Advaita's Theory Of Eridical Cognition

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Advaita asserts that the only thing which is certain and apodictic is the evidence of consciousness for any claim that we make – whether we claim that we know something or the claim that we do not know something. All sources of knowledge are dependent on consciousness: whatever be the source of consciousness, be it perception, or inference, or scripture, it presupposes consciousness as its ultimate source. That which is the presupposition of every kind of knowledge and of every source of knowledge cannot be validated by any other principle. Advaita holds the view that whatever is cognized must be admitted to be existent. Every cognition has a cognitum; and this is as much true of erroneous cognition as it is true of veridical cognition. In…show more content…
The rigorous regressive inquiry which one should undertake aims at the removal, stage by stage, of the non-self, ie., the removal of the physical, objective world first of all and then the removal of the mental, subjective world, with the help of reasoning and Śruti. Since the failure to discriminate the Self from the non-self arises because of ignorance, it is necessary to remove the latter; and this should be done only by the knowledge of the Self. In order that a person is fit enough to perform this rigorous regressive inquiry Advaita formulates a scheme of discipline which is both moral and spiritual. The Self which is no other than Brahman and which remains concealed by the non-self in the business of daily life (lokavyavahāra) in which we are engaged has to be discovered. And this discovering of the Self can be done only by knowledge, for the attainment of which moral and spiritual discipline is necessary. Subscribing as it does to the theory of universal salvation (sarva-mukti), Advaita holds that anyone who has made himself/herself eligible for the practice of the rigorous regressive inquiry possessing the requisite qualifications, therefore, can dis-cover the Self here and now. Self-realization which is liberation is not a promise of a future state, but an achievement in the present. The liberated-in-life (Jīvanmukta) has no attachment to the mind-sense-body complex and is, therefore, free from the sense of “I”…show more content…
It is through consciousness that everything, whether it is an object in the external world or one’s body, whether it is a mental state like pleasure or mind itself, is known. By itself the internal organ which is material cannot illumine anything. If it gets the status of a knower (jñātā), it is because of the fact that consciousness which is the Self is reflected therein. The internal organ, carrying the reflection of consciousness, knows itself as “I” (aham); in the same way it knows other objects which are presented to it as “this” (idam). Starting from internal organs which is material and which is other than the Self, every object is known only through consciousness. It is not possible to prove the existence of anything in the absence of consciousness. Consciousness which is presupposed in all acts of knowing is the basis of all knowledge. While other objects are proved or established through consciousness, the latter is self-established, for it is self-luminous by its very nature. The Self which is consciousness is said to be self-luminous in the sense that, while it is not illumined or made known by any other means or agency, it illumines other objects. (ananya avabhāsyatvam, anya

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