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February 19, 2023


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And that logical approach of Swami Sarvapriyananda's, that he presented in lieu of guided meditation, what did it amount to? Can you discuss it?

It has to be one of three things. Either it was internally inconsistent. Else it was a non sequitur. Else it was internally consistent, and sound; but yet lacking evidence. (The fourth option I rule out, which is, sound argument, and backed by evidence, since you say he produced none.)

So which was it, and what form did his logical defense of Advaita take? (In case you remember it, that is.)

Appreciative Reader, I don't know if this is the place in the dialog that I was thinking of, but I found it, and it reflects the basis approach of the Swami.This is a summary of what he said, using his words, but not all of his words. My objection, of course, is that consciousness does indeed go away in anesthesia, brain damage, and death.
The witness is the see’er. The witness is never seen. How do you deal with this? First, the subject and the object must be different. Whatever you see is an object.

Now, the goal is to find out what you are exactly.

One, I see that I see color and shapes all around me. Those are forms. Clearly the eyes are different from whatever is seen.

Two, there are so many things seen. They are all seen by the same pair of eyes.

Three, what is seen keeps changing. But the same pair of eyes is constant in all of this seeing.

Next step is that the eyes are seeing and the mind is the see’er. What knows the eyes? The mind knows the eyes. The mind is clearly not the eyes.

It is the same mind that receives all of the sensory input.

In the mind we see thoughts, feelings, emotions, the sense of ego. The mind does lots of things. One of the things it does is unite all things into a seeming sense of self.

Whatever is seeing the mind must be something different from the mind. All the things in the mind are seen by consciousness.

Consciousness does not seem to be changing. Let’s label this the witness.

The see’er is never seen. That is consciousness, the witness. Consciousness is never an object. You are always the subject, never the object.

So this is the first step in Advaita Vedanta, to isolate witness consciousness in our understanding and see that it is always there.

Take consciousness away and there is no Buddhism, no Advaita, there is nothing.

So pure consciousness, that is our real nature — Atman. Advaita goes further than a duality of consciousness and matter into the nonduality of consciousness alone.

Within human experience, logic is just a conditioned subjective opinion.

By definition, logic is reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.

As well as, a particular way of thinking, especially one that is reasonable and based on good judgment, or based on reason and sound ideas.

That is to say, with precision and clarity and removed from emotion.

That is how it’s defined. That is how it could be defined.

Therefore, its practical application is such that the word itself is used to enhance the idea that you are right and someone else is wrong because you know better than them.

Logic therefore is about self-centric egocentricity. It could be.

Because all human experience is conditioned and subjective.

This could mean, that there is something like 7.5 billion different versions of logic happening at the same time and all will be equally valid to the individual’s point of view and be rejected by the other person’s view.

The instant you believe you are right, about anything (physical, emotional, psychological, or any combination thereof) you are no longer being open to now-ness, because your belief denies the actuality of causality.

Being right is irrelevant to a balanced mind.

Being logical it irrelevant to the awakened mind.

Attachment to either will set up the conditions for the mind to worry.

The mind does what it can to develop and maintain, peace of mind, and to do this it does not

cling to fixed beliefs but finds what works to alleviate or eradicate its worries in order that it can

be at peace with itself, others and the world around it.

Brian, thanks for the detailed transcript of that portion of SS’s speech/lecture.

Agreed, he speaks beautifully. It’s not just his command of English, and not just the fact that he’s so articulate. What shines through when you see and hear the man speak are his palpable sincerity, and his …innocence, if I may call it that.

That said, I find what he says here wanting, sorely wanting, very obviously wanting. He seems an intelligent man, and an open-minded man: I’m surprised this obvious shortcoming in his thesis did not occur to him.

As you’d said, there’s no evidence to back up this whole thing. As you say now, the warping and cessation of consciousness with anesthesia and/or drugs, and brain damage, and death, they admit of a far more parsimonious explanation that does not reflect Advaita’s core thesis. But more specifically, here’s how SS’s reasoning as far as that specific excerpt struck me:

That part where he says, “Whatever is seeing the mind must be something different from the mind. All the things in the mind are seen by consciousness.” Up till that point he'd made sense, but then right there, in these two sentences, he takes an entirely unwarranted leap. First, it is clearly and obviously fallacious to imagine that whatever is seeing the mind must necessarily be something fundamentally different than the mind. That does not necessarily follow from the preceding, at all, not in the least! And further, the second sentence there does not follow either, where he baldly posits consciousness as completely separate from the mind. It’s like he goes down a nice reasonable path of logic, and suddenly vaults into complete illogic.

The rest is based on the faulty premise that I’ve pointed out above. So that, when he ends with, “So pure consciousness, that is our real nature — Atman”, he basically ends up with a completely unsupported ipse-dixitism, unsupported by either evidence or logic, that simply does not follow from the reasonable arguments he’d started out with at first. (I’m referring only to the excerpt in your comment here.)


I googled ‘Sam Harris Swami Sarvapriyananda’, and the first video hit I got was this link: https://hds.harvard.edu/news/2020/03/19/video-vedanta-21st-century. It looks like a pretty decent discussion, if a bit long, and I’ve bookmarked it, and intend to (hopefully!) get back later to listening to it more fully. For now I’ve simply listened in to some short portions of SS’s speech/lecture; and at exactly 40 minutes into the discussion, I found him clearly outlining the essential process of Advaita.

Now again, all respect to the man’s erudition, his facility with language, and most importantly his palpable sincerity and honesty. He cuts through the obfuscation that many/most Advaitic types shelter behind, and very clearly spells out the essence of the method of Advaita. Unfortunately, in so doing he clearly exposes the lack in the method, as he describes it. I’m surprised someone as intelligent and well-read as he seems to be, did not realize this himself.

