Vaidya Sundaram Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM
Sun Apr 25 08:57:58 CDT 1999

From: Vaidya Sundaram at I2TECH on 04/25/99 08:57 AM

tathaa vadantaM sharaNaagataM svaM
    sa.nsaaradaavaanalataapataptam.h .
niriikshya kaaruNyarasaardradR^ishhTyaa
    dadyaadabhiitiM sahasaa mahaatmaa ..

Seeing the pupile scorched by the forest fire of samsAra and beseeching the
gurru to give him refuge, looking at him with eyes of compassion, the great One
should quickly assure him of succour.

tathA vadantam: him who speaks thus. Because it is possible to know the mind of
an adhikarin by his speech, it is implied that a guru should give the assurance
of freedom from fear only after he makes sure that the sisya is a proper

samsAradAvAnala-tApataptam: who is scorched by the forest fire of samsAra.

evam saranAgatam: one who has approached him in the belief that the guru will

kArunya-rasArdra-drstyA nirIksya: seeing him with tender eyes of mercy.

mahAtmA: a person of uncrooked buddhi, one who is broad minded; that is, the

sahasA abhitim dadyAt: Immediately promise of succour should be vouchsafed. By
this is implied that the fear of frightened ones should be immediately
dispelled. For it only those whose fear has been removed by the gift of abhaya
that can receive the upadesA of the guru with a calm and collected mind.

from Adi Shankara BhagavadpAda's VivekachUdAmani, with commentary by Sri
Chandrasekhara Bharati of Srngeri.

Pörnam adah` pörnam idam pörnaat pörnam udach`yaté |
Pörnasya pörnam ädaya pörnam éva avasish`yatè ||

The Absolute[adah] remains Perfect [poornam]as before, while the derivatives are
also Perfect [idam, poornam,]. Even though a Perfect is derived from the
original Whole, Perfect[poornasya, poornam, aadaya], the Original Perfect remain
Whole and Perfect.[poornam, eva, avasishyate.]

>From  Sun Apr 25 15:10:44 1999
Message-Id: <SUN.25.APR.1999.151044.0500.>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 15:10:44 -0500
Reply-To: niche at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: Parisi & Watson <niche at AMERITECH.NET>
Organization: Knitters Niche
Subject: Re: Re : Philosophical Views and Certain Knowledge
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Sunder Hattangadi wrote:
>                 Similarly, when you have absolutely no reason to doubt the
> good faith of our ancient seers who
>                      proclaim God, you must be prepared to place implicit
> faith in their words. If you follow their
>                     dictates and find at the end they were wrong, then you
> may blame them, but not till then.
> Y. :   The seers were as much human beings as ourselves. How did they
> happen to know of God when
>                      we do not.
> H.H. :   They did so because they had implicit faith in the words of
> their teachers and earnestly followed
>                      their instructions for the realisation of God.
> Y. :   If that is the answer, a further question will arise as to how
> those teachers know? And this question
>                      will have to be repeated ad infinitum.
> H.H. :   Certainly so, if we do not grant the existence of some primal
> person who knows the truth without the
>                      need to learn from another.
> Y. :   Who is he?
> H.H. :   Our old friend again, the omniscient God himself. The vedas are
> his breath and the fountainhead
>                      of all knowledge. Have faith in God, his words and his
> servants. You will feel before long an
>                      immense relief.

It is both an advantage and a disadvantage being a Westerner. I came to
Vedanta as an adult as a result of serious and deliberate comparative
study. But it's an easily observed fact that most people adopt the
religion of their family and society. Just as most Indians are Hindu,
most US-Americans are either Christians or Jews, at least nominally.
None of us have the opportunity to choose our parents or families, and
most people never choose their religion.

However if we don't choose our family, still this group of people
usually enjoys a loyalty on our part that is beyond question. The story
above illustrates this sort of unwavering commitment, expressed in a way
that would be almost impossible for someone who was not born into it.
Because something that is adopted as a deliberate choice can always
potentially be dropped again, or at least such a change is thinkable. As
we have our reasons for taking something up, other reasons can lead to
its abandonment. It is not so with something that we take up along with
our mother's milk. And while a convert may be more enthusiastic and
dogmatic than many who were born into a belief, there is always
something conditioned in his commitment.


>From  Sun Apr 25 15:36:34 1999
Message-Id: <SUN.25.APR.1999.153634.0500.>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 15:36:34 -0500
Reply-To: niche at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: Parisi & Watson <niche at AMERITECH.NET>
Organization: Knitters Niche
Subject: Experience and Knowledge
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I'm confused about the relationship between experience and knowledge,
especially when the experience is of a 'mystical' nature. We commonly
say that reason and discrimination can take us only up to a certain
point, and after that one must experience the truth directly. But does
experience always deliver certain knowledge in a way that is beyond
question or interpretation?

If it does, then how do we account for the other schools of Indian
thought that are in opposition to Advaita Vedanta? Dvaita Vedanta comes
particularly to mind, but I'm sure others could mention many more
examples. Do we say that the founders and followers of these other
schools never experienced nirvikalpa samadhi (I hope I have the term
right), or that they did, but they misunderstood and misinterpreted it?
The former seems to be potentially presumptuous, and the latter opens
the door to questioning all interpretations, including the one of

Sometimes it seems to me, as one who definitely never has experienced
samadhi or any other 'exotic' state such as bliss and so forth, that a
great deal of importance is laid upon feelings and impressions. "I felt
blissful and infinite, that I was everything and everything was me."
Does the fact that I feel infinite mean that in fact I am, or could this
intepretation possibly be mistaken? Are these 'peak' experiences of
bliss and oneness really glimpses of the inner truth of existence, or
are they merely induced anomalies? How can we be sure?

There are many people out there making very dubious claims on the basis
of their experiences and the interpretations they have chosen for them.
Near death experiences and out of body experiences, for example.
Particularly the former can be very powerful and can transform the lives
of those who have them. But there is a large amount of convincing
evidence that in fact these experiences are not at all what they
imagine, and that they tell us nothing about what, if anything, lies
beyond physical death. We also know that certain drugs can induce what
seems to the individual involved to be a mystical experience of oneness
with a cosmos of bliss. These drug experiences are typically (but not
always) transitory, since they are not preceded by years of study and
disciplined practice. But could they not at least move us to wonder
whether it is valid and legitimate to base so much on an experience?

I'm pouring out a lot of negative seeming questions at once, but please
bear in mind that if I didn't find Advaita Vedanta at least plausible, I
wouldn't be here. But I have to deal with these issues in order to move
forward. Someone issued the invitation to "ask all the questions you
want," and I am now doing so. Please accept my assurances that my
motivation is only a sincere and careful search for the truth.


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