Author Topic: Postulated  (Read 430 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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« on: February 22, 2015, 09:47:18 AM »

      The first takes an observed fact - for example I wake up one morning and find the road outside is flooded - and postulates an explanation for this - e.g. heavy rain occurred whilst I slept. Since I slept soundly, I have no direct knowledge of any rain but, without such a supposition, I have no reasonable way to explain the observed phenomenon. Other 'unreasonable' explanations may be put forward but the one suggested is the most plausible to the rational mind. In order to justify an improbable explanation, the more plausible must first be discredited. Since the observed fact can only be explained in this way, the explanation becomes a pramaaNa or valid means of knowledge. This pramaaNa is 'perception-based'. as opposed to 'shruti-based'. Shankara's concept of adhyaasa is in fact a shruti-based 'postulate' since there is no mention of the subject in the Vedas themselves and it is in this way that it becomes a valid knowledge in its own right.

      Just as this principle can be used to explain the flooded streets, shruti-based postulates can be used to explain that the ideas that we are mortal, doers and enjoyers are all due to error. For example, the Kathopanishad II. 19 says "If the slayer thinks that he slays or if the slain thinks that he is slain, both of these know not. For It (the Self) neither slays nor is It slain." Also the Giitaa V 8 tells us that one who knows the truth understands that we do not act. We are not 'doers' or 'killers' or 'killed'. Therefore, any statement such as 'I am a doer' or 'I am an enjoyer' must be an error, from shruti (and smR^iti) based postulate.

      Similarly, the notion 'I am a knower' is an error. The MaaNDuukya Upanishad, for example, says that the aatmaa is not a knower in the waking state, the dream state or the deep sleep state but is pure consciousness. Thus shruti-based postulate shows that this idea, that 'I am a knower', is false. (Unlike the idea 'I am consciousness', which is not an error.)

      Another statement in the shruti says that the aatman is changeless (indestructible and incombustible). To be a 'doer' would involve change since this is an experience. All experiences, enjoying, knowing etc., are processes involving a modification of ones state e.g. from ignorance to knowledge. In fact, the suffix -er after a verb implies this modification by indicating an action or process. Since the aatman cannot change, it follows that the aatman cannot be a doer, enjoyer or any oth-er. The concepts must be errors or adhyaasa.

      A final argument is that, in order to be a 'doer' one would need an associated 'instrument'; for example, mind is an instrument of thought and sense organs are instruments of perception. A 'doer' would have to be associated with an instrument of 'doing' and an 'enjoyer' with an instrument of enjoyment. But the scriptures say that the aatmaa is not associated with anything and so cannot be a 'doer' etc. Another adhyaasa is 'I am limited' e.g. ' I am here' (and not elsewhere). The kaThopanishad (I-3-15) for example says that the aatmaa is beyond the five sense perceptions, is eternal and unlimited, beginningless and limitless. Since it is unambiguously stated that we are limitless, the idea that I am limited must be an error, by shruti postulate. The notion 'I am an individual' is false; I am Brahman is the reality.

      The last example here is the idea that there are many aatmaa-s. This, too, is an error. Many of the philosophies do claim multiplicity of aatmaa - saa~Nkhya, yoga, vaisheshhika, puurvamiimaa.nsaa and even vishishhTaadvaita and dvaita (which both recognise the importance of Vedanta. But Shankara cites the shvetaashvatara upanishad as clearly implying that aatmaa is one and the iishaa upanishad (V7) says "He who perceives all beings as the Self, for him how can there be delusion or sorrow, when he sees this oneness (everywhere) - all in all?" Thus, shruti postulate has shown that the ideas that we are mortal, doers, enjoyers, knowers, limited and many are all false.