Member Participation

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Sep 1 07:39:49 CDT 2000

On Thu, 31 Aug 2000, S. V. Subrahmanian wrote:

> Dear Shri Raviji,
> I read your mail regarding people not participating.
> Among the 125+ that you mentioned there might be atleast
> 20, (pure guess), who might be new to Vedanta.
> Their participation might be curtailed by lack of
> knowledge of certain Vedantic vocabulary used freely, by some
> of the very erudite, veteran members.  Either they may have
> difficulty following it or they may be feel shy for they may
> not feel confident of asking.

Yes people have actually said this to us.  They find the discussions
forbidding and wonder if they'll get flamed for posting on simple topics.

While I think in this list we do not take kindly to those who spout their
own views without understanding, if someone has a sincere desire to know
-- even if he has doubts -- they should feel free to post without
hesitation.  Because doubts cannot be removed if they are just
supressed.  I have full confidence that Advaita Vedanta can withstand any
amount of scrutiny.

Also it is good even for the veterans to go back and look at
"beginners" topics from time to time.  When I started my study of the
Bhagavata some people asked me why?  Wasn't I "beyond" that sort of
thing?  Because the perception was that the Bhagavata Purana is for old
ladies and illiterate people etc.  But in fact it contains the highest
philosophy as well as the purest Bhakti.

> I have a suggestion in that regard.  If you permit me I will
> start a series on a very simple text, a prakaraNa grantha ie.,
> TATWABODHA by Shri Shankara which can be viewed as a book
> of working definitions.  It is a very good "first-book" for
> all beginners, that will get them acquainted to Vedantic terms.
> That might hopefully give the beginner members SOME background
> to assimilate scholarly postings.
> For eg., members who post regularly might use the word
> "sAdhanachatushtayam", (certainly very simple for those who already know)
> which if the reader does not understand precisely what it means, he is
> practically barred from enjoying the posting.
> Also, many words like for eg., simplest being Sraddha, have been
> understood loosely, by different people differently.  There are tons
> of quotations floating around explaining, defining faith.  But
> in Vedanta, it is important that we understand it the way our
> AchAryAs (primarily Shri Shankara), have understood and used them.
> I am benefitting by reading that book.  I think some more might benefit. But
> if you think, it is too sub-standard for the list,  I will skip the idea
> (for I do understand that it is basic material).  Also, just to ensure you
> that no errors would creep through my postings, I will stay TRUE to the
> edition by Sri Chinmaya Mission Central Trust.
> I also seek the permission of the List Administrator Shri Jaldharji.

I'm sure neither Ravi, Vaidya or I would object to this wonderful
idea.  However if you are going to quote extensively froma copyrighted
work, you must get the permission of the copyright holder.  (small
excerpts are considered "fair use" and are ok.)  Other alternatives would
be to do your own translation using the one you've got only as a guide or
to paraphrase.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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