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Thread: Shastra is Pramana

  1. #1

    Red Face Shastra is Pramana

    Fellow Advaitins,

    I have been having an interesting thought, we are told that Shastra is the Pramana for Brahma Vidya, it is my own conviction that only Advaitins can answer this question of mine , since they have an understanding of Advaita.

    How is Shastra the Pramana for Brahma Vidya ?

    In the sense how does Shastra act as a Pramana for Brahma Vidya, I would like Advaitins to share their thoughts on this.
    Last edited by Sriram257; 29 April 2015 at 11:23 PM.

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    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Namaste Sriram,

    Quote Originally Posted by Sriram257 View Post
    I have been having an interesting thought, we are told that Shastra is the Pramana for Brahma Vidya, it is my own conviction that only Advaitins can answer this question of mine , since they have an understanding of Advaita.
    How is Shastra the Pramana for Brahma Vidya ?
    In the sense how does Shastra act as a Pramana for Brahma Vidya, I would like Advaitins to share their thoughts on this.
    Shastra is one of the 6 Pramanas that Advaita VedAnta accepts for understanding the Reality. These are :

    a) Pratyaksha Pramana i.e. Direct perception ... It is the ultimate Pramana.
    b) Shabda Pramana or the Shastras (Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita and Brahmasutras)
    c) Anumana i.e. logical inference by other proven facts
    d) Upamana i.e. by comparison and analogy e.g. Comparing Dream with this world, Space in Pot example, Ocean and waves example etc.
    e) Arthapatti i.e. Postulation, derivation from circumstances
    f) Anupalabdhi i.e. Negative proof

    Why Shastras/Sabda are considered a valid Pramana because they are brought to us by seers who had direct perception of the reality. It is like this : I and you have not gone to moon but Neil Armastrong has gone there and seen what it looks like. So, we accept his Sabda i.e. his word. In Sabda Pramana, Advaita VedAnta relies upon Upanishads i.e. VedAnta, Bhagwad Gita and Brahmasutras.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  3. #3

    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Namaste Devotee,

    Finally a friendly discussion, so you are telling the answer from the Yogic perspective of Agama, I am fine with that.

    But the next question is that how does the Shastra show me Brahman, my eyes are the pramana for light since they enable me to see light.

    But the Shastra enables be to see Brahman if it is a Pramana just as the eyes are a Pramana for light.

    However how does the Shastra serve as a Pramana, that is the question.

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    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Namaste,

    SAstra-s are not just philosophy. They are experience of innumerable saints. They are like a verified or authentic map which can show you direction and guide you. Adi Sankara has accepted SAstra-s as vaild pramANa-s. Since I do not read SAStra-s anymore, I would not be able to quote them.

    Hari OM
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

  5. #5

    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Namaste Amrut,

    I willfully accept that Shastra is the record of the embodied knowledge that was discovered by the Rishis, that is fine, but how does it become a Pramana to know Brahman.

    Like how my ears helps me gain the knowledge of sound, and my eyes help me gain the knowledge of light and other forms, how does the Shastra help me gain knowledge of Brahman ? Could you please elaborate.

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    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Namaste,

    SAstra-s help you to gain clarity and give you proper direction. It is God inside us who will an introvert mind to establish in heart. What is said by Guru and SAstra will one day become personal direct experience. After one gets a glimpse of samAdhi, then a seeker will, by his own experience know the truth. Still one has to stabilize in samAdhi. Since path is known and a seeker can meditate at any time at will, SAstra-s have done their work. It is like walking on a road following a map. Now you are so near that you can see your destination. All you need to do is to keep walking to reach it.

    Spiritual path is invisible one. Hence one has to depend upon words of Guru and SAstra-s.

    Mind wants to imagine, get a picture of brahman. First hting SAstra-s do is to teach us what we are not. This path is called as neti-neti. Then by meditative approach, one separates oneself from that is not 'I'.

    e.g. if SAstra-s say, I am not mind, I am not body, etc. Then question comes Who Am I.

    Then the answer comes - I am Brahman or Sivam, pure consciousness. So SAstra-s help us

    1. remove our ignorance - the root cause of suffering.
    2. recall our true nature that we have forgotten - upanishads say, thou art that Svetaketu, not once, not twice, but nine times indicating that we hav eforgotten our true nature

    SAstra-s help us remove veil of ignorance. The Sun is already there but clouds have hidden the Sun. Hence we get the feeling that Sun has lost it's shine, Sun is not present and there is darkness. If by wind, clouds are dispersed, then Sun shines forth spontaneously without any delay in time. One getsa feeling that we 'now see the Sun', but the reality is that Sun was never lost. It was always there in it's place. Our false perception was due to the obstruction of clouds (ignorance), if we rise above clouds, then Sun is always there.

