Just some confirmation on the law of karma to assist with explaining to others. Since it is called the law of karma, are we to assume (don’t like assuming) that it was discovered as a law by the rishis, Vedantic scholars, etc by repeated observance of the same result under the same conditions?
Ted: I’m sorry, but I’m not sure what you mean by “repeated observance of the same result under the same conditions” as a means of discovering the law of karma. There is no way to prove the law of karma, for according to the doctrine posited by Vedanta, the karma phala, or fruits of one’s actions, aren’t necessarily experienced within the context of a single lifetime, and despite accounts of people who claim to have had past life experiences, there is no concrete evidence that we have had any previous incarnations. We accept the law of karma because based on the fact that every effect we observe can be traced to a cause it is reasonable to assume that our every action produces a result and that every result is experienced by us to some degree. Moreover, it is the only reasonable explanation for the extended period of time that it takes for the subtle body to attain moksha. If all we had were a single lifetime in which to gain self-knowledge, few (if any) people would ever “attain” moksha.
Isaac: Also, we have the mythological story of Dakshinamutri as the adi guru who taught the 4 rishis who complied the information for the 4 Vedas. Yet, as this is just a story, did the rishis discover the truth through experimentation over many years? Passing what they learned or compiled to their students who then continued the tradition and investigation into the truth and passed it on to their students for generations until finally we came up with what we know as the truth or Brahmavidya? Basically how modern science works today?
Ted: Yes. Self-knowledge differs from knowledge of objects, which is what material scientists are concerned with gaining, in that the self is not an object. We can’t find it by looking at the world or even the mind. All we can do is negate all objective phenomena. Once this is done, the mind is “blown”, as it were, and experiences the revelation of the true non-objectifiable nature of limitless conscious existence, or the self. Though this revelation is an event, and hence an object, the truth to which it points is not. Thus, even after the event of the recognition passes and other thoughts arise in the mind, one realizes that the limitless conscious existence in which all thoughts/objects/events/circumstances/qualities/characteristics appear and/or occur is ever-present as the non-objectifiable substrate of all these phenomena. We know it is ever-present because something can’t come out of nothing, so something (which is not a “thing”) must be supporting whatever is, and that something cannot disappear or cease to be. If it could, then the non-existence into which it would resolve would be the fundamental reality. But if non-existence was the fundamental reality, then nothing could have ever come into being in the first place because, again, something can’t come out of nothing. Hence, limitless conscious existence must be the eternal—that is, not of lengthy duration, but rather wholly beyond the parameters of time and space, which are knowable objects themselves and thus only appear within and are supported by limitless conscious existence—truth.