One more thing ! ......

The story of " Devadatta"

The study of philosophy meant understanding reality from several implied meanings as against the actual meanings available on the surface.

There are different methods by which the implied meaning of a statement is obtained. The method used by non-dualistic philosopher consists in eliminating the conflicting meanings of say two major statements or words ( tat tvam asi that thou art ) and retention of that which is common to both. And hence arrive at conclusion.

To give an illustration the story of a Devadatta is told ! As always the stories employed in Vedanta are very simple.

The story goes like this.

On seeing a man named Devadatta after a very long time one exclaims “ This is That Devadatta ”.

Now obviously the Devadatta seen some time ago at a different place and time denoted by “ that” can not be the one seen here and now denoted by “ this” .

There is a conflict regarding time and place and may be even the features ( bald head and black hair!!). But there is a fact of recognition .

That is possible because the conflicting elements of time and place ( as well as black hair and bald head ) are disregarded and the attention is focused on the common entity namely the man himself ( Devadatta) .

It is the implied meaning of “ that” Devadatta and “ this” Devadatta stripped of the differences of time , place and hence the features which is taken as the essence.

Like wise in interpreting “ that thou art” wise man gives up the contradictory elements associated with the “ That” and “ thou” namely the notions of creator (“ That” ) and creature (“ thou”) and recognize the oneness from the standpoint of pure consciousness which is the essence of both Jeevatma (“ thou” ) and the Paramatma ( “ that”).

The two stories “ Dasamanyaya ” and “ Devadatta ” give an indication of the methodology employed our seers in establishing their points. In all their arguments the Vedic seers first established what they would consider as valid proofs of knowledge and then went on to establish the grand vision of their philosophy well supported by their mechanisms of proof they enunciated to start with. This methodology led one western philosopher - scholar Max Muller to exclaim…

‘ How much controversy would have been avoided particularly among Jewish, Muhammadan and Christian philosophers if a proper place had been assigned ‘in limine' to the question of what constitutes our legitimate or our only possible channels of knowledge , whether perception , inference , revelation, or anything else ‘ ( from "Light of the orient" published by Advaita Ashrama:

||om tat sat||