[Advaita-l] e-vEdAnta course

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Nov 7 16:21:33 CST 2003

On Fri, 7 Nov 2003, vishwanthan Krishnamoorthy wrote:

> There is nothing wrong in a teacher asking money for
> his services in the current context (i.e. learning
> vedas/vedantas in the US).
> If we do not hesitate in paying up huge sums to learn
> engineering, medicine etc.. why even for arts such as
> carnatic music and dance etc...
> why should there be a bias against vadhiyars? for them
>  teaching vedas is their bread and butter.
> May be we should provide a more institutionalized
> mechanism for this.
> In a gurukulam the students stay with the guru 24/7
> and take care of him. Also the gurukulam was
> patronized by  the rulers, they provided the food,
> land, cows etc...
> We cannot compare the pauranic age to the mordern age.

Is 1992 the Pauranic age? It was around then I first started studying
Sanskrit (right here in America.)  And no one forced me to pay.

I am not naive.  I know as the shloka in the daily puja says dhanyaushadhi
manushyANAma (wealth is Mans' medicine) but even from the financial
perspective we should ask questions about such endeavours.

The Guru-shishya relationship is hallowed in our tradition because of the
_personal_ interaction.  Due to different vasanas what is appropriate for
one person may not be appropriate for another.  (For example Shvetaketu
new all the Vedas and Vedangas but still did not feel he understood
Brahmavidya while Vamadeva knew it even in the womb.)  Can the needs of
such a variety be squeezed into 24 lessons?  Over long distance?  What if
people contributed $350 towards a plane ticket to India instead.

As for building institutions.  There are already maths and mandirs as you
pointed out.  Is yet another one really needed?  In order to teach Vedanta
does a sannyasi need any more complicated institution than a Pipal tree to
sit under?  Perhaps you may say the organization uses the money to care
for the sick and the poor etc.  Fine.  That's great but in that case they
should collect money in the name of the sick and poor not for teaching

However well-intentioned such schemes may be, they represent an attempt to
bureaucratize religion (who the hell needs a certificate in Vedanta?)
Bhadraiah already pointed out what has happened amongst Yoga teachers.
They also rely on certificates instead of deep knowledge.  I fear the same
thing will happen to Advaita Vedanta if this type of thing is tolerated.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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