Can iishvara pull out a jiiva from bondage?
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Mar 24 13:26:47 CST 2000
On Wed, 22 Mar 2000, jkcowart at cari.net wrote:
> I think it is not the intent of the witness per se, but the intent of the
> "whole thing" to begin with. The entire cosmos is always returning
> to Brahman--and yet is never not Brahman. It is beyond words. Intent
> is the best *I* can come up with at the moment--modified perhaps as
> "original" or "ultimate" intent.
Assigning any kind of volition or intent to Brahman causes more problems
than it solves IMO.
> >Actually one particular religion--that of
> >the Vedas.
> And yet it is my dharma to be a Christian. Like Raimundo Pannikar,
> I need not give up the religion of my birth to embrace advaita. In
> fact, Pannikar says that the true Christian relinquishes "Christianity"
> (as attachment to a form) but practices "Christianness" in love of
> others and gratitude to Spirit for the life he (or she) lives.
Dharma is characterized by action. To be Dharmic means to be doing
certain actions and avoiding other actions. This is not confined to only
"spiritual" actions though of course that's where the idea of dharma is
most important. The idea of Dharma could be mapped to Judaism or
Islam. Groups within those religions may disagree as to what exactly
needs to be done or not done but they all agree that it is certain actions
that make one religious or not. Christianity is different in that more
than any other religion it is based on belief. There was a big debate
between the Catholics and Protestants over salvation was through faith or
works but even in Catholicism it seems to me faith has triumphed over a
sacramental view of life. Some Christian groups retain a semblance of
that. Growing up in England, I noticed that English people who really
couldn't care less about Christianity would nevertheless support their
parish church, observe certain occasions like St. Swithins Day, All
Hallows Eve, etc. simply because it was traditional. This is what I mean
by dharma, the idea that one has an obligation to act in certain ways
just because of who one is. Christianity doesn't have this. The
practices I observed were hold-overs from the Celtic and Viking past and
held at arms length by the "official" Church.
So if we can't find any specific actions that make one a Christian we have
to look at Christian beliefs to see if they are compatible with
Vedanta. There are a wide variety of beliefs held by Christians but one
that is held almost unanimously is the exclusive worship of one God. (Yes
some fringe movements have had pantheistic tendencies but not the
mainstream.) Advaita Vedanta rejects that view just as it rejects
similiar views of Indian theistic religions.
I do not think one can in good conscience claim to be a Christian and a
Vedantin without doing violence to one or the other.
> There is a strong non-dual tradition in Christianity (Eckhardt and
> others). As for practice, Jesus said: "The one who is doing the truth
> is coming to the light." (St. John's Gospel, 3:21).
Most mystics in the Christian tradition have stopped short of an explicit
identification with God. (To say God is within you isn't enough. In fact
such a view is compatible with dualistic philosophies too.) Those who did
were often considered heretics by mainstream Christians. I'm not
commenting on whether this was justified or not but just pointing out that
as a matter of historical record we can't say non-duality has been
particularly welcome in Christianity.
I think some of the Jewish Kabbalistic and Muslim Sufi notions are closer
to Vedantic ones but those religions have different problems.
> That truth is not
> reserved only to a certain group, is it? [I know people are killing
> one another over this very issue, but they ought not to be.]
In theory anyone can become an NBA basketball star but in practice those
of us who are short, out of shape and clumsy will never be able to. :-)
In the same way, Moksha is possible for any sentient creature but
circumstances will render it more possible for some than others.
> Indeed, as for particular scriptures, Krishnamurti said: "Truth is a
> trackless land."
So why should we believe Krishnamurti :-) Those who reject scriptures
inevitably end up creating their own.
> There is, in fact, *no one* to follow into it. It is
> understood only by that *seeing* which comes to one as one waits
> upon it, like Titiksha *bearing up* this life itself (or another, or
> many more) with patience and joy (in the midst of both suffering
> and happiness).
In this view moksha is essentially random. It either happens to you or it
doesn't regardless of what you do. In that case who is to say it won't
randomly disappear again?
The attitude of titiksha is vital but by itself it just leaves you in
stasis. What Vedanta teaches is the dissolution of the bonds of
pleasure and pain and that initally takes effort. The quiet state is the
> Christ and Krishnamurti may be outside Vedantic tradition but they
> are not on that account withheld from understanding the essential
> principle of advaita.
> >. . . the philosophies that developed in India have not been . . .pessi-
> >mistic [regarding suffering]. Even the Buddhists who recognized
> >the truth of suffering also held the hope that that suffering could
> >be ended.
> By struggling against it or by non-attachment to it? I should think
> it would be the latter.
Well non-attachment is a struggle isn't it? There are so many factors
that can pull you back in to samsara. The voluminous teachings of
Buddhism attest to the fact that it, like the various Hindu philosophies
believes that positive steps can be taken to end suffering.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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