How do the Vedas refute solipsism?

signal

Originally Posted by lightgigantic
Its more that conclusions are dictated by the authorities of knowledge that one holds.

As much as I on the one hand agree with this; on the other hand, I can't escape the fear that an attitude of choice about the source of knowledge and about authority is relativistic or subjective - but either way, invalid.
The point of examining the different pramanas is not to say that all claims about the nature of reality are equally valid - in fact much of vedic commentaries are about discussing which authorities of knowledge are superior/inferior to others. Looking at the different pramanas simply tells us from what angle individuals are arguing from (even if they are arguing that the notion of individuality is an illusion).
I have read a bit about the pramanas. Although the notion of the pramanas makes sense to me, I have to say it is foreign to me, and I don't think I am the only one.

From my Western perspective, it seems like sabotaging one's efforts in advance to choose a pramana!
I'm not sure how it sabotages the effort.
I don't know whether the purport of SB 3.26.30 is helpful or not

Doubt, misapprehension, correct apprehension, memory and sleep, as determined by their different functions, are said to be the distinct characteristics of intelligence.

"Authority, if it is to be any kind of authority, has to be self-evident, has to impose itself. If an instance does not do that, then it is not an authority. There can be no element of choice regarding authority, a person cannot choose which authority to subject oneself to." - That is the standard view from my experience.

Also, I think that usually, we think that knowledge is that which is objective, independent of the individual, non-subjective; that knowledge, if it is to be any kind of proper knowledge at all, should have nothing to do with choice; that knowledge exists, regardless whether someone chooses to learn it or not. And most of all, that knowledge, if it is to be any proper kind of knowledge, has to come to the person without the person willing it, since any act of will or desire would taint the knowledge and it wouldn't be proper knowledge anymore.
SOmetimes knowldge is broken down to three articles.
  1. There is the knowable.
  2. There is the process of knowing.
  3. And there is the knower.

Taken together, they form knowledge (or to put it another way, you cannot discuss an aspect of knowledge that doesn't touch on all three).

For instance take a claim of knowledge about the growth of beans.
There is the given about beans and their environment that renders them knowable.
There is the means by which a person came to understand the claim.
And there is the person making the claim

Now take the instance of impersonal realization explained as being where the knowable, the process of knowing and the knower are non-different.
:eek:
As I type it out, it seems silly, and I don't think anyone would actually support this notion. Yet when you see Western philosophers and pseudo-philosophers debate things, often, the above notion of knowledge is precisely the stance they imply!


It's as if we had te conviction that as soon as you choose a path on which to look for the truth, you have already missed the truth.
Why do you think there is (or seems to be) this conviction?
I know I have it (but it's not the only conviction about looking for truth that I have).
And how to overcome this conviction?
I'm not sure that I understand exactly what you are trying to indicate as the problem. Popularly a lot of contemporary authority in knowledge is simply based on sense perception. Key issues of what we are "seeing" with are bypassed (or even rendered subservient to external perception - eg consciousness is chemicals etc etc).
Even then, this paradigm is assailed by many criticisms (such as social constructionism/constructivism for eg .. or even the break down in category between soft and hard science in order to acknowledge what is practically "doable")


IOW if you accept

abhava - nonexistence (a kind of knowledge based on the absence of perception)

certain conclusions come to the forefront

I have read up on this too a bit, but I don't understand it.

I have read this, among other things: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/arc...st/042288.html . I can't see how abhava is relevant to cognition; it seems to be related to the neti-neti principle. Defining something by what it is not is an abstract and drawn-out process, impractical.
to which the advaitist would no doubt respond "that's because you don't understand that cognition itself has issues of abhava" (needless to say, its a waste of time to think you will ever understand an explanation of the akash)




In material consciousness there is no scope for describing fulfillment as such since whatever one takes as an article of happiness can easily be wielded as an article of torture.
eg -Swimming in water is pleasant for 40 minutes. Swimming for 3 days is likely to kill you. (IOW take whatever desire one has for being the independent enjoyer and it can undo a person)

So it's not that engaging with things would be inherently unsatisfactory - it's that some kind of engagement is unsatisfactory, and another is not?
more precisely its the manner that the individual engages in things. IOW its not simply a case of "well if you're sick of water skiing perhaps you should try macrame" but more a case of engaging in activity without the sense of "I am the doer/enjoyer" - basically thats what ahankara (or false ego is) - namely the sense of "I am the enjoyer/doer" that arises from activity. For a gross materialist there is no scope for any other sort of ego, hence the claims of buddhism/mayavadi come to the table for as long one doesn't have the means to dovetail their propensities in the service of god.

