Neti Yoga

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Sep 12 15:01:27 CDT 2002

On Thu, 12 Sep 2002, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> No. They are talking about Advaita - There is no two, there is one. As you
> well know, this is the teaching of the Upanishads and since we know the
> Vedas to be eternal, this knowledge is also eternal. It cannot be that it
> has stemmed from Adi Shankara, as he himself has said that he is not the
> originiator, "merely" an asserter.

Well I already said that but you've missed the implication of what I

Today I invented a new word, crespidopulous.  It means "misusing
adjectives as nouns."  E.g.  Ashish Chandra is crespidopulous :-)  Should
this word come into popular usage I hope I will be credited for it.
Certainly if other people on the list start using it we will know it came
from me.  Now sometime in the future you may be looking at the Oxford
English Dictionary and see an earlier citation for crespidopulous.  That
would not alter the fact that you knew the word through me.

That's why I asked you for alternate Advaita Vedantic traditions that
predate Shankaracharya and you couldn't come up with any.  What you and I
all the saints you mentioned know of Advaita Vedanta is due to and in
relation to Shankaracharya only.

> I am not even sure why you would use Advaita as an adjective.

Why would you use blue as an adjective?  It is one and so is advaita.
Look it up in a dictionary.  A noun form would be advaitva or advitiyam or

> If it is,
> then what you are saying necessarily means that Advaita is that teaching of
> Vedanta which concludes in the Oneness and Unity of All. However, I am not
> using it as an adjective that precedes the words Vedanta. *I think* any
> teaching that says there is only One is Advaita (a-dvaita).

Right but just because blue sky and blue hat are both blue doesn't mean
the sky is a hat.

> We are not talking about presumptions. I doubt Sri Sri Sri 1008 Neem Karoli
> Baba ji maharaj ever used the term Advaita.

Then why do you feel the need to?  Or is it an extra Sri to tack on to a

> But he always said "Sab Ishvar
> Hai" "Sab Ek". That is Advaita even though it may not be technically to
> your liking. After all, we do have the Advaita Vedanta school of Adi
> Shankara that has painstakingly set forth the technicalities :-)

Advaita Vedanta says a lot more than Sab Ek.  It also says a lot about the
implications of Sab Ek.  The devil as they say is in the details.  some
details may be just technicalities others may be more important.  The
point is we need to look at them for ourselves not just assume.

> None of these saints is more or less than Adi Shankara. A saint is a saint
> is a saint.

Repeat it a few more times and it will still be an unfounded assertion.

> No I never did that. What I am insisting is that their teching is of
> Advaita (non-duality and Oneness of all) even though you may not consider
> it as being so because it is not technically stipulated.

I may consider it so (at least for a few names on your list) but I don't
*know* it is so unless I try and be as precise as possible.  Maybe perfect
precision is impossible but that shouldn't dissuade us from what is

> They have no need to claim that their teaching is Advaita Vedanta. It is
> fairly obvious to their followers that they have taught the Unity of
> everything with God.

At least for one name on your list it is fairly obvious that what he
taught was nothing like Advaita Vedanta.  You severely under-estimate the
capacity of the individual for self-delusion--believing what is
comfortable rather than what is true.  This is why "fairly obvious" is not
considered pramana in Advaita Vedanta.

> >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.
> >
> ?????
> Saint = liberated. How can there be any falling short?

Another examples of the perils of loose language.

There are many other definitions of saint other than a liberated person
i.e. someone who does good deeds.  How was I supposed to know that's what
you meant?  Wouldn't it have saved a lot of confusion if you had just said
liberated person if that's what you intended to mean?

> [...]
> >
> >> 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?
> >>
> >

The test is not whether he is liberated, it is whether he is of any use in
helping _me_ get liberated.  He can remain in silence for all he cares,
after all he is finished with the world now.  But what good does that do
me?  Mukti is not something that can be given by any God or Guru no matter
how much they may want to.  It is upto me to make the effort to realize my
self.  Not to mention there are charlatans out there who in the guise of
helping me may actually be harming me.

The grace of the Guru or of God is in giving you the knowledge to be able
to be able to learn.  Then like a parent watching their child learn to
walk they will stand close by worried that you might fall but resisting
the urge to pick you up because they know you have to learn for yourself.

