Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 4 12:14:36 CDT 1998

 Gummuluru Murthy wrote:

>I sincerely and most firmly think that both Shri f. meillo and Shri
>Sadananda should be on the List. Shri f.meillo's eclectic approach to
>advaita has to be contempled on and understood. I have always enjoyed
>it and always look for a similar expression in Shri Shankara or Shri
>RamaNa's teachings. Of course, Shri Sadananda's knowledge-oriented,
>well-referenced articles are a delight to read and a stimulus for
>contemplation. I cannot see an advaita-list without these stalwarts.
>Just only last week, I received advice from both asking me to come
>back to the List and I joined back again. I request them to re-consider
>their decision and re-join immediately.

 I second the opinion expressed by you. Nobody should be asked to
 leave the list; asking someone to leave is a last resort when
  someone is creating a constant nuisance in the list by posting
 completely irrelevant material even after repeated warnings.
 I see no evidence of such activity by Sadananda and Egodust.

 Whatever they have posted can be argued as being either consistent
 with Shankara's advaita or as being inconsistent with Shankara's
 advaita. I don't want to get into specific details and say which
 of the points they made are consistent with Shankara or otherwise.
 But I can say this much. Most of the points they made are not
 completely irrelevant to this list. If someone feels they are making
 points that are inconsistent with Shankara's system, let the
 inconsistency be pointed out. This is the correct approach that is
 conducive to healthy discussion. In the ideal case, the discussion
 will take place at a purely nonpersonal level. But we should
 remember that we are fallible beings and are prone to express ideas
 in a brash manner sometimes. I don't think anyone on the list has
 hard feelings towards anyone else. So everyone involved in a
 discussion should take things in their stride and try to concentrate
 on the nonpersonal aspects of any message.

 I was surprised that even Sadananda has decided to quit the list.
 He, for one, can claim that Chinmaya Mission uses the same texts
 as Shankara's followers, such as the Brahma sUtra bhAShya, the
 VivekachUDAmaNi, etc. And he can certainly discuss the same texts
 with considerable skill and insight. I fail to see how he can even
 feel that he does not have anything to do with this list. Moreover,
 he has been contributing articles to the list since the very
 beginning, most of them very well written.

 I urge Sadananda and Egodust to rejoin the list. If one has seen
 the different schools in India, such as that of Shankara, Ramanuja
 and Madhva, it is easy to notice that Shankara's is the least
 fanatical of the three, as far as the philosophy is concerned.
 Why? Because Shankara's advaita is based on reason and rational
 thought. It is does not require anyone to blindly acknowledge any
 authority. It asks that we use reason to arrive at the conclusions
 that it proclaims. So we advaitins should not be afraid of anyone
 who tries to question our beliefs. Let them question us. We can
 answer them well and our answer will be based on reason, not dogma.

 In all fairness, it is also clear that Shankara bases his system
 firmly on the Vedas as well. So on the one hand, he uses reason to
 counter irrational and absurd tendencies that duality breeds, but he
 also affirms  equally forcefully that his is a discipline that also
 aims to correctly interpret the Vedas and that shows the advaitic
 conclusions as being the same as those of the Vedas.

 In short, you can't divorce reason while talking about Shankara, and
 you can't divorce the Vedas/shAstras either. It is the lack of
 understanding of this fundamental point that has causes unnecessary
 headaches in discussions here.

 Now, the conclusions of Shankara may be "universal" or not. It may
 be the case that the conclusions are seen in the teachings of
 Buddha, Christ, etc. But that is of little relevance to this list.
 First of all, the so called universality of the teachings is not
 by any means conclusively proven. At best, it may be a layman's
 impression. When a child is born, he/she does not clearly distinguish
 his/her parents' faces from the faces of others. Similarly, when one
 is "born" spiritually so to speak, one may see all religions are one.
 Only when the child grows older will it start recognizing the
 parents. I am not saying the theory of universality of all
 religions/philosophies is pure garbage either. To arrive at any
 conclusion  requires a systematic and
 in-depth study of all the concerned religions/philosophies. And I
 see little evidence of such a large scale study ever being done.
 So we can easily see that focussing on the "universality" aspect
 will not take us far in the study of advaita. It is better to stay
 focussed on advaita vedAnta alone.

>May I suggest that we re-trace our steps to two weeks ago and start
>afresh again. Let us abandon the presently active threads and start
>fresh new threads. Let us take personalities out of the discussion
>and let each poster read his/her post again before pressing the
>SEND key (for it is clear that attacks on posters is the root cause
>for this alarming crisis). I would hope Shri Ravi, as List owner,
>takes the following actions:
>1. puts in an administrative advice to members not to attack the
>personalities of posters or use abusive language in describing the
>contents of a post.
>2. request both Shri f. meillo and Shri Sadananda to re-join the List
>Of the regular posters, I may be one of the senior ones (left now) in
>terms of age. Certainly advice, based on age and experience of life,
>is to be taken seriously based on Indian traditions.

 I agree that in Indian tradition the opinion of elders is respected.
 In fact, Shri Abhinava Vidya tirtha says in one of his talks that
  just by virtue of age one gains a certain experience and wisdom
 in life. The opinion of elders should not be taken lightly. It must
 be respected and given due consideration.


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