Neti Yoga

Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 12 16:49:35 CDT 2002

On Thu, 12 Sep 2002 16:01:27 -0400, Jaldhar H. Vyas
<jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM> wrote:

>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.

Then why does every Amnaaya matha trace its lineage (implying the lineage
of the philosophy itself) to Bhagwan Narayana? You seem to be saying that
Advaita is what Adi Shankara said it was when even he himself said he was
was reasserting the message of the eternal Vedas.

>> 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

I am not going to do any word dissection. Advaita means non-dual - that
which is not-two, and that is what it means.

>> If it is,
>> then what you are saying necessarily means that Advaita is that teaching
>> Vedanta which concludes in the Oneness and Unity of All. However, I am
>> 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.

This doesn't even make sense. If non-dual qualifies Brahman, then it is
pointless to say that Brahman is non-dual: It obvisouly is. If non-dual
*implies* Brahman, then it is just another word for God. I have used it in
the latter sense. Advaita Vedanta, which I have not used so far, on the
other hand signifies Vedanta that seeks to establish that Brahman is non-

>> We are not talking about presumptions. I doubt Sri Sri Sri 1008 Neem
>> 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

You know, if you can just control your fingers a little, you might be
tempted to respect saints and not write anything and everything about them.
In any case, it looks like what I meant by saint and what you were thinking
it meant were so far disconnected. Hopefully, that has now been cleared.

I don't have any need to say that He taught Advaita Vedanta. But He always
taught Advaita.

>> 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.

I thought it answers why is Sab Ek, how is it philosophically established
that there is Sab Ek and how does one remove all doubts from one's mind
that it is all Sab Ek. But "Sab Ek" does not change.

>  It also says a lot about the
>implications of Sab Ek.  The devil as they say is in the details.

Some people don't look for the devil. It is enough for some people to be
loyal and faithful to their Guru and His techings and progress that way.

>> 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

You will not be imprecise if you were not bothered by each and every
question, now would you? If some questions bother you, it does not mean
they bother everyone.

There is a reason why there have been so many debates in the philosophical
tradition - there is a need to establish one's philosophy as supreme as
also correctly interpret the Vedas. That necessitates answering each and
every objection. For example, in the beginning of Tarka Sangraha of
Annambhatta, the opponent asks why the author undertakes mangalaacharana
(worship of one's Ishta for success). If I were asked why I worship in the
morning, I would just say because it has been my tradition and moreover, I
have been advised so. No other reason is available from me and I require
none. But apparently, Annambhatta's opponent did and Annambhatta had to
answer. To say that I should start doing all that is really not my cup of
tea. I would rather grow the seed of faith than the seed of intellectual
certainty and belief. I am not in the process of winning followers, and
neither are the saints I follow.

>> 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 are probably referring to Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. It does not
matter whether he taught Advaita Vedanta or not. He taught Advaita, as in
God is One and He is Everything. You can read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
by M. for his teachings if you haven't already.

> 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.

You keep bringing up Advaita Vedanta when I am not even referring to the
teachings of Adi Shankara's school.

What I believe in is that a Sadguru will show you the correct way all the
time. It may be that you doubt him and don't believe that what he is saying
is not true. These doubts come to everyone. But if you have faith in his
words, you will gain everything. That is what the noble followers of saints
do. They have no need to announce their linkage with any former lineage.
For them, their guide is their Guru and he is God.

>> ?????
>> 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.

They are called mahapurushas, dayaalu etc. But a saint is one who is One
with God.

> 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?

Well, hopefully that has been cleared up.

>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.

I think I mentioned in a previous email on a similar subject that the
Sadguru (who is none other than your own true self) will guide you no
matter how many charlatans surround you. Of course, this is not to say one
must not be careful but it will not be helpful to doubt everything and
everyone. But if that is your way, then fine. But remember to remind
yourself that that is not the only way.

It may be said that the saint is in the body to work out his/her prarabhda.
But in our general experience, a saint exists in flesh for no other reason
than to show others the true path to God. He/She does that whether in your
presence or sitting in a deep cave in the Himalayas. He will guide you no
matter where you are. That is what I have learnt.

>The grace of the Guru or of God is in giving you the knowledge to be able
>to be able to learn.

Absolutely. And it is always flowing to everyone.

>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.

So is the fact that Dharma is still followed, that people still ask
questions about what is liberation and what is God and Who am I. To follow
the tradition you follow is very good but to be dismissive of others is no
good. It is only their grace ( I mean all the sages of past, present and
future) that Himalayan caves are still the abodes of saints.

>> My mother told me when I was a kid that Paras is a stone that turns to
>> 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
>> 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.

In what way is she wrong?

>> When these saints talked of One or "Sab Ek", they have talked about what
>> Advaita Vedanta system has philosophically established. But they have
>> talked about Advaita (non-duality) only.
>People talk about a lot of things.  Talking about money wont make you

But showing you how to earn it will. That is what saints do - show you the
correct path.

>> Agreed. There may be people who will not believe that a saint is
>> 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.

No. Rather, I am saying that if you can approach a saint only through his
grace. You have probably never sincerely asked Sri Ramakrishna to help you
or even asked him so how can you find out if he is God [well neither have I
but reading about him and meeting swamis of his order has taught me a lot
about him]? If he does not want you to know, you will never find out. So
you can decide which approach is best for you. If it is Advaita Vedanta,
then that is fine. If it is following the teachings of a saint, then that
is equally good. The questions you have can be answered by either. But to
say that it can only be done by following the teachings of Adi Shankara is
not correct.

>> 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)
>> in recognizable terms as in jivanmukti = liberation from the bhrama of
>> sansara and Oneness with the Supreme. Advaita = Non duality AND Oneness
>> 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.

Then this is a misconception, at least in my book. Advaita mean non-dual
and any teaching that points you towards "what" is non-dual is Advaita as
well, IMO (which I know you will not agree with).

>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.

Adi Shankar's philosophy is also called Kevaladvaita. There is also a
Shuddhadvaita (of Pushtimargis), and I am sure some other philosophies
suffixed with Advaita, now no longer prevalent, that spoke of Advaita (non
duality) in some way or another. I am sure they all differed from
Kevaladvaita. But no one today calls Advaita Vedanta as Kevaladvaita
Vedanta. Names change over history and they will continue to change. But
fortunately, the meaning of the words Advaita has not. It is that meaning I
am referring to.

>Yes there is faith involved.  but the Sadguru doesn't teach on the basis
>of "because I said"

No one knows how a Sadguru teaches. It is unique depending upon the
receptacle. I am sure you know this.

> The shishya is expected to ask questions.

But those shishyas that don't ask any questions but have faith only are
also equally blessed by the Guru's grace.

>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.

I don't know because I am not sure what a smArtha is in North India,
whether everyone is a smArtha or there is one single group. But in anycase,
right from one's childhood in India, one is taught to respect saints and
holy men and believe in them. And I am sure this practice (of asking
questions of the Guru) is not exclusive to smArtha tradition - Buddhism etc
too have a very strong tradition. Perhaps implicit in this teaching i.e. to
respect and believe in saints and sadhus, is the hope that it will get you
closer to them where they, recognizing your core, will guide you

All the studying, philosophizing, debating etc. is only preparation for the
day when the Guru comes and takes you by the hand. Then, you need to let a
log (I had wanted to write lot but this typo is equally apt) of things go.


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