How do the Vedas refute solipsism?

Signal

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?
You have to want it. In short, such a want follows automatically our sense of value, so its not like you can talk it away. ("I don't want an expensive car ... with a teflon paint finish, mag wheels, spoilers ")
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?
Luckily for us, the process is always remember and never forget. If it was the other way around we would be faced with the impossible task of trying to come to the point of nista on a negative imperative (eg "I will do X because Y gives me distress").
IOW we can only hope to be steady according to the degree that we have developed a higher taste.


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.
sure
its called the real world
:D
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.
Jnana (as well as tyaga) are sometimes described as the "children" of bhakti

hence SB 1.2.7 By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.
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?
Devotional practice begins where anumana finishes. Argument in the BG is over by the 2nd chapter


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?
sure
its bhakti, not jnana (what to speak of karma), which monopolizes the claim of pleasure and satisfaction


"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?
sure
thats why sattva guna is celebrated as enlightening

BG 14.6 O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge.

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".
At the same time, its also painfully obvious the host of mutually exclusively points of view that philosophy holds. Even philosophers are quick to point out which particular philosophers ("IMHO") knows things as they 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 am not sure why you find this so hard. Open any text on philosophy and it will probably start on page one with what is wrong with (a particular) philosophy

I was raised to sooner doubt myself than them ... and this is what I do.
So how do you resolve the issue of them all doubting each other?

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.
"beyond Illusion and Doubt" is a good book - its not so much that they are written off wholesale but that there are key elements that are valid (as well as key elements that are not)

So for example, I feel ashamed to even consider the possibility that God could be more than a mythological construct.
Even in western philosophy, there are philosophers that seem to manage okay by considering that possibility
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.
Yet despite it all, after all is said and done, they simply get drunk and/or struggle with the conundrum of "everyone wants to have sex with a teenager yet no one wants to live with one". IOW your top (so called) philosopher doesn't have recourse to any better alternative than a turner and fitter

:shrug:



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?
That doesn't make their knowledge having been stolen by maya any less of a fact (as evidenced by their out of control senses)


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?
sure


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".
The consequences of an action and the intensity of love are not related.
For instance if Mary got successfully cured by a doctor, does that mean the doctor loves mary more than peter?


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.
Historiography is basically glorified journalism. Bad news makes the headlines.

Character builds a better person (sama dama tapas saucam etc), not technical education.


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.
That' s it precisely.
They are dovetailed

Basically all opulences are the zeroes and the act of dovetailing acts as the "1" to go in front.


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.
this is desire in tamas

BG 18.35 And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion—such unintelligent determination, O son of Påthä, is in the mode of darkness.

The previous two verses give a run down on the other two gunas
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!
hence the suggestion a few elements of tamas are at work

In which mode or combination of modes is the desire for impersonal liberation?
I guess you could say it is goodness in the mode of tamas




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?
Initially there is an argument for that arising in sattva

O son of Påthä, that determination which is unbreakable, which is sustained with steadfastness by yoga practice, and which thus controls the activities of the mind, life and senses is determination in the mode of goodness.

as one moves to spontaneity, the intensity is driven simply by the desire to serve (IOW service is its own reward .... BTW don't expect a gross materialist to understand that)
 
How does one switch from holding one pramana as authoritative to another one?

You have to want it. In short, such a want follows automatically our sense of value, so its not like you can talk it away.

So to be able to want to accept another pramana as authoritative, it is necessary that one's values change.
We have spoken a bit about this before. From what I understood, your position seems to be that one has to make a decision in this regard, such as make a decision to give up independent enjoyment.

I have some problems with this, but I am not sure what exactly they are. Perhaps I just have a general distrust toward making decisions, seeing how - as far as material life goes - they don't seem to make a real difference anyway, and so I fear the same would be true for all decisions.


Luckily for us, the process is always remember and never forget. If it was the other way around we would be faced with the impossible task of trying to come to the point of nista on a negative imperative (eg "I will do X because Y gives me distress").

If I would have to sum up my reasoning for the way I act, it would be precisely this: "I do X because Y gives me distress".

Although I have noticed something interesting in regard to how I reason and talk about my intentions and behavior: If I am talking to someone whom I don't get along with, or whom I feel threatened by, then I will tend to reason and talk quite differently as when I do when I am talking to someone I like and feel respected by. Like when someone is assaulted in their own home - when the assaulter asks whether there is anyone else in the house, the person will likely tell a strategic lie, in order to protect themselves and anyone else who might be in the house. I tend to do the same thing, and it has been so most of the time.
If, for example, someone asks me why I am a vegetarian or why I get up before 4 AM, I will give a number of common-sense reasons, but never the actual one. I suppose this is a fast track to extreme self-doubt and losing sight of one's values and motivations!


IOW we can only hope to be steady according to the degree that we have developed a higher taste.

Which seems to imply that the higher taste is something real, and not yet another more or less useful fabrication.


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?

Devotional practice begins where anumana finishes. Argument in the BG is over by the 2nd chapter

So would it be correct to say that the proper application of logic is to render devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead?
For example, "God is the controller of the Universe. Therefore, one should conduct one's life in accordance with this."


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 am not sure why you find this so hard. Open any text on philosophy and it will probably start on page one with what is wrong with (a particular) philosophy

Sure ...


I was raised to sooner doubt myself than them ... and this is what I do.

So how do you resolve the issue of them all doubting each other?

By doubting myself - like "Who am I to disagree with any philosopher?!" Not that it helps. I was raised with the notion that sacrificing my happiness for the sake of someone else being considered right and good is perceftly acceptable. For example, back at school, I often had the feeling that the teachers would be perfectly allright with us students being killed or at least expelled from school, just so that Shakespeare's or some such's name and fame would remain spotless.
Perhaps it is this notion that I need to address more - whether my happiness is worth fighting for.

And secondly, I feel that life on Earth is a stampede, and that the safest thing one can do is to run along, because to stop or turn around would mean one will get trampled.


"beyond Illusion and Doubt" is a good book - its not so much that they are written off wholesale but that there are key elements that are valid (as well as key elements that are not)

Thank you for the book suggestion, I haven't heard of this book before.


So for example, I feel ashamed to even consider the possibility that God could be more than a mythological construct.

Even in western philosophy, there are philosophers that seem to manage okay by considering that possibility

I wonder how they do it, and if their way could work for me as well.


Yet despite it all, after all is said and done, they simply get drunk and/or struggle with the conundrum of "everyone wants to have sex with a teenager yet no one wants to live with one". IOW your top (so called) philosopher doesn't have recourse to any better alternative than a turner and fitter

I agree.


The consequences of an action and the intensity of love are not related.
For instance if Mary got successfully cured by a doctor, does that mean the doctor loves mary more than peter?

No, but if Peter truly loved Mary, then he would have the intelligence to assess whether he can really help her himself or not.

Secondly, the notion that the consequences of an action and the intensity of love are not related are exploited on a daily basis by Casanovas, for example. "I really love you, you really love me, so who cares if you get pregnant and have to have an abortion, because the consequences of our actions and the intensity of our love are not related!"

To say that the consequences of an action and the intensity of love are not related is to say that anything, any action can pass as loving action. And if so, how can we tell the difference between love and hate?

I have known many people who claimed they loved me. But they wouldn't lift a finger for me, and often worked against me. Did they really love me?


Character builds a better person (sama dama tapas saucam etc), not technical education.

I don't understand how character can build a (better) person?
 
Signal

So to be able to want to accept another pramana as authoritative, it is necessary that one's values change.
We have spoken a bit about this before. From what I understood, your position seems to be that one has to make a decision in this regard, such as make a decision to give up independent enjoyment.

