Vivek Anand Ganesan
v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM
Tue Apr 7 18:48:06 CDT 1998
After reading the thoughts expressed on this thread, I felt that an
explanation of why I joined this list would make matters clearer. I
hope it helps.
Concerning the principal nature of this list, I would have to agree
with Shree Ravi Mayavaram that this list should primarily address
discussions on ADVAITA as expounded by Shree Adi Shankaracharya and
the jagadgurus who have followed his tradition. Now, it is my
understanding that even the "neo-Advaitic" traditions eventually
relate themselves to the Shankaran tradition and in fact do revere
him. So, in keeping with the "Lowest Common Denominator" approach, we
would probably be better served by discussing and understanding
thoruoghly the philosophy of Shree Adi Shankaracharya.
Now, let me turn to the reason why I joined this forum. Throughout
m y studies about Hinduism in general and Vedantam in particular, I
have come across authors who have relegated the actual knowledge of
the study to a secondary level. They are more concerned about
expressing their views on a matter than the view of Shankara. It is
like "I believe in X and so do the Vedas" or "I think Y is true and so
does Shankara". To be true to Advaita and Shankara, I think that the
philosophy needs to be studied "As is" or "As was expounded". Any,
comparisons should be undertaken AFTER the first step is complete.
Otherwise, I feel that one is left with a breadth of knowledge but
without sufficient depth in any one tradition.
Therefore, the main reason is I joined this forum is to remove my
ignorance regarding Advaita in particular and Vedanta in general. I
also wanted insight and advice on living and practicing Advaita. That
is, not Advaita at merely a Cerebral level but also at an experiential
level. Having said that, I welcome any discussion that improves my
understanding and promotes my experience of Advaita.
Regarding the nature of debate in this forum, I have found it to be
of excellent taste. Very rarely have I seen personal slants and/or
intellectual misapprehension. Debate is essential to widen our
understanding of any topic. In this forum, I believe that debate
should be focussed on removing unwarranted notions about Advaita.
Frequently, we find accusations that Advaita is "hidden Buddhism",
"nihilism", "Advaita promotes an unwholesome attitude towards life",
"Advaita is anti-Bhakti" etc. Such topics should be debated and the
proper Advaitic stand should be stated clearly. I think the sAdhakas
in this forum would be more than willing to do that. This is also in
keeping with the "Neti, Neti" spirit since it explains what ADVAITA
However, equally important is to say what ADVAITA **IS**. That is
having refuted detractors one should explain one's stand clearly.
Isn't this the spirit behind the purvapaksha/siddhanta format? I
personally consider this aspect to be more imprtant than the
previously mentioned one. A healthy discussion should tolerate
dissent but should not digress or lose focus. And, in order to have a
healthy discussion we should have eager participants and I request all
those who have unsubscribed to please return to the forum.
Let us get back to the BASICS. I am already learning a lot and I
am sure that I will be learning a lot more from this forum. I am very
excited about this forum and applaud Shree Ravi and Shree Govindarajan
for their effort. I thank God for showing me the way. If I am out of
line by posting this message, I apologize profusely.
P.S : I apologize for this lengthy mail. It is an occassional hiccup.
I promise to be brief in the future.
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