Thoughts on economics and liberty

The Metaphysics of the Upanishads (Vichar Sagar) by Nischal Das #2

Had some time to read a bit more of Vichar Sagar (Word). Truly hard going, I must say. It requires concentrated attention, and I can't find time for that.

My posts so far on Vichar Sagar include:

This is therefore not the second one, but I've labelled it so, to provide some form of continuity of the analysis.
The first thing to note is that it now appears to me (I may be wrong) that at least some of the Vedanta texts are (in part) designed as a defence against two key schools of thought – Buddhist and Charvaka:

no system of philosophy can be complete that does not take note of the possible objections to be raised against it, by the rival schools, hence, more in harmony with the Madhyamika Buddhists … [Source footnote 67]

Similarly, Charvaka is frequently mentioned in the text as questioning the Vedanta, and so the book purports to provide a comprehensive defence against the apparent limitations of Charvaka thought.

Some notes:

I'm still trying to read the book, and will continue reading. So these ideas that I've absorbed are merely preliminary notes.

a) The logic is based on similies, some of them very clever. Consider these:

– The jar is invisible (it doesn't have inbuilt luminosity), so the only way we see it is through our intelligence which reaches out (like the arms of an octopus) to cover the entire jar instantaneously and therefore our intelligence "takes the shape" of the jar. This is an interesting theory of perception. Intelligence is therefore "self-illuminating".  

"the internal organ issuing through the outlets of the sensory organs, goes to the subject of its discovery; then from the body to the subject of the jar, the elongated size of the internal organ like that of an aqueduct, as in the above instance, is called its function" [Source, p.107] 

– The jar is nothing but a restriction on space which is infinite. The jar gets destroyed upon our breaking it, but the space inside can never be destroyed. Similarly when our body is destroyed, our consciousness/soul/intelligence can't be destroyed.

– Not everything that can't be sensed is unreal (this is in contradistinction to Charvaka's materialistic theories). Thus, for instance, consciousness is real although there is no sense organ for it.Happiness and unhappiness is real, similarly. If this is accepted, then our Self is real, and since Self is like the space inside a jar, the mere destruction of the body can't destroy the Self.

– And yet things aren't "really" real. These are all a form of the Brahma (hence maya; appearance – this allows for the evolution of the observed universe). The underlying reality is one – and distinct from matter. We are reflections of that reality. Our intelligence is "reflexive", being a reflection of the intelligence of Brahma.

Prakriti through the changes wrought upon it from a close contiguity of the Purusha or Spirit undergoes a change in its qualities, which disturbs its equilibrium and induces further changes, whereby the objective world and all it contains arc produced. In such a view, there is no need of a personal Creator. It is simply evolution brought on by the influence of the physical forces through the change impressed upon them, by the con­tact of the Spirit, in the same way as a magnet attracts a piece of iron and converts it into a temporary magnet, by imparting its properties. [Source, footnote 48] 

b) There is an intriguing hint about the underlying complexity of "matter" which makes the universe both exist and not exist at the same time (quantum mechanics/uncertainty? – of course one should avoid reading too much into the fuzzy language that is found in these ancient books!)

Ignorance is explained in quite another way. It is the same as Mua Prakriti or the primordial undifferentiated cosmic matter. Sankhya’s Prakriti (Matter) and the Vedantin’s Ignorance and Maya are synonymous. It is described as neither existent nor non-existent. Existent since every one says ‘I am ignorant,’ it is present in all men and animals, in the inanimate world, and everywhere else. Non-existent, because with the advent of knowledge it disappears—for a similar reason it is called indescribable, i.e. to say something which cannot be definitely determined. [Source, above]

Evaluating the arguments in Vichar Sagar

The arguments are pretty strong – as far as sheer logic goes. The arguments seek to also prove that you can NEVER "see" Brahma since our senses can't "see" It. However, we can presumably sense It. That means there a physical test of God's existence can't be conducted. 

While interesting (and intelligent!), these arguments hinge critically on the assumption that consciousness is similar to space and "ether", in that:

a) it exists regardless of the "jar" or "internal organ" (or body) that encompasses it; and

b) it is universal and eternal, and underpins the observed universe in all its forms and shapes.

The idea that consciousness is an entity independently of the "internal organ" (brain) is far-fetched and not proven conclusively. The validity of this assumption will make or break the Vedanta philosophy.

At places the assumptions go a bit wild. When it comes to explaining Rama and Krishna within the framework of non-duality, the Vedanta makes excessive assumptions, claiming that the body of these "people" was not made of ordinary matter. At some stage reason can't really work, and the Vedanta stretches one's credulity to the limit – almost like any other religion.

The only good thing is that the Vedanta teacher doesn't IMPOSE his ideas on the pupil. He is willing to answer the questions of the pupil till the pupil is satisfied. That's a brilliant innovation – that the teacher MUST PROVE the case.

I'm posting below extracts from chapter 4 (section 4). The chapter offers, among other things, an excellent theory of knowledge (epistemology). If nothing else, this book chapter confirms that Indian thought was truly the world's most advanced, 2,500 years ago. Nothing in this book so far is inconsistent with critical thinking, being based on reason. Just that modern science has yet to understand anything useful about consciousness, and the string theory has not been proven, either.

The Vedanta operates between the known (visible) causes and underlying causes – which makes it very difficult to disprove (or prove). We await further evidence from science.


Pupil. Though the spiritual soul or intelligence (Boodhi) with the reflex is the seat of the perception ‘I am Brahma,’ and not the Uniform, yet such reflex knows that the Uniform Intelligence and its principle of individuality are the Atma indicated by the first person­al pronoun ‘I’ which also is the same as Now ‘Aham’ establishes the Uniform Intelligence as always non-different from Brahma, as the space covered by a jar is always one with the infinite space from which it cannot be in any way demarcated. Hence the Vedantin describes this mutual relationship of the Uni­form with Brahma as Mukha Samanadikarana (a main predicament or inference in which several things are included.