I have some problems with this, but I am not sure what exactly they are. Perhaps I just have a general distrust toward making decisions, seeing how - as far as material life goes - they don't seem to make a real difference anyway, and so I fear the same would be true for all decisions.
you will see that a lot of the BG talks about one acting according to one's nature. IOW when I talk of a decision, its not like one can wake up one morning and say "okay I decide to change my nature". Old habits die hard. The general means for changing one's nature is to examine one's association - not only of other individuals and environment but also internally (mind, etc). That's the special role that chanting offers - namely a means to associate with what is otherwise unable to be associated with. Over 90% of progress is due to being attentive to that association.

For instance Haridas thakur chants, eats prasadam, etc and so do I. The difference in results is due to the quality of association however.


Luckily for us, the process is always remember and never forget. If it was the other way around we would be faced with the impossible task of trying to come to the point of nista on a negative imperative (eg "I will do X because Y gives me distress").

If I would have to sum up my reasoning for the way I act, it would be precisely this: "I do X because Y gives me distress".
hence we are protected by and large by the parameters of vaidhi bhakti (IOW governed by "should's" instead of "must's")

Although I have noticed something interesting in regard to how I reason and talk about my intentions and behavior: If I am talking to someone whom I don't get along with, or whom I feel threatened by, then I will tend to reason and talk quite differently as when I do when I am talking to someone I like and feel respected by. Like when someone is assaulted in their own home - when the assaulter asks whether there is anyone else in the house, the person will likely tell a strategic lie, in order to protect themselves and anyone else who might be in the house. I tend to do the same thing, and it has been so most of the time.
If, for example, someone asks me why I am a vegetarian or why I get up before 4 AM, I will give a number of common-sense reasons, but never the actual one. I suppose this is a fast track to extreme self-doubt and losing sight of one's values and motivations!
There's no harm in being aware of where the other person is at. In fact its a key element to the madhyama - wary of the envious, kind to the innocent, friendly to the devotees and bearing love for god.


IOW we can only hope to be steady according to the degree that we have developed a higher taste.

Which seems to imply that the higher taste is something real, and not yet another more or less useful fabrication.
If it wasn't real it couldn't be a higher taste. If one has no experience of hot pizza, its not likely they will abandon cold pizza any time soon


Devotional practice begins where anumana finishes. Argument in the BG is over by the 2nd chapter

So would it be correct to say that the proper application of logic is to render devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead?
For example, "God is the controller of the Universe. Therefore, one should conduct one's life in accordance with this."
sure

the "how" of this logic is basically 2nd chapter onwards (and why most people don't understand a thing past the 2nd chapter)




I was raised to sooner doubt myself than them ... and this is what I do.

So how do you resolve the issue of them all doubting each other?

By doubting myself - like "Who am I to disagree with any philosopher?!" Not that it helps. I was raised with the notion that sacrificing my happiness for the sake of someone else being considered right and good is perceftly acceptable. For example, back at school, I often had the feeling that the teachers would be perfectly allright with us students being killed or at least expelled from school, just so that Shakespeare's or some such's name and fame would remain spotless.
Perhaps it is this notion that I need to address more - whether my happiness is worth fighting for.
if you examine the residents of vrindavan, their happiness is completely dependent on the happiness of god. The only problem with the material world is that the persons we surrender to are neither capable of accepting full surrender or worthy of it.
And secondly, I feel that life on Earth is a stampede, and that the safest thing one can do is to run along, because to stop or turn around would mean one will get trampled.
I guess it becomes easier when we have good association to fall back on


"beyond Illusion and Doubt" is a good book - its not so much that they are written off wholesale but that there are key elements that are valid (as well as key elements that are not)

Thank you for the book suggestion, I haven't heard of this book before.
If you ever get your hands on a vedabase you can see the unabridged conversations with hayagriva and syamasundara that the book was based on.




So for example, I feel ashamed to even consider the possibility that God could be more than a mythological construct.

Even in western philosophy, there are philosophers that seem to manage okay by considering that possibility

I wonder how they do it, and if their way could work for me as well.
my point is that whatever dominant conditioning we are under can diminish (with the right association of course)



The consequences of an action and the intensity of love are not related.
For instance if Mary got successfully cured by a doctor, does that mean the doctor loves mary more than peter?

No, but if Peter truly loved Mary, then he would have the intelligence to assess whether he can really help her himself or not.
the symptom of love is service
Peter acted out of love for Mary
The doctor did a better job for a fee.

Perhaps in this scenario, Mary would prefer the services of the doctor over her lover, but the services of her doctor are unable to grant her a fulfilling life.
Secondly, the notion that the consequences of an action and the intensity of love are not related are exploited on a daily basis by Casanovas, for example. "I really love you, you really love me, so who cares if you get pregnant and have to have an abortion, because the consequences of our actions and the intensity of our love are not related!"
I think its more to the point that lies often speak the language of love
To say that the consequences of an action and the intensity of love are not related is to say that anything, any action can pass as loving action. And if so, how can we tell the difference between love and hate?
if love takes the detour of lust, the gambit opens to the wider field of tamas (wrath etc).
.... and of course love in the material world always has an element of tamas to a greater or lesser extent
I have known many people who claimed they loved me. But they wouldn't lift a finger for me, and often worked against me. Did they really love me?
love without service doesn't look good


Character builds a better person (sama dama tapas saucam etc), not technical education.

I don't understand how character can build a (better) person?

BG 18.42 Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brähmaëas work.

Would you rather be peaceful or unpeaceful?
etc etc
Do you think higher education (alone) is going to secure these qualities?
 
“ Originally Posted by StrangerInAStrangeLa

You made the claim that we can know truth without logic. Answer the question or retract the claim or go away. ”


Actually, if you read the post, you will see I made the claim that logic alone does not determine truth .... but hey you can keep your flying horses and your pramanas


Actually, I read the post. And so many other posts where you decry logic & demean those who value it.
You can keep your muddled interpretations of scripture & your arrogant assinine assumptions.
 
Signal
You have to want it. In short, such a want follows automatically our sense of value, so its not like you can talk it away. ("I don't want an expensive car ... with a teflon paint finish, mag wheels, spoilers ")


You want something so badly, you fooled yourself into believing you have it.
 
you will see that a lot of the BG talks about one acting according to one's nature. IOW when I talk of a decision, its not like one can wake up one morning and say "okay I decide to change my nature". Old habits die hard.

How should one compensate for this that old habits die hard?
I mean, surely one notices one day that a lot is wrong in one's life. But one also sees, possibly by practical experience, that one cannot fix everything at once. Which can be very frustrating!


Although I have noticed something interesting in regard to how I reason and talk about my intentions and behavior: If I am talking to someone whom I don't get along with, or whom I feel threatened by, then I will tend to reason and talk quite differently as when I do when I am talking to someone I like and feel respected by. Like when someone is assaulted in their own home - when the assaulter asks whether there is anyone else in the house, the person will likely tell a strategic lie, in order to protect themselves and anyone else who might be in the house. I tend to do the same thing, and it has been so most of the time.
If, for example, someone asks me why I am a vegetarian or why I get up before 4 AM, I will give a number of common-sense reasons, but never the actual one. I suppose this is a fast track to extreme self-doubt and losing sight of one's values and motivations!

There's no harm in being aware of where the other person is at. In fact its a key element to the madhyama - wary of the envious, kind to the innocent, friendly to the devotees and bearing love for god.

While I was focusing on the neurotic, you keep seeing the positive side of things! This is so admirable. :)


If it wasn't real it couldn't be a higher taste. If one has no experience of hot pizza, its not likely they will abandon cold pizza any time soon

And the person should be blamed for that?


Devotional practice begins where anumana finishes. Argument in the BG is over by the 2nd chapter
So would it be correct to say that the proper application of logic is to render devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead?
For example, "God is the controller of the Universe. Therefore, one should conduct one's life in accordance with this."

sure

the "how" of this logic is basically 2nd chapter onwards (and why most people don't understand a thing past the 2nd chapter)

I might have been understanding anumana somewhat differently than you, it appears.
Would it be adequate to say that anumana is a kind of logical reasoning where one is not aware of the value system guiding one's reasoning, or where one refuses to admit that logical reasoning is guided by a value system?


