Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vedanta as means to know the Self

Any knowledge to take place must have three factors: the object to be known (prameya), the one who wants to know or the knower (pramata) and the valid means of knowledge (pramana). Knowledge itself is called prama.

Vedanta talks of the Self (Atman/Brahman) as ‘aprameya’ or unknowable, since it is not available as an object of knowledge. If the Self cannot be known thus what is the point in studying the scriptures then?

Just as we come to know through ‘pramanas’ of a lot of things that exist but which are so far unknown. Like a new disease, for example. Having discovered it we say the disease “is”. Then we hunt for its cause and then say the cause “is”. Then the treatment ‘”is”. The side effects “are”. So on and so forth.

The Self is not available as an object of knowledge but it is not totally unknown. “I am” and “I know I am” is self-evident, self established/svatah-siddhah. Everyone’s Self "is" and that is already established only then can study of Vedanta or an inquiry into the Self be undertaken. Vedanta cannot establish the Self nor can any Guru/God. Vedanta has the status of a ‘pramana’ because it removes the wrong notions about the Self.

The Shastras/scriptures bring into our recognition something that already is, maybe totally unknown to us before. It removes all the superimpositions/projections we build upon the Self in ignorance. The knowledge in the scriptures is nothing but removal of ignorance. If ignorance is not removed there is no knowledge at all. Ignorance and confusion centered on the Self is there and the scriptures have the capacity to remove them.

1 comment:

Merging Point said...

so true! two ways to go about. This reminds me of Sankara's style, "Neti, Neti"...what remains would speak for itSELF!!