Is Advaita Vedanta an Intellectual Exercise? – Part 32


It was explained in last conversation 31 that word “self”, when used in Vedanta, is unlike word “hot” or “cold”.

Concept of “hot” is only true in relation to concept of “cold”. And vice-versa. They are mutually dependent opposites. They are relative to their opposing family member.

Whereas self, also referred to as the subject, is independent.

Noone needs to learn in school, “I am”.

But we need to learn of everything else, including what “hot” and “cold” means.

Meaning self has no opposites. You never experience yourself as two entities.

One may argue, “I experience myself as happy-I, gloomy-I. So there are two entities”.

Fact is, there is still a subject present because of which “happy” and “gloomy” are known to exist.

Without the subject, what is even available to recognize the presence of “happiness” or “gloominess”.

As the teacher continued, suddenly the student become agitated…

The student said, “I can't help but think your point of view is mere tautology (useless repetition). These explanations are mere semantics. You define the words then go about proving the definitions ongoingly. This approach sounds to me like an intellectual exercise meant to keep our intellects alert and agile!

Without a Second is not tautology.

Although it will seem like tautology and even boring if listened to passively. Effort is needed on your part to investigate.

Have you ever seen parents bring youngsters to a life improvement event? Within minutes, “life improvement” means walking out of the life improvement event.

Does it mean the event is tautology (unnecessary and pointless)? No. But it seems like it to most youth.

In reference to Advaita Vedanta, we're merely pointing out what's always true — but dismissed, undervalued or misinterpreted the truth.

Such negligences lead to continuation of the universally recognized itch that there must be something more.

And to remove this beginingless itch, we need to reinforce the basics…

The subject is the self-evident “I” to whom this truth is explained.

We're talking about you right now (the reader-listener of this). Not some subject “over there”.

The truth of this subject is Limitless whole.

“Limitless whole” is not something you can conclude with, “I got it!”.

Such attitude is a contradiction because it's putting “limitless” into a time-bound understanding and reducing it to confines of a limited mind.

Therefore, “Limitless whole” is a growing clarity for which we need to use precisely defined words to communicate the vision.

Meaning you cannot dismiss the words as mere semantics.

Besides, what do you even mean by “semantics”?

Semantics is a field of study related to words and their meanings. It's purpose is to help us use words as precisely as possible.

For example…

Would you rather have someone teach you physics using loose language or precisely defined words?

Former is interesting and attracts a large crowd. But lacks power to cause a life-long shift in perspective in the listener.

Whereas the later leads to a direct transformation of one's perception towards self and the world. But requires lots of thinking in relation to the knowledge.

Similarly, when we wish to convey the truth of our self as Limitless Existence (the most subtle topic) — how can we manage without semantics?

Therefore semantics is a tool like anything else. It helps us remove faulty ideas in our minds about the subject “I”, which the mind is not separate from.

Now let's address tautology…

If the word tautology (unnecessarily repetition) was directed towards the teacher — then we need to be reminded that teacher is a mere mouthpiece.

All knowledge comes from our sacred books and are the only means to know the truth of self.

The scriptures reiterate the facts at every turn, in various contexts. This way, we can doubtlessly capture the full meaning of our nature as Limitless Consciousness.

If you can keep the mind open, without prejudice — then mind can gradually comprehend the transformative power BEHIND the words.

The words are intended to release us from our illusionary sense of bondage. From non-acceptance. From the self-imposed idea we're not worthy of being loved or loving.

Thinking about this, where is the question of tautology (useless repetition)? ”


In next discussion, the nature of objection changes towards Fate. Student is unable to reconcile, if all is One, then what's the purpose of helping others, since others are mithya. Student is unsure whether to help or to remain indifferent to other's suffering.”

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