Subject: RE: [Advaita-l] namo namah: and some questions

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at
Mon Sep 6 23:27:20 CDT 2004

On Fri, 3 Sep 2004, shankar wrote:

> Is not the visuals seen by the people superficial ?.since on certain
> occasion what we see might not be true.The people who thought that the
> man is religious are commenting only on the dress,probably the man could
> have worn this for a participating in a drama and not for only puja.
> Sometimes the same people would think a siddhar ( a sort of enlightened
> persons,as addressed in Tamil nadu) as a mad man and equivate a mad man
> as a siddhar. These assumptions cannot be always construed as true and
> false.The exteriors as seen of a person cannot be measured in a 1-10
> bhakthi scale since as an outsider we cannot predict the levels of
> bhakthi achieved by a bhaktha. This can be scaled only by bhaghawan. As
> an outsider can we predict who between "Meera" and "Surdas" where better
> bhaktas of Lord Krishna. Only the lord can know it, isn't it ?

The Lord knows all sorts of things but what good does that do us?  The
responsibility for jnana is our own and know God, Guru or shastra can give
it to you.  However the Lord has helped us by giving (via Bhagavadgita
etc.) the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta by which we have a tool to know
things ourselves.  And with that knowledge we can say with confidence that
both Meera and Surdas fell short of the mark.  (Surdas was a follower of
Vallabhacharya, Meera some other type of Vaishnava so they only approached
God, they did not unite with Him.)

Isn't that intolerant?  Well, the difference is when approaching a
different school of philosoophy, we should reject only the "bad" parts and
not the whole package.  Shankaracharya, for example, criticized the
Bhagavatas (proto-Vaishnava sect,) worshippers of yakshas and rakshasas,
samkhya/yogis, and "left-handed" Tantriks.  Yet he also acknowledged parts
of those schools -- as long as the parts were consonant with the
teachings of the Vedas.  In the same way we should certainly feel free to
appreciate the bhakti of Surdas or Meera upto a point.  How finely we can
refine that point depends on how good our sense of judgement is.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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