Perhaps it is this notion that I need to address more - whether my happiness is worth fighting for.

if you examine the residents of vrindavan, their happiness is completely dependent on the happiness of god.

But those residents are happy, more than that: they are happy while with another person.
For earthly purposes, one person's happiness and another person's happiness are usually mutually exclusive; nor can one really be alone, so the possibility of being happy and alone doesn't exist either. Namely, I usually think that true happiness is something one may at best have only while fully disassociated from anyone else, because the presence of other people normally means trouble in one form of another. So much for trying to be happy on my own.


The only problem with the material world is that the persons we surrender to are neither capable of accepting full surrender or worthy of it.

I think so too.


If you ever get your hands on a vedabase you can see the unabridged conversations with hayagriva and syamasundara that the book was based on.

Oh, I wish I had more time!


my point is that whatever dominant conditioning we are under can diminish (with the right association of course)

This is optimistic.


the symptom of love is service
Peter acted out of love for Mary
The doctor did a better job for a fee.

Perhaps in this scenario, Mary would prefer the services of the doctor over her lover, but the services of her doctor are unable to grant her a fulfilling life.

But this implies Mary had a choice: either to let Peter cut off the tumor, or to have the tumor treated by a doctor.
And also, that Peter had respect for that choice.

Suppose that Peter saw the tumor on Mary's arm, grabbed a knife and Mary, and cut the tumor off, without asking her anything. Would you still call that a loving action on Peter's part?
Or, suppose Mary was unconscious, and Peter treated her himself, without asking her anything.

Or, to give another example: A woman falls, sprains her ankle. A man comes by and readjusts the ankle himself, right there on the spot. Whereby the man is not a doctor, nor someone with a training necessary to treat such an injury, there exists the possibility to call for a doctor, and the injured woman didn't agree that the would-be helper does what he wants, but as she is injured, she cannot physically protest much.
Was what the man did a loving action?
Does it depend on the outcome (whether the ankle was healed or whether it got worse) whether his action is to be considered loving or not?

This sort of behavior can be seen often enough when parents themselves try to treat their children's injuries, diseases and a number of other problems ("I am the child's mother/father, surely I will know what to do and what is best for my child"); or in cases where someone tries to help a legally incapable person, a mentally incompetent person or someone who is below the age of consent.

In short, my question is about forced help and its relation to love.
When is help forced?
Iif the person that was helped did not agree to the action, are they still supposed to consider it love, especially if the help offered was insufficient?


.... and of course love in the material world always has an element of tamas to a greater or lesser extent

I think this is quite a bold statement!
Not that I disagree with it, just the opposite. But I know many people are unwilling to admit that their actions done in the name of love could be anything but perfect, pure, unconditional love and woe anyone who would dare to disagree. Some even drag their "loved ones" to court, if those "loved ones" didn't consider themselves all that loved and left the relationship.


Character builds a better person (sama dama tapas saucam etc), not technical education.

I don't understand how character can build a (better) person?

BG 18.42 Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brähmaëas work.

And these -- peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness -- have to do with character?
What is the difference between character and personality then?


Do you think higher education (alone) is going to secure these qualities?

This is going to be another one of those supposed-to's - but yes, where I come from, we were supposed to develop all good qualities from our higher education, and if we failed to do so, it was our fault, not the higher education's.
And in principle, I suppose this is true. Ideally, there should be a kind of higher education that fosters all good qualities, and where it is indeed the student's own fault if he or she fails.
But I don't think that our particular kind of higher education fostered much of any good qualities. I think we were fed mostly froth, but expected to perform like Superman. Woe is me for saying this!
 
Signal
Originally Posted by lightgigantic
you will see that a lot of the BG talks about one acting according to one's nature. IOW when I talk of a decision, its not like one can wake up one morning and say "okay I decide to change my nature". Old habits die hard.

How should one compensate for this that old habits die hard?
I mean, surely one notices one day that a lot is wrong in one's life. But one also sees, possibly by practical experience, that one cannot fix everything at once. Which can be very frustrating!
the general panacea is enthusiasm, confidence and patience (as elaborated in upadesamrta)



If it wasn't real it couldn't be a higher taste. If one has no experience of hot pizza, its not likely they will abandon cold pizza any time soon

And the person should be blamed for that?
in the pizza example, probably not.
In spiritual affairs however, we are responsible (or bear the consequences of desire, for better or worse)


I might have been understanding anumana somewhat differently than you, it appears.
Would it be adequate to say that anumana is a kind of logical reasoning where one is not aware of the value system guiding one's reasoning, or where one refuses to admit that logical reasoning is guided by a value system?
I'm not sure in what ways you are distinguishing these two takes on anumana ... since a refusal is more often than not guided by an absence of vision



Perhaps it is this notion that I need to address more - whether my happiness is worth fighting for.

if you examine the residents of vrindavan, their happiness is completely dependent on the happiness of god.

But those residents are happy, more than that: they are happy while with another person.
Actually the distinguishing aspect of their happiness (from say vaikuntha) is that it exists within the folds of vipralambha (separation)

For earthly purposes, one person's happiness and another person's happiness are usually mutually exclusive; nor can one really be alone, so the possibility of being happy and alone doesn't exist either. Namely, I usually think that true happiness is something one may at best have only while fully disassociated from anyone else, because the presence of other people normally means trouble in one form of another. So much for trying to be happy on my own.
three avenues for trouble
  1. other living entities
  2. one's own body and mind
  3. natural calamities (flood, etc)

sometimes the word "trouble" is synonymous with "austerity" .... so if one doesn't wish to undergo the austerity of dealing with other people, one will simply have to undergo the austerity of dealing with one's own mind, etc ... all in accordance with the results of one's previous activities.
IOW happiness and distress is a given.
Our attitude and response to it is the only ball in our court.




my point is that whatever dominant conditioning we are under can diminish (with the right association of course)

This is optimistic.
"hope for the best. prepare for the worst"


Perhaps in this scenario, Mary would prefer the services of the doctor over her lover, but the services of her doctor are unable to grant her a fulfilling life.

But this implies Mary had a choice: either to let Peter cut off the tumor, or to have the tumor treated by a doctor.
And also, that Peter had respect for that choice.
actually it was just the stance of mary's desire.
even if she was tied to a conveyor belt, retrospection will still grant her preferences
Suppose that Peter saw the tumor on Mary's arm, grabbed a knife and Mary, and cut the tumor off, without asking her anything. Would you still call that a loving action on Peter's part?
Or, suppose Mary was unconscious, and Peter treated her himself, without asking her anything.
Peter's action may be ignorance, but that hardly stands as mutually exclusive from love. IOW we can love for the wrong reasons. If we couldn't, maya would be powerless.
Or, to give another example: A woman falls, sprains her ankle. A man comes by and readjusts the ankle himself, right there on the spot. Whereby the man is not a doctor, nor someone with a training necessary to treat such an injury, there exists the possibility to call for a doctor, and the injured woman didn't agree that the would-be helper does what he wants, but as she is injured, she cannot physically protest much.
Was what the man did a loving action?
Does it depend on the outcome (whether the ankle was healed or whether it got worse) whether his action is to be considered loving or not?
love finds its presence in a variety of relationships (dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya) and thus has different means of expression

This sort of behavior can be seen often enough when parents themselves try to treat their children's injuries, diseases and a number of other problems ("I am the child's mother/father, surely I will know what to do and what is best for my child"); or in cases where someone tries to help a legally incapable person, a mentally incompetent person or someone who is below the age of consent.
once again, love has no requirement for the best of all possible outcomes. In fact more often than not (materially speaking) it works the opposite (financial, bodily, emotional distress)
In short, my question is about forced help and its relation to love.
When is help forced?
Iif the person that was helped did not agree to the action, are they still supposed to consider it love, especially if the help offered was insufficient?
I think its more a case of it lying in the eyes of a beholder.

