Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Wed Jun 28 13:27:57 CDT 2006

On 6/27/06, Shrisha Rao <shrao at nyx.net> wrote:
> On Mon, 26 Jun 2006, kuntimaddi sadananda wrote:
> > Dvaitins, particularly Hare Krishna community, call advaita as maaya
> > vaada.  Actually advaita is non-duality which ascertains that there is
> > only Brahman and nothing but Brahman.  Hence, it should be called brahma
> > vaada (proponents of Brahman) rather than mAya vaadins (proponents of
> > maaya).
> It is true that Hare Krishnas (who do not call themelves Dvaitins, and
> should probably not be called that by others either) use `mAyAvAda' as a
> pejorative term for Advaita, but they are by no means responsible for the
> appellation.  The term is also not in and of itself pejorative in nature,
> and is used with no sense of shame by past Advaitin scholars themselves.
> (An Advaitin thus need feel no greater shame for being called a `mAyAvAdI'
> than he takes it on himself to feel for being called by any other name.)
> In a sense, `mAyAvAda' it is also probably a better description than
> `advaita' (which is not the proper name for the doctrine in any classical
> work by Sankara or others).
> I am not aware of any classical scholar who suggests `brahmavAda' as an
> appropriate term in place of `mAyAvAda', and such a suggestion is also in
> apparent conflict with established non-parochial uses of the former term,
> e.g., in Bhagavad Gita XVII-24.

Good point. Sankara and Sureshvara usually call it samyag-darshana.
That word itself can be traced back to the bhagavad-giitaa. The same
name is also used by Bhaskara (bhedAbhedin) in his commentary on the
brahma-suutras (2nd or 3rd, I forget), when referring to advaita.
Bhaskara also uses the word maayaa-vaada. That's probably the the
earliest known work where it occurs. But he does seem to use it in a
pejorative way, of course that is a subjective statement based on my
limited readings of Bhaskara. In the modern world, it was Hacker who
pointed out that maayaa-vaada is not a very suitable term for
describing shankara's philosophy. See "Philology and Confrontation",
published by the SUNY Press.


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