The idea is that the higher you move up the hierarchy, the more valid your criticism of inferior desire.

For instance living in a certain way grant a hog full satisfaction. A human living the same way will likely get a jail sentence.
IOW there are certain irrevocable standards of happiness according to one's consciousness.

Hierarchy as the basic organization principle is something I still need to get used to.
I am more used to the principle of center-periphery and the principle of parallels, but not hierarchy (thanks to HDG for pointing this out!).
I don't think I have heard that one.
Is it online?

the idea is that illusion (granted potency through one's attachment to the modes of nature) solidifies one's pursuit of happiness.
Hence dogs like to be dogs.

BUddhism tends to under-ride this notion, understanding that desire = misery. The vedic qualifier however is that material desire = misery.

There is the example that a landlord who is being harassed by excessive taxes may find it more beneficial to burn down their house. An intelligent business man however knows how to utilize assets so that they don't attract high revenue.

IOW destruction of the self is an intelligent course of action for the less informed.

Because the less informed cannot properly invest their self and into their self, it's best if they act as if to destruct the self.
If a person is less informed the best course is that they get informed.
If there are issues that inhibit the act of becoming informed, the material world simply calls the shots by default (with the ultimate aim of bringing them to a position of becoming informed).

Its kind of like there is the fast track and the slow track

But is it ever recommended by anyone to an actual person that they should do that? E.g. saying "Oh, you're not very smart, nor do you have access to the right books and teachers, and you are poor, so you should better stick to just trying to be nice to everyone, hope for a better rebirth, and don't concern yourself with things like the Absolute Truth and having a personality" -?
Buddha does appear to make a point on not bothering to venture in to discussion of the soul.

Jesus does appear to make a point on not bothering to venture in to discussion on the house of his father.

Mohamed does appear to make a point on not bothering to venture in to discussion on the form of god.

This doesn't render these three paths futile
Suppose that poor and not so smart person does have some cursory knowledge of scriptures and an interest to do and know more. Is it ever recommended (esp. in scriptures) that they should give that up and take up an impersonalist or otherwise simpler path?
Thats what Buddha did in essence "don't bother with the vedas, just listen to me and don't sacrifice animals for the sake of your palate"

SImilarly there is the argument of how Sankaracharya paved the way for Lord caitanya and the coming acharyas (by reintroducing the vedas within a buddhist paradigm)
At school, for example, they measure your IQ, consider your circumstances and such, and then they tell you what you can do and what you can't do, what you should do and what you should not do - and they list your IQ etc. as reasons for that.

Is there something similar in spirituality? Are we ever supposed to say "I am too poor / too stupid / my reputation is too bad to take on a higher course of spirituality, so I need to settle for a lesser one." -?
Its more the case that one will (or should) act according to one's highest capacity.
In whatever field of knowledge one may discuss, there always tends to be persons that are higher ("I know less than ...") and persons that are lesser ("I know more than ...") than us . The greater perspective on who is the greatest and who is the lowest may be something else though (hence the unique importance of BG as it is - "Here's god, and here's his opinion")



I have often encountered situations that in short can be summed up as:
"I have treated your dhiarrhoea, and now it stopped, so why aren't you happy?!"
"I have bought you the shoes you wanted, so why aren't you happy?!"
"You won the first prize, so why aren't you happy?!" ”

this is all prana-maya stuff

On whose part - mine, theirs, both?
both

means all the problems getting solved are simply avoiding problems of destruction/impairment.


If the final last word in reality is "me", what is it exactly that impedes my pursuit of happiness?

I see. Back to the issue of "If I am all that matters, then how come I suffer and am in illusion".
yup


IOW we had such an issue with god that he had to create a world that offers the illusion of his non-existence.

