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Brahmānubhava as Überpramāṇa in Advaita Vedānta: Revisiting an Old Debate

Brahmānubhava as Überpramāṇa in Advaita Vedānta: Revisiting an Old Debate This article revisits a debate about the nature and function of <i>anubhava</i> or intuition in Advaita Vedānta. In their presentation of Indian thought to the West, neo-Vedāntins such as Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan emphasized intuitive experience as a unique means to <i>brahmajñāna</i>, or Brahman-realization. In so doing, they distanced themselves from the tradition’s emphasis on the role of scripture in revealing Brahman. Detractors claim that such an account misrepresented Åšaá¹…kara’s epistemology and led to a facile characterization of Advaita as a form of mysticism. It is argued here that the issue rests upon a confusion about the function of <i>anubhava</i>, and an understanding is proposed of intuition as a distinctive mode of cognition that mitigates the neo-Vedāntin claim that it is an independent means to <i>brahmajñāna</i>, yet that does not undermine the common view of Advaita as a system of thought whose fundamental claims about the nature of reality can be realized only in mystical experience. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Brahmānubhava as Überpramāṇa in Advaita Vedānta: Revisiting an Old Debate

Philosophy East and West , Volume 64 (3) – Sep 17, 2014

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1529-1898

Abstract

This article revisits a debate about the nature and function of <i>anubhava</i> or intuition in Advaita Vedānta. In their presentation of Indian thought to the West, neo-Vedāntins such as Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan emphasized intuitive experience as a unique means to <i>brahmajñāna</i>, or Brahman-realization. In so doing, they distanced themselves from the tradition’s emphasis on the role of scripture in revealing Brahman. Detractors claim that such an account misrepresented Śaṅkara’s epistemology and led to a facile characterization of Advaita as a form of mysticism. It is argued here that the issue rests upon a confusion about the function of <i>anubhava</i>, and an understanding is proposed of intuition as a distinctive mode of cognition that mitigates the neo-Vedāntin claim that it is an independent means to <i>brahmajñāna</i>, yet that does not undermine the common view of Advaita as a system of thought whose fundamental claims about the nature of reality can be realized only in mystical experience.

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 17, 2014

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