Advaita Vedanta is the fruit of their grace. It is the most practical and
sure method of freeing oneself from the turmoil of samsara.

> My mother told me when I was a kid that Paras is a stone that turns to gold
> anything it touches. I went and told my friends that Paras is such and
> such. None of us had seen Paras but my mother had. Then I ran into a
> Professor who had researched the stone and called his line Paras Science.
> When I studied Paras science, I realized that it(Paras) has properties that
> turn anything into gold through a process called Paras Process.
> My mother said Paras is a stone that turns into gold anything it touches.
> The professor says Paras is a stone when used in the Paras Process only
> with the methodology called Paras Science, turns any substance into gold.
> If one of my friends say that what my mother has talked of is not Paras,
> then what should I say? My mother did not talk of Paras or that she is
> wrong?

That she is wrong.  That you are grateful to her for atleast pointing you
in the right direction but nevertheless she is wrong.

> When these saints talked of One or "Sab Ek", they have talked about what
> Advaita Vedanta system has philosophically established. But they have both
> talked about Advaita (non-duality) only.

People talk about a lot of things.  Talking about money wont make you

> Agreed. There may be people who will not believe that a saint is liberated.
> They are more than welcome to try and find out.

Which is exactly what I'm doing.  But you seem to be saying there is no
way of doing that.

> That is what I have been saying that when I use the word jivanmukta or
> Advaita, it is not in the technical sense (as you probably define them) but
> in recognizable terms as in jivanmukti = liberation from the bhrama of
> sansara and Oneness with the Supreme. Advaita = Non duality AND Oneness of
> all existence with God.
> But we were talking of "Advaita" and "Advaitin". Not Advaita Vedanta -
> which implies Adi Shankaracharya's school in most cases.

As does Advaita and Advaitin.  An example of someone who could be
considered "Advaita" would be the Kashmiri Shaiva Abhinavagupta.  But
nowhere does he refer to his system as "Advaita Shaivism"  Because he
doesn't need to or want to.  The meaning of words
also includes connotation which is established over time.  By failing to
bear context and history in mind, you are not grasping the full meaning of
words like Advaita.

> Ok. I agree that I am more inclined towards mysticism. But so is everyone
> else.

True eventually reason breaks down and you have to make assumptions but
then you should atleast _know_ you are making an assumption instead
of just trying not to think about it.

And it is also true that the goal of Advaita Vedanta is ultimately beyond
reason.  That sort of mysticism I accept.  But even though the goal of
Advaita Vedanta is mystical, the process is not.  the same rules apply to
it as any other human endeavor.

> Even in the Upadeshsahasri, Adi Shankara talks to His disciple about
> the body undergoing samaadhi as a fourth state, apart from the three that
> everyone undergoes. How does this teaching apply to one who has no
> experience of samaadhi?

In school you learn about addition and subtraction.  At that time you
might also hear about a strange thing called multiplication.  You won't
understand it at first but once you have mastered the basics it will
eventually make sense.

In the same way, when someone first mentions samadhi, I might not
understand but I would expect the understanding to increase as the Guru
taught me more.  If I stayed where I was, I would suspect some chicanery
was going on.

> Why would you believe this teaching when you have
> had no experience of it. You believe Adi Shankara because it Him who is
> saying it. Because you have faith in the Vedas and in the Guru of the
> tradition you follow. Otherwise, most of us would not be able to go beyond
> this point - why should we believe there is a state called samaadhi that
> the Acharya has used to demonstrate a point, when we have no personal
> experience of it. The disciple too takes his Guru's word, as he should, if
> I am correct in presuming that the latter has had no experience of samaadhi.

Yes there is faith involved.  but the Sadguru doesn't teach on the basis
of "because I said"  The shishya is expected to ask questions.  Other
religions are named after their Gods (I.e.Shaivism, Vaishnavism) or
founders (i.e. Jainism, Buddhism) but ours is called Smarta.  We
are followers of tradition as a whole not just one person.  To be an
Advaitin or Smarta is not to just be a follower or well-wisher of
Shankaracharya but to understand and practice his teachings.

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

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list