[Advaita-l] Liberation outside the Sampradaya

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Oct 6 10:54:41 CDT 2005

On Mon, 26 Sep 2005, Rishi Lamichhane wrote:

> Dear All,
> I have never gotten a coherent answer to this question. Is there
> liberation outside the Smarta Sampradaya or not?

Well, Smarta does not mean only Advaitins.  The Mimamsaka ritualism is
also Smarta (in fact that is probably the major religion of
Smartas) as the Shrividya type of Tantrism.

As far as Advaitins are concerned, yes only those who follow Advaita
Vedanta can be liberated.  But Advaita Vedanta is defined as the practices
of those who are liberated so its a bit circular.  If someone makes a
claim of being a jnani, we should compare them to those we already know
are jnanis.  If there is a match, we should accept them even if the link
between them and the mainstream tradition is hard to discern.

An example of this is Ramana.  While it is obvious he was well-versed in
Advaita shastras, he didn't dwell on them.  His style was very
idiosyncratic yet learned and orthodox Advaitins did recognize him as "one
of us."

< In addition, what
> does it mean for an individual to be in the Sampradaya? For instance
> those who have Sannyasin initiation from a member of the Sampradaya
> but are not practicing the teachings of that particular tradition, I
> assume such an individual would not be considered part of the
> Sampradaya, right?

Yes.  In northern India, there are many Vaishnavas, Tantriks etc. who have
taken sannyasa in Dashanami orders.  So that in itself doesn't guarantee
anything.  You would have to examine them from a behavioral viewpoint.
Advaita Sannyasis are less sectarian, stress nirguna over saguna
conceptions of God, quote Shankaracharya as their philosophical authority
and that sort of thing.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list