Article: A Vedanta Toolkit Part 1

Subhanu Saxena Subhanu.Saxena at INTL.PEPSI.COM
Wed Sep 16 00:11:41 CDT 1998

On 16th September Anand Hudli wrote

>  So the prakriyA's of later advaitins, such as those of the vivaraNa
>  and bhAmati schools, are as valid as Shankara's prakriyA since they
>  have the same result, ie. the Reality of the Nondual Self.
        Many thanks for your kind words regarding the article.  As I had
mentioned in my new member introduction, the maxim "ekam sad viprAha
bahudhA vadantI", "that one truth the wise call by many names" certainly
holds true, and to that extent Anand Hudli is right to point out the
validity of interpretations of the ultimate.  I guess the only subtle
distinction here is that Shankara presumably had one import when writing
his BhAshya's, and it is certainly interesting to note that different
later sub-commentators have interpreted his texts in different ways.

        What I hope the article was able to do , apart from to generate
a curiosity in people to delve deeper,  was to give those who had no
familiarity with the concepts a clear introduction to some of the basic
tenets that Shankara employs At a minimum people who choose to delve
further will then have a point of reference when analysing Shankara and
later commentaries so they can see where there is agreement and where a
different interpretation has been adopted.  I will expand a little on
this in my second article on adhyAsa bhAshyam.

        I myself have always found the original Shankara
/Sureshwara/gauDapAda texts as clearer and more consistent vs what I
have read in later works. I had an annoying habit of telling my students
in London : "don't believe what I am saying-look it up for yourselves in
the original texts and see what it means for you-you inner intuition
will guide you", which probably explains my own prediliction for looking
for internally consistent arguments and messages within a source text
before relying on a secondary text.

        Ultimately it is up to all of us to explore the texts and
teachings ourselves with the guidance of a Guru, if we have access to
one, and test the conclusion against the touchstone of our experience vs
a scholarly analysis of what the words may/may not mean. The rest is



        PS I am going through the article to tidy up typos (of which I
found many, particularly in the transliteration!!), plus inserting
references where I had simply put a quote.  It should be available for
anybody who wants a clean copy within a week or so.

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