[Advaita-l] RE: e-vEdAnta course

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 13 10:43:34 CST 2003

Regardless of whether one intends to take an online course in Vedanta or one 
approaches a Guru in a traditional sense, we should not forget the fact that 
there are certain pre-requisites for the study of Vedanta, namely the 
sAdhana-chatuShTaya of viveka, vairAgya, shamAdi-ShaTka, and mumukShutva.

Actually, Shri Chandrashekhara Bharati says (in his commentary on the 
VivekachUDAmaNi - verse 16) that there are further pre-requisites for one to 
be eligible for Atma-vidyA -
medhAvI - one who is able to grasp the topic that is heard 
medhA asya astIti vyutpatyA medhAvI

vidvAn.h - one who has studied kAvya, kosha, and vyAkaraNa, ie. poetry, 
lexicon, and grammar,  adhIta-kAvya-kosha-vyAkaraNaH

UhApohavichaxaNaH - one who has undergone training in tarka (logic, 
reasoning) and mImAMsA , tarka-mImAMsA-saMskR^ita-buddhitvam.h

The term pada-vAkya-pramANaGYa is used to indicate that the aspirant should 
have proficiency in three fields - 1) padashAstra or vyAkaraNa, grammar, 2) 
vAkya-shAstra or mImAMsA , and 3) prAmANa-shAstra or nyAya (logic).

The 18th verse of the vivekachUDAmaNI makes it clear that only the aspirant 
who has the four-fold qualifications can succeed in vedAnta study, not one 
who does not have them.

There are two separate issues here. One is the issue of running an 
organization which is possible, unfortunately, only if funding is available. 
In the good old days, kings and other wealthy individuals used to support 
study of the Vedas and other shAstras. In a democratic society,  funding 
channels would also be different and there is nothing wrong with it.

The other issue is the utility of the course itself. The VivekachUDAmaNi 
proclaims very clearly "adhikAriNamAshAste phalasiddhirvisheShataH| upAyA 
deshakAlAdyAH santyasmin.h sahakAriNaH||"
Success depends primarily on the qualifications of the aspirant. Other 
factors such as place and time are just supporting or secondary factors. 
Here the term AdayaH  can, in the modern context, include technology. 
Technology - whether the course is online or is offered in multimedia using 
broadband technology, etc.- can only be an aid. It can never bring 
Atma-vidyA on a platter to you.

There is nothing wrong in offering the course online. Nor is there anything 
wrong in charging for it. However, success in the course depends on how 
eligible the person who takes the course is.


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