    SAstra-s and independent compositions of Gurus help one give logical explanation and give us a way to realize Brahman.

    Since mind needs to visualize, for the sake of visualization, when one is confused that I am not body and mind, then SAstra-s say, Atman is like AkAsh, subtle and present everywhere. Atman is like light. Light has nature of giving knowledge. In darkness, one cannot spot a book, but if we stiwch on bulb, we can spot the book. In this way, with the help of logic (yukti) SAstra-s help us remove the false knowledge about our true nature i.e. remove ignorance and give us information about our true nature. LAter it is up to individual to walk the path SAstra-s have shown us.

    Hope this helps

    Hari OM
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Advaita VedAnta relies upon Upanishads i.e. VedAnta, Bhagwad Gita and Brahmasutras.
    And Purana as well However I don't see highest aspect of Advaita in Bhagavad Gita, unlike in Hansa or Uddhava Gita. Uddhava Gita explains Advaita at its best. Uddhava Gita must be considered as jewel of Advaita if Bhagavad Gida is.

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    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Greetings,

    There are few things that have to be established within the Advaitic framework.

    (1)First, Shabda as a pramana has to be shown to be independent of and irreducible to other pramanas (such as pratyaksha, anumana, etc.). That sabda is independent of these are established variously by different astika schools - some key ideas here would be arguments such as the word is eternal, or that the Vedas are apaurusheya, etc.

    Assuming that this has been done, the following has to happen next.

    (2)The true purport of Sabda has to be shown to be nonduality.

    There are many dialectics that hope to achieve exactly this. Assuming this too has been accomplished, the next thing to happen is the following.

    (3)If the true purport is that of nonduality between individuating ego consciousness and pure universal consciousness, how does Sabda help establish this? Keep in mind that as per Advaita, the primal nescience is epistemic and not ontological, for Advaita reduces ontological categories to modes of cognition of the epistemic subject. So, Advaita argues that the final liberating cognition that arises from sabda (mahakavyas such as neti neti, tat tvam asi, sarve khalu idam brahman, etc.), even though it is a mental state that is part of the unliberated stage, points to the truth of the liberated state. So, this final cognition is individual self-destroying but expansive at the same time, for the individual self "expands" into the universal consciousness. Sastra and sabda become irrelevant in the liberated state, as do other pramanas for the liberated state/moksha is without the taint of sense organs through which all forms of pramanas function.

  9. #9

    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Namaste Amrut,

    I only found your answer to be most convincing. Now at this juncture one more question, you have clearly stated that the Shastra brings clarity to the understanding of my own self. At this point would you tell me that simply reading the Shastra by ourselves will we get clarity ?

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    Re: Shastra is Pramana

    Quote Originally Posted by Sriram257 View Post
    Now at this juncture one more question, you have clearly stated that the Shastra brings clarity to the understanding of my own self. At this point would you tell me that simply reading the Shastra by ourselves will we get clarity ?
    Namaste Sriram ji,

    Shastras talk of things that we are not used you. Spirituality is direct dealing with mind and in practical life, not much is taught on how to keep a check on our ever-demanding mind. So in the beginning, it will be difficult. Technically yes, reading of shastras will help one gain clarity. But shastras are not easy to understand. Again there is a lot of literature to be read. Reading just once is not enough. What I would suggest is that it is better to listen to audio / video discourse of saints who have dedicated many years to the study of prasthantrayi i.e. Bhagavad Gita, Principle Upanishads and Brahma Sutras. One is also expected to read Prakaran Granthas and Adi Shankaracharya ji's commentaries. After reading, understanding and digesting the essence of shastras combined with intense sadhana, if a saint gives a discourse on Gita or even Prakarana granth like Vivek Chudamani, then he will connect the teachings of Vivek Chudamani with Gita and Upanishad. Such a saint will give an essence of shastras. This will be very helpful. One must repeat Discourses many times to get some clarity. If doubts persists, approach a saint following similar tradition and get your doubts cleared. Guru or an acharya is important. We cannot understand everything by ourselves Taking help helps

    Ideally, in advaita, it is a standard practice to first learn basic texts (Prakarana Granthas). First one generally read is Tatva Bodh, then one can read Atma Bodh or aparokshAnubhuti or directly read Vivek Chudamani. VC is very important to learn. It is also worth mentioning that in order to practice the advaita way of life, strong renunciation and moksha as the only goal of life has to be there, but as you have said you can get clarity on what to do atleast by reading shastras. Also note that many saints while explaining shastras give their personal experience and some other stories which has nothing to do with verse under context. Avoid them

    Hari OM
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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