Experiential Dimension of Advaita-Vedanta (book review) Arvind Sharma

210419 this is a later addition: reading this review over, reading other critiques, i can see from Buddhist perspective av is an insistence that 'conventional' truth of non-dual experience (beyond subject/object etc) is leading to 'ultimate' truth not through transcending logic or appeal to gods- if you recognize this non-dual experience is immanence of unity with Brahman. and from av perspective bd ‘ultimate’ truth is mythic, metaphysical addition not any real experience, and in the doctrine of two levels of 'truth' conventional and ultimate, is against advaita non-dualism, if not simply seen as too esoteric to be real experience...


021216 first review: another very short text that perhaps requires much already read to find connections, understand concepts, though this book is introductory, narrow, direct- in reference of 'advaita vedanta', a sort of Indic philosophy, of Hindu provenance, that insists on ultimate ontological non-duality that is not ‘western’ monism. there is for example no separation between what is called 'naturalism' and what is called 'spiritualism'...


in this case the apparent duality to be overcome is 'experiential', of 'normal experience', between dream and waking life. there are countering arguments of primacy, reality, value, of waking life versus dreaming life- first compared in quantitative measures of time, in possible sensual falsity, in persistence of memory, which waking is seen more real, objective from many perspectives, public in shared experience- in which the subjective is intuitively given primacy. this sort of idealism, in which dream water satisfies dream thirst, is not contrasted unfavourably to water satisfying waking thirst, a conflict familiar between ideal and material, but simply in context, in what is real in waking and what is real in dreaming. the dreaming 'i' does not say 'i' am dreaming: the dream is 'real' to the dreamer...


there is the argument faced that in waking life we recall a dream but not the reverse, but this is not 'phenomenology', for dream is experience and not thought, because it is entirely experience this is not 'intentional' consciousness 'of' (husserl), or that only exists as bundles of sense/thought (hume) like beads on a string: advaita rejects such psychological contention. the string is real. the string is the experience of 'i' that emerges from the 'i' preceding, independent, almost 'existential' subject which cannot be object of thought but is essential subject. there is the argument that the string underlies both waking and dreaming: do we not say 'i' in both worlds? do we not experience as 'i' in event and in woken recall?


yet, though this is not phenomenology, this is also not buddhism. the 'i' is real, not illusion, not emptiness, but exactly what ordinary experience suggests: real, a way of ordering, understanding, living, as a coherent subject. from another perspective of say dreaming, when we lose the body, we lose evident bounds, but we never lose the 'i', though this is not the 'Cartesian ego'- not something only revealed by doubt- but immediate, inescapable, ego of subjectivity that is derivation of brahma. this book is focused on the 'experiential' rather than 'dogmatic' form of advaita, the arguments of philosophers, see [book:Hindu Theology of Liberation, A|25985246] and shows that only surpassing this illusory duality though not the entirety of non-duality, is a good place to start, it inspires me to read on, to learn more Indic philosophy, to conflicts in arguments and agreements in cultural basis with say what i have read of Buddhism...


so perhaps it is helpful to have read so much phenomenology (145 books) and philosophy-indic (91), as this interests me by great different images, by stimulating imagined dialectics, by imagined expressions, in contrast and in agreement with those ways of ‘western’ ways of thinking. and as always, any book that leads eagerly to another book is a great book to me...

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