A post from shrI sadananda

Ravisankar S. Mayavaram msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Thu Aug 6 10:43:32 CDT 1998

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 11:34:02 -0400
From: sadananda <sada at anvil.nrl.navy.mil>
To: msr at tamu.edu
Cc: ramakris at erols.com
Subject: Re: The recent fracas in advaita-l

Ravi - Could you forward to the advaita list if you feel it is appropriate.
Hari Om!

Sri Rama and Friends of advaita:

Thanks for your letters.  It is nice of you to take time and write.  I had
two reasons to drop out from the list, particularly after I urged Sri
Murthy gaaru to join back.  This response is not only to Rama but for all
others also who wrote to me privately asking me join back in the list.

One is lately the tone of discussions were drifting from the topic to
personalities with language that is abusive and cause more consternation
than peace of mind.  Of course, that should not be tolerated more so in the
Advaita list.  Ravi cannot police that, it is the people who are
participating have to police themselves.   If we fail in these basic rules
we fail ourselves as advaitins - there is no use to have Advaita list serve
since there are no adviatins. - There is a beautiful sloka in
VivekachuuDaamaNi - vak vaikharii sabda jharii ..... I am sure Vaidya will
discuss that in his posts when he comes to that.

Now there is more to it from my point.  As stated above,  I could find
reasons to justify my reaction, and also it is easy for me to blame others
for that.   But I have began to realize that I can not blame anybody for my
reactions other than myself.  My reaction  shows that my mind needs lot
more training.  There is a beautiful sloka in the Uddava Geeta by Bhagavaan
Krishna - He was illustrating a story involving a Brahmin, like an example
Rama gave in his private mail, who ruined himself.  But in later years he
realized his mistakes.  When people persecuted him severely because of his
past actions, he realized himself that the cause of suffering is not the
people: ( Rama please excuse me if you find this irrelevant, I am used to

        naayam jano me sukha duhkha hetuH|
        na devataatmaa graha karma kaalaaH|
        manaH param kaaraNa maamananti
        samsaara chakram parivarta yadyet||

He says: I cannot blame the people, nor the gods nor the planets nor my
actions, nor the time  - for the pleasures and pains that I am undergoing
now.  It  is my mind and its attachments that are responsible for this
wheel of samsaara and it is that, and that I have to give up.

The moral of the story  is for my own growth it is important for me to
stand back and do my own Manama and nidhidhyaasanam for some time before I
can effectively participate in the discussions.   I recollect my teacher
Swami Chinmayanandaji telling one brahmachaari who complained that no one
is listening to him properly nor pay attention to what he was saying.  He
faulted the brahmachaari himself for not doing his sadhana and therefore
the words have become of no value.  Hence I am taking a break for my own
growth.  When I find myself ready I will join the list.

The second reason I left the list is the scope of the list.  This is in
response to Jaldhar comments too asking if I am quitting Advaita.  How can
I Jaldhar, and that question would not arise if you have followed my posts.
In my mind there is no Shankara Advaita and other advaita.  Advaita that
Bhagavaan Shankara expounded is about the truth.  And the truth is advaita,
and by definition there can not be two adviataas.  Paths to arrive to that
state of understanding could be many, and there is nothing advaitic about
it, also by definition.  This is where desha, kaalaa and achaara, etc comes
to play since it is relative.   Curtailing the discussions that promote
vichaara is a wrong approach.  Asking people to provide quotations from
Shankara or other advaitic masters to prove their statements is even worse.
First even if one can quote, there are ten others who argue that it is
irrelevant or the context is not that and come up other interpretations
that justifies their understanding, leaving sometime even the direct
meaning.  Second of course, everybody cannot quote - (not many have the
same bad habits that I have) - but that does not negate the knowledge nor
the experience.   I am not sure any more what is Advaita that Shankara
taught versus any other advaita that others taught if the truth is the
same.  If the restrictions is to discuss only Shankara Tradition, I have no
problem in restricting,  but then people like me who are interested in the
truth not any tradition per sec have no place in that.  This is my second
reason to quit.   Traditions and disciplines are required to help us
realize the truth but should not suffocate us in the realization of the
truth.  I will definitely participate in the list in future when I am ready
to do it within the constraints imposed.

I wrote in such detail for the everyone to think deeply what does Advaita
that Shankara taught mean.   In the dhyaana slokas in the VivekachuDaamani
he himself gives the answers.   Ravi asked me if I am the list manager how
would I define the scope.  I am glad that I am not the list manager.  Ravi
is doing an excellent job and my hats off for him.  But if I am asked for a
suggestion - I will just put as Advaita Vedanta with no further
qualifications since qualifications degrade it down.  In my mind there is
only one truth and that is advaita.  Vedanta provides the logic.  Once one
understand advaita vedanta, one can extract beauty in the other teachings
that essentially emphasizes the advaitic nature of the truth.  I learned
the beauty of Shankara's teaching by reading the criticism of it by
Bhagavaan Raamanuja in his Sri Bhaasya.  J.K Krishnamurty's, although lot
of circular arguments and confusing discussions, one can apprecciate the
advaitic nature of the truth he is trying to arrive at in his own way.  (
yes I agree with Rama, JK can cause lot more misunderstanding than
understanding if one is not prepared).   I donot know how many of you have
read the book by Peace Pilgrim - an American lady in fifties who traveled
around USA on foot, teaching peace.  She was not exposed to any vedanta.
But one will marvel at her understanding of the advaitic nature of the
truth.   I respect traditions, only to the degree that they help in the
realization of the truth.   Please note that  I came into Advaita fold not
by tradition.  By tradition, I am in fact was brought up as
VishiTaadvaitin.  I came into the fold as I am in search of truth.  No
Jaldhar, I cannot get out of advaita since that is what I am after, not
traditions but truth.

I decided therefore I do not belong to this regimented group anymore.  I
will join the list when I can contribute effectively within the scope
defined.   Before I do that I have to discipline myself.

My pranaams to everybody.

Hari Om!

A Note to Rama: I am sorry to listen to the story of your friend.  None of
the philosophies you quated would suggest anyone to indulge in sensious
fields including JK's works.  JK's books first turned me into an agnostic,
but that is the lack of my understanding.  I would have goten into the same
state if I had read first the Avadhuta Geeta of Bhagavaan Dattaatreya.   I
understand the background for your responses, but please remember it is not
the fault of the teachings,  but his lack of maturity to receive the
teaching correctly.    This is why vedanta insists on proper teacher with
sampradaaya, essentialy who knows and trained how to teach.  If we have to
follow sampradaaya, then adviata should not be discussed on an internet
like this either.  Qualifications for adhikaari are discussed extensively
by Shankara - this is to avoid people misunderstanding and running their
life into chaos.  But I cannot blame the philosophy or logic for your
friend's misunderstanding. For a true advatic vedantin, the respect for
other sampradaayaas also follow since he understands from the point of the
truth, the rest are relative.

I have nothing against you, and in fact thankful to you. Becuase of you I
could discover my own limitations and the need for standing aside and spend
time  in mananam and nidhidyaasanam  God bless you.

Hari Om!

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

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