Advaita and Christianity

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sun Mar 26 09:00:06 CST 2000

jkcowart at <jkcowart at CARI.NET>  wrote:

> >Simply because some system seems to agree with advaita on a point
> >two does not mean that this system essentially preaches nonduality
> >of the advaitic kind.
> It is indeed wise to practice accuracy in these matters.

I am glad you agree on this point. There are many people who sidestep
this issue.

> >...truth is not reserved only to a certain group, is it?  [I know
> >are killing one another over this very issue, but they ought not to

Realization of the self is *not* restricted to anyone. Sha.nkara makes
it clear that people outseide the varNAshrama dharma can also achieve
self-realization. The issue here is whether any philosophical system
other than advaita (say X) accepts the tenets brahma satya, jagat.h
mithyA, jivo brahmaiva na paraH and how they come to this conclusion.

> On Fri, 24 Mar 2000 15:35:28 -0800 I wrote:
> >It seems to me that the truth of advaita is to be found at the
heart of
> >every one of the world's religions.
> Yet, an overwhelming majority of human beings across all cultures
> times have claimed a virtually absolute exclusivity for their own
> perceptions.

Perhaps. A flat earth theorist may claim with absolute certainty that
the earth is flat. That doesn't make the earth not-a-sphere nor
invalidate the claim of the earth-is-a-sphere theorist. Just because a
1000 people claim validity for incorrect systems does not invalidate
the claims of the one system which is correct. Whether advaita is even
this one correct system is not really the point here.

> When Ramakrishna was chided by the priest of a temple for sitting
> his feet toward a statue of Kali, he responded that he would gladly
> them if only the priest would point out the direction in which Kali
> not present.

But that hardly makes any sense. The compilers of the Agamas who were
at least as advanced as Ramakrishna (if not more) prohibit such things
as pointing the feet towards the statues. Surely it's not your
contention that they got these rules out of their hats? Of course for
a very advanced spiritual aspirant God's presence may be visible
everywhere, but for the run of the mill person these rules hold and
it's the duty of priests to point it out. But, I don't see a
connection between this and a comparative analysis of advaita and
other systems.

> I, for one, would not choose to make the claim that there is some
> where advaitan truth is not present.

Heavens gate cult. I claim eschatological properties of UFOs have no
connection with advaita.

> Vedanta may lay claim to that?   Yet, would anyone else deny that
> are and have previously been men and women who--without ever reading
> a single line of vedic scripture--have understood these points:
>         1) Spirit is the sole reality,
>         2) the world is unreal in the sense that it is illusory
>         3) the individual soul is none other than Spirit,
>         4) one who truly knows this is liberated even while living?

As I said, individual experiences of the advaita tattva is not
restricted based on place or time. I don't think Anand was questioning
that either. But as Anand correctly pointed out, there is no use
taking up one or two points of some religion and saying it is the same
as advaita.

> In any case, it was never my intention to introduce a difficulty
into our
> discussions, and I regret any divisions my comments on undividedness
> may have accented.

Undividedness is only in brahman and not on individual philosophical
systems which are a result of avidyA :-).


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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