Concept of personal God and Advaita

Stephanie Stean cerebral_rose at MAC.COM
Thu May 23 07:41:52 CDT 2002

On 5/22/02 3:28 PM, "Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian" <balasr at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

Dear Rama:

I don't disagree with anything you've said below.  I also realize that
scripture is considered essential according to many of the mystics and sages
living before us and living now.  But one of my personal questions (for
myself during my life) is "are the scriptures NECESSARY (any scriptures for
that matter) for Realization and why?"

I read a quote the other day from an Indian mystic, Bayezid Bistami which
"...Even if you should be offered the degree that all the prophets attained,
do not consent to accept it.  Demand to go further; keep raising your
demands.  For if you accept a degree, it will become a curtain for you, and
will hold you back."

This philosophy, I follow.

> Scriptural testimony is absolutely essential, as per
> sha.nkara or any other reputable advaitin. On the
> other hand, it is reasoning _based on scripture_ which
> is not necessary, although it may serve as a guide for
> many. Reasoning divorced from scripture is practically
> harmful, to say the least. Scriptural evidence
> presented to one with _proper qualifications_
> culminates in what can be roughly called "direct
> experience", as you have mentioned below.

I apologize for my lack of clarity.  I'm referring to the intellectual
understanding of the philosophies.  Intellectually it seems easier to
understand visishtadvaita and dvaita than advaita.  Experientially, that is
a different matter.  (I'm still learning so please pardon my errors).

Also, to say that any of the three are not a part of normal experience, I
would agree, if we define normal as the norm among ourselves and our fellow

But they can be normal and everyday states of mind for the Knowledgeable.

>> I agree with you, dvaita and visishtadvaita can be
>> apprehended by every day
>> experience.
> Interestingly both maNDana and sureshvara would oppose
> this statement. Both of them show (roughly similar
> arguments) that perception does _not_ reveal
> difference.

You are right: the claim of understanding dvaita in everyday experience
could be naïve.  I don't claim to know it because I don't experience or know
duality as described by the proponents of it.  However, I can understand it
to a certain degree (intellectually).  But when I read texts, that are
considered dvaitan, my interpretations are more advaitan.

I have a question for you.  What are the texts of MaNDana and sureshvara
that explain their views?  Could you tell me the titles so that I may look
them up?

> Even not accepting their arguments, how can
> vishishhTAdvaita be apprehended by daily experience? A
> very philosophically naive examination of every day
> experience would of course seem to reveal dvaita.
> vishishhTAdvaita (the rAmanuja type) rests as much on
> scriptural authority as advaita, only in a different

Thank you.


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