But this would also suggest that living entities, by their nature, are not exactly chopped liver, either - powerless, helpless, stupid - as we are sometimes lead to think.
sure
same quality as god
just different quantity (namely infinite vs infinitesimal)
We (or at least some of us who are confused and suffer) tend to think that maya is strong and intricate. With what you are saying above, this seems to suggest that that which maya is supposed to cover also has some strength and intricacy. Something like a strong leash for a strong dog, or a hard test for a capable student - as opposed to a thin leash for a tiny dog and an easy test for a poor student.
there's the popular story from bhaktisiddhanta about the beggar who was so frail that he was holding onto a tree to stand up. Taking pity on him, a merchant wished to give him some alms but the beggar wailed "I cannot let go of the tree so I can't accept the alms" ... even though with the alms he could solve his issues of frailty.
SO its kind of like that. Its not that maya has a hold on us but rather we have a hold on maya ( ...... perhaps until some benevolent personality rips our palm from the tree and stuffs money in our hand and says "take it!")
I realize this is relative, as the living entity's strength is negligible in comparison to God's, but by the above reasoning, it is not zero either. Is that correct?
The strength of the living entity is solely and wholly relegated to desire. Not even god will interfere with that.




And with such an inferior rendition of God, it is also easy to forget that there are issues of envying God, is it not? Because who would envy a good, but powerless entity, right?

Such a portrait of god is more likely to generate sympathy than envy (yet despite bearing such sympathy, the envy of opulence continues unabated).

I take it that envy of opulence is connected with intense desire for sense gratification?
Sure

Even great tyagis go to great lengths to secure the opulence of renunciation
We could even speculate that that inferior rendition of God (which does not elicit envy, but instead pity or sympathy) serves as a vehicle for justifying and promoting envy of opulence, and that envy of opulence promotes an inferior rendition of God.
I think it places a great division in the world which allows one to say "this is mine" and "this is gods" (or "since this is god, this is what god owes me/is trying his best to give me" ... IOW I have a better plans for myself than god). Religiosity performed in such a mindset is unnecessarily complex.
 
Solipsism is one of the greatest monsters of Western philosophy, considered impossible to refute, it's almost sacred - "the one in front of whom all are helpless".
It troubles me, and I don't want to be troubled by it anymore. This is a really big one for me!


Why is it considered a great monster?
Why are you so troubled by it?
 
I would think it would address it with recourse to the teaching that knowledge has three sources (direct perception, logical argument, and authoritative testimony), discussing these three sources; and also pointing out that which source one takes to is actually a matter of one's own decision (although that decision may be spread over many lifetimes).
Is that correct?


With solipsism, there is only 1 authority.
 
this is simply the radical monistic take on the vedas ( mayavadi)

there are however numerous vedic references to a diversity of individuals

eg

Katha Up. 2.2.13 The Supreme Lord is eternal and the living beings are eternal. The Supreme Lord is cognizant and the living beings are cognizant. The difference is that the Supreme Lord is supplying all the necessities of life for the many other living entities.


It's not radical at all.
The vedic references to diversity describe this world as we know it. Otherwise it clearly says we are all parts of 1 being.
There is no significant difference except parts of the 1 being are here in this world & parts of it are elsewhere. All life is inherently connected to the source of "necessities".
 
The point of examining the different pramanas is not to say that all claims about the nature of reality are equally valid - in fact much of vedic commentaries are about discussing which authorities of knowledge are superior/inferior to others. Looking at the different pramanas simply tells us from what angle individuals are arguing from (even if they are arguing that the notion of individuality is an illusion).

I have so far assumed that one has some choice about which pramana to hold as an authority. Is this indeed so, is there an element of choice?


From my Western perspective, it seems like sabotaging one's efforts in advance to choose a pramana!

I'm not sure how it sabotages the effort.

As I type it out, it seems silly, and I don't think anyone would actually support this notion. Yet when you see Western philosophers and pseudo-philosophers debate things, often, the above notion of knowledge is precisely the stance they imply!

It's as if we had te conviction that as soon as you choose a path on which to look for the truth, you have already missed the truth.
Why do you think there is (or seems to be) this conviction?
I know I have it (but it's not the only conviction about looking for truth that I have).
And how to overcome this conviction?

