[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?
sksrivastava68 at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 22 08:25:11 CST 2005
>... may I also add that the study of vedAnta,
>IMHO, is *traditionally* not done without an initiation into sanyAsa?
> > ... one must not forget the dictum - you do not find a Guru,
> > the Guru finds you...
The above are two interesting observations and combinedly give a fuller
I have had the fortune of spending some time with very traditional vedantins
at Rishikesh. For accepting someone as a student, they have their peculiar
preferences. Some of them will insist on taking only a Brahmin male as a
student, others will accept males from the three varnas and yet others will
not even ask for caste or gender. Nowadays, most of the established ashrams
have the official policy of non-discrimination -- either due to
philosophical conviction or to avoid legal problems. However, it has to be
taken with a pinch of salt. Swamis keep on moving from ashram to ashram and
one should not be surprised finding a swami's practice in direct conflict of
Sannyasa is a big qualification for advaita study and usually overrides
other limitations based on caste, gender, religion etc. However, I have seen
some teachers making a distinction between a legitimate and an illegitimate
sannyasa based on caste, gender, indian or foreigner etc. Then again some
teachers do not explicitly insist on sannyasa, but the classes are
structured from morning to evening and build upon the previous ones. So
practically, one has to be a sannyasi for learning from them.
The moral of the story is that even among the traditional vedantins, there
are different world views and personal preferences in vyavahara. While
approaching a teacher one has to respect their preferences. It makes search
for a teacher more challenging for some students than others, but not
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