When a thing is always non-different from another thing, their association is called a Mukshya Samanadhikarana.As for instance, the space engrossed by a jar is always non-different from the infinite space which is ever present along with it, therefore the jar-space is the infinite space; and as such, the first has in relation to the last, the condition of a predicament in which it is included with it. In the same manner, the Uniform Intelligence has, in connection with Brahma a similar ‘main inclusive predicament,’[1] because they are always non-different from one another.
Moreover, the reflex intelligence rendered apparent by the first personal pronoun ‘I’ for including or confining Self in it, is non-distinct from Brahma, just as the reflection of a face is non-distinct from the face and included in it. Hence the Vedant Shastra declares the reflex intelligence as an associate of Brahma and included in it. This is called Vadha samanadhikarana. It means that condition of mutual relationship, when a thing establishes its non-difference with its companion by lapsing into It. Here the thing is a Vadha samanadhikarana to its companion. As for instance, the reflection of a face merges into the face (when the mirror is withdrawn) hence they are non-distinct; the reflection is the face itself and not as something different, and this mutual relationship of the reflection with the face is called (Vadha samanadhikarana)‘community of reference by merging.’
Or, as in a person mistaking the stump of a tree for a man, after the tree is known the form of a man disappears and the tree is rendered apparent. Here the person has a community of reference to the tree of the second kind;
Similarly by the disappearance of the reflected Intelligence, it becomes one with Universal Intelligence, which is one with Brahma,hence its reference to ‘I’ is the same with Brahma,and not dis­tinct from it. Such a ‘community of reference’ the reflex intelligence has with Brahma,by merging or disappearing into it.
In this manner pupil, you are to determine the Uniform Intelli­gence indicated by the word ‘I’ as without any distinction whatever, and by the merging of the reflex into it, this one is likewise non-different.
Says Tatwadrishti:–
The witness and reflex are recognized in the function of Egoism, say then, whether they are contemporaneous or otherwise.
Bhagavan,you have said that in Egoism both the witness and reflex are recognized to be present; on this subject I do not under­stand whether the function of the subject [witness] of that individu­ality, or Egoism, determines the uniform and reflex intelligence at the same time, or at different times; do explain it so that I may understand.
The utterance of the reverend Guru is as follows:–
Listen attentively to the essence of the reply which I give, that will clear your darkness and bring in the light of perception [help your knowledge].
Pupil, I will now reply to your question; it embraces all the points raised by you, so that if you listen attentively to it, the dark­ness of ignorance will be destroyed and the light of knowledge wilt help your perception.
In one time the witness and reflex are cognised
Secondly on the subject of intelligence, the first is Self‑illuminated.
Pupil, both the witnessing and reflex intelligences are mani­fested in the principle of individuality at one time; on all subjects, reflex is to be taken as the reflected intelligence along with the internal organ; ‘secondly’ means the intelligence present in the internal organ with its reflex intelligence and which constitutes what is called a witness, agent, or instrument and recognized, or determined as such, by the function of the internal organ. The wit­ness is self-illuminated, and is not the subject of the function of the internal organ with its reflection of intelligence.
The perception of a jar or another external object takes place in the following manner:–
When the Sensory organs combine with a jar etc., the function of the internal organ issues through the senses, and assumes the shape of the jar; as a melted metal assumes the shape of the mould in which it is cast, so does the function of the internal organ assume the modification of the jar (or other external object which it cognises) but that function is not without reflex intelligence, but with it; for function is only a modification or condition of the internal organ, and is called so. As the internal organ is derived from the Satwa or good quality, it is naturally trans­parent and luminous, consequently the subject of its function is reflex intelligence—and as its function is likewise transparent and luminous and a derivative product of its action, it has also a reflex intelligence. Moreover when the function is excited, it is produced with the reflex intelligence from the internal organ; even from such a cause, the function is derived from the reflex intelli­gence, and its subject ‘a jar is’ the result of Tamas or dark quality, hence naturally insentient; and its subject ignorance is also its envelopment. Here a doubt may arise, that ignorance and its envelopment are also present in the intelligence and not in ‘a jar’ for similar reasons derived from analogy; for ignorance is dependent on intelligence, and forms its subject, according to the Vedanta. More­over as has already been said, while treating of the seven conditions, that ignorance is dependent on the internal organ together with its reflection, so that the predilection for such ignorance as expressed by the declaration “I am ignorant” can only refer to the internal organ with its reflex intelligence. Hence intelligence is said to be the prop or main support of ignorance,—which intelligence represents the internal organ together with reflection, because the internal organ with its reflection of intelligence are an action of ignorance. Now as the action of a thing cannot be its prop or support, therefore intelligence alone is the receptacle or support of ignorance; also it is the ‘subject’ of ignorance. What conceals the identity of a thing is spoken of as a subject formed by ignorance; in con­nection with insentient objects, ignorance can play no part in con­cealing their identity or real likeness, for they are naturally covered or enshrouded, [as they are wanting in the light of intelligence] so that the envelopment of ignorance does not apply to them. In this manner, Intelligence is the prop and subject of ignorance, just as the darkness of a room envelops its interior, and forms its environment and not that of a jar (present there).
(Why)? As ignorance is something quite distinct from intelli­gence—neither existent, nor non-existent—it is dependent on intelligence. Hence ignorance enshrouds intelligence. In the same way, -ignorance which is quite distinct from a jar, though not dependent on it, yet it covers a jar and -discovers it as something insentient; hence a jar is always covered by the darkness of igno­rance. Because ignorance has a preponderance of darkness and is the productive source of all the elements, and jar is elementary in composition, hence it is derived from ignorance: and as darkness has naturally the property of concealment in it, therefore a jar is naturally devoid of luminosity and is darkblind. Thus is estab­lished the natural darkness of a jar which is due to its covering of Ignorance.[2] Moreover, the Ignorance dependent on the inherent intelligence of a jar covers that intelligence, and endows it with environment which is naturally covered already. Now though a body naturally covered needs not any other covering, yet it is generally known, that in the absence of such necessity like an uncovered object, Ignorance [producing concealment] does cover a body which is already enshrouded, so that a jar with its covering or envelopment of igno­rance is only rendered visible by the internal organ with its reflec­tion of intelligence assuming the shape of the jar, its function dispersing the covering of ignorance, while the reflection of intelligence present in such function discovers or renders it visible. Thus then in regard to all external objects, both the function and its reflex intelli­gence are applied to render them visible. For example, as in a dark room, an earthen or iron vessel covered by an earthen salver, can be uncovered by breaking the salver with a stick; yet without the light of a lamp, the vessel cannot be discovered though its envelopment has been removed; so a jar covered with ignorance, gets its covering removed by the function of the internal organ, but that does not render it visible, because the jar is naturally insentient and wanting in light, which is also the case with function, whose province is only to break the covering, hence the reflex is the discoverer of the jar, i.e., renders it visible to the eyes. In this manner, cognition by means of sight is brought about. The same rule holds with cogni­tion by means of hearing and the rest.
This is called visible knowledge, because the function and jar reside in the same province.
As the function of the internal organ assumes the shape of a jar, and between it and function, there is no relation, but the latter is quite distinct, therefore this is called the invisible knowledge of a jar. Now such a knowledge can only determine the existence of a jar as ‘Jar is,’ while the first renders it visible and ascertains it definitely as “This is a jar.” These then are the forms of; ‘visible’ and ‘invisible knowledge.’
Though the remembrance of a thing is its ‘invisible knowledge’ yet such remembrance is due to conception; inference in the same way produces ‘invisible knowledge’ by analogical proofs, that is the difference in them. While on the subject of proofs I have ascer­tained their nature. A Charvaka only admits visible proofs. The followers of Kanada and Suguta admit the proof established by analogy, for by admitting the former, there will be no inclination for enjoyment necessary to the gratification of appetite. The sight of an uneaten dinner can produce no gratification of the appetite; in such a condition the visible proof is inefficient to cause visible knowledge; hence one who has experienced gratification by eating a dinner, and has determined the source of gratification, may equally conceive such gratification to be present in an uneaten dinner, for reaping whirl, he shows an inclination to eat, thus admitting the proof of an analogical inference [Sanjeev: this is inductive logic]; this is the reason why the followers of Kanad and Suguta admit both the visible and analogical proofs. Moreover the followers of Kapila, the author of the Sankhya Philosophy admit the proofs derived from sound. They say, visible and analogical proofs ought not to affect a person whose father is absent in a distant country, by the receipt of intelligence that he is dead; for here the death of an absent father in a distant country cannot be rendered visibly clear to the son either by the visible proof or an analogical inference, hence according to Kapila, sound is the third variety of proof; that alone explains the grief which the son suffers on receiving the intelligence of his father’s death. The followers of Gautama, the author of Naya,admit compassion as the fourth variety of proof. Because, from an admission of the first three proofs, when a person who has never seen a Gayal,[3]but has heard a description from one residing in the woods, that it resem­bles a cow, goes into a jungle and sees the animal, he recollects the description given of it by a resident of a forest, and from such a recollection, he afterwards recognizes the animal to be a Gayal;this should not be. Hence such a distinct knowledge is due to simile, resemblance, or comparison, which is also recognized as a proof.
A Pravakar—follower of the author of Purva Mimansa of the same name (a disciple of Vadia of another country)—cites arthapati as a fifth variety of proof. From the sight of plumpness in a man who eats nothing by day time, a person is apt to conceive that he takes his food in the night, as otherwise it is impossible for the body not to lose flesh; under such circumstances night-eating is a promo­ter of corpulency; hence it is the promoting cause of corpu­lency which is its effect, therefore the knowledge of the first is called the arthapati or denoting cause of the knowledge of corpu­lency. The knowledge of the, effect of night eating is called the denoting casual proof; and the Vadia followers of Purva Mimansa cite a sixth proof in what is unfelt by experience (anupalabdhi). The necessity for it is established in this manner. In a house the absence of a jar is felt, here an object is wanting, yet it produces the knowledge (that it is not present): now an unperceived object is called an unfelt or unexperienced one, therefore the imperception of a jar, determines its absence. In this way, the source of ascer­taining the absence of an object is its imperception, which is called (anuapalabdhi pramana)or proofs unfelt by experience.