I'm not sure that I understand exactly what you are trying to indicate as the problem. Popularly a lot of contemporary authority in knowledge is simply based on sense perception. Key issues of what we are "seeing" with are bypassed (or even rendered subservient to external perception - eg consciousness is chemicals etc etc).
Even then, this paradigm is assailed by many criticisms (such as social constructionism/constructivism for eg .. or even the break down in category between soft and hard science in order to acknowledge what is practically "doable")

It has been my experience that choosing "a way to arrive at knowledge" or choosing "a source of truth" is usually contested, and many counterarguments seem reasonable enough:

Someone says "I go by my experience", and someone counters "No, that is insufficient, there are things you haven't experienced but which are or could be nonetheless true. So by relying only on your experience, you are missing a lot."
"We should keep to tradition. "- "No, we should keep up-to-date."
"I trust the old sages." - "That is like saying no living person can produce any relevant knowledge, which is like spitting in the face of humanity!"
"I go by what science tells me." - "This is insufficient, as science deals only with theories. We need something more solid to base our lives on."
"I trust the scriptures." - "There is no proof that the scriptures are actually from God, so they cannot be relied on as if they would be from God."
...
"I go by what tradition, the old sages, scriptures, logic, science, common sense, experience, other people .... tell me." - "Well then you are probably so confused that you can't get yourself to do anything."

So on the whole, choosing a pramana or a set of them seems like sabotaging one's efforts to find out the truth, since every pramana can be and is disputed. Eventually, we have come so far that we even tend to think truth doesn't matter anyway (google "truth is irrelevant", for example).


I don't know whether the purport of SB 3.26.30 is helpful or not

Doubt, misapprehension, correct apprehension, memory and sleep, as determined by their different functions, are said to be the distinct characteristics of intelligence.

And intelligence is still material energy, still a matter of being subject to the modes of material nature - and thus change the mode, change the intelligence?


SOmetimes knowldge is broken down to three articles.
There is the knowable.
There is the process of knowing.
And there is the knower.

Taken together, they form knowledge (or to put it another way, you cannot discuss an aspect of knowledge that doesn't touch on all three).

For instance take a claim of knowledge about the growth of beans.
There is the given about beans and their environment that renders them knowable.
There is the means by which a person came to understand the claim.
And there is the person making the claim

Now take the instance of impersonal realization explained as being where the knowable, the process of knowing and the knower are non-different.

Exactly. But tell that to our resident scientists! :(


more precisely its the manner that the individual engages in things. IOW its not simply a case of "well if you're sick of water skiing perhaps you should try macrame" but more a case of engaging in activity without the sense of "I am the doer/enjoyer" - basically thats what ahankara (or false ego is) - namely the sense of "I am the enjoyer/doer" that arises from activity. For a gross materialist there is no scope for any other sort of ego, hence the claims of buddhism/mayavadi come to the table for as long one doesn't have the means to dovetail their propensities in the service of god.

For a gross materialist there is no scope for any other sort of ego?
This is very new to me. I find it hard to believe that any person would not have a scope for other kinds of ego, other than the materialistic one. I mean, to me, materialists of various kinds seem to be perfectly confident that they have explored all possible options, but then decided to consider themselves as doers/enjoyers - because the way they speak, the confidence they exhude, to me, only someone who has really "done the research" would speak like that. I know or know of people with PhD's in philosophy - which means they are well aware of what the world's philosophies have to offer - yet they are materialists, sometimes gross materialists. I am inclined to think that someone who has studied the world's philosophies and passed exams, but still decided to be a materialist, that such a person is proof that there is nothing substantial to the claims about spiritual existence that various philosophies make.

To think otherwise, would usually mean academic/intellectual suicide.
How do you propose that such a suicide could be avoided?
How can a person live in the Western wolrd, but hold that it is completely possible that highly educated people still can have a low level of consciousness, be gross materialists?
To me, this presents an intense cognitive dissonance that I myself am unable to resolve.


Hierarchy as the basic organization principle is something I still need to get used to.
I am more used to the principle of center-periphery and the principle of parallels, but not hierarchy (thanks to HDG for pointing this out!).

I don't think I have heard that one.
Is it online?

Certainly, you yourself have linked me to it: it's in How to trust, part 3, at 14' and onwards.


If a person is less informed the best course is that they get informed.
If there are issues that inhibit the act of becoming informed, the material world simply calls the shots by default (with the ultimate aim of bringing them to a position of becoming informed).

Its kind of like there is the fast track and the slow track

And the fast track is to energetically endeavor to inform yourself; the low track is karma?


The strength of the living entity is solely and wholly relegated to desire. Not even god will interfere with that.

