person jumping in front of a truck and his consequent “death” could be perceived as illusory events too. The real question I have is whether Shankara himself viewed this world as illusion and used Mithya to convey that or not. And, if it was an illusion for him, what did he think the meaning of life was? If on the other hand life was Not an illusion to him, as you seem to suggest, what was its purpose in that case?
Q: Can we still hold that modern science is far from realizing the unreality of the world, the basic teaching of Advaita? (Quora)
A (Martin): Clearly, philosophical statements such as “the world is unreal”, “life is a dream “or “reality is spiritual” express not empirical but a priori propositions or enunciates. As such, they are independent of sense experience in that their truth or falsity is not determined by the facts of sense experience. Such statements can neither be confirmed nor confuted by sense experience. Observation and experiment are simply irrelevant to their truth or falsity. Thus, they fall outside the realm of the empirical sciences, whatever be the speculations of individual scientists when assuming the role of members of the laity. Further, in the contexts in which they most often occur, such statements are not regarded as provisional truths subject to refutation or revision as in the sciences, but as absolute and irrefutable truths.
The following was posted to the Advaitin List by Satyan Chidambaran, who has agreed for me to record it here.
There is a distinction between bAdha (sublation) and nAsha (destruction) that the tradition makes.
To know that a Pot is not real, and only clay alone is real, one shouldn’t need to destroy (engage in nAsha of) the Pot appearance. One just needs to know clearly that the Pot is just a name and form and Clay alone really exists. Therefore, even when seeing a Pot, a “Clay j~nAnI” knows clearly that the Pot is mithyA nAma rUpa and Clay alone is satyam. This is bAdha of the Pot.