The means of producing true knowledge or perception of an object are called proofs. The instrument which forms the subject of unrestrained signification and different from memory, is called Prama or real demonstrator. Knowledge of memory cannot be called true perception or consciousness for that must be dependent on the giver of evidence or Pramata,[4]which memory is not, but depen­dent on the witnessing intelligence (instead); this is an admitted fact, Moreover misconception and doubts are also admitted as dependent on the same intelligence. For this reason recollection, misconception, and doubts are spoken as forms of Ignorance (avidya) with reflection of Intelligence, and not that of the function of the internal organ, so that they are independent of the (pramata) senses but dependent on the Uniform Intelligence which is a witness, agent, or instrument. Therefore knowledge which assumes the shape of (i.e.,modification of) the function of the internal organ is dependent on the senses, but independent of the witnessing intelli­gence and what is derived through the senses is called prama. Knowledge derived from memory is not a function of the mind, hence independent of the senses; so is true perception or knowledge hence the indications of true knowledge are necessarily said to be distinct from memory or recollection, knowledge derived from which, though it forms the subject of unrestrained interpretation, yet as such knowledge is not distinct from memory, therefore what produces the true perception, the subject of unrestrained interpretation, is called prama (consciousness[5]). Such an indication is free from defects. Moreover some look upon knowledge derived from memory as true perception (prama); we should not say,that in their mind they do not hold the indications of true perception or conscious­ness as something distinct from memory or recollection; but true perception is that which forms the subject of unrestrained inter­pretation. A misconception cannot form such a subject, hence the indications of true perception are absent in misconception; and one who in his mind uses knowledge derived from memory as a true perception, such knowledge then becomes a function of his internal organ, and not a function of ignorance independent of the witness­ing intelligence, but dependent on (pramata)proofs; inasmuch as the protector of the mental function is the one who gives evidence (pramata)and not the witnessing intelligence. In this way, know­ledge produced from recollection is a function of the internal organ in some persons and thus resembles a true perception, while in others it is only function and hence not such perception.
Moreover, misconception and doubts are the functions of Igno­rance in every mind and dependent on the witness. This is uni­versally admitted; also on due consideration it will be found that knowledge derived from memory is equally a function of ignorance, and likewise dependent on the witness, and quite unlike true per­ception or knowledge. Because the followers of Vedanta classify knowledge of proofs under six heads, in which knowledge from memory is not included, hence it is not true knowledge. Then again Madhusudana Swami says it to be dependent on the wit­ness.
Knowledge from proofs is thus classified.
(1) Visible perception[6] (prataksha prama) derived from sight.
(2) Inferred (anumiti) derived as a natural inference.
(3) Heard (savda) derived from sound.
(4) Similitude (upamiti)caused by resemblance.
(5) Denoting cause (arthapati)
(6) Negative (abhav)
These with the six visible proofs before mentioned, constitute in a consecutive order the instrument or means of action (karma).
The instrument or means of true perception is called visible proof (pramana).
The extraordinary (or particular) cause is called an instrument, while the general cause of all actions is called the ordinary cause; as virtue and vice for their being the general cause of all actions are called ordinary cause and not an universal cause; but an extra­ordinary cause is that which produces a certain action,—something definite, as for instance the turning rod of a potter. Here it cannot produce all sorts of actions, but stands as a cause for the production of an earthen jar, or something equally definite, hence its cause. Therefore a turning rod is called an extraordinary cause, as also the cause of ajar, a pitcher, etc.
Similarly Iswara and his will [i.e.,volition, consciousness] are the ordinary cause of visible perception, (i.e.,the objective world which ever floats before the consciousness of the individual); because all actions are derived from him, and without him no­thing is produced. Hence Iswar is the ordinary cause. Then again, the external organs of sense, [eyes, hearing, etc.,] are called the extraordinary cause of visible perception. In this way, the sensory organs,—eyes, hearing and the rest—constitute the visible proofs (prataksha pramana),though the Vedanta does not look upon them (sensory organs) as the cause of the perception,[7] because intelligence is marked by four distinctions.
These are‑
(1) Intelligence of one who gives evidence (Pramata),
(2) Intelligence of proofs (pramana),
(3) Intelligence of what is proved, or authentic; same as perception (prama)and
(4) Proveable or finite; or subjective Intelligence (prameya) as it is also called.
Thus ‘perception’ is another name for intelligence, which is eternal. It is not derived from the sensory organs, hence they are not its cause. But then, the function of intelligence which accom­plishes true perception and determines its uses, is likewise called perception, consciousness, or knowledge. The sensory organs are its instruments or means. The limited or finite intelligence of the internal organ intrinsically situated, is one which gives evidence and called so (Pramata). That internal organ issuing out of the body through the respective channels of sight, hearing, and the rest lengthens its size to cover the site occupied by a jar or an­other object, which it seeks to discover; it then assumes the modi­fication or shape of that jar, by combining with it. As water, confined in a tank, issuing through a tap, or opening, runs into an aqueduct and is then lengthened in size till it reaches the several beds in a garden which it irrigates; and as in its several stages, that water assumes the modification, or shape of the aque­duct, and the beds through which it traverses; so the internal organ issuing through the outlets of the sensory organs, goes to the sub­ject of its discovery (as if its bed); then from the body to the subject of the jar, the elongated size of the internal organ like that of an aqueduct, as in the above instance, is called its function, which for limiting the intelligence is called (pramana chetan) demon­strating intelligence, and the functional intelligence or modifica­tion of the internal organ is called demonstration (pramana).
Like the water running through its beds assuming their shape, the internal organ assumes the shape of the subject it overtakes or covers; in this way, it is modified into a jar or another object, and the limited intelligence is thus called (prama) the intelli­gence which gives evidence. Consciousness which is the subject of a jar etc., and limited by it, is called the subjective intelligence, as also proveable intelligence: Now those versed in the Vedas determine their explanation and ascertain the difference between them in the following wise:–