What about people who seem to have very weak desires altogether? For example people whose psychological/psychiatric/neurological diagnosis would fall in the realm of depression, dysthymia, anhedonia, or abulia?

Is there a way to increase the intensity of a person's desires?
 
I have so far assumed that one has some choice about which pramana to hold as an authority. Is this indeed so, is there an element of choice?
hehe

I guess according to which pramanas one chooses, one will get different answers to that question.





It has been my experience that choosing "a way to arrive at knowledge" or choosing "a source of truth" is usually contested, and many counterarguments seem reasonable enough:

Someone says "I go by my experience", and someone counters "No, that is insufficient, there are things you haven't experienced but which are or could be nonetheless true. So by relying only on your experience, you are missing a lot."
"We should keep to tradition. "- "No, we should keep up-to-date."
"I trust the old sages." - "That is like saying no living person can produce any relevant knowledge, which is like spitting in the face of humanity!"
"I go by what science tells me." - "This is insufficient, as science deals only with theories. We need something more solid to base our lives on."
"I trust the scriptures." - "There is no proof that the scriptures are actually from God, so they cannot be relied on as if they would be from God."
...
"I go by what tradition, the old sages, scriptures, logic, science, common sense, experience, other people .... tell me." - "Well then you are probably so confused that you can't get yourself to do anything."

So on the whole, choosing a pramana or a set of them seems like sabotaging one's efforts to find out the truth, since every pramana can be and is disputed. Eventually, we have come so far that we even tend to think truth doesn't matter anyway (google "truth is irrelevant", for example).
All of the above is basically the pramana of logic ... and (IMHO) it acts as a good illustration of holding it as a pramana. There is no end to logical arguments and their counter arguments. There's often mention that the pride and joy of a jnani is their ability to disagree.


And intelligence is still material energy, still a matter of being subject to the modes of material nature - and thus change the mode, change the intelligence?[/QUOTE"intelligence" is part of the material covering of the soul, much like a glove is a material covering of the hand. The movement of the glove is an attribute of the movement of the hand. Similarly the "movement" of intelligence is an attribute of the soul. Thus some modes of intelligence are less shrouding than others


Exactly. But tell that to our resident scientists! :(
kind of like Dr. Frog vs the pacific ocean


For a gross materialist there is no scope for any other sort of ego?
This is very new to me. I find it hard to believe that any person would not have a scope for other kinds of ego, other than the materialistic one. I mean, to me, materialists of various kinds seem to be perfectly confident that they have explored all possible options, but then decided to consider themselves as doers/enjoyers - because the way they speak, the confidence they exhude, to me, only someone who has really "done the research" would speak like that. I know or know of people with PhD's in philosophy - which means they are well aware of what the world's philosophies have to offer - yet they are materialists, sometimes gross materialists. I am inclined to think that someone who has studied the world's philosophies and passed exams, but still decided to be a materialist, that such a person is proof that there is nothing substantial to the claims about spiritual existence that various philosophies make.
Its not clear what relationship you are drawing up between the study of philosophy and the diminishing of the false ego.

IOW what is the relationship between vijnana and jnana
To think otherwise, would usually mean academic/intellectual suicide.
How do you propose that such a suicide could be avoided?
How can a person live in the Western wolrd, but hold that it is completely possible that highly educated people still can have a low level of consciousness, be gross materialists?
There's a word for them.

Mayapahrta jnana.
Knowledge stolen by maya.

They even qualify a mention as one of the four types of basket cases who are relegated to gross materialism

To me, this presents an intense cognitive dissonance that I myself am unable to resolve.
In short, the essence of spiritual life is love for god. There is no inextricable connection between high education and love. Even in mundane affairs, a PhD will not make you a better lover.
Intelligence is simply one of the six opulences and plays no part in diminishing ahankara. Much like renunciation, strength, wealth, beauty etc don't open any doors.



Certainly, you yourself have linked me to it: it's in How to trust, part 3, at 14' and onwards.
guess I my imperfect senses must have covered over that
(mind you, he gave lecture in 2 different locations)



And the fast track is to energetically endeavor to inform yourself; the low track is karma?
more or less

the fast track is sabda pramana

the slow track is jnana, karma etc which finds its expression in anumana, pratyaksa, etc



What about people who seem to have very weak desires altogether? For example people whose psychological/psychiatric/neurological diagnosis would fall in the realm of depression, dysthymia, anhedonia, or abulia?
I'm nor sure what you are bringing to bear to call something a "weak" desire.

