AbhAsa vAda

This is effectively Part 6 1/2 of 10 in the pratibandha series. It follows on from the heading of “The ‘mixture of Atman and mind’”. Apologies for the misleading and changing part numbers. This is the result of writing ‘as I go’ rather than completing the entire topic first.

Read Part 6

xi) AbhAsa vAda

This theory was mentioned briefly above in 2b, when bhAmatI and vivaraNa were discussed in the context of sources for mistaken views of Advaita. AbhAsa translates as ‘fallacious appearance’ and it is effectively the term that is used to describe this ‘mixture’ of Consciousness and intellect. Shankara addresses this in his upadesha sAhasrI, principally in chapter 18 ‘tat tvam asi’. The following analysis is with the help of Ref. 211.

As the chapter heading indicates, the topic is the mahAvAkya and how the knowledge of its truth is all that we need in order to gain enlightenment. We are already free and always have been, so once we realize this, there is nothing more that needs to be done. The idea that, after gaining ‘merely intellectual knowledge’ from shravaNa, we have somehow to gain ‘direct experience’ of Brahman before we are liberated, is called prasa~NkhyAna vAda. This is discussed and rejected in detail below, under the topic of ‘meditation’ but in this chapter Shankara introduces an objector who has these notions and the subsequent arguments are relevant to this topic of pratibandha-s. Continue reading

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

266px-Immanuel_Kant_(portrait)In Part I of this three-part series, I introduced Kant’s work and summarized his views on a priori and a posteriori knowledge. In this second part, we’ll review analytic versus synthetic judgments, clarify the meaning of transcendental idealism as it applies to Kant’s work in general, and also analyze tat tvam asi in terms of Kant’s philosophy.

Analytic and Synthetic Judgments

Kant’s investigation of the faculties of reason led him to explore the nature of judgments. He made clear the crucial difference between analytic and synthetic judgments. Kant’s jargon can become admittedly arcane, but analytic and synthetic are not hard to understand. Continue reading

Tat Tvam Asi

who am iHaving decided to have śraddha, an openmind on the possibility of the declaration by the vēdās that ānanda is our very svarūpa, our very seeking, and having understood and on that basis decided that mokṣa is the parama puruṣārtha of this life, and further having seen that scriptures are the only pramāṇa, means of knowledge, to mokṣa, let us commence our learning of the mahāvākya, the all important equation, one of which is “tat tvam asi”.

For any mathematical statement to be called an equation, we need to have 2 sides which appear to be unequal. For example 5+5 = 5+5 is not an equation whereas 6+4 = 7+3 is an equation. The mahāvākya “tat tvam asi” is an equation which can be mathematically expressed as tat = tvam. Here tat indicates īśvara, God,  and tvam indicates jīva, the individual.  In other words the śruti says īśvara = jīva, or God = Individual. Continue reading