Those who propound the distinguishing feature to consist in the limitedness(Abachedavadi) of the intelligence, assert that the func­tional intelligence of the internal organ is the demonstration. It is likewise the agent and instrument; and its associate (witness) is its demonstrator or giver of evidence, and therefore the predicate of that demonstrator, while the demonstration is an associate.
A predicate (visheshan) is such as enters into the nature of a subject. It is an object capable of covering or surrounding a subject, and, inasmuch as it seeks to differentiate or particularize a thing from another, it is called a byavartaka [or encompasser]. As for instance a ‘Blue jar’. Here ‘blue’ is a predicate of its quali­fying substantive jar, for it enters into [covers] a jar and differen­tiates it from a yellow or black etc., jar, hence ‘blue’ is an ‘encompasses,’ and is likewise the predicate of jar which is the object covered. That is to say, since, a blue jar is distinct from such another jar that is white, black, yellow, green etc., and since this difference, is manifested or created by the jar itself, it is called covered, or encompassed.
It is likewise the subject or noun. As in the example, “He is a Dandi, or stick carrying person,”[8] here the stick is the subject of that person. In the same way, the internal organ is the predicate of the one which gives evidence (pramata). Because the subject of such witness is covered or entered into by the internal organ, and establishes it as something distinct and particular from the intelli­gence concerning a thing to be proved (prama),thus constituting what has already been mentioned an ‘encompasser.’
A thing that enters not the substance of a subject, but is only an encompasser is called an associate (upadhi). As (according to the Naiyaikas)the divided ether present in the external meatus of the ear is called the organ of hearing; here the external meatus is the associate of the hearing organ, for it does not enter into the-subject of such hearing [situated outside, it does not cover the inter­nal parts which are concerned in the production of sound] but is simply an ‘encompasses’—because it differentiates the ether present in it, as something different from the ether situated outside of it, inasmuch as it hears, which the outer ether cannot..
Likewise in the instance of the ether in a jar, the former gives the latter space enough to contain a maund of food-grains,—here even, the ether is the associate of jar, for the creator of the space to contain the maund of rice etc.,—ether—cannot be entered into by a jar; as it is earthy in composition, it has a void space in it, and cannot be naturally penetrated. Moreover the ether is parti­cularized from the all-pervading ether present everywhere, hence the creator of the space to contain a maund of food-grains—ether—is the associate of jar.
Similarly, the associated intelligence of the internal organ is the associate of witness, for the nature of the witness cannot be pene­trated or covered by the internal organ, and it differentiates the intelligence of that which is to be proved, as something distinct from the witness, so that the same internal organ is the associate of witness and the subject of that which gives evidence, and called pramata chetan. In this way, intelligence associated with the internal organ is the witness, and the subjective intelligence of the same organ is one that gives evidence. It is the agent or instru­ment, that is to say, a doer, an eater, and is happy and miserable.
According to the doctrine of Avasvada (who propound the reflex intelligence) the internal organ with reflex intelligence is the predicate of Jiva,and associate of witness, so that Jiva is reflex intelligence with the subjective intelligence of the internal organ, while witness is the same reflection of intelligence with the associated intelligence of the internal organ.
Though in both these views, intelligence with its predicate is Jiva, who is subjected to an earthly existence, yet that portion which is the subject of the predicate viz, intelligence, cannot possibly be a subject of birth and death, happiness and misery, and the usual phases of an earthly existence; hence the predicate alone refers to earthly life, which sometimes appears and is set forth in the subjective intelligence, as in reference to the subjective conditions of virtue, and sometimes as a subject of subjective virtue; while in other places, both as a predicate and subject in the sub­jective conditions of virtue. As the space or ether; in a jar is destroyed by a stick (which breaks it); here jar is the predicate des­troyed by the stick, and not its subject the ether, for it is impossible to destroy it, yet in common parlance, it signifies that the stick destroys the subjective space or ether of that jar.
Moreover, in the instance, “He is the man with the earring”; here ‘with the earring’ is a predicate, having for its subject ‘man.’ Now the predicate ‘earring’ cannot be formed or created by the subject ‘man,’ but the contrary holds true, and thus ‘with the earring’ is used to signify a subjective condition,a condition which constitutes the predicate,—the possession of the earrings in the present case.
Also in the instance, “An armed person has gone to battle”; both arms [of war] and person—the subject—have gone to battle, so that both of them signify the occupation and are used to indicate the constitution of the predicate.
Here an Avachedavadi looks upon the internal organ as the predicate, while the expounders of reflex intelligence hold the reflection of the internal organ as predicate, but both of them agree in calling Intelligence as the subject. Now this Intelligence is devoid of birth and death, happiness and misery; but the predicate internal organ or its reflex Intelligence—which is the entity that is subjected to birth and death—is used to signify the subjective intelli­gence. (Used’ stands for expressing or declaring.)
Thus then is the difference in the doctrine of the two aforesaid sects. According to an Abhasvadi the internal organ is said to be made up with reflection of Intelligence, while the doctrine of his rival, (Avachedvadi) does not admit of such reflection. Of these two, the former is the best, for the (Bhashyakar) commentator of the Vedanta has admitted reflex intelligence as a fact, thus upholding the doctrine of an Abhashvadi; while in regard to the Abached­vadin Swami Vidyaran says it to be faulty.