He explains that Advaita isn’t blind belief, unlike Christianity say. He explains that Advaita isn’t predicated on (alleged) mystical experience, unlike Tantra say, or so many other mystic schools. He says Advaita is a philosophic-logical means of arriving at the truth. He hastens to clarify that Advaita doesn’t argue its way to God; what it does is reason through some part of the way, and then intuition takes over and guides you to the truth.

Haha, just think about that a bit. What he’s essentially saying is just this, that at the end of the reasoning process you end up getting misled into accepting a conclusion that simply does not follow from the reasoning itself; a conclusion that, further, isn’t supported by evidence, not even the entirely subjective evidence of (alleged) mystical intuition.

Heh, that’s just ipse-dixitism, is all it is, except dressed up in fancy robes. The more brutish faiths ask you to directly believe in the Son of God born of a virgin, who died for our sins, and in whose sanctuary we have the means to escape the consequences of Original Sin --- every single bit of which thesis is out and out nonsensical, from start to finish. What we have here, basis SS’s description of the method of Advaita, is a far more sophisticated system --- sophisticated both in terms of the methodology adopted, as well as in terms of the content of the teaching --- but at the end of the day it is simply bald ipse dixitism, no less than the Christian nonsense. All of that reasoning and logic and whatnot are just window dressing, a facade --- under the guise of which this …bald ipse-dixitism, is pushed out, with both pusher and pushee imagining that they’re being reasonable and logical and so forth, when none of this is, at heart, anything of the kind. This is no more than cargo-cult reasoning and logic.

And, in fact, that short excerpt of his presents an excellent example of exactly this, like exactly!

You were interested in seeing/hearing Swami Sarvapriyanananda lead a guided meditation, right? Well, I found this video of his doing just that: link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=689DrBNumkE.

My 2c on this: Very nice! In fact, very Anapana. With one difference: Anapana, and Vipassana as well, are simply observation, without anything else thrown in. In fact, that's the point of them. While here there's an element of brainwashing going on, ever so subtly. "I am aware", "I am changeless", "All changes, but I am unchanging", "Everyithing happens in my awareness, which is constant", et cetera. Those are things to be realized (should such realization actually happen); not stuff to be drummed in like this. That drumming in of stuff, that's like question-begging 101, braninwashing 101. What had gone before was cargo-cult reasoning; and this, I'm afraid, is cargo-cult intuitive-realization.

That said, very nice indeed. I like this guy, very much. I'm going to look up some more stuff of his. Very knowledgeable, I find him, and what's more very humble, and clearly entirely sincere. I disagree with his core thesis, as he's discussed it, disagree with it completely and fundamentally, and believe him to be completely and transparently mistaken in his core thesis; but I enjoy listening to him nonetheless (even despite the pinch of salt I keep at the ready when I do that).

Any choice is better than mantra / so called bagti meditation. Rssb and gurinder singh dhillon represent this type of meditation. It relys on a dumbed down disciple who completely surrenders to a so called perfect living master , with a 100% trust, and faith into an unknown. The disciple completely by passes his critical thinking. But what if the master is a Charleton, a fake, a copy cat of a guru who has done zero meditation? That's gurinder singh dhillon. Wake up sangat, do your research on this man

The conundrum about Buddhism is that despite no-self, it continues to reincarnate. According to Theravada, even after stream entry, a maximum of 7 lives are required to clear karma. A bit more stringent than sant mat, claiming 4 maximum, even without stream entry!


These conundrums as you call them are to be found all over the place.

In the lineage of Shri Nisargadatta they talk about the self as is done in other traditions about the soul being a drop of the ocean and in order for the drop to merge in the ocean it had to be born in an body and live as a drop.

They write "The self/ ego etc is the result of the spirit coming in contact with a body"

But ... nowhere they state the source of these bodies. or have something to say about the how and why of these bodies and coming to meet one another.

It is as astrophysics that start talking AFTER the big bang but never have a thing to say about the big bang in the first place.

When I became aware of these things i found that there are a lot of these conundrums also in non spiritual fields were people turn their backs on the .... BEFORE ... and take things as a starting point while it is not a starting point at all but just a point in a movement.


7 is too many! 🤣 no thank you


Wow, fascinating perspective. You made a very good point. Conundrums everywhere. You’ve given me a lot to ponder this evening. 🧐

@ 808

There are many different forms of psychotherapy today.
Being all unique variation of the same, one of the things they have in common is an other form of conundrum.

I the initial pages, they all state that for the therapy to be effective there has to be a "therapeutic relation" between the therapist and the client ... these days they might call it a "click" ....then they go on explaining the in's and out's of the practice but nowhere do they explain as to how to establish this click.

Once one becomes aware of these conundrums, one becomes aware that the mental world of humanity is full of conundrums and taboos, all things being more or less subconscious, by nature ore kept there, all having great influence on their lives.

One could fill volumes describing the many things that are not spoken of and often even not thought of or being aware of..

In short .. do not focus on what scientists and mystics have to say but on what they [deliberatly??] do NOT say, point at, resaurch etc.

Buddhism is literally all about putting an end to cycle of birth and death. Is it not?

If consciousness is produced by the brain, then that should be it, body dies and that's it. Whether it's emptiness or nothingness, doesn't matter. Void.

But Buddhism acknowledges something goes on from body to body. What is that then?

That part is FAITH... only at the beginning! Once you put it into test and meditate for 8 hours a day for two weeks, you'll realize consciousness is not in the brain, you no longer believe, you KNOW it.

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