The transcendent identity of being is the test of reality in the Advaita of Shri Shankara

Appearance cannot be ignored or negated.It exists in knowledge along with knowledge. It is positive and definite. It exists in time and in space. But this is no proof of its reality nor is it a mark of truth. A thing is not true because it appears or it does not appear. An appearance may …

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The philosophy of Shri Shankara has been called creative monism

By some high, authorities the philosophy of Shri Shankara is called creative monism. He insists that the effect is not unreal. His words are: “All the theories which maintain the unreality of the cause or the effect or both are untenable and easily refuted”. (Aitareya Upanishad, Shankara Bhashya, I. I. 2.). Some of the interpreters …

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How can we imagine that consciousness originally does not exist

In the school of Shri Ramanuja and other theistic teachers, the soul (Self) is atomic by nature. It cannot transcend its atomic nature and cannot attain its all-expansive character. But when the bondage of the soul is broken and the influence of karma is no longer operative it grows in expansiveness under the influence of …

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The Absolute of Shri Shankara is both omniscient and omnipotent

About 800 years ago a great Vedantic philosopher named Prakashatman introduced the conception of Brahman self-conditioned by Maya, and pure Brahman. Swami Vidyaranya follows this great teacher with some reservations. By this time Vedanta had lost its original vigour. It shows signs of age and seems to be static. The period of cohesion is over. …

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Sometimes, to explain the empirical world, Shri Shankara gives his cosmological teachings

Sometimes, to explain the empirical world and taking it to be existent for the sake of argument, Shri Shankara gives his cosmological teachings. But he never means for a second that the world of time-space and causation has any reality independent of Brahman. In his great Advaitism, Ishvara and Brahman are synonymous terms. Brahman is …

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Nescience (Avidya) in practical experience is an undeniable fact.

Nescience (Avidya) in practical experience is an undeniable fact. “I know this” implies “I do not know that”. A Plato, an Empedocles, a Kant, a Hume, all assert some time or other: “I do not know that”, “I make an error of judgement”. Nescience embraces the realm of relativity. It implies uncertainty and insecurity. It …

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Fundamental points on the Advaita of Shri Shankara that are overlooked or misunderstood

The following presentations do not pretend to offer an introduction to the entire field of the metaphysics of Vedanta in all its complex phases. 1.Nescience (Avidya) in practical experience is an undeniable fact. 2.Sometimes, to explain the empirical world, Shri Shankara gives his cosmological teachings. 3.The Absolute of Shri Shankara is both omniscient and omnipotent, …

Read moreFundamental points on the Advaita of Shri Shankara that are overlooked or misunderstood

The perfectly real is beyond all change and so beyond action

Advaita Vedantais the doctrine contained in a certain body of treatises which follow a particular line of explanation and defence of the main teachings of the Upanishads. On the theoretical side, its main principle is that only the Absolute exists, known variously as the Self, as Brahman or as the supreme Lord (Parameshwara). The apparent …

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To be ruled by instinctive preferences and aversions is what the Yogis call bondage

A common view of the ordinary materialistic man of the world today is that life is a competitive game which is to be played in order to win. There are two versions of this view: the nicer version is that the game is to be played according to certain rules, with decency and sportsmanship. This …

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Buddhi is the basis of all knowing, willing and feeling

In Western philosophical writings the functions of the conscious mind are commonly divided into Knowing, Willing and Feeling. The Vedanta usually adopts a different classification, and there is a risk of confusion unless this is clearly recognised. Suppose that someone asks you to describe London and you do so by splitting it up into postal …

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Existence is unchanging, imperishable, immortal and the All.

Nothing can exist without Existence. The existent is phenomenal, changing, subject to birth and death, but Existence, upon which all stands phenomenally, is unchanging, imperishable, immortal and the All. Existence is common to God, matter and all modifications of matter such as grass, trees, etc., and all is what it is by virtue of Sat, …

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Two philosophical objections to Non-Duality

The philosophy called Advaita, which means “ the theory of non-duality ” found its most complete and systematic exposition in the writings of the great Indian philosopher and yogi, Shri Shankaracharya. It holds that there is a single spiritual reality underlying the Universe. This principle is called Advaita—“ non-dual ”—rather than “ One ”, because …

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A Christian misconception of Indian spiritual culture

In his book called ‘Indian Thought and its Development’, the great philanthropist Albert Schweitzer made a critical examination of Indian spiritual culture and finds little good in it. His knowledge of Indian spiritual literature is impressive in its range, but he approaches the subject very much through the blinkers of a Western orientalist. He finds …

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In the philosophy of Adwaita, only One Non-dual Existence is recognized

Brahman. In the holy philosophy of Adwaita, only One Non-dual Existence is recognized. When we think of It as the Abstract, as the Transcendental (Nirvishesha), It must be believed to be free from the limitations of attributes and It is called Brahman or Parabrahman (God the Absolute). It cannot be explained in words : hence …

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Some reflections on the relations between Indian and Western philosophy

One cannot help suspecting that the a priori reasoning by which Western metaphysicians have supported those conclusions (or their own Western version of them) is a kind of facade. It is natural to suggest, for example, that Spinoza at some time or other had a mystical experience which gave him (shall I say ?) a …

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