Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
Whether you like it or not, 6 Darshanas with irreconcilable differences in aspects of epistemology, soteriology, ontology, nature of divinity and its relationship with the rest of the universe, are acknowledged to be Astika (based on the Vedas).

I neither like, nor dislike it. I merely note that it is an evasive and argumentative tactic when offered in this context. If all 6 darshanas being "astika" means that one cannot disagree with any of them, then this is really nothing more than a refined way of telling people to shut up and stop disagreeing. In that case, you can extend the same courtesy to the commentators in each of those traditions, all of whom disagree with each other on many cardinal points. You may also note that many of my criticisms are themselves offered by the likes of Madhva and Ramanuja. Maybe you have heard of them. Certainly they are no light-weights in the area of tarka, and they would certainly not be laughed out of a good debate. But all of this is besides the point - when one has doubts about the logical consistency of a philosophy, dismissing his doubts because he hasn't employed the formalities of an ancient tarka debate is neither humble nor convincing. It has all the appearance of someone employing a bluff, or worse, just a game of one-upmanship for someone with a personal grudge. Case-in-point: The question of Brahman having attributes. It's a legitimate question that comes up even in contemporary Hinduism. The Chinmayanandas, Vivekanandas, and Sai Babas of this world do not stop to define their terms anymore than the cheerleaders of Advaita do on this forum. But they all say the same thing, nay, they insist that their view is correct and all other views are just lower understandings or some such thing. I don't have to redefine English words to point out that evidence from shruti does indeed show that Brahman has attributes. And if I am mistaken in my understanding of the shruti, someone who actually knows what he is talking about doesn't need to complain of the lack of tarka formalities to point out how it is so. Which is why I correctly deduced that this is all merely evasive, not really substantive in the least bit.

Merely saying that Advaita has an explanation for this or that is not convincing per se. It's the validity of the explanations themselves which is being questioned.

Now, there are three options before us:

(1)Throw one's weight around claiming only 1 subsect of one of the 6 Darshanas are the true purport of the Vedas and all others are false.

(2)Throw one's weight around claiming one particular subsect of one of the 6 Darshanas is DEFINITELY NOT the true purport of the Vedas. (I am tending to see quite a bit of this option of late on HDF.)

(3)Be amazed at the fact the same set of scriptures and society gave rise to such diverse yet beautiful and rich philosophy and theology. Be amazed that Indian philosophers thrashed out issues millenia before the rest of the world came to grapple with similar issues - Problem of Induction, nature of consciousness, etc. Try and learn from the various dialectics of our Acharyas about the very nature of philosophical disputation. Every person needs a philosophy to live by and the Astika Darshanas provide some of the most beautiful of such philosophies. Sit back, relax and immerse in such beautiful legacy of expansive knowledge left to us by philosophers who did their best to preserve such knowledge for future generations like us.
I prefer the 4th approach:

(4) Accept that the shrutis speak in a consistent fashion about the nature of the Absolute Truth, and that man-made explanations of what the shruti says are precisely that - man-made, when they do not give satisfactory or consistent explanations of what is contained in shruti. Reject puerile attempts to derail discussion based on ad hominem attacks and barbs about one's lack of qualification, while accepting that we are all at some level not really all that qualified, and that we are just having preliminary discussions to point ourselves in the right direction rather that writing definitive commentaries on the texts. Study the texts and derive conclusions based on evidence found therein, and give greater weight to the simplest explanations which explain the greatest body of evidence over more complicated explanations based on lesser standards of evidence. Recognize that those whose sole participation in the debate consists of barbs and jibes rather than substantive argument are probably just insecure at some level.