For instance a person can undergo a dreadful time at the hands of another yet still love them, while someone else will drop it all over a trifling matter. And to make matters more complex, love (in either its perverted or transparent expression) is the reservoir of all other rasas (comedy, compassion, fear, chivalry, ghastliness, wonder and devastation). IOW love can give rise to anger, envy, etc.

Any logic (I do/don't love this person) applied to the issue is simply an after thought


.... and of course love in the material world always has an element of tamas to a greater or lesser extent

I think this is quite a bold statement!
Not that I disagree with it, just the opposite. But I know many people are unwilling to admit that their actions done in the name of love could be anything but perfect, pure, unconditional love and woe anyone who would dare to disagree. Some even drag their "loved ones" to court, if those "loved ones" didn't consider themselves all that loved and left the relationship.
tamas and rajas are not celebrated for the vastness of their apertures of perception
Character builds a better person (sama dama tapas saucam etc), not technical education.

I don't understand how character can build a (better) person?

BG 18.42 Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brähmaëas work.

And these -- peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness -- have to do with character?
What is the difference between character and personality then?
person A's personality is malignant, envious and dishonest
person B's personality is austere, tolerant and honest.

Person B has character


Do you think higher education (alone) is going to secure these qualities?

This is going to be another one of those supposed-to's - but yes, where I come from, we were supposed to develop all good qualities from our higher education, and if we failed to do so, it was our fault, not the higher education's.
They teach "Honesty 101" or something?

Generally people attribute an element of prestige to higher education (as they do with beauty, wealth and high parentage) and a lack of character in such persons is often viewed as an anomaly .... something any newspaper editor can no doubt confirm.
And in principle, I suppose this is true. Ideally, there should be a kind of higher education that fosters all good qualities, and where it is indeed the student's own fault if he or she fails.
But I don't think that our particular kind of higher education fostered much of any good qualities. I think we were fed mostly froth, but expected to perform like Superman. Woe is me for saying this!
Historically there was a time when higher education was addressing issues of character (I'm talking ancient greece). Gradually philosophy gave way to economics so now higher education is simply about job placement.
 
lightgigantic said:
How should one compensate for this that old habits die hard?
I mean, surely one notices one day that a lot is wrong in one's life. But one also sees, possibly by practical experience, that one cannot fix everything at once. Which can be very frustrating!

the general panacea is enthusiasm, confidence and patience (as elaborated in upadesamrta)

Could you briefly tell me what the basis of this enthusiasm, confidence and patience should be?
I can certainly hype myself up into some kind of enthusiasm, confidence and patience, simply by sheer will. But they don't last then, and I become very frustrated.

Is this source for the Upadesamrta the right one?



In spiritual affairs however, we are responsible (or bear the consequences of desire, for better or worse)

But to this I infer that the spiritual is perfect, otherwise it would not be unjust that our failings would be blamed on us. And I infer that we also need to have faith that the spiritual is perfect (in some crucial way).

Compare, for example, taking an exam where it is agreed upon in advance what is required to pass it - the number of marks necessary for A, B, C and so on. On the other hand, taking an exam where the requirements for passing are only determined after the students have already written the test and their tests have been marked (this is sometimes the case in schools where teachers grade exams by the principle of the Gauss curve relative to the actual outcome of an individual exam term). Depending on the grading system, the same number of marks on the same test can get you either a B; or an A, B or C even fail.
We had the latter system in some courses, and it was a bit of a scary experience - there is a lot of strategizing going on, especially for those who haven't prepared well (they would sometimes ask or even pressure other students to write poorly), but also the good ones, competing like crazy. It also put a lot of pressure on the social relationships between the students.

Anyway, this made me wonder how "grading" takes place in spiritual affairs.


I might have been understanding anumana somewhat differently than you, it appears.
Would it be adequate to say that anumana is a kind of logical reasoning where one is not aware of the value system guiding one's reasoning, or where one refuses to admit that logical reasoning is guided by a value system?

I'm not sure in what ways you are distinguishing these two takes on anumana ... since a refusal is more often than not guided by an absence of vision

I apologize, I expressed myself poorly.

I meant that from our discussion, it appears that you hold that anumana is a kind of logical reasoning where one is not aware of the value system guiding one's reasoning, or where one refuses to admit that logical reasoning is guided by a value system.

Whereas I was operating from the assumption that those giving authority to anumana are doing so in good knowledge that they are doing so. Because if we look at our resident atheists/scientists, this is what seems to be the case, it's as if they were saying
"Reality is impersonal, objective, indifferent, we know that. All correct proofs are objective. Any proof attempted from personal application or any regard for values, is necessarily subjective and thus inaccurate, and therefore it is not worth it to even attempt it. All such attempts by anyone should be dismissed."


Actually the distinguishing aspect of their happiness (from say vaikuntha) is that it exists within the folds of vipralambha (separation)

I see. But all in all, their happiness was tied to another person's happiness, and not perhaps to a particular activity or thing in and of itself (such as tying one's happiness solely to reading literature, eating good food and such for the sake of it).


three avenues for trouble
1. other living entities
2. one's own body and mind
3. natural calamities (flood, etc)

sometimes the word "trouble" is synonymous with "austerity" .... so if one doesn't wish to undergo the austerity of dealing with other people, one will simply have to undergo the austerity of dealing with one's own mind, etc ... all in accordance with the results of one's previous activities.
IOW happiness and distress is a given.
Our attitude and response to it is the only ball in our court.

I find this to be an interesting progression of premises! I have not thought of the three avenues of trouble in this way before - "if you don't wish to deal with one kind of trouble, you'll get to deal with another kind of trouble".


my point is that whatever dominant conditioning we are under can diminish (with the right association of course)

This is optimistic.

"hope for the best. prepare for the worst"

I think this is optimistic too!


In short, my question is about forced help and its relation to love.
When is help forced?
Iif the person that was helped did not agree to the action, are they still supposed to consider it love, especially if the help offered was insufficient?

I think its more a case of it lying in the eyes of a beholder.

For instance a person can undergo a dreadful time at the hands of another yet still love them, while someone else will drop it all over a trifling matter. And to make matters more complex, love (in either its perverted or transparent expression) is the reservoir of all other rasas (comedy, compassion, fear, chivalry, ghastliness, wonder and devastation). IOW love can give rise to anger, envy, etc.

Any logic (I do/don't love this person) applied to the issue is simply an after thought

"Whether something is an act of love (or help) lies in the eyes of the beholder."
I imagine that in order to get by in life then, a person holding the above must have a very clear-cut value system, for otherwise they easily get sucked into blackmail in the name of love or help.


tamas and rajas are not celebrated for the vastness of their apertures of perception

But a wide aperture of perception is often cebrated!


person A's personality is malignant, envious and dishonest
person B's personality is austere, tolerant and honest.

Person B has character

So character here means a very specific set of traits.

(In psychology and common parlance, the terms "character" and "personality" have several meanings, often used as if they meant the same.)


They teach "Honesty 101" or something?

No, but like so many other things (both technical and non-technical), we were clearly expected to "pick it up somehow", that we were supposed to learn by inference. In hindsight, I could say there was the notion that the education had provided enough for us to make the right inferences and that it was up to us to make them. That was was "use your mind" referred to.
 
Signal

the general panacea is enthusiasm, confidence and patience (as elaborated in upadesamrta)

Could you briefly tell me what the basis of this enthusiasm, confidence and patience should be?


I can certainly hype myself up into some kind of enthusiasm, confidence and patience, simply by sheer will. But they don't last then, and I become very frustrated.
The idea is that they should be in relation to bhakti. This is further explained in the Upadesamrta. Of course we have experience of these states, but because the object of them is fallible they are short lived or deliver limited results.

For instance enthusiasm (utsaha) is also part of being puffed up (utsaha mayi - enthusiastic about one's self). Utsaha mayi is stated (in the Madhurya Kadambini) as an impediment that can see one lodged in a spiritual stasis.

IOW these states have an object of application. According to what we apply them to, the results ensue.

Is this source for the Upadesamrta the right one?
I think so.

