[Advaita-l] Basics

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Oct 30 14:03:28 CST 2005

On Sat, 29 Oct 2005, Vishu wrote:

> Hello folks,
> Few questions:
> 1. What are the axioms that Advaita is built on?

I would say the Brahmasutras.  They take the vast variety of opinions that 
stem from the Upanishads and attempt to harmonize them into a logical 

> 2. Where can I find (books, websites) a fundamental treatise on Advaita? I
> have read Eliot Deutsch and Swami Prabhavananda - summary of Advaita,
> Bhagavadgita, Viveka-chudamani. They served their purpose. However, I'm
> looking for something that takes axioms from scriptures (Smriti and/or
> Shruti) and builds upon these axioms to make the case of Advaita.

Look no further than one of the websites we host:  The Saradambal Seva 
Samiti Trust(http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/sarada/)  There you will find 
two interesting books to read, Brahmasutra Shankarabhashya Sangrah (a 
summary of Shankaracharyas' Brahmasutra bhashya ) and 
Advaitasiddhi Sara Sangrah (a summary of Swami Madhusudan Sarasvati's 

Another work which you might find interesting is Vedantaparibhasha by 
Dharmaraja Adhvarindra.  It has been published by the Ramakrishna 
mission along with an English translation by Swami Madhavananda.

> 3. There is a lot to Hinduism (Advaita being the most influential on the
> philosophical side) - the philosophical side (dvaita, advaita,
> vishista-advaita etc), the rituals, the itihasas, the puranas, astronomy,
> astrology, ayurveda etc. At times, each branch has a clear message and yet
> other times, one branch is applied to other blurring the lines. Is there a
> work that lays out everything and puts them in context? -  a brief history
> of everything and how one finds place in the other.

There are various histories of Sanskrit literature but nothing as far as I 
know which tries to tie everything together in a non-biased way.  (There 
are some which try to push a particular political agenda whether right or 
left.)  There is a pressing need for something like this.

> 4. Is there a resource on morals and ethics derived from living the Advaita
> way? I know this may be offensive to puritans. I apologize in advance. The
> whole idea of applying Advaita to this dream state world may be sort of
> anathema to Advaita, which transcends this virtual reality we are living in.
> Nevertheless, while we are in this dreaming state of ours, we need to deal
> with this virtual reality from stem cells to mars rovers. Is there a work
> that arrives at a moral/ethical position derived from Advaita on some of the
> seemingly controversial issues of our times?

>From Advaita Vedanta no.  Because as you said, it is only for moksha.  But 
Advaita Vedanta is part of the broader cultural framework known as 
Smartism and Smartas look to dharmashastras for guidance on worldly ethics.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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