New member introduction: shrI Naveen Gainedi

Ravisankar Mayavaram msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Sat Nov 14 19:29:08 CST 1998

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 08:30:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Naveen Gainedi <galvo at>
To: msr at
Cc: aum at
Subject: Introduction!

    I am Naveen Gainedi. I'm a 23 year old pursuing my masters in
business management at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.
As for my interest in Advaita, right from my childhood I had some
exposure to this field of thought. My family firmly believes in this
philosophy. I had tried to learn more about the subject but could
never comprehend a lot of aspects of it. Through this mailing list I
would like to see if I can learn more and clear some of doubts and if
possible, contribute my own ideas.
                 Thank You,

Get your free address at

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Mon Nov 16 08:03:49 1998
Message-Id: <MON.16.NOV.1998.080349.0000.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 08:03:49 -0000
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>
From: Subhanu Saxena <Subhanu.Saxena at INTL.PEPSI.COM>
Subject: Re: Indra / Net of Jewels? I'm probably late
Comments: To: ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU
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On Thursday November 12, Gregory Goode wrote:

> Can the learned members of this list suggest a lead for me?
> A friend asked about a reference she saw to Indra's net of jewels.  Each
> jewel in the net reflects all the others.  The reference was used as a
> scriptural support for the new-science holographic model of the universe.
> Can anyone think of a passage this might have come from?  Thanks very
> much.
> Hari Om!
> --Greg Goode
As I am catching up on old mail (I have been travelling), you may already
have this info. If so, forgive me for being late. As well as a response to
the question to Greg, I have also given some thoughts from the advaita
tradition below (points 2 and 3), more in keeping with the nature of this

1) Avatamsaka sutram

The referemce, I believe, is to a passage from the avatamsaka sutram, the
"flower ornament" or "garland" sutra, which is the primary text of the
Chinese Hua-yen buddhist school, founded sometime in the 7th century CE. I
believe the school is still active in Japan. Although the text originated in
India, I have only heard of its existence in Chinese (I would be keen to
find out from anybody a Sanskrit version). This school stressed the unity
and mutual interdependence of all reality, and the presence of the universal
Buddha-nature in them all, and the ability to experience the totality of the
Ultimate Truth in the tiniest grain.  Hence the section on Indra's net of
jewels in this sutra.

The story goes that, within the first few days of enlightenment, Buddha
preached the avatamsaka sutram to his followers, but all he got in response
was blank incomprehension.  He realised that he would have to compromise his
teachings until his followers' level of understanding had matured to
appreciate his message in all its uncompromised glory.  It is thus said he
developed the hinayana texts until people were ready. The avatamsaka sutram
appears to be one of the foremost texts of the mahayana tradition.  I
noticed a translation (1643 pages) by Thomas Cleary (Shambhala publications)
available through Amazon, if your friend is interested

Another reference she may find useful is in the sukhAvtIvyUha sutra, "The
Array of the Happy Land", where I found the following passage, relating to
the "Buddha field":

" On all sides it is surrounded by golden nets, all around with lotus
flowers made of all precious things.  Some of the lotus flowers are half a
mile (?) in circumference, others up to ten (miles).  And from each jewel
lotus issue 36 hundred thousand koti's (1 koti=10 million) of rays.  And at
the end of each ray issue 36 hundred thousand koti's of Buddhas, with golden
coloured bodies, who bear the 32 marks of the superman, and who , in all the
10 directions, go into countless world systems, and there demonstrate the

I am sure more details could be obtained by your friend from a Buddhist

2) Advaita references

Turning to the advaita tradition, the references in the sutra above to
interconnectedness and finding the whole of reality in the smallest of the
smallest remind me of the following mantras:

In Katha Upanishad I ii 10, and mahAnArAyaNa upanishad, we have

"aNoraNIyAn mahato mahIyAn....."  , or "Smaller than the smallest atom, yet
greater than the greatest"

and in the Rig Veda and mahAnArAyaNa upanishad (and also I believe Shukla
Yajur Veda), we have

"venas tat pashyan vishwA bhuvanAni vidwAn yatra vishwam bhavatyekanILam
yasmin idagum sancha vichaikagum sa otafprotashcha vibhuf prajAsu"

where the phrase "otaha protaha cha" (splitting sandhis) translates as
"(that reality) is warp and woof in all"

3) Advaita and modern science

Gregory  in the post mentions scriptural support for new scientific models.
There are a couple of references in the Upanishad and Brahma Sutra that seem
to warrant more attention by scholars seeking to compare modern unified
field theories and the ancient wisdom:

-Prasna Upaniashad i.4:

The response to the question, what is the cause of the (empirical) universe,
the resposnse is "rayishca prANam cha", meaning food and prANa. The
Upanishad and Shankara's bhAshya go on to identify "rayi" with the moon and
"prANa" with the sun, standing for the consumer and the consumed.  With what
we know today about relativity theory, the the pair "rayi" and "prANa"
clearly convey the concepts of matter and energy (The oldest statement
perhaps of E=mc2??!).  The relativistic view of the universe bubbling
continuously with interchanges of matter and energy corresponds well with
the contonuous cycle of the "consumer and consumed" also implied by rayi and

- Brahma Sutra I iii 39.

The sutra here is "kampanAt", meaning "because of its vibrating nature".
The sutra itself is a commentary on katha upanishad II iii 2.  The meaning
of the sutra is clarification that prANa means brahman, because of its
vibrating nature.  Shankara's commentary is illuminating in this aspect.
When one considers modern scientific theories of a unified field existing in
various energy states, with a common description of energy to people as
something with a vibrating nature, the similiarities of expression with the
ancient texts are quite arresting.



"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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