You can find it here too

http://vedabase.net/

In spiritual affairs however, we are responsible (or bear the consequences of desire, for better or worse)

But to this I infer that the spiritual is perfect, otherwise it would not be unjust that our failings would be blamed on us. And I infer that we also need to have faith that the spiritual is perfect (in some crucial way).

Compare, for example, taking an exam where it is agreed upon in advance what is required to pass it - the number of marks necessary for A, B, C and so on. On the other hand, taking an exam where the requirements for passing are only determined after the students have already written the test and their tests have been marked (this is sometimes the case in schools where teachers grade exams by the principle of the Gauss curve relative to the actual outcome of an individual exam term). Depending on the grading system, the same number of marks on the same test can get you either a B; or an A, B or C even fail.
We had the latter system in some courses, and it was a bit of a scary experience - there is a lot of strategizing going on, especially for those who haven't prepared well (they would sometimes ask or even pressure other students to write poorly), but also the good ones, competing like crazy. It also put a lot of pressure on the social relationships between the students.

Anyway, this made me wonder how "grading" takes place in spiritual affairs.

Sometimes there is kitten philosophy (I am a pawn of destiny and god carries me around by the scruff of the neck) and baby monkey philosophy (some how or other climb up there and hang on to god's back for dear life). The vaishnava view is somewhere between these two. Kind of like god is eager to help us become responsible (IOW utilize our desire in a way that actually benefits us).

Of course if we don't have the faith that something is beneficial we won't do it (or at the very best, we will only do it under duress) .... so the daunting path of spiritual life is the route that brings us to that position. IOW the moment we lose all the reservations we have about surrender, is the moment that spiritual life becomes a breeze (sarva dharma parityajya BG 18.66 etc etc). That is the final "passing grade" or the point that spiritual life begins in earnest (even though there might be quite a bit of work leading up to that point).

So basically before that point, you see a host of perspectives on what the goal of religion is according to the conditioned state of the practitioner.
IOW pure religious principles (bhakti) become contaminated by jnana and karma .... so holding an imperfect view as the goal deals mixed results ... kind of like studying the wrong material for an exam.

I meant that from our discussion, it appears that you hold that anumana is a kind of logical reasoning where one is not aware of the value system guiding one's reasoning, or where one refuses to admit that logical reasoning is guided by a value system.

Whereas I was operating from the assumption that those giving authority to anumana are doing so in good knowledge that they are doing so. Because if we look at our resident atheists/scientists, this is what seems to be the case, it's as if they were saying

"Reality is impersonal, objective, indifferent, we know that. All correct proofs are objective. Any proof attempted from personal application or any regard for values, is necessarily subjective and thus inaccurate, and therefore it is not worth it to even attempt it. All such attempts by anyone should be dismissed."
I think you might be calling upon a few elements of pratyaksa at play in your discussion of anumana. Basically anumana is extrapolation based on one's experience. IOW the dynamic tool is the mind and how the mind interprets experience. So for instance, based on the fact that it takes 10 men 1 hour to dig a 1 metre hole, one could say it takes 60 men 1 minute to dig a 1 metre hole ... but then as information comes to hand that there are logistical problems about fitting 60 men around one hole a new figure is arrived at ... and on and on. IOW anumana bases itself on a scenario that can not be experienced, and thus the conclusion is notably fluid as more information comes to hand.

As far as contemporary science goes, its credibility lies within pratyaksa, but the extra distance is carried by anumana. So for example, take the question of the origins of the universe. Various phenomena are observed, and these give a picture on how the universe might have come to be (the words "perhaps" and "maybe" are key indicators of anumana at work). As new findings present themselves, the picture changes. An analysis of the history of science reveals how quickly anumana can do backflips to bring itself in line with the pratyaksa ..... But until the workings are actually trimmed down to fit within pratyaksa, it remains hypothetical.
So in short, popular contemporary academia has a general requirement that all claims of knowledge be based in pratyaksa. IOW you can sell anumana as long as you have the pratyaksa (while the question "To what extent is pratyaksa and anumana capable of coming to a conclusion?" is conveniently bypassed .....)

Jnana has a popular calling in anumana.... so there are alternative models aside from the subscription to a reductionist paradigm.


Actually the distinguishing aspect of their happiness (from say vaikuntha) is that it exists within the folds of vipralambha (separation)

I see. But all in all, their happiness was tied to another person's happiness, and not perhaps to a particular activity or thing in and of itself (such as tying one's happiness solely to reading literature, eating good food and such for the sake of it).
I guess a good way to grade one's spirituality is to introspectively analyze what one requires (or what one is working towards in the name of) for happiness. If the object is temporary, its material. This is a handy way to distinguish pure religious principles and mixed religious principles.
Of course a neophyte response is to try and eradicate the material outlets (I recall one such person who renounced his false teeth .... so one of the first things we had to do was get him some new false teeth) but the mature way to deal with them is to dovetail them. IOW its not so much an issue of abandonment but of simplification and utilization (or yukta vairagya)

three avenues for trouble
1. other living entities
2. one's own body and mind
3. natural calamities (flood, etc)

sometimes the word "trouble" is synonymous with "austerity" .... so if one doesn't wish to undergo the austerity of dealing with other people, one will simply have to undergo the austerity of dealing with one's own mind, etc ... all in accordance with the results of one's previous activities.
IOW happiness and distress is a given.
Our attitude and response to it is the only ball in our court.

I find this to be an interesting progression of premises! I have not thought of the three avenues of trouble in this way before - "if you don't wish to deal with one kind of trouble, you'll get to deal with another kind of trouble".

that's why there is constant mention of the futility of happiness and distress (BG 2.14 , 2.38 6.7 etc etc)

I think its more a case of it lying in the eyes of a beholder.

For instance a person can undergo a dreadful time at the hands of another yet still love them, while someone else will drop it all over a trifling matter. And to make matters more complex, love (in either its perverted or transparent expression) is the reservoir of all other rasas (comedy, compassion, fear, chivalry, ghastliness, wonder and devastation). IOW love can give rise to anger, envy, etc.

Any logic (I do/don't love this person) applied to the issue is simply an after thought

"Whether something is an act of love (or help) lies in the eyes of the beholder."
I imagine that in order to get by in life then, a person holding the above must have a very clear-cut value system, for otherwise they easily get sucked into blackmail in the name of love or help.
Its all about interpretation and reciprocation.
For instance someone is in a car with a bunch of flowers to give to the love of their life and another person is in a car with a bunch of flowers for a florist.
They are both in the same make of car, in the same traffic jam at the same time.
One is thinking this is the best day of their life and the other can't wait to finish work.

IOW there is no formula for an act to dictate a rasa (its not like flowers = love). A rasa is dictated by how one reciprocates and interprets the act of another.
If this idea is played up too much it can stunt spiritual life (see upadesamrta about "practicing the rules and regs only for the sake of practice)


tamas and rajas are not celebrated for the vastness of their apertures of perception

But a wide aperture of perception is often cebrated!
a frog in a well may think he has a wide perception of bodies of water (based on the puddle down the bottom), but that doesn't mean he's on par with his cousin who just got back from the pacific ocean


person A's personality is malignant, envious and dishonest
person B's personality is austere, tolerant and honest.

Person B has character

So character here means a very specific set of traits.

(In psychology and common parlance, the terms "character" and "personality" have several meanings, often used as if they meant the same.)
I was meaning in the sense of good repute


They teach "Honesty 101" or something?

No, but like so many other things (both technical and non-technical), we were clearly expected to "pick it up somehow", that we were supposed to learn by inference.
inference from what?
In hindsight, I could say there was the notion that the education had provided enough for us to make the right inferences and that it was up to us to make them. That was was "use your mind" referred to.
how did they explain any "bad apples"?
 
Could you briefly tell me what the basis of this enthusiasm, confidence and patience should be?

I can certainly hype myself up into some kind of enthusiasm, confidence and patience, simply by sheer will. But they don't last then, and I become very frustrated.

