[Advaita-l] "Spades" and "All religions are [not] one"

Ranjeet Sankar thefinalsearch at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Feb 23 23:43:08 CST 2004

Dear Sanjay-ji,

Read your mail with much interest. Somehow over the years super-tolerance
has crept into Sanathana Dharma the presence of which is clearly evident in
your post.

It is not that we should take up arms against other religious practises or
start ridiculing them at every corner. No, that is not the point. The point
is that we should accept the fact that the various paths are different like
light and darkness. If we say that other paths are beneficial in the sense
that all of them lead to purity of anTakaraNa which inturn makes one an
adhikAri for jnAna-yoga, it is acceptable. But it is not acceptable to say
that all of them are the same.

Another interesting thing I noticed in the spiritual lobby is that
everything is fine if the great Adi SankarAchArya does it. It is ok even if
he refutes other schools of thought. But if the same thing is done by
someone else, he is branded a kind of fascict ! We should be bold enough to
consider other school of thoughts as pUrva-paksha and come out of that
pseudo-secular cocoon.

It is very clear from Swami Krishnananda's words that he is talking to
common layman, and not to a serious pursuer. Before quoting the words of
Sages we should see the context in which it is said and to whom it is
intended or else it would lead to contradictions. For example, in Chapter 5
of Gita, Lord Krishna says that Karma-yoga is better than Karma-sanyas. Isnt
it a clear contradiction of sruthi? But if you see the context, everything
falls into place. So it is always better to see the context.

You wrote that in His works SankarAchArya was refuting other schools from
the advaitic viewpoint. We should note that AchArya was not bringing a new
system called advaita out of thin air. He was convinced that advaita is the
True method of the Upanishads and he believed that all other paths were
wrong. So no pun was intended in his works.

If I were to quote SankarAchArya just like you did for Swami Krishnananda, I
would have to reproduce the entire works of AchArya here. And please dont
tell me that a person travelling to Delhi and a person travelling to Mumbai,
and another guy to Chennai will eventually meet in the Himalayas !! Also,
kindly dont come back saying that in the pAramArthika level everything is
One. In the absolute level, everything is One, but not so in the empirical

As Swami Krishnananda says, a comparative study of religions is good and
NECESSARY. Afterall, we should know a thing or two about the pUrva-paksha-s

Hari Om

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sanjay Verma" <sanjay1297 at yahoo.com>
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta"
<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 05:48 AM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] "Spades" and "All religions are [not] one"

> "You cannot love God by hating someone else. The whole point in religion
is misconstrued. Love God and hate the world. Then, why not love the world
and hate God? Even that is good enough for some. There are people who feel
that way. There are stages of approach in religion: the transcendental
approach, the mystical approach, and the universal approach, to which
everything has to tend one day or the other. The study of comparative
religions is very good and necessary."
> B) Lest one think that such neo-Advaita ideology is not consistent with
Advaita as taught by Adi Shankaracharya:
> So, whether or not Adi Shankaracharya would accept that "all religions are
one" or be in favor of pseudo-secularism seems to be missing the mark (i.e.,
the higher objective in one's spiritual practice). Yes, the Acharya was very
critical of other paths and outright rejected the validity of many of their
presuppositions (the entire 2nd section of chapter 2 of the BS is devoted to
refutation of other viewpoints). However, refutation of such views from the
point of Advaita is different than saying such paths will not lead to the
Absolute (completely or incompletely). No less an authority than Sri Krishna
Himself asserts that all paths (if practiced with devotion) lead to Him.
> Hari Om Narayana!
> Sanjay

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