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