reposting again

K. Sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Wed Aug 1 07:27:44 CDT 2001

>I know that is a problem, but it seems to me that in debates between
>two traditional schools of thought, we have to do the following -

>2. use an intersection set (not a union set) of the texts referenced
>    by the established authors of the two schools in question,

Intersection set is a good idea.  I know Shree Sunder  Hattangadi is
very good in this, if he takes this task - that will be a great
service to Vedantins who are interested in the comparative analysis.

>3. keep out perspectives from a third school of thought.

I think discussion will be more useful from the point of issue rather
than from the point of a school.  I do not think in the final
analysis we are interested in learning which school is right or wrong
but what is the right understanding given all the facts and
propositions.   The great achaarya-s have proposed their theories
based on  their understanding of theory of knowledge and tarka at
that time.  Their arguments were tuned to the accepted theories and
principles of nyaaya, standardized in their times. Science has
progressed significantly from the point of understanding of nature-
for example -  concepts of space and time and their interrelations
and lack of absoluteness- perceptions through the mind etc. Since
these concepts have ontological implications in the interpretations
of Vedanta mantra-s, I feel it is important to have a fresh look at
the basis of the theories, without ignoring the fact that  we are
discussing issues that are of adhyaatmika type.

For example, Bhagavaan Ramanuja's doctrine rests squarely on the
integral relation between the dharma and dharmi or attributes and
locus of these attributes, that is  the objects. Experience, as
interpreted by then existing theories of knowledge, formed a basis of
pratyaksha pramana.  Experience is taken as knowledge - Here we need
to separate subjectivity and objectivity and reality associated with
these two.  Shree Ramanuja after addressing these concepts on
epistemological basis he extended them to jiiva and brahman, treating
them as dravya-s,  in the language of Vedanta Deshika, or essentially
as objects.  As I see, a clear distinction is needed to separate
axiomatic statements versus statements based on facts or knowledge -
perceptual or otherwise.

This is where I think critical evaluation is needed.  Otherwise any
other discussions or debate between just two schools of thought will
not add much in terms of new understanding.   Dialectic arguments in
SatadhuushaNii are mostly based on epistemological issues and I am
not sure those arguments will stand if we look from the current
understanding of the nature of knowledge.

1 ensures that we tackle the traditions on their own terms.

If you mean by that the definitions of the terms used in each
tradition, yes.  In the process it is important also to standardize
the terms independent of the tradition so that anyone outside the
school of thought will be less confused when comparing one tradition
to the other.

>2 ensures that we have a set of references that has to be acceptable
>   to both sides of the discussion. The intersection set between the
>   sources explicitly used by Sankara and Ramanuja is definitely greater
>   than the major Upanishad texts.

True. For example Shankara it appears did not refer to Madukya
Upanishad in his Vedanta suutra bhaashya.  I am not sure why,
although he wrote separate bhaashhya on it. For that same reason
Ramanjua also did not referenced it either, while Madhva used
Goudapaada karika sloka as a puurvapaksha.  I consider Mandukya as an
absolutely scientific treatise since it examines all the three states
of consciousness as in integral unit of human experience for analysis
rather than taking partial data such as just the waking state as the
basis.  Br. Up. addresses the dream and deep sleep to some extent but
not as focused as Mandukya.

>3 ensures that we decompose a complex multi-body problem into simpler
>   two-body problems, so to speak. Of course, the debate between dvaita
>   and advaita is as interesting as (or perhaps more than) the debate
>   between viSishTAdvaita and advaita, but we must remember that there
>   is also a debate between viSishTAdvaita and dvaita in the background.

As I stated if the emphasis is  issue-based rather than the
school-based,  we can be more objective and gain better understanding
- One can restrict to schools - adviata and vishishhta adviata from
the point of analysis on the issues.  But if the discussion is solely
based on the schools, I am not sure anything new will come out the
>The Comans translation-cum-commentary was published in 1988, by Satguru
>Publications, Delhi. There is an earlier private edition of the Sanskrit
>original from Bombay, in 1975.

As usual our great Sunder is quick and provided complete details of
the book in the advaitin list.

Hari OM!

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117
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