If the finite intelligence devoid of reflection of the internal organ be accepted as the one which gives evidence(pramata.),then the limited intelligence of a jar may equally be called so. Be­cause the internal organ is a derivative product of the elements; so is a jar equally so. Then again, as the intelligence of the inter­nal organ is limited [distinct]—call it hemmed in, surrounded or encompassed—so is the intelligence of a jar equally limited. Hence the intelligence constituting the predicate of the internal organ, equally with that constituting the predicate of a jar, may justly be considered as the, one which gives evidence; but such de­fect is easily removed by au admission of the reflex intelligence of the internal organ, inasmuch as the internal organ being derived from the Satwavic or good quality present in the elements, [ether and the rest], is luminous and transparent, while a jar is a product of the dark quality of the same elements, therefore not luminous or transparent. A transparent or luminous substance is only capable of reflecting; a dark thing can create it not. Fur example a (look­ing) glass and its cover are equally produced from earth, but the former is transparent while the latter is not, hence glass alone is capable of showing the reflection of a person’s face. In the same way, the internal organ, being produced from the good quality [of ether and the rest] is transparent, for which intelligence is re­flected on it. The gross physical body etc., as well as a jar, and other substances are all products of the dark quality, hence they are not transparent, consequently intelligence is not reflected on them. Thus we find the internal organ to be the seat of two sorts of manifestibility; of which one is the manifestibility of the all-pervading Intelligence, and the other that of reflection. The first (not the second) is present in the gross body, jar, and other objects. Hence the internal organ for its being endowed with both the intelligences is the pramata,while a jar etc., having only one in­telligence is not so. Those who do not admit the doctrine of reflection of intelligence in the internal organ, are reduced to the condition of looking upon it as the seat of one intelligence, like that of a jar etc., consequently the same all-pervading intelligence is present both in a jar and the internal organ, so that for the presence of this one intelligence equally everywhere,—in the internal organ, a jar, the gross body, etc., —all of them equally with the first, must be reckoned as what gives evidence. Accord­ingly we find, wherein is the difference between the body etc., and the internal organ. That is to say, the internal organ for its being an action of the good quality is transparent; and the rest, as they are opaque are not endowed with the property of receiving such a reflection. And the internal organ for its capability of receiving a reflection in combination with intelligence, is what is called ‘pramata. But the body, jar, etc., are not so favourably circum­stanced; they have no property of receiving a reflection, consequent­ly without such reflex, but with only the one pervading Intelligence, they are not ‘pramata: Thus is determined why the doctrine of reflex is superior to that other the Avacheda vada; and why the latter one is not good.
As the internal organ is possessed with the reflection of intelli­gence, so is its function endowed with a similar reflection; this functional reflex intelligence is called the demonstrating (pramana)Intelligence. Intelligence over-riding the mental function which assumes the shape of a jar etc., (for the purpose of cognising or dis­covering it) is called true knowledge,(prama). The means for attaining such knowledge,—the external organs of sense—are called (praman) proofs, for intelligence which rides over the function that assumes the shape or modification of a subject is called true know­ledge. And it may be said, that such intelligence being perma­nent, it cannot stand in any need of the sensory organs, hence they cannot be called as a means of true knowledge. But as all true knowledge is not attributed to the unassociated intelligence, but to the associated Intelligence of the mental function, after it has assumed the shape of a subject, therefore in regard to intelligence, in the inclination for true knowledge, the associate is the mental function which undergoes the shape of asubject, which is due to the senses, for they are its means.
If the associate of true knowledge—mental function—be due to the sensory organs, then the associated knowledge must alike be due to them, hence they are called the means for true knowledge. Then again, all modifications or changes wrought upon the mind are not called proofs. Hence when the mind situated inside the body, takes for its subject ‘a jar’ for the purpose of discovering it, and assumes its shape, such a change or modification is alone a proof (pramana) and its subjects or the component units of such subject after which the mind is moulded, are called true knowledge (prama). From the mind situated inside the body to its subject a jar etc., and its assuming the shape of such subject, is modification of true knowledge, so that there is not much difference between such true knowledge and the function of the internal organ[9] which is only a form of proof.
Thus then, in the cognition of an external object the mental function issuing out of the body covers such an object,—a jar and the rest,—and assumes a similar shape: in the case, of Self (Atma) that function does not issue out, but remaining inside is moulded into the shape of the Atma; by the same function, the concealment of Self is driven away, when through his own luminosity he is manifest­ed or discovered in the function. For this reason, it is said, the sub­ject of the mental function, and not that of reflection of intelligence, (a result of that function), is Self. In this way, the witness—Self—is known as Self-manifested. This is clearly established.
Saith Tatwadrishti
Without relation of the senses, to know ‘I am Brahma’
How is rendered visible, Lord, explain it to me.
The visible or apparent knowledge of Brahma,destroys all the meshes of ignorance, the invisible cannot effect it, as has already been said; if any doubts arise concerning the visible knowledge of Brahma,inasmuch as cognition by the sensory organ can alone render an object visible, which cannot apply to Brahma,for the sense of sight is powerless to determine or render It visible; that the image of Rama, Krishna, etc.,—their human shape—are all productions of illusion,—false—and do not represent the Brah­ma;though in the Purana Ram, Krishna etc., are said to be incar­nations of Brahma,yet it does not say that their bodily figures as represented in images are Its representation; what it means is simply this, that the intelligence present or inherent in such bodies is Brahma. Now with reference to such intelligence it may be alleged, that its presence in all bodies is Brahma;accordingly its presence in the bodies of Ram and Krishna is Brahma; so that birds and beasts as well as other creatures having the same inherent intelligence may equally claim to be Brahma,and con­ditionally similar to a Rama or Krishna, so the natural inference is, that the resemblance with Brahma is not the inherent intelli­gence, but to particularize It and the individual, the body is the source. But this is clearly inadmissible. For if the impediment of body constitutes a Brahma,in the case of Rain and Krishna, then other creatures have their individual bodies too, they may as well be called Brahma. But such is not the case, for bodies having a form and features, with hands and feet, and subject to action, can claim no identity with one which is formless and actionless, and such a one is Brahma. Thus we find the bodies of Ram and Krishna are not Brahma. Now the difference is this,—the indi­vidual’s body is dependent on his merits and demerits, and is a product of the elements (ether and the rest). From the force of ignorance, he is apt to connect Self with the unspiritual parts of his body—beginning with the body and ending in the mind[10]and ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ are attributions of illusion on the different parts of the body which can only be dispelled by the precepts of a professor.

