April 3rd, 2020
Most of the problems and confusion and doubts relating to the vast patchwork which is Hinduism is the failure to apply the proper filters. So it is very important to memorize these filters and apply them whenever some doubts or confusion arise.
Not all teachings are applicable to everyone. We have already learned the human typology – so teachings that are given to the masses (paśus) are not the same that will be given to the more educated and intellectually inquisitive seekers (vīras) and of course none are required for the perfected ones (siddhas).
So all teachings need to be filtered according to three criteria.
- svabhāva — One’s personality and disposition.
- bhūmika — The level of intellectual, academic and spiritual attainment of the individual.
- adhikāra — The capacity of each individual for comprehension and insight and the ability to actually put the teachings into practice.
The second set of three are:–
- deśa – a place of the teaching or social context – the teaching delivered in India or America would be different and nuanced.
- kāla – the teaching should be appropriate to Time. One of the problems is “presentism” – this is the tendency to judge events of 1000 years ago by the standard of today, or focusing on teachings that were delivered 1000 years ago when times have changed and those teachings have become obsolete.
- pātra or paristhiti – persons or circumstances being addressed have to be taken into account – there is no “one size fits all” all teachings have to be individual appropriate.
The way we see things is also not objective but is conditioned by a number of factors such as:–
- Subconscious programing — Subliminal activators (Samkāras) – more about this later.
- Personal experience
- Birth circumstances.
- Training by the agents of our socialisation (parents & preceptors.)
- Influence of peers
- Influence of chosen interest groups
- Belief systems which are of two types:– (a) Personally Chosen & (b) Imposed by one’s society or family.
So as students of philosophy we need to constantly check where our thinking is coming from – we need to start doing an auto-audit on our thinking, while striving to become more open and objective.
Every situation involves 3 different perspectives:–
- Self – from your own personal point of view.
- The Other – the perspective of the other person.
- The Overall – the third person observing would have a different opinion.
A philosophy student would do well to appreciate and if possible integrate all three perspectives.
THE TWO TIERS OF TRUTH
This is an extremely important concept in Indian philosophy – Truth has two levels:–
- Absolute Truth – paramārthika satya – for example the earth is a globe we in Australia are actually standing upside down. The globe is rotating on its own axis and spining around the Sun.
- Subjective Truth – vyavahārika satya – practical everyday truth – so we feel we are standing on a flat earth and that earth is perfectly still.