Questions to Ravisankar S Mayavaram (was French scholars translations)

Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Fri Oct 16 22:56:52 CDT 1998

>Yes,Ravi, because you have the good luck, good fortune, probably  I
>should say only good karma of being a Hindu, of being a dvija, perhaps
>being even a smArta. But what about a poor mleccha like me ? It's

namaste. Though I have no authority to answer your questions, may I kindly
address them with the hope that you will listen to them and take what ever is
relevant to you.

First, it is wrong to be proud that one is a brahmana or be sad that one is
a mlechha. In fact, one who does his svadharma is far superior to one who
does not. There _may_ have been good karma in being born as a smaarta,
but there is also the question of how much one utilizes it.

Further, an attitude of a bhakta born in any tradition should be,
'Let me not plan anything and question the decision of the lord as to where
and how I was born. Is not my life in His Hands? And He has planned what
is best for me.'  The only issue that lies how much effort we put into
the will of God. Obeying the will of God implicitly means obeying His commands
laid down in the scriptures. I would say that if we do our best effort to
learn and do a puja,
recitation, japa etc. making the effort as a pleasure in serving the Lord.
Also, when we should look upon everyone as God's creation, why this
self-censure that one is a mlechha ? Are we not His children ?
On the other hand, if bhakti sounds too exotic and one is already
established with a lot
of viveka and vairagya, the questions 'Who is born as a smaarta or
something else ?
Am I ever born ?' etc. leads to the final question 'Who am I' This is not
just a question
for which the answer can be given in words. And when one is perplexed by
any problem in life, if we go into silence, we will glimpse at the solution
that no problem ever exists. And
when we learn to look upon things as Brahman, we have the true wisdom of
the heart.

>Now you tell me I should not study the Upanishads (at least in a written
>form). Thus probably is it also impossibe to read the commentaries of

I am not sure about this. For example, women are forbidden to read the
upanishads also, but HH of the Sringeri math that they can and should
translations of the shruti, just not recite the original. In fact, it has been
advised that no one should recite the vedas without proper training and
guidance. It is not followed today, but that is an another issue.

>Being a part of the MahAbhArata,  I should first think tat It should go
>under the heading of smRti, but I start to doubt here also :
>a) because it belongs to he prastAnatraya, and, as such, has perhaps
>been lifted up to the same level as the Sruti,
>b) because in the text itself written down probably a  very very long
>time ago every chapter ends with the words:
>iti SrimadbhagavadgItAsUpanishatSu...
>which I had until now understood as being only a form of special
>reverence, but that I should perhaps have understood more word for word.

Gita is definitely Smriti and can be read by all. The classification of what
is shruti and what is smriti is marked for most texts.

>participate in seminars and conferences are at the expense of taxpayors,
>and I happen to be one of them (like you, probably). When I was working,

As far as I know, _many_ of the Indian students who participate in this list
are not students of philosophy but students of engineering. Therefore, they
attend seminars for publishing scientific work and not translations or
interpretations of advaitic works. I would say that many of these people are
practiconers of advaita and do some kind of sadhana.

AUM shaantiH

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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