Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Jul 27 00:46:18 CDT 1999
On Tue, 27 Jul 1999, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:
> Now, the following are my personal views on the recent debate
> on consciousness. The debate started innocently enough with
> some genuine questions by Robert and genuine answers from other
> members of the List. The debate quickly transformed into Robert
> being pushed into a corner and forced to make secondary statements
> (which have nothing to do with the original question or the topic)
> which were pounced on. Not everyone on the List is as knowledgeable
> about the vedAs as some of the stalwarts on the List. It is my
> personal view that in such cases, the responses can be given with
> compassion and understanding rather than an unwelcome and
> unsympathetic put-down. If we are true believers of advaita,
> and if we practice advaita (apart from intellectual knowledge),
> we would treat others with lesser knowledge of the vedAs with
> more kid gloves rather than telling them advaita is not for you.
> After all, who is to say who is advaita for ?
Yes the debate has been lively but has there been any malice on
anyones part? I don't see it. Those people who have expressed their
views have done so forcefully but reasonably I think. If the reasons
aren't convincing that is another matter but an effort has been made to
make them convincing. And I think you are doing Robert too little honor
if you think he is being "pushed into a corner" by any of this. If the
mood was hostile people would have thought "oh another atheist" maybe
flamed him a bit or ignored him. But this is exciting stuff. Some
genuinely interesting ideas have been brought up here. Hence the
As for what Advaita is for, that's simple it is for moksha. Herein lies
the problem with the kid gloves approach. It leaves people as ignorant as
when they started. I thank you for including me as a 'knowledgable member
of the list' but I didn't get that way overnight. It took a lot of hard
work. Hopefully I can share some of what I know so it won't be as hard
for the next person but they have to meet me part of the way. The
'everything is a mystery' approach will not get one far. We do not have
all the answers but lets work with what we do have.
What is wrong with saying Advaita Vedanta is not for you if in fact it
isn't? Do you really want a one size fits all religion which will
try and be everything to everyone? Didn't Ramakrisnan also suggest an
alternative? This s exactly what our acharyas do. To one person they
will say do this japa. To another do that vrata and only for the
qualified do they recommend atmavidya. It is not a sign of disgrace to
believe differently from Advaita Vedanta.
> And unfortunately, this has become too common and frequent a practice
> on this List. In this episode, repeated statements have been made
> empasizing the supremacy of the vedAs, thereby also denigrading
> other philosophical (and religious) thoughts.
Let's say Robert decides to go with Western materialism. He has said that
he still has a respect for our beliefs. That's good enough for me. So if
I say I acknowledge other religions but I think the Vedic religion is the
best, why should any be upset. Are there hordes of dogma-crazed Vedantins
running around stopping anyone from doing their thing? Have their been?
> People who have
> their early growth in other faiths are being challenged (in a rather
> harsh way) to give up and surrender (when they are still not ready)
> their earlier beliefs and to accept supremacy of the vedAs of which
> they do not know much about.
Yes they are. Because Advaita Vedanta stands for certain ideas and
practices. If people do not know this they should be told about it not
kept in the dark.
> >As Robert said in one of his posts,
> this continuous stating of the supremacy of the vedAs (without
> explaining why they are supreme) is not too different from some
> of the fundamentalist Christian crusades where christianity is
> considered the statement from God.
Reasons were given but maybe they weren't convincing. We can try to make
the more convincing but maybe it will never work. Oh well.
> For people like Robert, who I believe is not entirely familiar
> with the upanishads, a show of tolerance and gentle explanation
> of the contents of the vedAs are required, not harsh "advaita is
> not for you" statements.
Once again, I think there has been fruitful exchange not harshness from
> I apologize if I have exceeded my limits as a List-member in making
> the above statement and my earlier post on this topic. I have made
> this comment after considerable thought and after seeing many examples
> of "advaita is not for you" statements on this List.
Unfortunately there is a lot of incorrect notions floating around about
the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and this list performs a great service by
seperating the wheat from the chaff. Some people have reacted adversely
to this but more have thanked us for providing straightforward no-bs
information even if it wasn't what they were expecting.
>I take support
> for my intervention in this debate from an episode in mahAbhArata.
> During the Krishna rAyabAram (Krishna's mediation) episode, Lord
> Krishna comments in kaurava sabha to BhIshma and DroNa. Lord Krishna
> says (I am paraphrasing here from the original)
> "It is a sin if a person keeps quiet when an injustice is being
> done and if the person knows that an injustice is comitted. BhIshma
> and DroNa have comitted that sin by keeping quiet when Draupadi
> was dragged out into the court by DushshAsana when they (BhIshma
> and DroNa) know that it is wrong. No lame excuse would cover that
I would not expect someone who believed injustice was occuring to remain
silent but I hope I have in some way convinced you that no injustice is
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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