ADVAITA-L Digest - 10 Sep 2002 to 11 Sep 2002 (#2002-230)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Sep 12 22:53:46 CDT 2002

On Thu, 12 Sep 2002, yogafarm wrote:

> Namasté, Jaldharji, Ashishji, Srikrishnaji and group!
> First, while I am greatly enjoying this lively intercourse, I find I
> will not be able to respond nearly as much following this message.  My
> WebTV has many limitations and I lost the message yesterday on which I
> spent two hours composing.

You might find it easier to get a free account from hotmail or yahoo or

> 1.) Different philosophers have different ways of saying the same things
> at different times.  For example, this list is for the study of the
> teachings of Shri Shankaraji; but WHICH teachings of his?

All of them.  I agree that Advaitins espouse tailoring teaching to fit the
needs of the student but nevertheless they also have a responsibility to
steer them in the right way and they can't do that by sending them in the
opposite direction.  Even those teachings of Shankaracharya which as a
concession to human frailty do not directly teach vairagya and jnana aim
to bring the aspirant to vairagya and jnana as quickly as possible.

> For example, Sathya Sai Baba once quoted Shankaracharya as saying that
> he, Shankaracharaya, would offer his monkey-mind to Shiva so that he,
> Shiva, could train it as he pleased to beg alms (I'm paraphrasing a bit,
> but the quote is to be found in "Sathya Sai Speaks," Vol. III, Chapt.
> 18, pp 90).

I'm sure my mother has this book.  I'll ask her to look it up for me.

> Yet to a purist, that's outright dualism (WHAT Shiva??) ... and this
> from the MASTER of advaita!  So who's to say even with Shankaraji WHICH
> of his teachings is right, wrong, misunderstood or properly interpreted?

I believe Stig answered this perfectly.

> Bottom line: Studying a philosophy or spiritual science is ultimately
> for bringing a sense of peace and guidance to one's life

The goal of Advaita Vedanta is for freedom from samsara.  It it brings
peace and contentment on the way that's just a fortunate byproduct as Stig

Have you ever wondered why in Hinduism Gods are often shown in a ugra
(terrifying) form like Kali Ma or Bhairava or Narasimha Bhagawans?  It is
not so the worshipper should worship God out of fear but a reminder that
Gods' nature is more complex than the cheap sentimental way we often look
at Him.  truth should trump comfort every time.

>-- and
> especially to one's last breath -- not merely for microfinite dissection
> and disputation.  To those who argue "how many angels dance on the head
> of a pin?" -- that is, for the disputationally-oriented -- I hope and
> trust that such dissection brings the sought-for contentment.

Mind or no-mind is hardly a minor detail.  It's great big Himalaya-size
difference that has far-reaching consequences.

> Whether or not this is true is unimportant.  That Sai Baba would appoint
> a person he even just  BELIEVES to be so clearly traced -- via the
> Ramakrishna lineage -- to Shankaraji, is statement enough of his respect
> for Shankaracharaya's teachings.

Vivekanandas' connection to Advaita Vedanta is more tenuous then his
followers would like to believe.  But that dead horse has been severely
beaten already so I'm not going to bring it up again.  Please the archives
for the thread "Jagat Satya" from earlier this month.

> And I speak and understand enough Sanskrit to know that even THERE,
> there are many differences in the interpretations of most words, just as
> with every other language.

I never said there can't be valid differences of opinion, only that yours
is invalid.

> 6.) Wasn't it in "Bhaja Govindam" that Shankaraji praised both the guru
> / disciple relationship AND the Avathar / bhakta relationship?  To the
> hundreds of millions in both Bharat / India and around the rest of the
> world who believe Sai Baba is the Avathar, this is the fulfillment of
> Shankaracharaya's admonition to seek out such relationships.

Many other Hindu religions also believe in an avatar/bhakta relationship
and they aren't Advaita Vedanta. It's a particular kind of relationship we
are interested in.

> 7.) If the Self is the same in all beings -- see Krishna in the Gita --
> the "setting hen" is perfectly fine as an analogy representative of
> "samadhi in action."  Watch one and learn.

Again Samadhi is not the goal of Advaita Vedanta.

> 8.) At the highest level, the Buddhists and advaitins are saying the
> same thing ... as are yogi/nis and Hindus ...

If as you claim, you've read the Brahmasutrabhashya, you will have noticed
that Shankaracharya expends a lot of energy attacking the ideas of
Buddhists and other schools.  The same on the Buddhist side.  Buddhists
like Dharmakirti and Dinnaga also developed logical reasoning to a high
degree.  Even the Dalai Lama that icon of tolerance criticizes Advaita
Vedanta in his book "The Opening Of The Wisdom Eye." All very politely of
course--he has no intention of starting a crusade against us.  But he
feels we fall short of the mark just as we feel Buddhism falls short of
the mark.

> 9.) If the knowledge of Sanskrit were required for Wisdom and
> Enlightenment, none could be so. For who in today's world -- with the
> tamasic / rajasic influences of common food, TV, music, rampant abuses,
> etc., affecting us each, at least at the genetic level -- who indeed is
> even qualified to TEACH this noble language in the way our ancestors
> understood it?

There are many people who are qualified to teach it.  Perhaps not as many
as before but enough.  It's not their fault if people would rather take
shortcuts than look for them.

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

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