Neti Yoga

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Sep 11 17:56:00 CDT 2002

On Wed, 11 Sep 2002, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> What makes you think that they are really looking at Adi Shankaracharya's
> philosophy to say what they talk is Advaita?

Advaita is an adjective as you well know.  If they are talking about
Advaita Vedanta then necessarily they are talking about Shankaracharyas

>  I mean what are your grounds
> for even thinking that people "want" to jump on the Advaita bandwagon?

Because they use the word Advaita.

> Even
> today there are saints who have said that they do no completely agree with
> Adi Shankara's philosophy in toto and yet their experiences, as well as
> their teachings, are Advaita (that of Unity of all - Brahman is one without
> a second and the world is a misapprehension, not unreal).

> What will you do with names anyway? But here goes

I want to determine the truthfulness of your assertion.

> Sri Sri Sri 1008 Neem Karoli Baba, Hariakhan Baba, Anandamayi Ma, Deoria
> Baba, Sombar Giri Baba, Sri Ramana Maharishi, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Swami
> Sivananda, Sri Swami Krishnananda. These are only a few that I can think
> of.

All post-Shankaracharya (and relatively recent I see.) We can presume they
heard of Advaita Vedanta through Shankaracharya.

> What does it matter if they referred to themselves as Advaita Vedantins or
> not? They taught that God is one and that He is not different from you. If
> that is not Advaita, then what else is?

You are the one who was insisting that they did.  I respect some saints
who are not Advaitins but as I believe Advaita Vedanta is the pinnacle of
spiritual acheivement, those saints fall short in various ways.

> Facts to be proven to who?

To the person you are making the assertion to.  When we murmur to
ourselves there is no need for facts.  But between two or more people it
becomes more important.

>  Even now there is a discussion on this list
> about freezing water on boiling to prove one's liberated state.

Not anymore I hope.  And despite some stronger messages from today, I hope
it is being set aside amicably.

> What does a
> saint have to prove to and who? If you would like to quiz him, fine. He may
> or may not take your test. But if you stick to his passing the test being
> the sole criteria for his being liberated, then what can one say?

We are talking about the word 'advaitin'.  We can test for the validy of
that.  And since we believe those who were Advaita Vedantins were
liberated, we can infer that those who claim to be Advaita Vedantins
 now are also liberated.

> I guess I don't understand what it is you are trying to say. What is this
> objective criteria?

> For me, it is jivanmukti or sainthood. I don't care for any other
> criteria.

These are not objective criteria because you haven't defined them.

> But yes, that is my opinion and I don't think it can be
> universally applied.

Then there is no truth.  nothing universal.

> But I don't know what else can? Only what the
> Shankaracharya's say?  Then that is applicable to only those who call
> themselves their followers.

Everyone who uses the term Advaita Vedanta (and terms like jivanmukta
which stem from Advaita Vedanta) is a follower of Shankaracharya.  Some
are less aware or honest about it than others.

> What about the others? Advaita cannot be
> practiced by anyone except Sannyasis. But here we are all *discussing*
> Advaita here - that of the Unity of all with God.

We may not practice it but we can still understand it.  Just like although
I am not qualified to practice surgery, I can understand what a doctor
does without resorting to mysticism.

> If he is liberated, then he cannot be dismissed.

How do you know he is liberated?

If we had perfect knowledge (conventional knowledge that is) there would
be no need for Advaita Vedanta as a discipline but as we don't a more
systematic approach is needed.  That's why we ask questions such as how do
we know? what is truth? etc.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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