The idea is that they should be in relation to bhakti. This is further explained in the Upadesamrta. Of course we have experience of these states, but because the object of them is fallible they are short lived or deliver limited results.

I see.


For instance enthusiasm (utsaha) is also part of being puffed up (utsaha mayi - enthusiastic about one's self). Utsaha mayi is stated (in the Madhurya Kadambini) as an impediment that can see one lodged in a spiritual stasis.

This is a good clue for me. Because I often wonder how to reconcile enthusiasm (which I know mostly only in relation to myself or some mundane thing) and the fact that I am subject to birth, aging, illness and death.
I mean this very literally, because, for example, I have several chronic issues with my health. Nothing too severe, but the pains and other problems and the threats of crisis are persistent and impossible to ignore - and they make me think.


IOW these states have an object of application. According to what we apply them to, the results ensue.

I suppose what I need the most is courage to apply myself.


Is this source for the Upadesamrta the right one?

I think so.

You can find it here too

http://vedabase.net/

Oh, you mean The Nectar of Instruction?
I already have it printed out from Vedabase and have skimmed through it.
But at Vedabase, it is not filed under Upadesamrta, so I wondered which Upadesamrta you meant, and I am quite clumsy with Sanskrit names.


Sometimes there is kitten philosophy (I am a pawn of destiny and god carries me around by the scruff of the neck) and baby monkey philosophy (some how or other climb up there and hang on to god's back for dear life). The vaishnava view is somewhere between these two. Kind of like god is eager to help us become responsible (IOW utilize our desire in a way that actually benefits us).

I think I am more in the monkey spectrum, so to speak. Just the other day I was reviewing the offenses that I seem to be most guilty of, and it occured to me how I tend to think that the results are all supposed to be my doing and mine alone, down to making molecular ties between molecules, literally and metaphorically. Namely, that I have to understand and control every detail of the workings of the Universe, and that if I am unable to do so, then no good results for me, and off to hell I go. And that so far, I am not in hell by God's mercy, not by my own merit; but that if I were left to myself, I would be in hell and it would be all my fault.


Of course if we don't have the faith that something is beneficial we won't do it (or at the very best, we will only do it under duress) .... so the daunting path of spiritual life is the route that brings us to that position. IOW the moment we lose all the reservations we have about surrender, is the moment that spiritual life becomes a breeze (sarva dharma parityajya BG 18.66 etc etc). That is the final "passing grade" or the point that spiritual life begins in earnest (even though there might be quite a bit of work leading up to that point).

And I yet have a very long way ahead of me!


So basically before that point, you see a host of perspectives on what the goal of religion is according to the conditioned state of the practitioner.
IOW pure religious principles (bhakti) become contaminated by jnana and karma .... so holding an imperfect view as the goal deals mixed results ... kind of like studying the wrong material for an exam.

Hence the notion of the process of purification?


I think you might be calling upon a few elements of pratyaksa at play in your discussion of anumana. Basically anumana is extrapolation based on one's experience. IOW the dynamic tool is the mind and how the mind interprets experience. So for instance, based on the fact that it takes 10 men 1 hour to dig a 1 metre hole, one could say it takes 60 men 1 minute to dig a 1 metre hole ... but then as information comes to hand that there are logistical problems about fitting 60 men around one hole a new figure is arrived at ... and on and on. IOW anumana bases itself on a scenario that can not be experienced, and thus the conclusion is notably fluid as more information comes to hand.

As far as contemporary science goes, its credibility lies within pratyaksa, but the extra distance is carried by anumana. So for example, take the question of the origins of the universe. Various phenomena are observed, and these give a picture on how the universe might have come to be (the words "perhaps" and "maybe" are key indicators of anumana at work). As new findings present themselves, the picture changes. An analysis of the history of science reveals how quickly anumana can do backflips to bring itself in line with the pratyaksa ..... But until the workings are actually trimmed down to fit within pratyaksa, it remains hypothetical.
So in short, popular contemporary academia has a general requirement that all claims of knowledge be based in pratyaksa. IOW you can sell anumana as long as you have the pratyaksa (while the question "To what extent is pratyaksa and anumana capable of coming to a conclusion?" is conveniently bypassed .....)

I have to say don't understand Western science. Possibly, this is why I have problems understanding notions of anumana and pratyaksa when they are explained in relation to Western science.

Namely, in Western science, they keep talking about evidence and proof - but how many people are actually able to come to that evidence and evaluate it themselves?
And the few cases where one seems to be able to do so (such as dropping pebbles and boiling water), it is about things that are quite irrelevant to life, at least for me. I do not need to know anything specific about water and heating in order to cook a meal, for example.

For all practical purposes, both scientific "findings" and scientific reasoning (as we are used to them here) simply need to be taken on faith, and in this sense they are not different from all the other things we take on faith (such as what the meaning of life is or what course of education to take).


Jnana has a popular calling in anumana.... so there are alternative models aside from the subscription to a reductionist paradigm.

Can you please tell me more about those alternative models?


I guess a good way to grade one's spirituality is to introspectively analyze what one requires (or what one is working towards in the name of) for happiness. If the object is temporary, its material. This is a handy way to distinguish pure religious principles and mixed religious principles.

But such an analysis can only take place using normative descriptions from a particular doctrine, can it not? Which already implies that that doctrine has been taken as relevant enough.


Of course a neophyte response is to try and eradicate the material outlets

Then I am not even a neophyte!


I find this to be an interesting progression of premises! I have not thought of the three avenues of trouble in this way before - "if you don't wish to deal with one kind of trouble, you'll get to deal with another kind of trouble".

that's why there is constant mention of the futility of happiness and distress

So much for getting one's spirit high!


Whether something is an act of love (or help) lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Its all about interpretation and reciprocation.

I agree, but to me the keypoint is that one then has to consider oneself an instance important enough to heed a particular interpretation that comes up in one's mind.
I can interpret, I can reciprocate - still, something is missing. For some reason, I don't choose one interpretation over another, but instead entertain all of those that came up in my mind (which is usually several), and try to figure out an objective way to ealuate each individual situation.

What am I missing?
It seems to me that in order to be able to choose one interpretation over another, I would need to be either enlightened (as I presume that with enlightenment, all issues of subjectivity, making mistakes, and any other kind of bias are bypassed), or have a real personality, not merely a conditioned one (being an instance that is in some crucial way important).


IOW there is no formula for an act to dictate a rasa (its not like flowers = love).

But usually in human society, there are precisely such formulas.
To keep with the example of flowers: the language of flowers, or the rules about when there can be an even and when an odd number of flowers (provided they are large enough and not too many to be counted individually; an odd number is for happy occasions, an even one for sad ones - if you brought someone two, four or six roses for their birthday, that would be a faux pas at mildest, and a straightforward declaration of disrespect at most).

It is hard to say how many such formulas exist and how much individuals keep to them, but they certainly do exist. I am not sure how much we can really function separately from them.


A rasa is dictated by how one reciprocates and interprets the act of another.

What about the case where the two people involved have different interpretations about what is going on between them?
For example, one claims it is friendship, the other it is acquaintanceship; one claims it is love, the other it is manipulation?


tamas and rajas are not celebrated for the vastness of their apertures of perception

But a wide aperture of perception is often cebrated!

a frog in a well may think he has a wide perception of bodies of water (based on the puddle down the bottom), but that doesn't mean he's on par with his cousin who just got back from the pacific ocean

Actually, I might have misunderstood your first sentence. I thought you were saying that tamas and rajas have a vast aperture of perception - and I inferred that this has to do with the intelligence of the irresolute being many-branched - and this is something that is not celebrated. Namely, a vast aperture of perception can mean that one's attention is drawn in many directions, and as such one either runs from one activity to another, or (eventually) just topples down, confused. Like they say, it is possible to be so open-minded that your brain falls out.


So character here means a very specific set of traits.

I was meaning in the sense of good repute

But again, this repute is good only in reference to a specific society and its norms.