Is there a way to increase the intensity of a person's desires?
For someone in tamas, rajas can be uplifting.

They do that a lot with drug addicts/prisoners etc. Kind of get them fired up to get a job or get married or something and drop their bad habits
 
Without logic, how do you think you know the truth about anything?

Logic doesn't give you physical truths. It just lets you discuss the truth you already know in a valid and verifiable way as long as it is within scope.

Logic presupposes identity (A is A).

Observation and interaction with your environment is where physical truths are garnished.
 
All of the above is basically the pramana of logic ... and (IMHO) it acts as a good illustration of holding it as a pramana. There is no end to logical arguments and their counter arguments. There's often mention that the pride and joy of a jnani is their ability to disagree.


Logical arguments reach logical conclusions. It is illogical arguments that go on&on&on&on&on&on.
 
-=-

Without logic, how do you think you know the truth about anything?

If you disagree with this statement

All pigs are horses
all pigs can fly

therefore all horses can fly

you are calling upon different tools of inquiry aside from logic (at least as far as pramanas are concerned .... before you start getting all woolly about truth value)
 
“Originally Posted by StrangerInAStrangeLa

Without logic, how do you think you know the truth about anything? ”



If you disagree with this statement

All pigs are horses
all pigs can fly

therefore all horses can fly

you are calling upon different tools of inquiry aside from logic (at least as far as pramanas are concerned .... before you start getting all woolly about truth value)



“Originally Posted by StrangerInAStrangeLa

Without logic, how do you think you know the truth about anything? ”
 
“Originally Posted by StrangerInAStrangeLa

Without logic, how do you think you know the truth about anything? ”







“Originally Posted by StrangerInAStrangeLa

Without logic, how do you think you know the truth about anything? ”
If you disagree with the conclusion "all horses can fly" you can probably answer that one yourself .....
:rolleyes:
 
I have so far assumed that one has some choice about which pramana to hold as an authority. Is this indeed so, is there an element of choice?

hehe

I guess according to which pramanas one chooses, one will get different answers to that question.

I can see that.

But what is the solution?

How does one switch from holding one pramana as authoritative to another one?

For example, I seem to be stuck in giving full authority to anumana. I am unhappy with how this makes things for me, though. Will I naturally grow out of this pramana and take to another one, if I am dissatisfied enough?


There is no end to logical arguments and their counter arguments.

It certainly seems so. But two things: One, some people seem to grow out of this insistence on logic.
Secondly, some Buddhists hold that the analytical mind, in its proper application, devours itself.
There is the idea that if analytical discourse is conducted properly, it sooner or later comes to an end. However, it's not universally clear what exactly "conducted properly" means; usually, there is some idea about the right circumstances and the right persons, proper definitions of terms. But the idea remains that if logic is applied properly, arguments do come to an end.
What do you think of that?


There's often mention that the pride and joy of a jnani is their ability to disagree.

What about those people who can find arguments against anything, but hwo are unhappy about it? Would they still qualify as jnanis?


"intelligence" is part of the material covering of the soul, much like a glove is a material covering of the hand. The movement of the glove is an attribute of the movement of the hand. Similarly the "movement" of intelligence is an attribute of the soul. Thus some modes of intelligence are less shrouding than others

"Less shrouding than others" - does that mean that some modes of intelligence are more in line with how the soul really is?


Its not clear what relationship you are drawing up between the study of philosophy and the diminishing of the false ego.

IOW what is the relationship between vijnana and jnana

I think we are both well-aware of the wisdom and value that are traditionally seen as attributes of learned people.
At least where I come from, the popular view is to see professional philosophers or people with a high degree in philosophy as "having insight into how things really are".

It is hard, at least for me, to seriously consider that there could be anything wrong with the philosophers, that there could be anything false about them, what to speak of them having a false ego.
I was raised to sooner doubt myself than them ... and this is what I do.
I imagine that if I would seriously acknowledge that our Western intelligentsia are not all that intelligent, this would undermine everything I have learned so far, and I would end up in complete isolation.


