This blog is an attempt at dialectical thinking with respect to Hinduism.
If Hinduism relies on the thesis that all sensory experiences are illusory, why doesn’t this affect the experience of “enlightenment,” where the realization that experiences are merely illusory? At least one experience should not be an illusion in order to determine that all other experiences are illusory.
The polemic forces the Hindu on either horns of a dilemma. Either the thesis of illusion is false or enlightenment is impossible – or the Hindu can admit that he is inconsistent. The only way to defeat the argument is to admit that the experience of enlightenment is itself not an experience. Regrettably that defeater is little more than ‘moving the goalposts…’ Of course the Hindu may assert that the only way is to “experience” it yourself. Then my experience is not necessarily illusory.
If all my experience are illusory then I cannot look forward to experiencing enlightenment on my own to determine that my experiences are illusory. By the by, dialectic operates on either/or reasoning, while other methods work differently (dialogic involves Both/And).
2 thoughts on “Is Hinduism self-contradictory?”
I’m a Hindu by religion. (although my belief in the notion of God is still in a Confused state). I read your blog on Hinduism, but couldnt actually understand what you meant when you talked about everything being an illusion? Could you explain the same to this lesser mortal? – Just inquisitive. 🙂
Hello sudhu! My understanding of hindu philosophy is rather inchoate and nascent, so i will restrict my understanding to dictionary entries.
I understand Maya to be the power of an omniscient and omnipotent deity that produces the world of dependent objects. This power is conceived as feminine, Shakti. Some representations of this deity are conceived as male with female consorts (Shiva or Vishnu). Without Shakti, Brahma would be masculine but passive, and no created world can exist. Maya is somehow the product of a creating activity. Creation is conceived as dependent, for it is the manifestation of divine power, the veil between Brahma and the devotee.
In monist terms, Maya expresses the notion that there seems to be a world composed of distinct conscious and nonconscious objects, but despite this multiplicity, there is only the ineffable Brahma. Brahma is conceived as producing the illusion of pluralism (persons or objects) whereas Enlightenment (moksha) sees through illusions.
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