This thought has its genesis in another discussion where a question is raised as to how to provide proof or logic for the knowledge gained by non-direct experience (experience outside the perception through sensory organs), which the scientists demand. This question must have occurred to those who have had a non-direct experience.

Is experience a valid source of knowledge?

Indian Philosophical System accepts non-direct experience as a valid source of knowledge (Sanskrit: Pramana). In fact it further divides it into categories of sensory organ dependent experience and perhaps sensory organ independent experiences. The reason for this confusion is because one of the greatest teachers of philosophy in India, Adi Shankaracharya at one place, in Vivek Chudamani (The Crest Jewel) mentions in the introductory verse 2 itself that human body is the most difficult to obtain, implying that human sensory organs are a must to gain knowledge. It would not be out of place to assume thus that those organs would include the brain, though not explicitly specified.

Yet, in his amazing treatise on experience Aparokshanubhuti (Aparoksha being Sanskrit for non-direct and Anubhuti being experience), in verse 57 he mentions:

The dream (experience) is unreal in waking, whereas the waking (experience) is absent in dream. Both, however, are non-existent in deep sleep which, again, is not experienced in either

This would make both direct and non-direct experience unreal.

It was suggested to me by some knowledgeable friend that to truly understand Shankara one needs OOBE (Out of Body Experience). This is where the dilemma begins.

Why would Shankara suggest the necessity of having a human body if he could only be understood in out of body form? And how real are these out of body experiences. It seems that within the human brain there is a temporo-parietal junction which under normal circumstances generates the feeling of self/others and when stimulated or damaged, produces out of body experiences. This has been tested in several lab experiments.

So, how can one be sure that the knowledge gained by non-direct experience is the correct knowledge?

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I agree with you James. But I notice you've said "thinking truth is transpersonal," because how could we ever prove that its the same for all? 

This is assuming that Truth isn't relative.  I would say that the only thing any of us could really agree upon is that there is Divinity in one form or another from which we arise and through which we have our being.  Beyond that I think truth becomes relative.

If this is true (here is that "Truth" word again) then wouldn't we all have the same experiences, though perceived differently.  In the case of someone having a hallucination I am not having their experience at all.  Yet, they are having an experience.  Perhaps some experiences are private.

Thanks Jeffery. Think of a few hundred years back and the experience you narrate could have been interpreted as divine revelations instead of a mental disorder.

And the point you make is very revealing. We can agree on whether something is true or not. We may not know if it is actually true.

Very good.  It is true that the world's perception of experiences has changed.  We no longer believe that people who are mentally ill are possessed by demons (at least most of us don't).  Most then agree on this, but of course we do not really know what is actually true.

Just found this beautiful poetry by the great mystic poet Rumi:


God has given us a dark wine so potent
that, we leave the two worlds.
God made Majnun love Layla so much
that just her dog would cause confusion in him.
There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don't think all ecstasies are the same.
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur, and taste with caution.
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
not the ones adulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."
Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied,
and is just ambling about.

Thanks Joe. Rumi supports you.

There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don't think all ecstasies are the same.

 why are you so often begging for security?


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