So for example, I feel ashamed to even consider the possibility that God could be more than a mythological construct.
I am studying scriptures, chanting, doing some other practices, but all along, I feel I am in the wrong for doing so (and thereby comitting a number of offenses!). It is a very very strong feeling that I am wrong. That I am doing those religious things because I am a loser who can't handle the truth and such, and that normal people don't do such things as I and the religious do.

One thing that always struck me about Western intellectuals is that they often seem to emanate a negative vibe, I physcially cringe at the thought of JP Sartre, for example, what to speak of viewing his photo, or being in the physical presence of such a person. If you have ever seen and heard a dog that is both angry and scared - that is how I feel when faced with such people.
In the past, I have sometimes mentioned how negatively I feel around these people, and the reply I usually got was that I am a prude, retarded, stupid, don't know what the truly high and good is, and such. The people who have told me that or have expressed such views (e.g. that those who resent Sartre are just weaklings). They looked really confident in this (someone who wouldn't be perfectly certain that they are telling the truth would not be so confident, or would they?), so I concluded that what they are saying is apparently true, and I am indeed a weak, stupid, prudish retard, it's just that I am not yet fully convinced of this, not yet in proper knowledge of myself.



There's a word for them.

Mayapahrta jnana.
Knowledge stolen by maya.

What about the fact that some (or many) of them think that this is simply not so?


In short, the essence of spiritual life is love for god.

And this is the way that a person can live in the Western world, but hold that it is completely possible that highly educated people still can have a low level of consciousness, be gross materialists?


There is no inextricable connection between high education and love.

I fail to see that.

For example, suppose Peter loves Mary. Mary has a tumor growing on her arm. Peter loves Mary (or so he claims). Peter does not have a high education. Peter wants to help Mary. Peter takes a knife and cuts the tumor off her arm, thereby making it spill into her bloodstream and infect her whole body.
We can't say that what Peter did was very intelligent, nor that it was loving, can we?

This is a simple and gross example, but we see such things on a daily basis, in one form of another when someone, lacking education and intelligent discernment makes an effort to solve a problem, but then makes it worse. Such as the hunger problem in Africa that became exacerbated by all those "goodwilled" efforts to "help".


Even in mundane affairs, a PhD will not make you a better lover.

You know, I wish you would have been there with me, when I had to deal with all those super-intelligent, educated people claiming they know what love is, and that I do not!

But leaving my direct personal grievances aside - I do think that a high education should - ideally - make one a better person on the whole, at least that was the ideal about 200 years ago, and my generation here was still taught so.


Intelligence is simply one of the six opulences and plays no part in diminishing ahankara. Much like renunciation, strength, wealth, beauty etc don't open any doors.

Interesting. But how come the opulences don't play any part in diminishing the false ego? I would have thought that they can be employed for such a purpose.



Certainly, you yourself have linked me to it: it's in How to trust, part 3, at 14' and onwards.

guess I my imperfect senses must have covered over that
(mind you, he gave lecture in 2 different locations)

I know only of the one you linked me to, and this is the one I linked to.


What about people who seem to have very weak desires altogether? For example people whose psychological/psychiatric/neurological diagnosis would fall in the realm of depression, dysthymia, anhedonia, or abulia?

I'm nor sure what you are bringing to bear to call something a "weak" desire.

I mean "weak desire" in the sense that a person feels bland, not really wanting anything, not really efforting for anything; investing only a mediocre effort into everything; getting bored quickly; that even though they wish they could really want something, they just seem to be unable to - instead, it's all just bland for them; that the only thing they want is to truly want something.

Although perhaps some of these people actually want impersonal liberation, and wanting impersonal liberation simply feels so bland. One can't really be enthusiastic about impersonal liberation!

In which mode or combination of modes is the desire for impersonal liberation?


Is there a way to increase the intensity of a person's desires?
For someone in tamas, rajas can be uplifting.

They do that a lot with drug addicts/prisoners etc. Kind of get them fired up to get a job or get married or something and drop their bad habits

What about intensifying spiritual desires, like the desire for perfection?
 
-=-

The Vedas obviously do not refute solipsism yet the bull goes on & on & on & on.

{Do not see the man behind the curtain, Grasshopper. He is not there.
STOP looking! He is not there!!!}
 
Somehow I missed the goal of happiness in these "discussions". I probably can't help with that.
What makes you think I'm not a role model for morality?
Your quote from me is accurate. I can't make you believe it.
 
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