[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 3, Issue 21

nanda chandran vpcnk at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 28 21:32:36 CDT 2003

>According to Michel Comans, in his work - Extracting the Essense of Sruthi 
>(Sruthi Sara Samudharana ) English commentary - Motilal Banarsidass 
>in the ascending order of importance,, the following are the reasons for 
>holding Vivekachudamani as not the genuine work of Sri Shankara
>1. The Style does vary from the style of writing of the Bhashyas
>2. No extant commentary is available, as in the case of Upadesa Sahasri 
>3. No one in any traditional commentary quotes VC / as a work of the 
>4. the description of the sloka in VC which extols Samadhi as superior to 
>Sravana even, is directly contradictory to the Acharya's Whole Bhashya in 
>Brahma Sutra IV Chapter, where he demonstrates the self suffeciency of 
>Shravana as an independant means to liberation.

One thing to note, especially amongst modern scholars, is that very few are 
practicing advaitins. For most of them Advaita exists only as an 
intellectual exercise. This is in contrast to Advaitins of yore who were 
mainly sanyaasis.

To be able to differentiate one work from another requires excellent grasp 
of the substance of both texts. If you're not living Advaita ie if you're 
not a sanyaasai, it is very likely that one is not on stable ground in terms 
of understanding. Given this, I would dispute most modern interpretations of 
Advaita itself.

Do the praakarna graanthaas not teach the same philosophy as the main 

Praakarna graanthaas are mainly texts for practice. Sure they deal with 
philosophy at some level - but their main emphasis is on the fundamentals of 
Advaitic practice.

This is in contrast with the baashyaas whose emphasis is more towards 
understanding the philosophy of the Upanishads from a non-dual standpoint. 
It is to be noted that a great amount of Advaitic philosophy was written not 
to generate knowledge - but to clear away ignorance/confusion resulting out 
of development of philosophy over the millenea. The great amount of Advaitic 
dialectic stands as a sword to cut away the confusion created by other 
philosophies. Shankara himself at one point notes that he would not have 
ventured into philosophy to the extent he does, if not for so much confusion 
which had been created in the name of philosophy!

So the purpose/role of the baashyaas are quite different from the praakarna 

That modern scholars are unable to understand this fundamental difference is 
due to their not being sanyaasis. They cannot relate to the praakarna 
graanthaas like the Vivekachoodaamani which stands as probably the most 
popular work on the subject.

That there're differences in views regarding saadhana is not strange - all 
saadhana is in the realm of maaya and are thus relative. Plus they are not 
necessarily bound by logic. A jnaani can at different occassions teach the 
importance different kinds of saadhanaas.

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