Sunday, May 08, 2005

Faith in Authority vs Logical Reasoning

Sri PVR Narasimha Rao

> Dear Members
> Another perculiarity is that we are supposed to develop faith in
authority/scripture rather than argument/reason
> The question then is when do we stop with one and work with the other .
> Nicholas

Namaste Nicholas,

I am all for complete faith in authority. Those who personally know me know me as a devout Hindu, with complete faith in maharshis.

If I question something in BPHS, it does not amount to questioning Parasara.

Upanishats say that words are not knowledge. "The intent of the words" is knowledge and it cannot be fully captured by words.

Word and its intent are two totally different things. Words try to capture the intent, but they cannot fully do so. Unpanishats are very very wise in acknowledging it!!

Words and sentences can have multiple meanings at different levels. A scripture may not have intended to say something it seems to be saying. Thus, we cannot stop with words and their apparent meaning. We have to investigate and
understand the correct intent. That understanding can only be experienced and felt, but not put in words. It comes only with constant pondering and meditation.

Thus, logical argument, reasoning, pondering over something and meditating over something are a natural process of correctly and completely understanding the intent of something. There is no disrespect in it.

At the risk of stirring a hornet's nest, I will say that this open-mindedness which is so fundamental in Hindu philosophy seems to be missing in some other cultures and traditions. Some cultures seem to take scriptural words too
literally and rigidly and do not seem to strive to understand the true meaning (which cannot be put in words but can only be experienced).

Personally, I see no clash between respect for scriptures and sages and logical reasoning/argument over their words.

* * *

The word "pada" means word or symbol. The word "bhava" means meaning or intent. Bhava is the real one, but it has no clear expression. It is internal and can only be felt or experienced. It has no tangible manifestation. Pada is
artificial, but it is the only thing that manifests in a tangible way. Pada is the only thing using which we can attempt to communicate the bhava. Pada tries to represent bhava, but cannot do so perfectly.

No wonder houses in astrology are called bhavas (meaning/intent) and their arudhas are called padas (words/symbols)! Houses show intangibles and padas show tangible manifestations/symbols. For example, if the 4th house shows happiness from vehicle, the pada of 4th house shows the tangible symbol of it, i.e. vehicle itself.

May Jupiter's light shine on us,

Brihaspati Gayatri, Vishwamitra/Gaathina Rishi Rig Veda 6.62.6