[Advaita-l] On the date of Adi Shankara

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Jan 4 10:12:36 CST 2010

Jaldhar, thank you. I hope everyone here realises that I have an
immeasurable sense of humour (Aurobindo asked why so many scholars assume
that God never smiles...) and I do sometimes post here with my tongue in my

I apologise if my remarks about Shankara as dramatic expositor  were
misunderstood. I think that if we are going to question his date of
manifestation we have to see him as a figure in history, with all the drama
which that entails. 'Objector' too had an historic existence, which is not
irrelevant to dating, nor to the understanding of Advaita -- that's why he
(or she ?..) raises his head from time to time...

I did indeed enquire about kutastha earlier; you have a good memory. (Could
you ask someone who's not so busy to provide a basic subject index to this
valuable site, if that's possible ?) And I got very useful answers.

I hoped that others beside your good self could answer on saakshin. My
questions do not always come from the need to understand Hinduism, but
rather -- as in this case -- how a particular term fits into the holistic
view of Hinduism. (i.e. if atman does not 'witness' directly, how should we
see saakshin as 'witnessing self ?)

And please note also that these questions are sometimes passed on from
fellow students or pupils or from the need to write elsewhere -- so please
treat them kindly and usefully. Advice is usually better received than
instruction !

Thank you again.


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of Jaldhar
H. Vyas
Sent: 04 January 2010 14:43
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] On the date of Adi Shankara

On Mon, 4 Jan 2010, Michael Shepherd wrote:

> You guys who claim to be Advaitins but behave as if you've never heard of
> Sanatana Dharma, should drop this racial discrimination..
> Someone with an Englsh name who's not called David Frawley, John Grimes or
> Dennis Waite comes on the site, and you behave as if it's free licence for
> Raj-bashing.. Get a life !

Michael, calm down.  I think I see what you are getting at with the
dramatist comparison but you've got to admit it is open to
misinterpretation.  And I don't think those who see it as an attack would
react differently if a brown person said it.  (There is an unfortunate
tendency nowadays to make colonialism a scapegoat for everything but
that's another story.)

What this shows more than anything is that we cannot afford to be
thin-skinned in this type of forum where we don't have the social cues of
face-to-face conversation.  Readers, do not rush to judgement.  Michael
has been posting regularly here for some time now.  Does it make sense
that he would suddenly start attacking Shankaracharya in some insidious
Abrahamic plot?  And writers, please be aware your audience is large and
varied.  Try not to be ambiguous.  (Easier said than done I know.)  The
internet unfortunately does not allow much room for nuance.

> I asked for specific information about the shastric illuminations on
> saakshin. You distorted the question in order to insult me. I didn't get
> helpful answer, which would have related its use in Advaita Vedanta to
> in Samkya and Dvaita Vedanta, and helped me understand the precise use of
> the term -- which some commentators simply take as a synonym for atman..
> Well, is it or isn't it ?

Fwiw, I flagged that question to answer later but I have a huge backlog at
the moment.  Didn't we cover some of the same material when you asked
about the term kutastha some time back?

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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