Now in reference to the body of a Ram or Krishna, virtue and vice plays no part in its production, nor is it derived from an action of elements; but as the time of creation arrives after each cyclic period of destruction, for enabling individuals to enjoy or suffer according to their merits and demerits of a previous birth, /want though entirely dependent on his own Will, is actuated with a de­sire to create the world; no sooner he resolves to do it, than the world is created; subsequently he determines to sustain it and he maintains it accordingly. Here ‘maintain’ signifies allotting to each man his share of happiness and woe according to his merit or demerit. In the midst of such determination to maintain the world by the sheer dint of devotions on the part of his worshippers, he resolves to set forth the images of Ram, Krishna, and though he is devoid of a particular name and form, yet the image of Krishna, Pitambar, Syam-Soonder, has its origin in his resolution. They are indepen­dent of action.

[1] Community of reference or mutual relationship is the meaning of -Santanadhikarana.

[2] Ignorance is explained in quite another way. It is the same as Mua Prakriti or the primordial undifferentiated cosmic matter. Sankhya’s Prakriti (Matter) and the Vedantin’s Ignorance and Maya are synonymous. It is described as neither existent nor non-existent. Existent since every one says ‘I am ignorant,’ it is present in all men and animals, in the inanimate world, and everywhere else. Non-existent, because with the advent of knowledge it disappears—for a similar reason it is called indescribable, i.e. to say something which cannot be definitely determined. [Sanjeev: a form of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle?] Ignorance is possessed of the three qualities,—Satwa, Raja and Tama—the good, active and dark. According to Kapila Prakriti through the changes wrought upon it from a close contiguity of the Purusha or Spirit undergoes a change in its qualities, which disturbs its equilibrium and induces further changes, whereby the objective world and all it contains arc produced. In such a view, there is no need of a personal Creator. It is simply evolution brought on by the influence of the physical forces through the change impressed upon them, by the con­tact of the Spirit, in the same way as a magnet attracts a piece of iron and converts it into a temporary magnet, by imparting its properties. [Sanjeev: an evolutionary theory?]
[3] A species of ox, erroneously attributed by Hindu writers to be a deer.

[4] In a former portion of the work the author refers to the sensory organs as giver of evidence, or pramata—inasmuchas all knowledge is mainly derived from experience which they are the means of producing, and this fact is corroborated by the Western Metaphysicians too. Hence the ‘senses’ are used for pramata.

[5] Consciousness, true perception or knowledge are synonymously used for Prama.

[6] Or better as follows:–Perception, inference, sound, comparison etc.

[7] The senses are the source of illusion, hence they cannot be looked upon as the cause or source of true perception or real knowledge. This is the conclusion of the Vedanta. It is worthy of note, that Western Metaphysicians have also been coming round to admit its truth.

[8] A class of religious mendicants who burn the sacred thread, and carry a stick in their hand. They live entirely on alms, not begging twice in the day, nor going to a fourth house after being refused a meal in the first three. They are given entirely to study, and religious works and meditation. In Benares many of them are to be found; of whom very few are real Dandees. They dye their clothes with the red garoa.

[9] Mind and internal organ (antakarana) are synonymous.

[10] Says the Vedanta Sara:–
An illiterate person considers his son to be his Self. A Charvaka says his gross physical body to be his Self; another believes Self to be identical with the senses, a third says his vital airs, Self; there are others again who recognise the mind as Self.
Some Buddhists affirm that Boodhi (Intellect or spiritual soul) is the Atma.

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12 thoughts on “The Metaphysics of the Upanishads (Vichar Sagar) by Nischal Das #2
  1. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    1.         Re: at least some of the Vedanta texts are (in part) designed as a defence against two key schools of thought – Buddhist and Charvaka:
    Why think of the design? Let us see whether it complies with the critical thinking or not taking into account all the facets. It the same Vedanta which underlies all Puranas, Shastras everything. Matter of contradiction is entirely different thing which happens due to reader crossing eligibility criteria.
    Such repeated statements like yours as above just prejudice the reader even before he reads it. Hope you do not do it knowingly since most of the common readers lack own understanding and thinking ability!
    2.         Re: There is an intriguing hint about the underlying complexity of "matter" which makes the universe both exist and not exist at the same time
    Suggest you just understand the concept of ‘Mithya’ and you have done. No more complexity. A snake can be both real and un real in the rope. The ‘Mithya’ is a pin to the understanding of the whole ‘Hindu philosophy’.
     So long the modern science doesn’t solve its own puzzle: Energy cannot be created but still it sees the universe, till then it will find it hard to digest the truth about ‘Mithya’. It is not the experiment but the understanding that will help it ever.
    I think it is not Brahma but Brahman I see everywhere in your text.
    3.         Re:The idea that consciousness is an entity independently of the "internal organ" (brain) is far-fetched and not proven conclusively. The validity of this assumption will make or break the Vedanta philosophy.
    Here is my validation.
    Consciousness is to mind as the fire is to the wood. Fire can be seen by burning the wood. So the consciousness expresses itself as long as the brain is intact (live). Just as the fire cannot be found in the wood even by cutting it into pieces upto atoms so the consciousness could not be found in the brain so that it can be tested with experiment. Now the consciousness is independent of the brain means that it is just the expression of the particular arrangement of the atoms/molecules of the brain just as the wood and fire BOTH are expressions of the particular arrangements of the atoms/molecules making them.  Like this there exist arrangements of subatomic particles which make these atoms in turn and so on. This sequence continues upto infinity (Proof: energy cannot be created nor can be destroyed- this is expressed in Vedanta as universe exists and doesn’t exist at the same time and you may find it so only if you can keep your imagination and reasoning intact. It is not imagination/reasoning stretched too far.) The thing which underlies all these sequence of subatomic arrangements is called consciousness. Thus consciousness is universal and eternal. It just expresses itself where the (mithya) atomic/molecular arrangement of the elements/compounds is conducive to it e.g. Human brain, all the living things. But that arrangement itself need not be consciousness like the wood and fire as you and science expect it to be so that it can be caught in experiment and tested just as fire cannot be tested without burning the wood. Science at the most may succeed in arriving at such arrangement of the atoms/molecules and succeed create the human beings and that itself would be the dead end of science. It would only discover the futility of this discovery as to the further use of it. You may find it farfetched. But it just requires critical reasoning on sound footing. I lack ability to put everything in word at once.
    4.         Re:The only good thing is that the Vedanta teacher doesn't IMPOSE his ideas on the pupil. He is willing to answer the questions of the pupil till the pupil is satisfied.
    Thanks for this. Speciality of the Hindu genuine Guru is that he doesn’t teach the pupil the same thing and instead teaches the relative truths. He first judges the thinking capability, clarity of reasoning, purpose etc and then passes on the only knowledge that best suits his temperament. This should explain why there are Dvaities and Advaits equally venerable in India even though apparent contradictory. This is the reason why Guru is placed on par with the ‘Brahman’, the ultimate reality. He himself makes the Braham, Vishnu and Mahesh the Gods themselves. Maharshi Ved Vyas-no one can equal him except himself. Hinduism started getting distorted because the Guru started initiating the pupil in Vedanta without judging the eligibility of the pupil and India succumbed to foreign invasion etc causing its present predicament as you know history. This will also become clear when you finish 7th Chapter SUCCESSFULY. Truth is truth, however wrong understanding/interpretations plays the havoc as seen in India.

