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The Term "Most Perfect" 1/ Nihilist vs Realist

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Tue Nov 23 1999 - 14:02:28 PST

Dear Bahagavatas,
namO nArAyaNA.

I often make use of the term *most perfect* in postings 
to describe Vis*istAdvaita.  Some may feel that the use 
of such a term indicates a dogmatic allegiance to a particular 
school of thought or arrogance.   In this posting (which is 
to be part of a sequence), I hope to provide some motivation 
for the use of the term "most perfect", in describing 
vis*istAdvaita, and remove these misconceptions.  

1- st attempt at providing motivation for the use of
the term "most perfect":

There are many fundamental concepts, 
even within the realm of perception, to which general 
definitions cannot be applied.  The concept of a set, which 
is the substratum of most branches of mathematics, is one 
to which a general definition cannot be applied.  Trying to 
define a set, in general, results in a contradiction; thus, it
is described by a collection of axioms (statement of facts 
accepted as truths without proof) which outline its 
properties.  The existence of sets is a fundamental truth, 
but it is a concept to which a general definition cannot 
be applied.  This does not mean we should deny its 
existence, we should simply accept the limitation and 
describe the concept in a most perfect manner. 

Sri. Vedanta Desika, the lion of logic, expresses this 
line of reasoning in TMK, in the chapter on knowledge 
(TMK, by Sri. S.M.S. Chari page 161)*If something is 
evident to our experience, it cannot be denied even
if it cannot be specifically defined.  Thus, for instance,
the difference in the taste of sugar cane juice and that 
of milk cannot be defined in words, but all the same 
the difference is undeniable in asmuch as it is evident 
to one'* own experience.  The same explanation should 
hold good also in respect of subject-object relation."

In the next post I will do my best to go into details; the post 
will attempt to contrast the nihilistic and realistic approach, 
as it relates to the topic of subject/object relationship.  
I will also try to provide further motivation for the use of
the term most perfect.

ramanuja dasan,
(Venkat Nagarajan)