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Post 1: Mutually Exclusive things cannot be equated (Attention Harikrishna!)

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Tue Jun 01 1999 - 06:26:07 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

This posting is motivated by a recent introductory post, in which the
author was seeking to equate mutually exclusive items.
Some important points to understand in order to avoid asking illogical
questions and making irrational statements.  I mean no disrespect
to anyone; I am merely being candid, so the message is communicated

There is nothing in this world (all that exists within the realm of mind and
the senses) that is not based on belief; without belief we would have a
purely nihilistic society (i.e., a society that believes that nothing can be
communicated via knowledge.)  For example, take Mathematics, the
ultimate science in the mundane realm, it is based on axioms which are
statements of facts taken as truths without proof.  (THERE IS SUCH
THING AS PURE LOGIC even logic is based on belief; one cannot
establish the validity of an argument as valid without accepting the rules
of logic as truths.) The preceeding point is pointed out beautifully by the
lion of logic and poetry, Sri. Vedanta Desika in his Tattva-muktA-kalApa!

Given this fundamental axiom, that is accepted by all, we need to
discuss the distinction between terms such as mere faith and conviction,
axiom and dogma,and theistic philosophy and pure theology.  These are
essential to appreciate the beauty of Vis*istAdvaita.

1.  Mere faith versus Conviction:

A faith in a set of doctrines implies a general acceptance.  (General
meaning an individual can lack confidence in certain aspects or
of different doctrines.)

A conviction on the other hand implies an unshakable faith, given which
an individual accepts the doctrines in their entirety with perfect
confidence.  That is, there may be questions, which result due to the
limitations associated with the individual, but no doubts (which imply a
lack of confidence.)

1a) Conviction can be further subdivided as follows:

Axiomatic conviction - An individual is denoted as having an axiomatic
conviction in a particular set of doctrines if he or she has unshakable
faith in the fundamental axioms on which the doctrines are based.  The
key thing to note is that axioms must have a rational basis.

Dogmatic conviction- An individual is denoted as having a dogmatic
conviction about a particular set of doctrines if he or she has unshakable
faith in the statements or opinions of an individual or group.  The key
thing to note is that there need not be any rational basis for these
opinions upon which the doctrines are based.

2. Theistic Philosophy of Vedanta versus Pure Theology:

Theistic Philosophy of Vedanta-

A detailed exposition on the nature of reality using the three valid means
of acquiring knowledge (PramAnas), in which God plays a key role as
sustainer.  The exposition is based on a set of axioms (remember these
have a rational basis.) Further the theistic philosophy of vedanta is
unbounded; one of its fundamental axioms is that Individual souls
and matter and the process of creation,dissolution, and Karma are also
beginingless and endless.

The rationale for the fundamental axiom is as follows:

1. To say that something can be created from nothing contridicts common
experience 2. Creation without purpose contradicts the definition of God
(i.e., God must be an Omniscient being)
3. Further creation without a purpose also makes god the source of evil.

The exposition consists of the following:
1. a detailed listing and explanation of the nature and relationship
all that exists (sentient and non sentient);
2. statement and detailed description of the ultimate goal
3. Statement of means to achieving the goal

Pure Theology- An exposition on the nature of reality that is based on
dogma of a particular individual or group of people, focussing almost
exclusively on God.  Pure theology is bounded; one of its fundamental
axioms is that individual souls and matter are created by God out of
nothing and the process of creation and dissolution is a one time
phenomenon (i.e., not eternal.)

Note: Theistic Philosophy of Vedanta and pure Theology of western
religions are mutually exclusive (i.e., they are not the same.)


Note: Adiyen is very grateful to Sri. S.M.S. for acting as a catalyst in
manifesting this subset of knowledge.