[Advaita-l] the religion i am born into

M. S. Ravisankar ravi at ambaa.org
Thu Mar 18 11:09:03 CST 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: latha vidya [mailto:lathavidya at yahoo.co.in]
> Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2004 2:15 AM
> To: Advaita List
> Subject: [Advaita-l] the religion i am born into
> As far as gaining the spiritual heights or Jnana is concerned,
> any body who has the one-pointed goal of achieving the Truth can
> follow the guidelines of Jnanamarga or the vedantic tenets of
> Sanatana Dharma. In fact Sanatana Dharma is the eternal religion
> of all human species born and it encompasses all. There is no
> harm in listening to and understanding the tenets of spirituality
> propounded by various sects/subsects/other religions as
> discoursed by various spiritual Gurus. And according to our
> vaasanas or the latent impressions of our antahkarana a
> particular set of tenets appeal to us and by inculcating those
> tenets in my everyday life, I elevate myself to higher levels of
> spirituality. To inculcate these tenets conversion is not
> necessary, and it may even become counter-productive if
> misinterpreted and misperceived.


I agree that we need not forcibly convert any. I also understand why
smArta-s do not have any formal mechanism. But I think we should offer a
formal way to those who wish to embrace "what goes by the name" hindu

a) A ritual is important. People can live together without formally
marrying. A formal marriage either in a court house or by religious way,
adds strength and value to the marriage. So it is with conversion. I agree
that mental conversion is enough, but a formal ritual adds support and
enhances it. It also lets the person know that we aknowledge and include

b) There are few mechanisms available now to achieve this. It may not be
straight into smArta system (which gives direct access in some sense at the
level of sannyAsa). Depending of the mental inclination, one embrace shaiva,
vaishhNava or shaakta sampradaaya-s. For instance, if one is inclined
towards worshipping ambaa, one can get initiated into shriividyopaasana.
This has NO restriction whatsoever based on caste, religion, gender, species
etc. Or if one likes vishhNu, one can probably under take prapatti (bhara
nyaasam) etc. Typically, once you get into things like shriividyopasana
(daxinaachara) for all practical purposes you are a smArta.

Religion also has communal aspect to it. If a person is told, okay you are
mentally a hindu, you can sit at home and do what you want -- it is not
going to be helpful. We have to include them in a greater way.  For it to be
meaningful, a mere name change is not adequate, one should undertake some
formal upaasana (which one has to do daily) through a guru. The latter alone
can give a better sense of belonging and purpose. Reading few  pages from
some upanishads  before going to sleep is not enough.

My 2c and my last post on this topic. Needless to say I may be wrong.


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