[Advaita-l] RE: e-vEdAnta course

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Nov 12 08:08:32 CST 2003

On Wed, 12 Nov 2003, Ram Chandran wrote:

> Namaste Sri Jaldhar:
> I believe that your criticism regarding the e-Vedanta Course comes with
> good intentions. Vedantic organizations including the Chinmaya Mission
> do evaluate the pros and cons of their new programs using an open
> discussion forum - for example a trustee or board meetings.
> Interestingly such meetings always contain members such as Jaldhar H.
> Vyas, Bhadraiah Mallampalli, Vidyasankar Sundaresan, Ravisankar,
> Srikrishna Ghadiyaram, Vaidya Sundaram and Ram Chandran. Though Swamijis
> have the veto power, they always listen to all sides and act
> appropriately. Please understand that the idea of e-Vedanta course
> doesn't come from Swamiji but mostly such ideas come from the audience!
> Swamiji being service oriented wants to help the members if and when new
> ideas become feasible. No human action is perfect, it always contains
> flaws. When the best becomes infeasible, we do go for the second best
> and organizations do the same!

What I disagree with is not new ideas but this underlying premise that the
best is infeasible and we have to settle for second best.  In what field
of human endeavour do you hear of such a thing?  Low expectations
inevitably lead to low outcomes.

Indian children in the US have a reputation for being good students.  Is
this because they are genetically smarter than everyone else?  Far from
it.  The reason is because Indian parents demand it.  Nobody tells their
children that a C is all they are capable of so that's all they should aim
for.   But the message I'm getting from you is that we can only hope to be
C students in Advaita Vedanta.

It is not uncommon in New York to see people, even teenagers wearing a
Vaishnava tilaka.  I've yet to see anyone other than myself with a
tripundra.  Because Smartas are paralyzed by these low expectations.
Vaishnava parents demand their children become A+ Vaishnavas.  Sure they
have their worries and problems too but I predict a brighter future for
them than us if we keep on the present course.  (I'm talking about the
Gujarati community but I think you'll find it's the same amongst South

> The e-vedanta course is a new venture - just like ventures such as the
> Advaita-L and advaitin list to learn and propogate vedanta.

Advaita Vedanta.

Btw, let me make it clear I consider advaita-l to be a poor alternative to
finding a proper Guru also.

> We certainly
> can't go back to the vedic times and sit infront of banyan tree
> listening to a Guru.

Why not?  Did you follow the link sent by Prasad?  All these Pathashalas
are open right now.  All of them are accepting pupils right now.  These
_are_ Vedic times as much as ever.

> Organizations have to accomodate and meet the
> changes due to the modern environment.

What is the modern environment?  Advaita Vedanta doesn't teach weakness
and despondency.  Time and place are Maya.  YOU have the power to make
them.  YOU are capable of finding God regardless of the circumstances
because God is within you always.

Of course Maya is a treacherous and hard obstacle to overcome.  But we
have the assurance of our holy ancestors that it can be overcome.

> To day, all Sankara Mutts have a e-mail list and send their newsletters
> to their members. Swami Jayendra Swamigal of Kanchi does corrrespond
> using emails? These are not perfect substitutes for direct personal
> one-on-one conversation! Now most of us have no problem with this
> change.

As a supplement it's ok but not as a replacement.

> We need to be more realistic and understand the difficulties of
> raising funds in the modern context

And this is why I'm spending so much energy on this topic.  I don't
believe it is well thought out or properly cognizant of the modern

> and be sympathetic to the causes and
> avoid judging others pre-maturely. We do need faith in Acharyas such as
> Swami Jayendra Saraswati, Swami Tejomayananda, Swami Dayananda Saraswati
> and others and don't attempt to prejudge their intentions. They have
> dedicated their entire life for public service and they have never
> claimed that they are perfect.

Nobody is perfect.  Nobody is exempt from judgement either.

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

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