They teach "Honesty 101" or something?
No, but like so many other things (both technical and non-technical), we were clearly expected to "pick it up somehow", that we were supposed to learn by inference.

inference from what?

I'm not sure. I've always had the feeling that the moral code based on which we were supposed to make those inferences was considered a given for everyone, something that went without saying and should not be specifically discussed or declared. For example, if someone didn't do their homework, we seemed to be supposed to infer that that is bad. I don't remember that anyone ever told us that not doing your homework was bad, and doing it was good.


In hindsight, I could say there was the notion that the education had provided enough for us to make the right inferences and that it was up to us to make them. That was was "use your mind" referred to.

how did they explain any "bad apples"?

With stubborness, willfulness, hints that a person is inherently deranged or evil.
 
Signal


For instance enthusiasm (utsaha) is also part of being puffed up (utsaha mayi - enthusiastic about one's self). Utsaha mayi is stated (in the Madhurya Kadambini) as an impediment that can see one lodged in a spiritual stasis.

This is a good clue for me. Because I often wonder how to reconcile enthusiasm (which I know mostly only in relation to myself or some mundane thing) and the fact that I am subject to birth, aging, illness and death.
I mean this very literally, because, for example, I have several chronic issues with my health. Nothing too severe, but the pains and other problems and the threats of crisis are persistent and impossible to ignore - and they make me think.
Generally illusion is characterized by a type of enthusiasm that the body will persist. Generally we all acknowledge that we will die, but we tend to think "but not tomorrow" (or if we are critically ill, "not today")


IOW these states have an object of application. According to what we apply them to, the results ensue.

I suppose what I need the most is courage to apply myself.
enthusiasm, confidence and patience (upadesamrta)



So basically before that point, you see a host of perspectives on what the goal of religion is according to the conditioned state of the practitioner.
IOW pure religious principles (bhakti) become contaminated by jnana and karma .... so holding an imperfect view as the goal deals mixed results ... kind of like studying the wrong material for an exam.

Hence the notion of the process of purification?
To get purified one has to have a notion of not only what is pure but what is an impurity

Isopanisad Mantra 11. Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.


IOW for as long as one cannot distinguish between milk solids and fat one cannot make ghee much like for as long as one cannot perceive karma and jnana as impediments one cannot perform bhakti.

I think you might be calling upon a few elements of pratyaksa at play in your discussion of anumana. Basically anumana is extrapolation based on one's experience. IOW the dynamic tool is the mind and how the mind interprets experience. So for instance, based on the fact that it takes 10 men 1 hour to dig a 1 metre hole, one could say it takes 60 men 1 minute to dig a 1 metre hole ... but then as information comes to hand that there are logistical problems about fitting 60 men around one hole a new figure is arrived at ... and on and on. IOW anumana bases itself on a scenario that can not be experienced, and thus the conclusion is notably fluid as more information comes to hand.

As far as contemporary science goes, its credibility lies within pratyaksa, but the extra distance is carried by anumana. So for example, take the question of the origins of the universe. Various phenomena are observed, and these give a picture on how the universe might have come to be (the words "perhaps" and "maybe" are key indicators of anumana at work). As new findings present themselves, the picture changes. An analysis of the history of science reveals how quickly anumana can do backflips to bring itself in line with the pratyaksa ..... But until the workings are actually trimmed down to fit within pratyaksa, it remains hypothetical.
So in short, popular contemporary academia has a general requirement that all claims of knowledge be based in pratyaksa. IOW you can sell anumana as long as you have the pratyaksa (while the question "To what extent is pratyaksa and anumana capable of coming to a conclusion?" is conveniently bypassed .....)

I have to say don't understand Western science. Possibly, this is why I have problems understanding notions of anumana and pratyaksa when they are explained in relation to Western science.

Namely, in Western science, they keep talking about evidence and proof - but how many people are actually able to come to that evidence and evaluate it themselves?
And the few cases where one seems to be able to do so (such as dropping pebbles and boiling water), it is about things that are quite irrelevant to life, at least for me. I do not need to know anything specific about water and heating in order to cook a meal, for example.

For all practical purposes, both scientific "findings" and scientific reasoning (as we are used to them here) simply need to be taken on faith, and in this sense they are not different from all the other things we take on faith (such as what the meaning of life is or what course of education to take).
Science generally prides itself on being doable.

The problem is that a host of moral and ethical issues have come to the fore due to science. This extends not only to the stance changing from "We can do this" to "Should we do this?" to a host a ways on how we view the world and universe. (for instance, "If life is simply a bunch of chemicals, where does reward and punishment fit into the picture?)


Jnana has a popular calling in anumana.... so there are alternative models aside from the subscription to a reductionist paradigm.

Can you please tell me more about those alternative models?
Practically anything you can point at within western philosophy.

IOW "If ... then ...." has applications beyond "If everything is materially reducible, then ....."


I guess a good way to grade one's spirituality is to introspectively analyze what one requires (or what one is working towards in the name of) for happiness. If the object is temporary, its material. This is a handy way to distinguish pure religious principles and mixed religious principles.

But such an analysis can only take place using normative descriptions from a particular doctrine, can it not? Which already implies that that doctrine has been taken as relevant enough.
normative descriptions are an ideal.

For instance one could know that it is wrong to do X (via a normative description) but by introspection one can determine whether one is actually guilty of it or not.

For instance a lot of talk might be there about the eternal kingdom of god, but if one is underpinned by a host of issues that pertain to the body, a conflict of interest ensues.


Of course a neophyte response is to try and eradicate the material outlets

Then I am not even a neophyte!
really?

"let's pretend to drop everything in the name of spiritual life" is quite common




I find this to be an interesting progression of premises! I have not thought of the three avenues of trouble in this way before - "if you don't wish to deal with one kind of trouble, you'll get to deal with another kind of trouble".

that's why there is constant mention of the futility of happiness and distress

So much for getting one's spirit high!
Nothing wrong with getting one's spirits high ..... its when one inflates material life to something that it could never possibly be that problems occur.


Whether something is an act of love (or help) lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Its all about interpretation and reciprocation.

I agree, but to me the keypoint is that one then has to consider oneself an instance important enough to heed a particular interpretation that comes up in one's mind.
I can interpret, I can reciprocate - still, something is missing. For some reason, I don't choose one interpretation over another, but instead entertain all of those that came up in my mind (which is usually several), and try to figure out an objective way to ealuate each individual situation.
at the end of the day we can only have one mind
What am I missing?
It seems to me that in order to be able to choose one interpretation over another, I would need to be either enlightened (as I presume that with enlightenment, all issues of subjectivity, making mistakes, and any other kind of bias are bypassed), or have a real personality, not merely a conditioned one (being an instance that is in some crucial way important).
I guess there are a range of states that bridge several, but they are generally experienced as confusion or bewilderment.

For instance if one simultaneously trusts and mistrusts someone it lands them in confusion


IOW there is no formula for an act to dictate a rasa (its not like flowers = love).

But usually in human society, there are precisely such formulas.
To keep with the example of flowers: the language of flowers, or the rules about when there can be an even and when an odd number of flowers (provided they are large enough and not too many to be counted individually; an odd number is for happy occasions, an even one for sad ones - if you brought someone two, four or six roses for their birthday, that would be a faux pas at mildest, and a straightforward declaration of disrespect at most).
SO there is no record of a person having received an odd number of flowers being unhappy?


It is hard to say how many such formulas exist and how much individuals keep to them, but they certainly do exist. I am not sure how much we can really function separately from them.
the formulas facilitate an experience as opposed to support one.

IOW it can be socially agreed upon what an act means or how it should be interpreted, but despite acting in a formulaic way, a culmination in a relationship status is not necessarily reached (otherwise happiness would be as simple as getting an odd number of flowers or something)


A rasa is dictated by how one reciprocates and interprets the act of another.

