message to my friends

Greg Goode goode at DPW.COM
Fri Aug 14 17:06:55 CDT 1998

At 03:45 PM 8/14/98 -0400, Prashant Sharma wrote:

>        That is largely true, as you say further on in your mail (some
>excellent stuff, that I have deleted from this posting).
>However, the statement that I was questioning (in Frank Maiello's posting)
>was related to advaita vedAnta being viewed as a strategic philosophy
>that endeavours to take the jIva out of the present state of ajnAna.

Well, I have to agree here!  Almost by definition, advaita vedanta is
probably the only one that can do this, especially when phrased like this.
Not all non-dual philosophies, even those wihtin the broader Hindu
tradition, even talk about the progress of the jIva.  In fact there are
some non-dual teachers (such as Krishna Menon [Sri Atmananda], whom I
respect quite highly) who quoted Shankara a lot, but really never spoke of
the jIva or any form of individual soul or progress at all!  But he
definitely agrees with advaita vedanta about the substratum of everything

[ ... deleted text on the relativity of philosophies that mention various
states ... ]

>Therefore the only strategy that seems
>foolproof is to follow a school of thought completely to wherever it leads
>, while believing that it describes the truth as completely as it claims
>to. The reality that it describes then remains true throughout, what
>changes is the doubting nature of the mind.

I agree on following a school of thought to its conclusion, and I think
Frank would too.  After all, the Finality (not meant as a state but as the
metaphysical Reality) is that which the various schools of thought talk


>From  Fri Aug 14 18:34:30 1998
Message-Id: <FRI.14.AUG.1998.183430.0700.>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 18:34:30 -0700
Reply-To: chandran at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Personal
Subject: Bhakti, the Path of Total Surrender of Ego
Comments: To: Advaita List <advaita-l at>
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When one seeks through intensive worship, the total devotion becomes the
primary main desire and it is still desire, it still causes growth of
ego.  Several questions arise: First, how can the person become free of
all desires?  Second, what makes the seeker able to love God with zero
expectation back? Finally, where does the total devotion and the Divine
Love come from?

The answers to the above questions are subtle and deep!  Let me first
try with an example.  When the river flows from the mountain to the sea,
it has a separate identity (Ego) and once it reaches the sea it has no
more identity!  It becomes part of the sea.  It loses the qualities and
characteristic of the river and experiences and retains the qualities
and characteristics of the sea! This is a verifiable scientific fact.
When human mind (river)  engages in Total Devotion to God and immerses
with the Divine Mind (sea) it experiences and retains the desires of the

What is the nature of Divinity? Religions in their purest form preach
that "God" is above "Selfish Desire."  The Bakhta (Devotee) after total
surrender of Ego will have no more selfish desires and will act for the
welfare of the fellow beings! The selfish desires are replaced by
unselfish desires! This is one of the sharp differences between Buddhism
and Advaita.  In Buddhism, the Nirvana state represents a state of no
desire.  In Advaita, when the Atman merges with the Brahman through
total dedication, devotion and surrender of ego, actions are conducted
without looking for the fruits! Actions become spontaneous and mind
becomes inactive resulting eternal happiness and peace!

We are fully aware that we can't go back to our past (we can neither
fast forward nor rewind). Adults can't go back to childhood and children
can't jump forward as adults.  The river after reaching the sea can't go
back and loses its identify!  The sea is always full and peaceful and it
can't become empty!  When Atman  merges with the Brahman, it is an
eternal change. (Gita, chapter 2, verse 70: " He attains Peace into whom
all desires enter as waters enter the ocean, which, filled from all
sides, remains unmoved: but not the desires of desires.")

 Bhagawan Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, chapter 7 describes the
"Absolute" and purpose of Human Life.  Specifically in verse ten, he
says "God is the strength of the strong, devoid of desire and passion.
The desire for union with God is the only desire that will fulfil the
goal of having no desire and it will not be contrary to total
liberation."  The question, "what makes the seeker able to love God with
zero expectation back?" is beyond the intellect! Any answer that I may
give will be challenged by a smarter intellect!  No answer will satisfy
everybody! All over the world, we have examples of human beings who have
demonstrated their love for God with zero expectation back! Mother
Teresa has shown that it is possible for a seeker to love God and serve
the humanity without any expectation!  Whether we worship Narayana or
Jesus Christ or Allah, pure unconditional love of God necessarily
implies serving the community unconditional without any expectation!  In
the recent past, we had  Mahatma Gandhi who totally dedicated his life
for the service of the people of India!  He totally surrendered his ego
to his Ishta Devata Sri. Ram and when he was shot, the only word that he
uttered was Hai. Ram!
  The question: "where does the total devotion and Divine love come
from?" is again beyond the human intellect.  One way of rationalizing
the outcome is through Karma theory and those who have strong belief in
Karma will able to accept!  Fundamentally, faith is a necessary
ingredient to undertake spiritual life!  All those who believe in God
also believe that God is full of mercy!  Then everything in this world
is attributed to the Grace of God! Faith is a very powerful secret
source of the energy in the human bosom. St. Augustine gives one of the
greatest definitions of faith: "Faith is to believe what you do not see,
and the reward of this faith is to see what you believe."

Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam Govindam Bhaja Moodhamate
Sampraapte Sannihite Kaale Na Hi Na Hi rakshati Dukrinyakarane
(Seek Govinda, Seek Govind, Seek Govind, O Fool! When the appointed time
comes (death), grammar-rules surely will not save you.)

         Sri Sankaracharya's Bhaja Govindam, Verse 1.

Ram Chandran
Burke, VA 22015

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