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Prashant Sharma psharma at BUPHY.BU.EDU
Tue Aug 4 17:29:52 CDT 1998

On Mon, 3 Aug 1998, Giridhar wrote:

> namaste Prashant:
> Thanks for your response.
> >"ashram", or even a residence). So you can't just live without material
> >ambitions, unless one is a sannyAsi.  But then we are not talking about
>         Therefore, it seems, you do not agree with the theory that one can
> keep on striving for having a house, a/c car and so on.. blame it on
> prarabdha and claim to have mentally renounced the same and say that
> he is striving to become a jnani ?

        Quite true. Most of these views are proposed after an event (or a
set of events) has happened.  While they sometimes serve the purpose of
lessening sorrow and other such emotions, they have little or no use in
justifying action (or inaction).   This is akin to the problem of free
will which has been discussed before on this list.

> >such great people. Also I am not talking about jnAnis like
> >BhagvAn RAmana here who have *no* ambition but about people like us. For
> Thank you for the above statement. There seems to have been some
> misinterpretation. My reason for quoting the newspaper article was that
> most of the NRIs (and the rest also) have material ambitions. And as
> long as there are material ambitions, one can not be a jnani. Glad that
> you agree with that. My only comment was a few of us seem to
> believe that one can mentally renounce and be a jnani. While it is true, the
> _majority_ can not let go of the material and claim to have mentally
> renounced the same !
        This was not evident from the newspaper article but by stating it
now you have cleared the confusion. However, let us not single out the NRI
in this matter, as you also seem to say in this post. We know the fact
that almost all the small neo-advaita philosophies that have sprung up in
this century have an Indian origin. One of the main reasons that they may
have a larger NRI audience is the alienation from the cultural mainstream
that distance brings about and a consequent yearning to go back to the
Unfortunately there is no one single root to go back to.  Infact it is
hard to think of any time in the history of our civilisation when only one
philosophy existed. It is the force of a paramjnAni that brings one
school of thought to the fore and helps it to maintain a purity and
sensitivity that is vital for having it go strong. But in order to follow
that philosophy one needs more than a good gurU. This extra factor
(which can be perhaps be bundled in the word "sanskAra") can be found
missing in  many NRIs as well as RIs and so again, there is no reason
to single out any one of the communities.

>          The basis reason of difference (and the subsequent argument) seems
> to be because you think I am talking about an average Indian. No, I am
> talking about a person striving to be  a jnani. For him, material ambitions
> should mean nothing. If you agree, well and good. If not, we will agree
> to disagree. That's all.

        If you are talking of a mumukshu then the qualities are well
defined and of course material ambitions mean nothing to him.  For many of
us however, mumukshutva (which is a pre-requisite for jnAna) is a dream as
we are somewhat satisfied with this mundane reality.


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