Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The metaphysical depth of things

I am, I think, finally beginning to understand what Joaquim might have meant when he used to speak of the 'metaphysical depth' of things. But - I am not really sure what Joaquim meant.

Reading De Smet on Sankara, it is becoming clear that, in Sankara's perspective, all ordinary knowledge is a-Vidya, precisely because it does not go to the true depth of reality - which is the Brahman-Atman. Here is one summary of what he says:
Knowledge results from the sources of valid knowledge whose objects are existent things as they are in reality. (B.S.Bh. 1, 1, 4) The objective identity, yathatmya, is not easy to attain. Things have a physical substantiality, which pratyakṣa and anumāna can ascertain, but also a metaphysical depth, namely, their total dependence on their Cause. So long as we ignore or deny this, our knowledge has not yet reached yathatmya. However correct it may be as far as it goes, it is avidya, for it lacks the complement and finality which śruti alone can give. The śruti will not cancel its content but only its pretention of having reached exhaustively the yathatmya of things. [“Śaṅkara’s Non-Dualism” Religious Hinduism 1997 86.]

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