List discussions (was Re: [Advaita-l] BSB Discussion)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at
Thu Jun 26 00:03:02 CDT 2003

On Tue, 24 Jun 2003, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> Thanks for taking the time to discuss the BSB. I
> remember an old posting by Ramakrishnan B. where he
> mentioned that the present Sringeri AchArya has
> prohibited the study of BSB without a Guru. That being
> the case, we are certainly bending quite a few rules
> when we study the BSB as we do in this list. Also,
> according to H.H.Chandrashekhara BhAratI, studying any
> of the great VedAnta BhAshhyas (including the BSB) by
> a GR^ihastha (or one who has not taken up sannyAsa)
> will not result in moksha.
> Since no person across the internet can replace the
> role of a Guru, and since I'm sure most list-members
> are not sannyAsins, I feel that the main objective of
> discussing advaita VedAnta on this list can only be in
> the theoretical realm (i.e. as mere book-learning) and
> never in the practical (i.e. spiritual or leading to
> moksha). So it seems to me that the only purpose of
> our study is to inspire us and leave us with a sense
> of awe of the great Masters. As H.H. says, it may also
> create favorable vAsanas ("shAstra vAsanas"?) which
> could help us if we take up sannyAsa in this life or
> the next.

what the Acharya said is true.  Higher Vedantic studies are for Sannyasis.
However I can offer a couple of reasons why a Grhastha might want to learn
more anyway.

1.  If you are a Brahmana pursuing sacred knowledge is your paramount duty
regardless of whether it is "useful" or not.  Even if you are not,
knowledge is always better than ignorance.

2. karmayoga, Bhakti, meditation etc. may be lower branches of Advaita
Vedanta but they are still part of it nevertheless.  They too must be
based on a firm shastraic foundation if they are to be followed properly.

> Every list-member has made errors in his presentation
> of certain aspects of advaita VedAnta in the past,
> which makes it evident that everyone in this list is
> learning, and there are some excellent students in
> this list.

It also means that people shouldn't feel that they are too new or too
ignorant to make a contribution even if it is only providing questions not

> The only reason most of us are so ignorant
> is because we have studied Western secular education,
> and not our spiritually enriching tradition. The few
> who have studied traditionally know <10% (or <1%) of
> the Vedas, hardly enough to even hold a candle to the
> extraordinary pandits of our tradition.
> It would be a very good aid for our understanding if
> we compare and contrast advaita VedAnta with other
> schools such as dvaita, vishishhTAdvaita, etc. But
> unfortunately, the common forum that makes such a
> discussion possible -- the newsgroup
> soc.religion.hindu -- is dead.

Usenet in general is dead.  It is too open to easily hijacked by trolls
and spammers and other miscreants.  Any successor would have to be
moderated and that takes a lot of time and energy.

> Perhaps, in this list,
> a knowledgeable dvaitin (Krishna alias Nomadeva Sharma
> or others) could discuss dvaita with the sole aim of
> comparing it with advaita, fully aware that we all
> agree to disagree. For dvaitins, advaita is a
> pUrvapaksha, and I'm sure such discussions will also
> help them better understand their own siddhAnta. This
> is certainly possible, and hopefully feasible as well.

That was my hope but I forgot to account for human nature. :(

> > To start with, I am going to repost (starting from
> > next week) the article of
> > adhyAsa bhaashhya by Sri Subhanu Saxena. Follow it
> > with a repost of the
> > series by Sri Sadananda. Your participation is
> > crucial.
> Thanks also for the reposting. I'll try to resume my
> series on adhyAsa.

It would be nice if we could summarize all the adhikaranas of the
Brahmasutras perhaps using works like Vayasikanyayamala of Madhava or
siddhantaleshasamgraha of Appaya Dikshita (both Grhasthas it should be

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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