By Swami Harshananda
Aparoksānubhuti literally means ‘not-mediate-experience’.
Akṣan means a sense-organ like the eye or the ear. Parokṣa means that which is removed from the sense organ, hence, indirect. Aparokṣa is that which is opposed to this, i.e., direct. All knowledge obtained through inference and verbal testimony is parokṣa. Compared to it, knowledge obtained by direct perception is aparokṣa.
However in the strictest sense, even such knowledge is parokṣa or indirect only, since the sense organs and the mind intervene between the knower and the object known. ‘Aparoksānubhuti’ or ‘immediate and direct experience’ is possible only with regard to the ātman, our own self.
Ātman can never be apprehended or comprehended by the senses or the mind since it is the power behind them. It is to be experienced directly by itself.
Aparoksānubhuti is also the title of a small treatise on Advaita Vedānta attributed to Śaṅkara (A. D. 788-820). Extending over 144 verses, the work deals mainly with the various disciplines that help destroy ajñāna (ignorance of the real nature of the ātman) and manifest the ātman.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore