[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 21 07:09:48 CST 2005

>On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 Sri Praveen wrote:

>Still, as usual, I'm going to say the same things that you know of, but its
>only for you to reconsider your views *if* they say: reading/studying on
>your own doesn't bring anything and living with the masters brings

IMHO, a modification is needed here. Reading/studying on your own cannot in 
fact bring anything and neither can just living with the masters. It is only 
reading/studying in guidance of a master that brings brahma-jnana. As far as 
reading/studying on one's own, Shankara himself pointed out the danger of 
trying to wade shabda-jAl-mahAraNyam through one's own reading and very 
explicitly prohibited brahma-enquiry on one's own: ShAstrajnopi swAtantreyNa 
brahma jnAnanusandhAna na kuryAt.

> > Since, only a few are blessed with this
> > luck, we must resort to books and probably lists like this to clarify
> > our understanding of the subtleites of Vedanata.
>So we're in unison.

If we do not have the luck of learning from a teacher, the luck is to be 
created. There is absolutely no escape. Resorting to books and lists like 
this to clarify our understanding, is fraught with serious danger. Doubts 
must be clarified only from a teacher who has got this knowledge and is 
versed in the method of vedanta. Books and lists like this can at best be an 
aid to learning from a teacher; they cannot be a substitute for it.

Chandra-shakha-nyaya embedded in the method of vedanta makes it incumbent 
upon the student to shift perspectives after reaching a certain level of 
understanding. How will a book or e-list decide your level of understanding? 
And how will you know when to change your perspective to reach closer to 
understanding? "Learning at the master's feet" is inescapable precisely due 
to this reason. Indispensability of a teacher arises from the shifting-gear 
teaching menthod of vedanta, not because of some mystical energy flow from 
the master to disciple,


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