    Eessence of Hindu Guru- Pupil system is that- Without questioning you can not understand and you will understand to the extent to which you question. This is reason why you comments unfavourably in other blogs. You may grasp the second aspect of teaching in Dvaita which just complements the Advaita when you finisth 7th chapter.
    Everyone else finds the contradiction in Indian way of life because of this above fact.
    Better comment parawise, if any. 

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Ramesh

    The only comment at this stage is that in my view it is not possible for ANY entity to exist in this universe without a DIRECT physical cause. Leaving aside the question of the origin of the universe for the moment, let me focus on consciousness.

    Your similie of fire is unsuitable since we KNOW the physical components of fire – 100%. Wood plus oxygen yields a chemical reaction that includes the emission of photons as new molecular arrangements are created. The photons are seen as fire, but at the atomic level these are pure energy – which was earlier found in the outer orbits of various atoms.

    I don’t know of ANY event in the universe that can’t be explained through physical causes. True, the concept of consciousness has confounded scientists, but there are numerous interesting hypotheses, each being tested, and we will certainly, without fail, arrive at the precise mechanism by which consciousness is CREATED. In other words, I don’t see any reason to believe that consciousness exists outside of the chemical and electrical actions of the brain.

    When given a choice between a physical explanation (which Charvaka would have asked for, from what I gather), and a spiritual one, I’d pick the physical one since that leads to productive investigation. Even if 100 lines of thought are found to be wasteful, we will learn much in the process. However, sticking to a “spiritual” hypothesis that can’t possibly be confirmed except through subjective analysis (which leaves much to be desired, since I can’t “show” it to others), is not productive. It is a dead end.

    In other words, I’m going to continue to investigate this further when time permits, but I’m not able to find any scientific evidence on offer. I see very good logic, and very robust emphasis on critical thinking, but the test of all this being the truth is a bit higher than mere logic. Empirical proof is needed.

    The very fact that there are NUMEROUS hypotheses that are more sophisticated than the Vedanta in (a) cosmology, (b) perception, (c) consciousness – with NONE requiring a super-normal characteristic, indicates that the Vedanta is almost certain to fall by the wayside. The fact that it is trying to offer “explanations” for the “bodies” of Krishna and Rama in a spiritual manner is a problem, as well. Such “logic” doesn’t quite add up.

    However, as far as human thought 2,500 years ago is concerned, the Vedanta is excellent. A leading school of thought. Today, however, we have a higher standard of proof.


  3. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    Re: The fact that it is trying to offer “explanations” for the “bodies” of Krishna and Rama in a spiritual manner is a problem, as well.
    Have you understood the nature of the ‘body’ as per Vedanta? It is just Mithya. It means that it can offer hundreds of such explanations just in order to suit the follower. Let it be known to you that similarly it offers minimum of three explanations of the origin of the universe! Is it possible? Yes! You will find it in 5th chapter. Essence is that all that is ‘Mithya’. Ten different persons see ten different things in a rope not always snake. You may well recall that.
    Re: The only comment at this stage is that in my view it is not possible for ANY entity to exist in this universe without a DIRECT physical cause.
    Advaita is in total agreement with this. It cannot be denied. But you forget here that you talk about the entities which exist within the universe whereas Vedanta considers the ‘Universe’ itself as entity and discusses its cause and then obviously everything inside is accounted for, it goes without saying. This is how your understanding fails. Vedanta emphasizes that once the universe is established everything works according to its laws hence explainable (except the beginning itself) unlike you state. Energy cannot be created but then can science explain the cause of universe? No never. Even millions of years of evolution will not suffice to explain it except Vedanta.
    2nd thing.
    Obviously you failed to comprehend properly the simile referred by me. Consciousness is compared to the fire to the extent that it cannot be caught in a dead brain just like a fire cannot be caught in the wood which is not set on fire. Afterwards to prove the independence of the consciousness from that of brain, fire and wood are considered as the same entity as comprising of the atoms just like the human brain and here consciousness is not compared with the just fire as you understood. Here it is stated that ‘consciousness’ is the expression (~life) of particular arrangement of atoms/chemical reactions etc. This ‘expression’ is quite distinct from that particular ‘arrangement of atoms/chemical reactions etc’. It is possible to capture that particular arrangement but not that ‘expression’ in an experiment because of its very nature. This should suffice your query. However Vedanta goes further and says that such an arrangement exists even for the atoms/chemical reactions etc but the ‘consciousness’ expressed by these arrangements is not intelligible to others except our own and the likes. Request you kindly to read my previous comment again.
    Difficulty arises in comprehending the above fact because the atoms/photons (~universe) referred above are assumed to be real.
    I hope this should convince you the urgency of the biggest riddle: Energy cannot be created and still we perceive the universe as reality. Can the science explain this except the hope on future?
    Re: When given a choice between a physical explanation (which Charvaka would have asked for, from what I gather), and a spiritual one, I’d pick the physical one since that leads to productive investigation. Even if 100 lines of thought are found to be wasteful, we will learn much in the process. However, sticking to a “spiritual” hypothesis that can’t possibly be confirmed except through subjective analysis (which leaves much to be desired, since I can’t “show” it to others), is not productive. It is a dead end.
    Let the science first offer the physical explanation for ‘the first energy’ which created the universe and then choice of offer be made and then see what Vedanta chooses. It is the blindness which sees ‘spirituality’ in Vedanta. It is the difficulty of the physical process with which when mankind baffles with that he coins the term ‘spirituality’. What is that which makes the ‘Brahman’ a spirituality? Physical experiment/proof is not suitable because physical explanation for the same is wanting as per its own terms and conditions as is amply made clear above. Can you proceed to ask for proofs?

