May 30

Consciousness is primary only from the experiential or empirically conditioned stage of existence, within the cidabhasa or shadowy reflection of reality [cf. Plato’s cave dwellers]. I think you may be familiar with the three epistemological forms of knowledge called pratyaksa, paroksa, and aparoksa. Pratyaksa refers to knowledge gained through direct, first person, perception and understanding. Paroksa refers to knowledge gained from other respected persons. Aparoksa refers to deductive knowledge gained by rational means or reason, either directly or through association with others who have reached that stage of spiritual realization. This is sometimes referred to as transcendental knowledge. I explained in another article that Reason extends beyond consciousness or knowing in the region of chidabhasa. Sometimes this knowledge is also described as descending or deductive because it begins from the universal or logical concepts to deduce particulars from it, unlike the problematic inductive process that starts from limited experiential data and hypothesizes universal conclusions,

Even beyond aparoksa there are higher principles of knowledge for one who enters into the stage of spiritual realization. To know that one must first get beyond the shadowy stage of consciousness, come to know the self or atma as self-consciousness, and then the stage of reason can be reached, beyond which lies the spontaneous plane of spirit whose substance or being is freedom. This path has been explained and laid out in the revealed scriptures and taught by the spiritual masters who have realized it. The method for learning it has also be explained, beginning with hearing (sravanam). The method of following one’s own ruminations is the negative process of learning what does not work.

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