[Advaita-l] RE: e-vEdAnta course

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Nov 13 13:28:51 CST 2003

On Wed, 12 Nov 2003, Sundaram, Vaidya (MED) wrote:

>  No offence, and I don't know if you have tried to run a charity
> organization, so please don't take this personally ... rather than run a
> free intro course on advaita vedanta, why don't you then try running an
> organization like RK Mission, or Chinmaya mission, that funds charity
> projects then? I have myself tried in a small way, and given up. People
> are not as charitable as you might think.

I know that at the time of the Gujarat earthquake, the Swaminarayan
sampradaya mobilized thousands of dollars within days.  Some local
businessmen sent their Guruji a blank check and asked him to fill in
whatever amount is necessary.  Now how come these Vaishnavas (not
especially well-educated ones at that) are able to perform this miracle
that we can't?

>  And why should a charitable org not be run like a business? Or are you
> implying that a business can be run immorally?

Fine if should treat it like a business, let's judge it like a business.

At amazon.com you can get

Bhamati and Vivarana Schools of Advaita Vedanta: A Critical Approach - $30

The Method of Early Advaita Vedanta: A Study of Gaudapada, Sankara,
Suresvara and Padmapada - $34.95

A source book of Advaita Vedanta - $45

So -- strictly from a "realistic" perspective -- do you agree that it is
horribly overpriced?  Can we expect consumers to go for shoddy overpriced
goods?  Especially when the business doesn't have a monopoly and better
competing products are readily available?  Remember all this is from a
business perspective.

The reason more people don't think this way is because of course a charity
isn't a business.  Although as a conservative Republican I feel funny
saying it :) Capitalism doesn't dominate every facet of human behaviour.
Religious institutions have a higher, moral, imperative that overrides
all other concerns.

> Guess what, I don't understand as much sanskrit as I really need to be
> able to. I am sure there are many more like me who would prefer to start
> with a language I understand. So, please don't measure the quality of
> the work by the number of sanskrit words it has.

Given that many of the key concepts of Advaita Vedanta are
represented by Sanskrit words which have no exact English analogue, what
other measure would you propose?  I understand that not everyone knows
Sanskrit.  This is a pedagogical problem.  But they are going to have to
learn sooner or later.  I notice that CIF also has an e-course in
Sanskrit.  Wouldn't it make more sense for the unprepared to take that
before studying Vedanta?  Individual guidance from a Guru would advise you
of such things.

>  What would you have then? A course tailor made for each student?

Yes.  For the simple reason that its the _only_ way that works.  Remember
the goal of Advaita Vedanta is not a product but self-transformation.
Jnana is fundamentally unsuitable for mass production.


> God also provided us with wealth. Why must an organisation providing
> education in religion be denied a share of that?

It gets a share if it deserves it.  Even the Devas only get the share of
the yajna they deserve not more, not less.

Institutions come and go.  Our Dharma is sanatana.

>  In every field of human endeavour. Ideally, I would like to test all
> the code that my developers write for me, and testing for all the use
> cases is the best. But, lets be honest. It never happens.

True.  So why hasn't your job been eliminated then if it is futile?
Because there are various grades of less than perfect.

> Jaldhar - I am spending so much of my time for the exact same reason - I
> don't believe that you have fully thought this one out.

Perhaps.  Maybe between us we can fully think this out.  This is why we
need to debate such initiatives instead of passing on them without

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

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