    Apologies if my attitude is a bit hard but no compromise about the scientific temperament I cherish.

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Ramesh

    DNA wears out after some time. In some cases it takes just a few weeks, in another case many years. Scientific experiments that dabble with DNA can extend its “life” in the lab.

    There are two opposing forces at work:
    a) Life, which is a tendency of atoms and molecules to cluster into “relationships” that defeat entropy for a while;
    b) Entropy, which wears out all physical relationships.

    Ultimately entropy wins. Energy has a way of spreading out. That destroys the underlying DNA. There are many other ways to destroy life, including clogging the arteries with the residue of food we eat, thus reducing blood into our brain, etc. etc.

    In brief, life has its limitations in time, and it ends when the physical body either wears out or is otherwise destroyed. Life is not endless.

    There are three key levels of the human brain. Consciousness is generated by the cerebrum, although a primitive level of consciousness exists in the mid-brain/cerebrum – which keeps the body ticking away while we sleep. Just as the leg has evolved to walk and to run, so also the cerebrum has evolved to think. There is no reason that a dead man should walk (his blood no longer moves and “charges” the cells in the leg), so also there is no reason why consciousness should continue after the brain is dead.

    True, we don’t yet know where all this came from and how there might be other universes elsewhere, but there are numerous theories, some for which we unfortunately can’t set up experiments yet (string theory). In that sense Vedanta is one more untestable theory. It therefore doesn’t add much value to the discussion. How do I care if I am the same as the “Brahma” or “Brahman” if I can’t see, feel, and test this theory – objectively.

    I wouldn’t mind such a theory if it leads to deductions that are amenable to testing, but you can’t test the Vedantic theory at any point. Hence it remains purely logical, purely reason based, purely analogy based. It doesn’t have any relationship with reality.

    Just because someone claims something I don’t accept it. Just because Vedanta came up with the muddled up fuzzy idea of “mithya” I can’t accept it.

    Should you provide me with ONE logical deduction from this theory that can be TESTED objectively, I’ll consider your views as being scientific. Till then, they are merely a primitive way of critical thinking, when (2500 years ago) mankind had not discovered enough about the physical world to explain away most things.

    I’m happy to read Vichar Sagar and discover what the ancient Indians thought, but as I wrote earlier, my tests are empirical. The fact that we can explain everything in the universe from the tiniest fraction of a second after it was created has not come about from the Vedantic type of speculative thinking, but from HARD QUESTIONING, which has led to the modern knowledge of science.

    The Vedantic theory is not fruitful. It doesn’t add to the sum total of human knowledge. It seems to be satisfied with a very shallow and low level of logical thinking.

    If the Vedantic theory had led India to the scientific method I would have given it far more importance.


  5. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    1.         One thing I repeatedly and exhaustingly observe is that you always avoid directly answering the basic question even though it is implicit in my almost every comment I post on such topics:
    “Energy (~m, t, d) cannot be created still we test and perceive the things in the universe as truth against the very fundamental law of the nature
    2.         If the answer to the above question is “it is still an evolving subject” then how is it justified to ask for the proof (like E=mc2) for the ‘Brahman’ DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE ANSWER TO THE ABOVE RIDDLE as in para (1)? Is it ever possible to test a ‘snake’ seen as real in the rope during the period of the illusion? [-Vedanta]
                How you/science forget that our eyes cannot look back directly our own eyes on themselves without the aid of any external things and still you insist on the same.           
    I expect a direct, to the point and sincere answer to the above just two questions. It may settle the issue once and for all.
    [Lose not the interest; it has far reaching effects on the future of mankind in every respect by way of avoiding the efforts of the scientists in finding/testing the impossible and directing their energies in finding the useful things which are almost infinite-Vedanta]

  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Ramesh

    No doubt, as I’ve suggested, there are numerous theories about energy. I’ve already suggested the multiverse theory of string theory (Hawkins). These models don’t require the CREATION of energy. It is already there. The only thing that is created is space and time, which has clear mathematical properties – and can be (and has been) empirically tested.

    It is not necessary to believe in the Vedantic postulates which offer LESS information than the most basic modern theories of the universe.

    If all we are saying is that energy is Brahma, then that is a tautology without any explanatory power.

    To call matter illusion is fine (indeed, matter is largely vacuum), but that too is a tautology.

    The point is – the Vedantic postulates are merely that: postulates. I’ll discuss one more of these shortly in a blog post – to demonstrate the incompleteness and lack of precision of Vedantic thought.

    But note that NONE of these issues (re: energy) proves that there is a Brahma (or we are non-dualistically linked). That theory – of universal consciousness – is well beyond tautological. It is speculative.


  7. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    There are two confusions on your side
    1.    It is nowhere said in Vedanta that Energy is Brahman. It will defeat the very concept of Brahman. Vedanta discusses the origin of energy and never equates the Brahman with the energy. Energy is no different from the matter. Brahman cannot be matter.
    2. Vedanta never calls the matter as illusion. Instead it calls it as Mithya (Maya). Mithya things withstand the properties of both the real matter and Brahman as specially elaborated in Vichar Sagar in 4th chapter (rope and snake).
    I am yet to study the string theory. However it appears that even energy which is already there remains to be explained.
    What is the use of the theory if it doesn’t explain the energy which is already there (assuming that energy can never be created) and for which exactly all this effort is being made?
    Therefore you have failed to address the basic two questions even the slightest and instead appears to have confused about what Vedanta says!

  8. skdubey

    Observer can not discoverd by anumana pramana or pratyaksha pramana. Observer is known only by shavda pramana. and scince is not awair of shavda pramana till today.
    Observer [atma,self,Brahm] is the subject of Savda pramana [proof].and the observations of our scince is depend upon Anuman pramana & little on pratyaksha pramana.
    there is a meaning of a word. but the sound is meaning less.
    dear sanjiv,………….Sound is not word[shabd]. sound is not Pramana [proof]. sound genrate out side. but words came from concious mind [antah karan]
    dear sanjiv, energy is not Obsever it is an Observation. Scince tells only about observation and scilent over Observer. Vedant searching for observer. vedanta says- observation is Maya and observer is Brahm. [drishya & drashta].=[observation &observer]=[jada &chetan]=[maya &brahm ].


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