How is Vedanta Superior to Other Philosophical Texts? – Part 11
In previous part 10, student began debating the teacher with some important questions whether we can ever capture the truth, considering it's beyond our mind/senses.
Now student debates how are Vedas (specifically Upanishads) any better then countless others philosophical and spiritual texts. Student at some point claims Advaita Vedanta is just another point of view like any other, thus has no superior status in transforming one's life.
Let's see how teacher responds to this…
Student debates, “How are you so certain of the books in your tradition? They are merely your interpretations of them. There are many other books in the world. What is the basis to consider your books of Vedanta, and your views to be the superior?”…
” Of course others proclaim aloud their texts are the true revealed words.
However we have to judge the books by scrutinizing their contents.
Are there discrepancies and contradictions? And if there are, are they resolved? Moreover, is it clearly shown how there is no actual contradiction between two statements?
Do they stand to logic, reason and experience which anyone can validate upon sufficient inquiry?
Is there immediacy in their teaching which can be authenticated here and NOW, and not after death?
Are their teachings (the vision to be understood) NOT based on mere faith, fantasy and belief?
Do they reveal the true nature of “I”, the very subject “behind” every experience? Sacred book should take into account both the subject and the object. Else it's incomplete knowledge. I can know everything about everything. But do I know myself?
Do these other texts show how God (Ishvara; cause of world) and I are the one same Limitless-Existence-Consciousness (satchitananda), which is the bases of all existence?
Does it contain knowledge that reiterates that we are already the one Limitless WHOLE, here and NOW?
Does it have knowledge which upon assimilation, sets us free immediately from the wrong notion that we are limited beings? Or it makes fancy promises of salvation at some unknown future time – at some special location?
Does it contain knowledge which I cannot know on my own, nor which can be improved from a different angle… and which can also be communicated CLEARLY without doubt to the listener?
Does it actually NOT contradict most of scientific discoveries?
Additionally, does it contain a methodology which would make any academician proud by irrefutable examples and logic presented?
If we consider these questions, you can see that our sacred texts and commentaries speak for themselves. That's why they are independent texts. Our texts backup their own claims from every possible angle, which can't be destroyed by any angle.
What's more, if we look at the books objectively, they declare unequivocally, “Truth is without a second. The Limitless One and I are not different. The One is I, which is Consciousness, the source of all creation”.
The irrefutable truth in past, present and future is, “The Limitless One and I are one”. And our sacred texts (Advaita Vedanta) show precisely how this is so, step by step.
Student further continues debate, “If I understand you rightly, no other interpretation then “truth is without a second” is at all possible. Yours is the last word on it, and the rest are mere ignorance. With more people of your opinion, we will not have any more openness. We would have a society of closed-minded people!”
” I am no the decision maker.
It is not a personal opinion.
I am only pointing out the validity of the words of our sacred books and texts.
Others explanations merely restate what our minds and senses tell us, which is “the world and I are different”.
Some of our most reputed teachers in every part of Earth, both masters and preachers, have fallen into this subtle trap of using the sacred words and texts to support their interpretations.
However good-will they are, the fact remains they have no been quiet as objective as they claim to be.
They have superimposed onto the sacred words, their chosen point of view… and using the texts as vehicle to support their hypotheses.
I do not need to study for years, repeating an obvious observation, “The world and I are different”.
That is laughable, just like telling a child, “My child, you and the horse are not the same!”.
The child would look at me most curiously wondering what happened to it's wise almighty papa.
The same applies to other's explanations.
Truth is not a matter of faith or belief.
With every prophet making fabulous claims, how can we ever know for sure which claim is the true one?
What is their valid source?
Without immediacy in logic or reason, how can we consider their source as valid means of knowledge?
For example, we only consider doctor a valid means of knowledge because he points out what is immediately verifiable.
Who would go expecting him to preach mere beliefs about the illness. Or even have the patience to hear a lecture about having faith that in the near future, the illness will go away.
You will find as you learn that “without a second” is not a matter of opinion.
It is neither a statement of fact, nor a point of view.
Because a point of view is only true if we have the vision of the whole.
Where truth is concerned, to have the entire vision, we need to look at what the words in Vedanta tell us. They must be looked at with objectivity and without prejudice.
Once we know the whole, where is the need for a point of view? Since the whole doesn't exclude any viewpoint.
Truth does not seek popular appeal, nor is it a question of an opinion poll.
A society that seeks the truth, by definition, will be the most open of societies.
Our present debate proves we are avid seekers of truth.
Student's skepticism attempts to disprove the tradition, “Teachers and teaching, including masters and books – are all living from the past. Our lives are driven by memory and habit. So our life is mostly mechanically driven, living by our past knowledge. Where is the question of living in the now?”
” We need memory to tap information for life's transactions.
For example, the more neural pathways crisscrossing, the greater our intelligence and overall capacity to problem-solve.
Without recollecting and remembering, how would we carry on living? Not even remember where we put down our book.
Thus memory indeed plays a critical role in knowing, creation and exploring knowledge or evidence.
For example, we all get “aha!”, a moment of eureka, sooner or later. But this is only possible because of stored knowledge, aided by memory.
Meaning memory is required for understanding anything. You need to hold something long enough, for mind to inquire onto it.
In same way, understanding “truth is without a second” is gradual.
In this way, we need memory to recall, dwell and contemplate, until Truth assimilation is complete.
Once understood without doubt “Truth of I as Limitless Consciousness”, then memory's role is no longer critical.
Thereon, knowledge guides our every step of our wisdom filled life.
Where is the question of mechanically living? Why condemn masters, teaching and books? ”
Thanks for the great article. My question is – Why do you say Advaita Vedanta is philosopical? Is it not revealed texts as it came to Rishis through sound(sruti)?(not from human beings but from Isvara/The Total Mind).
I thought philosophical means from human beings and cooked up by human beings(interpretation, And vedas is not cooked up from human beings.
We’re not calling Advaita philosophy in the article, only in title it’s compared to other philosophical systems.
Also English word “philosophy” has two meanings:
1) Belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school. This definition does not qualify for Vedanta.
2) The rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics. This fully qualifies for Vedantic literature.
Hence Vedanta may be called a philosophy but only if word is FIRST defined as #2, so listener doesn’t interpret as common #1.
Thanks for explanation 🙂