What about the case where the two people involved have different interpretations about what is going on between them?
For example, one claims it is friendship, the other it is acquaintanceship; one claims it is love, the other it is manipulation?
then one is trying to act as a friend and the other is trying to act as an acquaintance

tamas and rajas are not celebrated for the vastness of their apertures of perception

But a wide aperture of perception is often cebrated!

a frog in a well may think he has a wide perception of bodies of water (based on the puddle down the bottom), but that doesn't mean he's on par with his cousin who just got back from the pacific ocean

Actually, I might have misunderstood your first sentence. I thought you were saying that tamas and rajas have a vast aperture of perception - and I inferred that this has to do with the intelligence of the irresolute being many-branched - and this is something that is not celebrated. Namely, a vast aperture of perception can mean that one's attention is drawn in many directions, and as such one either runs from one activity to another, or (eventually) just topples down, confused. Like they say, it is possible to be so open-minded that your brain falls out.
lol




So character here means a very specific set of traits.

I was meaning in the sense of good repute

But again, this repute is good only in reference to a specific society and its norms.
how an act is interpreted as honest may be varied but the notion of honesty as an admirable/esteemed quality is a constant






They teach "Honesty 101" or something?

No, but like so many other things (both technical and non-technical), we were clearly expected to "pick it up somehow", that we were supposed to learn by inference.

inference from what?

I'm not sure. I've always had the feeling that the moral code based on which we were supposed to make those inferences was considered a given for everyone, something that went without saying and should not be specifically discussed or declared. For example, if someone didn't do their homework, we seemed to be supposed to infer that that is bad. I don't remember that anyone ever told us that not doing your homework was bad, and doing it was good.
so if no one ever went to school and had the opportunity to not do their homework, no one would ever have the opportunity to do anything bad?




In hindsight, I could say there was the notion that the education had provided enough for us to make the right inferences and that it was up to us to make them. That was was "use your mind" referred to.

how did they explain any "bad apples"?

With stubborness, willfulness, hints that a person is inherently deranged or evil.
this seems to be taking somewhere in the elusive middle ground
 
I suppose what I need the most is courage to apply myself.

enthusiasm, confidence and patience (upadesamrta)

"Confidence," "trust," "faith," "hope," "determination" - these and more along their lines are terms I don't really understand. Even though I have read and thought and discussed a lot about them. I have problems recognizing these things.
I supose I will just have to rely on the statement that "devotional service is so pure and perfect that once having begun, one is forcibly dragged to ultimate success". This "forcibly dragged" - this is something I feel though, and with great certainty, despite all my other lacks.

For example, entirely viscerally, there has been a change since I have become more strict about what I eat: I can easily digest foods like raw kale and plain-cooked wholegrain barley - two kinds of food generally known for being difficult to digest. But processed food or food served at restaurants (even though nominally vegetarian) and which many people thrive on, gives me a number of intestinal problems! I am kind of glad about this, because I now have an objective reason to prepare all my food myself, as I see fit.


To get purified one has to have a notion of not only what is pure but what is an impurity

Isopanisad Mantra 11. Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.

IOW for as long as one cannot distinguish between milk solids and fat one cannot make ghee much like for as long as one cannot perceive karma and jnana as impediments one cannot perform bhakti.

Just the other day I was listening to a talk where it was said that the most miserable living being is the fallen devotee - because while engaging in acts of selfish sense-gratification, he actually knows, with first-hand experience, that selfish sense-gratification leads to misery, and that his actual role is to be God's servant. Whereas the senses of the materialist are so numb that he doesn't notice that selfish sense-gratification makes him miserable.
I certainly have an acute experience that selfish sense-gratification (in terms of karma and jnana) leads to misery. I can't say that my attempts at devotional service have made me happy, but I do feel considerably less bad and less guilty if I at least try.


Science generally prides itself on being doable.

The problem is that a host of moral and ethical issues have come to the fore due to science. This extends not only to the stance changing from "We can do this" to "Should we do this?" to a host a ways on how we view the world and universe. (for instance, "If life is simply a bunch of chemicals, where does reward and punishment fit into the picture?)

Pride goeth before the fall ...


Practically anything you can point at within western philosophy.

IOW "If ... then ...." has applications beyond "If everything is materially reducible, then ....."

I see. I have just thought, for example, of Wittgenstein's Tractatus and the conclusions it makes.


But such an analysis can only take place using normative descriptions from a particular doctrine, can it not? Which already implies that that doctrine has been taken as relevant enough.

normative descriptions are an ideal.

For instance one could know that it is wrong to do X (via a normative description) but by introspection one can determine whether one is actually guilty of it or not.

For instance a lot of talk might be there about the eternal kingdom of god, but if one is underpinned by a host of issues that pertain to the body, a conflict of interest ensues.

I just saw that I had previously assumed that one can actually come from the position of having no position, that one can be neutral and objective. But I don't think this is actually possible, at least for all practical purposes, one always holds some position (or worldview or doctrine) as being the relevant one for onesself (even if one may not admit so).


Of course a neophyte response is to try and eradicate the material outlets

Then I am not even a neophyte!

really?

"let's pretend to drop everything in the name of spiritual life" is quite common

I meant I haven't made much change material-wise in my life in the name of spirituality.
As long as I can remember, I have been against meat-eating, illicit sex, intoxication, gambling, and practiced this I think to a greater extent than "average people" - given that I have been the traget of sometimes severe criticism because of that.
Also, I have always been fond of austerity, frugality, discipline, simplicity. These were harder to practice, but my enthusiasm for them never really waned.
For some time in the past, I used to find some relief and happiness in art. But at some point, it struck me how impractical it is to rely on these things - because in order to enjoy them, I need to ensure I have a lot of appropriate space and time, money, that the state of the planet will be such to provide electricity, repairs for the stereo etc. Not to mention that there was no guarantee that my stress would be relieved by some nice piano sonata or some such. So I decided that I needed to find a more feasible and more reliable way to happiness, so I threw those books and cd's and such away. I didn't do that because I would read somewhere that I should do so or because someone told me so or because I would try to fit into some spiritual community.
It was out of need and practical concern, I didn't consider it particularly "spiritual".

Sometimes I think that people who go through a greater change material-wise in their lives are better off, because they actually have some visible milestones in their process of renunciation - they have something to show for, and I don't.


at the end of the day we can only have one mind

How I wish to have that!


SO there is no record of a person having received an odd number of flowers being unhappy?

He he.


the formulas facilitate an experience as opposed to support one.

IOW it can be socially agreed upon what an act means or how it should be interpreted, but despite acting in a formulaic way, a culmination in a relationship status is not necessarily reached (otherwise happiness would be as simple as getting an odd number of flowers or something)

But the media and society are telling us "If a socially accepted formula is enacted toward you, you are supposed to be happy." People in commercials smile all the time when they have clean laundry and such! But I suppose this is an example of prano-maya.


then one is trying to act as a friend and the other is trying to act as an acquaintance

And if they are fighting over who is right about the nature of their relationship, this means that they are in it for one-up-manship to begin with and their relationship could never really flourish anyway ...


how an act is interpreted as honest may be varied but the notion of honesty as an admirable/esteemed quality is a constant

Agreed.


so if no one ever went to school and had the opportunity to not do their homework, no one would ever have the opportunity to do anything bad?

I suppose something along these lines. I suspect some of my educators implicitly believed that the only way not to do any wrong is to do nothing at all - something like the Jains. Also, that happiness and morality are mutually exclusive.
 
He puts the spliff in the ashtray pick's up a rock and becomes enlightened then understands that it is real, he then closes his eyes and dreams up an entire universe with active solar systems and inter-galactic systems of advanced races inhabiting all the planets in the sector. Each race and planet unique he even creates languages for them all so intricate and detailed more so than any modern human tongue of today in reality-ville. He then opens his eyes awaking in the gumdrop forest as the lollypop king greets him with a kiss filled with rainbows,waterfalls and little puppies and sprinkles, he then prances off into the sunset of imagination land because I just got a call and had to cut his tail short, I have to go out I be back in 30 mins- 1 hour.


peace
 
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