message to my friends

f. maiello egodust at DIGITAL.NET
Wed Aug 12 16:54:17 CDT 1998


Perhaps it will help if I expound my interpretation
(which amounts to what I consider to be my strategic
philosophy) of advaita vedanta.  This may be thought
of as the methodology used while apparently ensnared
within the clutches of vyavahara.

However, what I say here will have little or no value
if the reader remains fixed in his own bias.  On the
other hand, as Ram Chandran mentioned today, if one
keeps an open mind in the face of other's viewpoints,
one may be able to see their validity.


To begin with, we have to determine what non-duality
is really referring to.  Sankara's triune advaitic
formula holds the key to answering this.  It posits,
finally, that there is no duality between jiva and
brahman.  However, an understanding of what the idea
of jiva itself actually encompasses is vital to our
comprehension of the entirety of the issue (which
includes what it is that we're witnessing in the
world...i.e. we have to make some sense out of the
phenomena surrounding us).

Now, I'm quite aware that we have discussed this
last year, and that it has been pointed out that
very few recognized authorities ascribe to drishti-
srishti vada.  However, Bhagavan RM ascribes to it,
as the closest we can come to an accurate analysis
of relative truth, being the institutional dynamic
of saguna brahman: that the [universal phenomenal
archetype] of God, world, and soul (Isvara, jagat,
jiva--collectively referred to as sohamidam), are
an outgrowth emanating the mind of jiva (viz. that
sohamidam is a product of the jiva's perception;
which is the only way we can justify Sankara's use
of the term 'jiva' in the formula.  Note also that
Bhagavan Ramana makes a similar reference [to the
one I'm making here] in his own recounting of this
formula, which would complicate things if I related
it here; however, suffice to say, it has the same
import of usage/implication).  And this is why in
Sankara's formula, 'jiva' was posited as that which
is non-different from brahman--because 'jiva' is
the central creator of God and world, via the act
of drishti-srishti.  And the crucial and pivotal
stipulation Sankara made was that sohamidam, *as a
separative entity*, is an illusion.  (It's
interesting to note that Quantum Physics also
makes use of the drishti-srishti vada.)

Therefore, the jiva, along with its world- and God-
conception are considered real manifestations of
brahman *unless* regarded as separate and distinct
from brahman.  This is, to me, the definitive
message of advaita vedanta.  Others may see it
differently.  The point is, whatever works insofar
as the practical release of the ego's delusionary
bandha, is what really matters.  In this regard, the
paths of bhakti and karma yoga can accomplish the
same thing.  Where, in this light (as I indicated to
Vidyasankar), I consider all of this a temporal
strategy, simply because, firstly, other margas and
sadhanas can get one there just as well, without the
ideas and theories of advaita; and, secondly, if/when
finally and consciously abiding in the Self, the
sadhu's "experience" therein is likened to a buddhic
"white-out," where all conceptions, theories, and
even ideals are meager and fractional modalities and
involvements, with no more value than pesky insects
in the Garden of Bliss.

As Buddha said, "Upon reaching the other shore,
why then carry the raft on your back?"

OM shaanthi shaanthi shaanthiH

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