Forwarded message from Marko Manninen

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Jun 16 01:27:09 CDT 2000

On Wed, 14 Jun 2000, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> Namaste
> Thanks for your list. I hope these questions could be answered:
> What is the biggest problem between Advaitas and Vaishnavas?

Vaishnava philosophers find fault with the idea of Maya.  They do not
think it is warranted on the basis of shastras and logic.  In fact the
sampradaya of Vallabha calls itself Shuddhadvaita ("pure" Advaita.  I.e.
without the stain of Maya.) Advaitins naturally are prepared to defend
this view on both grounds.  Vaishnavas are by definition the followers of
Vishnu Bhagawan and they also don't like that in the Smarta Sampradaya the
worship of all the major Vedic Gods (Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Surya and
Ganapati Bhagawans)

The Advaitins main criticism of Vaishnavas is that while they may claim to
to base their philosophies on the shastras, they read them selectively and
thus fail to grasp the whole meaning.  Similarly their Bhakti is good but
it is flawed.  It falls a few steps short of the mark.

We just had a thread about these issues.  Please consult the list archives
for details.

> Prabhupada
> likes to attack Advaitas very strongly, like with emotional force.

It is a common propoganda trick that when you want to distract people from
your own problems you shout loudly about something else.

> Vaishnavas are doing a lot in a real world through Krishna movement for
> leading people to godhood.

I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand people in Iskcon do
display a lot of zeal and energy towards following the shastras which is a
good thing (and something self-styled Advaitins often fail to do.)  On the
other hand most of them are ignorant and even worse content to remain
ignorant. I can't see any kind of Godhood arising out of ignorance.

ISKCON is barely a Vaishnava sampradaya at all.  I know many Viashnaves of
various authentic sects and I don't confuse Vaishnava philosophy with the
random utterences of ISKCON.

> Are Advaitas going to show there is another way to interpret Vedas?

Yes.  Advaita Vedanta is firmly founded on the Vedas and subsidiary

> How Advaitas comments Caitanaya and the foretellings
> of him in veda literature?

There are no foretellings of Chaitanya in the shastras except in the
imaginations of his followers.

> When guru-parampara was written up and when
> Vyasa was living?

Well each Guru remembers his teachers and their teachers etc. just as you
I remember our parents, and grandparents, and great grandparents.

According to shastras Vyasa Maharshi lived at the beginning of the
Kaliyuga which would be almost 5,000 years ago.  Whether one chooses to
take this as a historical ruth or a mythic one is a different matter.

> Is it possible to get somewhere the sankara-lineages
> Bhagavad Gita translation?

Yes.  Please search the archives this question was answered about a month
or two ago.  There is also an online version (along with commentaries of
other schools) at the Gita Supersite
though this is a little difficult to access.

>  In which time the oldest BG has found,

An actual written copy?  I believe around the 12th century.  There are
quotes from the Gita in much more ancient works however.

> how old
> is the puplicly seen BG?

I'm not exactly sure what you mean but some historians trace its origins
to 3rd-4th centuries BC.  Most of the dates in Indology are pure
guesswork.  As Hindus we don't particularly care about them.  According to
the Gita itself it was spoken on the battlefield of Kurukshetra but even
that was just the restatement of previous wisdom.

> How Advaitas translates BG 10:6?

It says that the 7 sages and 4 Manus are born from Krishna Bhagawans
mind and by his will.  The 7 sages (Saptarshis) are the mind-born sons of
Brahma.  The are the founders of the Jnana marga.  4 Manus is a little
more difficult because usually in the shastras they say there are 14
Manus and we are in the cycle of the seventh, Manu Vaivasvata. In each
world-cycle (Manvantara) Manu is the first man and the first king and
establishes the Karma marga.  Swami Madhusudan Saraswati suggests it
should be read as maharshayah sapte, poorve chatvaro, manavastathaa
7 sages, the previous 4, and Manus.  "The previous 4" would refer to the
the four Sanatakumaras.  They were also mind-born sons of Brahma and their
father asked them to perform creation.  But they refused and remained
engrossed in the worship of God.  So they are the founders of Bhakti
marga.  So the meaning of this verse is that Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana all
have their origins and goal in Bhagawan.

> I have studied many ways (practically and holy scriptures) different
> religions and trying to find something real in them and asked what is the
> truth behind them. Something real is that human mind (lower manas/ego)
> seems to be the destroyer of reality. Destroy the destroyer is serious tip
> for seekers, but then how the individual soul can serve (bhakti) the
> Supreme Soul of Universe?

By understanding that this Supreme Soul is in truth identical to his own

> If we somehow reach our goal (highest knowledge
> and peace, meaning not knowing only our lineage of religion and
> philosophy, but like Sankara, knowing every initiation of every system)
> why should we go alone to "nirvana"?

Moksha (Vedantins don't use the term Nirvana) should not be thought of as
a shrivelling up, a reduction to the smallest possible size but an
expension.  If a person attains Moksha alone it is only because at that
point nothing exists outside which is not subsumed by his self.

>  Rather should we keep every human in
> our mind and like boddhisatva, only when every greature has reached its
> goal, he will be happy and lift his legs to the side of rest. Isn't that
> the true meaning of Bhakti? Not just Me but We, not just God but the
> childrens of God.

Why would a person need the services of a Boddhisattva?  If one accepts
that the Paramatma is equivalent to the atma of all conscious things, then
they have as much innate capacity to realize the self as the would-be
Boddhisattva does.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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