message to my friends

f. maiello egodust at DIGITAL.NET
Fri Aug 7 14:19:50 CDT 1998

Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:
> > There are at least two dozen references where Bhagavan RM supports
> > mental over physical sannyasa.  Here are a few:
> A large part of this discussion seems to be going at cross purposes. I
> suggest that mental and physical sannyAsa need not be seen in opposition
> to each other, as much as complementing each other. It does not help to
> put on ochre robes and still not be truly a sannyAsin. Nor does it help to
> claim that one is a sannyAsin mentally, and use that as an excuse to do as
> one pleases. Those of us who see the need to emphasize the tradition of
> sannyAsa are only talking of the second part. Bhagavan's words may have
> been meant for the specific person asking the question, based on general
> principles. Becoming a sannyAsin through physical renunciation may not
> have been right for that particular person, but it may be right for
> somebody else. One can neither say that everybody should renounce
> physically, nor can one say that physical sannyAsa is totally unnecessary
> in this world.

Yes, this was exactly the point I made in a post last week (vide: "re:
retirement from the forum" thread).  It's clearly to everyone's benefit
not to be assailed with narrow pre-conceived determinations as to what
or isn't proper or effective methodology, in terms of a

>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Sat Aug  8 12:10:39 1998
Message-Id: <SAT.8.AUG.1998.121039.0400.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1998 12:10:39 -0400
Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
Comments: RFC822 error: <W> Incorrect or incomplete address field found and
From: "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM>
Subject: Re: A post from shrI sadananda (fwd)
MIME-Version: 1.0
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[Sorry misspelled the list name the first time]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1998 12:07:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at>
Cc: sadananda <sada at>
Subject: Re: A post from shrI sadananda


> 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.

Oh but I did read your posts.  Very carefully I hope.  And I said what I
did because I got the sense you are veering away from Advaita Vedanta.

> 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.

The word Advaita Vedanta refers to the system of thought which comes from
Shri Narayana through Maharshi Vyas through Shankaracharya through his
pupils to the present day.  Then there are other philosophies that to some
degree or the other are "Advaita-like" which have hijacked the name for
their own purposes.  Intellectual honesty demands they call themselves
something else or qualify the name (e.g. Shabdadvaita of Bhartrhari or
Shuddhadvaita of Vallabha.)   There can be two people called Jaldhar.  Is
Jaldhar who lives in Jersey City the same person as Jaldhar who lives on
the North Pole?  Just because they have the same name?  If Jaldhar on the
North Pole robs a bank, should Jaldhar in Jersey City be held responsible?
If you disagree if the tenets of Advaita Vedanta (And in the case of karma
vs sannyasa it is easy to see what the tenets are.)  Then you should not
pretend you don't.

Another reason to make the distinction is the possibility of confusion to
others.  I think you mentioned before that you taught classes.  You at
least have lived in India and seen Vedanta as it has been traditionally
practised.  What about young people you are teaching who are completely
unaware of the traditional context?  They will never even get the chance
to pick between "old" and "new" if you don't make a distinction between
the two.

>  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.

It is not.  Why were Gaudapadacharya and Shankaracharya so vehemently
against Buddhism?  After all it is "just another path."  Similiarly doing
the Muslim or British occupations they could have just said "there is
nothing Advaitic about the Vedas.  Let's all convert to Christianity or
Islam instead."

But Advaita is an adjective that qualifies _Vedanta_.  There can be
several ways of interpreting Vedanta but the words of the Vedas and their
derived works put a boundary on far interpretations can be stretched.
Advaita Vedanta strives to provide the best interpretation of those words.
And it is because of those words that Advaita Vedanta comes up with the
conclusions that it does.

> 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.

(Ironic aside:  The idea that only the direct meanings are important is
commonly called fundamentalism.)

Sometimes it is hard to determine what is exactly meant in a given
situation.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't try as it is the only way of
providing useful knowledge.  For instnce you have been arguing along the
lines of "the definition of sannyasa implies this or the definition of
moksha implies that."  Where are these definitions?  Either they are in
some text you are not divulging or you are quoting yourself.  Either way
you ae in exactly the same position as someone who quotes Shankaracharya
except your quotations cannot be independently verified.  And as a
scientist you know that you cannot consider a conclusion reliable unless
it is verifiable.

>  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.

If people cannot quote then this due to laziness or ignorance neither of
which can be condoned in the name of Vedanta.  Why fool such people that
they are knowledgeable?  For them the shastras have prescribed a different
path which is quite respectable.  In due time they will come around to the
right way of thinking.

Experience is too tricky to be considered reliable.  We have all
experienced the Sun rising and setting?  Does it actually rise and set?
Our experiences are mediated by avidya, what we do not know we cannot
experience and what we experience without knowing is worthless.

> 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 truth is the same then indeed there is no difference.  But those
others have different definitions of truthhenc the problem.

> 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 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.

If you can't accept the tiny amount of discipline the list imposes, how
will you discipline yourself?   More likely you will end up making excuses
and rationalizations for doing what is not right.  I'm not saying there is
any flaw in your character but we see this happening time and time again.
Why repeat  the same mistakes all the other people who've attempted to
tinker with Advita have made?

> 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.

Not neccessarily true.  The Internet is just a medium of communication and
good information can be passed on it as well as bad.  How the Advaita
sampradaya and its sadgurus view many topics is very clear.  You can hear
them (in the case of the living ones), read their books and watch their
actions.  And now they're on the net too.  People may not agree with the
views of the Advaita sampradaya but they have no grounds for saying they
don't know what the views are.

>  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.

You can blame anyone who contributed to misunderstanding by teaching
erroneous things.  You can blame anyone who knew the truth and refused to
correct him.

> 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.

One can respect other sampradayas for what they are which may be a little
or a lot.  One should realize they are at a lower level than Advaita
Vedanta and not try and treat them the same.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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