retirement from the forum

f. maiello egodust at DIGITAL.NET
Sat Aug 1 21:50:26 CDT 1998

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:
> f. maiello wrote:
> > Sorry for the misleading word usage.  Orthodoxy is incapable of
> > embracing unorthodoxy (at least *much* more so than vice-versa, IMO).
> You'll have to explain what you mean by orthodox and unorthodox as
> acceptable for advaitins. These terms are very vague and a better term
> would be "dharma". This clearly brings out that "dharma" depends on the
> person, whereas the orthodox and unorthodox suggest universal dogmas.
> Universal dogmas as prescribed behavior for every one is not acceptable
> to advaitins.

Yes, semantics undoubtedly plays one of the major
roles in failures in communication.  Someone once
said that if we weren't psychic, we'd be incapable
of understanding eachother at all!  So, in my view,
the use of orthodox/unorthodox can be theoretically
applied to anything, relative to its unique framework.
orthodox = accepted tradition; unorthodox = controversial
alternative or variation on the theme of the tradition.
Whereas the polarity dharma/adharma wouldn't work with
what I'm talking about here.  Let me explain.

My use of the word orthodox is applicable [to what
I believe the List would interpret as] the philosophical
guidelines established by the traditional institution of
advaita from Gaudapada down through the lineage of
Sankaracharyas, upholding the sruti of the vedic sastras
and select smriti like Vivekachudamani, Yoga Vasistha and
Bhagavadgita.  Whereas unorthodox would represent views
that contain aspects that conflict with certain areas of
this tradition.  For example, Jaldhar and Vidyasankar
are evidently hesitant to endorse the teachings of Ramana
or Ramakrishna, both of who critically veered from the
doctrine of the orthodox tradition.  Both taught and
honored shuddha and women, both prescribed mental as
well as physical sannyas [depending on the individual
they were addressing], both honored Christ and Buddha,
neither was formally initiated (I'm not sure if
Ramakrishna was...don't believe so), among other
things.  Theirs was an eclectic approach and, IMO,
the most effective.  Because such wide approach is more
inclusive, more wholistic, and thus a powerful catalyst
for the mind to widen its berth, priming it for its
potential imminent release.  It also encourages one to
be more universal and amenable to cultural diversity.

Re your mentioning unorthodox approaches in other areas,
such as medicine: your example of prescribing arsenic is
irrelevant because it has no curative value to anyone!
There are plenty of unorthodox approaches relative to
western medicine, that one could cite, such as acupuncture,
chiropractic, or even ayurveda, which may prove more
valuable than orthodox (AMA sanctioned) medicine.

And this is my overview point, that it depends on the
individual whether orthodox or unorthodox is appropriate.


> Eg, the daily sandhyA prayer is obligatory and must be done by people
> who have had their thread ceremony. This is emphasized by all the
> sha.nkarAchAryas. However, Mahasannidhanam in one of his talks has
> explained further. One of his disciples who was a bachelor, but had not
> taken up sannyAsa, was an adept in yoga (not the twisting exercises) and
> used to go into nirvikalpa samAdhi frequently. Note that except an
> actual sannyAsI all others HAVE to do the sandhyA prayers as per
> smR^iti. Referring to him however, MahasannidhAnam said that it was all
> right for him to skip his prayers if he were in nirvikalpa samAdhi
> because he was very close to what the sandhyA prayers are supposed to
> achieve. Thus it is "orthodox" behavior for him to skip his prayers if
> he were in samAdhi, but would be "unorthodox" behavior for, say myself,
> to skip my prayers. It would also be unacceptable behavior for him were
> he not in samAdhi.
> Again one is not supposed to receive food in his hands and eat from it.
> Rather a plate should be used. That is "orthodox" behavior for normal
> people. However for a sannyAsI it is perfectly acceptable behavior.
> Also, embracing "unothodox" behavior is not something always necessary
> or something to be proud of. A doctor following "orthodox" behavior
> would prescribe aspirin or tylenol for headache. An "unorthodox" doctor
> could suggest arsenic instead. In this case "unorthodox" behavior is
> only foolishness. Revering "unorthodox" behavior as an end in itself is
> the mentality of 14 year olds and the jobless hippies of the 60s who had
> nothing constructive to do.
> Finally you'll have to give us an example of "unorthodox" behavior which
> would not be acceptable for who you term "orthodox" advaitins, and show
> us why it would lead us to realization any faster than our "orthodox"
> behavior. Scores of our GYAnis like Ramana Maharshi, Mahasannidhanam and
> Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra seemed to do pretty well with their "orthodox"
> behavior.
> Your example of conservatives vs liberals is exteremely flawed for two
> reasons. First, it doesn't seem to have any relevance in advaita as to
> why "unorthodox" behavior is useful or even necessary. Second it ignores
> scores of ultra conservatives, e.g., Barry Goldwater (he recently passed
> away) who opposed desegregation on the grounds it was intruding into the
> power of the states, but also was pro-choice, anti religion in politics,
> etc. It also ignores the many racist democrats from the South.
> Rama.

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